Whenever the leaves start to change and the air gets a touch cooler, everyone seems to get out their pumpkin-based recipes and go to town with pumpkin-flavored everything. Many keto dieters wonder: is pumpkin keto? Can I get in on the pumpkin craze and still maintain a low carb diet?
The short answer is, pumpkin is a perfectly fine component of a keto diet in moderation. While pumpkin is quite high in carbs if you overdo it, a little goes a long way and you can definitely enjoy the flavor of pumpkin regularly.
Below, we’ll be discussing the nutrition facts of fresh and canned pumpkin, what to look for when buying pumpkin for keto, and how you can enjoy low carb pumpkin recipes.
Is Pumpkin Keto-Friendly?
Just like everything else, keto dieters can consume some pumpkin without pulling themselves out of ketosis.
Most keto dieters don’t actually consume 0g of net carbs every day and instead aim to stay under 50g, 25g, or some other limit. Just like every other food that contains net carbs, you can eat some pumpkin safely without spiking your blood sugar and ruining your progress.
It’s important to note that some keto dieters do their best to avoid starches as much as possible, as they can have the longest-lasting effect on blood sugar levels. Pumpkin does contain some starch, but luckily, it has an overall low glycemic index. Even keto dieters who keep starch intake to a minimum can enjoy a small amount of pumpkin each day.
Pumpkin is generally keto-friendly because it has relatively few carbs, contains some fiber to bring the net carbs down, and offers plenty of vitamins and minerals that are crucial for a healthy lifestyle.
Is Pumpkin High In Carbs?
Pumpkin is a winter squash, so it is often considered a vegetable. However, it’s really a fruit. As most people on a keto diet know, fruit tends to be high in carbohydrates and, specifically, sugar. Sugar is something most keto dieters avoid because it’s easily digestible and can more rapidly spike your blood sugar.
However, this winter squash is considered savory because it has less sugar than most other fruit and, overall, it’s quite low in carbs.
Eating fresh pumpkin is a great way to pack vitamins, minerals, and flavor into your keto diet without too much risk of dropping out of ketosis. A cup of fresh, cubed pumpkin contains around 8 grams of carbs and about 0.5 grams of fiber, leaving you with 7.5 grams of net carbs.
As long as your macros for the day allow for this amount of carbohydrates, you can happily enjoy some fresh pumpkin in our keto pumpkin soup or substitute canned pumpkin with fresh to make our delicious and chewy keto pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.
Is Canned Pumpkin Keto Friendly?
Those looking for a more convenient way to eat pumpkin on keto might wonder: is pumpkin keto if it’s canned? Canned pumpkin is a convenient way to consume this fruit because you don’t have to worry about hollowing, roasting, storing, and spoiling. Canned pumpkin is preferred over fresh for most people.
Luckily, canned pumpkin contains all the flavor and vitamins of fresh pumpkin while maintaining a low amount of net carbs.
You can add canned pumpkin to just about any keto pumpkin recipe, including our easy keto pumpkin muffins or, our favorite, keto pumpkin pie, which uses a keto-friendly sweetener to maintain the sweetness you expect from a pie.
When you’re shopping for canned pumpkin for your keto recipes, you should be very careful not to buy pumpkin pie filling.
This puree also comes in cans and is usually located right near the regular canned pumpkin puree, but it contains a ton of sugar that will very likely push you out of ketosis. You should look for unsweetened, 100% pumpkin puree to add to your keto diet.
How Many Carbs Are In Pumpkin Puree?
Pumpkin puree has about the same nutritional information as fresh pumpkin on a gram-for-gram basis. However, it’s more dense, so it’s best to weigh your puree if possible over measuring by volume.
A cup of pumpkin puree contains around 19 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber, putting it at 12 grams of net carbs per cup.
If you’re looking to add some vitamins and minerals to your diet, about a half-cup of pumpkin puree should be sufficient. A half-cup of puree includes more than 100% of your daily value of vitamin A, about 18% of the recommended vitamin K, and decent amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and iron.
Make sure to go for pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling!
Are Pumpkin Seeds Keto?
Most parts of the pumpkin, including the seeds, are edible and can deliver delicious taste as well as minerals for any keto dieter. Pumpkin seeds, also known as “pepitas,” are usually cleaned and roasted with some salt before being eaten by themselves or with a keto meal to add some crunch.
A single serving of roasted pumpkin seeds — about 15 grams — contains just 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber, leaving you with 1 gram of net carbs. As such, pumpkin seeds can make for an excellent keto snack that offers essential minerals like magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and zinc.
Best of all, pumpkin seeds are high in fat and moderately high in protein, so they can help you reach your daily macro goals. Just one small serving contains 7 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.
How Much Pumpkin Can You Eat On Keto?
Pumpkin is low carb, but it isn’t no-carb, so every keto dieter should consume pumpkin in moderation and ensure that the carbs won’t push them out of ketosis.
If you’re like most people on a keto diet, you likely limit yourself to about 50 grams of carbs per day. One cup of fresh, cubed pumpkin contains 7.5 grams of net carbs. If you’re really into pumpkin-flavored foods and drinks and want all of your carbs for the day to come from fresh pumpkin, you could eat about 6.5 cups of fresh pumpkin. That’s a lot of pumpkin!
If you’re opting for the convenience of canned pumpkin, you’ll be a bit more restricted, but only because it’s more dense than cubed pumpkin. Canned pumpkin puree contains around 12g of net carbs per cup. You could consume just over 4 cups of pumpkin puree in a single day on keto if you don’t have any other carb sources that day.
Keep in mind that pumpkin is high in vitamins A and K, both of which are fat-soluble vitamins. While you can consume as much of the water-soluble vitamins — B6, B12, and C — as you want without issue, it is possible to overdose on fat-soluble vitamins — A, D, E, and K.
Pumpkin naturally contains high amounts of vitamins A and K, so you should consider restricting yourself to 1-2 cups of fresh pumpkin or 1 cup of pumpkin puree even if you have more carbs to spare.
On the other hand, pumpkin seeds don’t have the vitamins that are found in the pumpkin flesh, so you can enjoy them without worrying about consuming a dangerous amount of fat-soluble vitamins.
A 15 gram serving of pepitas delivers just 1 gram of net carbs, so you could eat around 750 grams of pumpkin seeds if you really wanted to without going over your 50 gram carb limit for the day.
How to Eat Pumpkin On Keto
The best thing about eating pumpkin on keto is the number of keto pumpkin recipes you can enjoy while adding this savory fruit to your diet.
You can enjoy some roasted pumpkin cubes topped with butter and cinnamon as a low carb side to any meal. The delicate sweetness of pumpkin pairs well with fatty meats, making it an excellent option for keto dieters.
One of our personal favorite keto recipes around autumn is pumpkin keto soup. Our keto pumpkin soup recipe is easy and delicious. You can use canned pumpkin or freshly roasted pumpkin and top with pepitas for a creamy and savory autumn meal.
If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, we strongly recommend trying our keto pumpkin bar recipe with cream cheese frosting or our low carb pumpkin bread with cheesecake filling. Just be careful not to by pumpkin pie filling when making these keto recipes!
Of course, every coffee-loving keto dieter will be craving that famous pumpkin spice latte! We came up with a keto pumpkin spice latte recipe with just 5 grams of net carbs and all the flavor you expect in your coffee cup.
More Keto Pumpkin Recipes
The Bottom Line: Is Pumpkin Keto Friendly?
Pumpkin is a fruit that contains both starch and sugar, so it’s not the ideal food for keto dieters looking to maintain a low carb lifestyle. However, fresh pumpkin, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin seeds all contain relatively few net carbs per serving, so you can enjoy them in moderation even while following a keto diet.
When working keto into your daily intake, monitoring your carbohydrates is the best way to ensure you don’t fall out of ketosis.
A cup of fresh pumpkin, ¾ cup of pumpkin puree, or 1-2 servings of roasted pumpkin seeds per day should be no issue at all, as long as you account for carbs from other sources and stay under your daily limit — just make sure to avoid canned pumpkin filling, which contains tons of sugar.
There are lots of keto pumpkin recipes you can enjoy during the fall to maintain a low carb intake and still pack in the vitamins, minerals, and taste pumpkin provides.