20 Keto-Friendly Fast Food Options That Won't Ruin Your Diet

Did you know that the keto diet was not originally used for weight loss? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the "keto" in keto diet is actually short for "ketogenic" and was designed to help patients with epilepsy. However, since its creation, the diet has also been used to treat other health issues like Type 2 diabetes. And, yes, it's used for weight management (although you should always speak with a health care professional before starting any diet plan).

The secret behind the keto diet is how your body produces energy, as Johns Hopkins explains. Normally, your body's go-to source of energy is glucose. However, the traditional keto diet restricts the amount of carbohydrates you can take in while allowing you to consume larger amounts of fat and moderate amounts of protein. Greatly cutting down on carbs means the body has less glucose to work with, so it changes fat into ketones, which can be used for energy.

Of course, the keto diet becomes simpler if you always cook for yourself. But what about when you're out with friends who all want a fast meal? After all, fast-food items like ketchup and wheat-based products like bread are no-nos on a traditional keto diet (per Healthline). But there are options. The following are suggestions to help you stay on the keto diet at fast-food restaurants. However, menus do change over time, and everyone's dietary needs are different, so you should always double check the ingredients of a particular fast-food selection before ordering.


In many ways, Wendy's founder is just as iconic as its red pigtailed mascot. The late Dave Thomas, who appeared in a number of commercials for the fast-food franchise, started the business in Ohio in 1969. And although Wendy's menu has changed over the years, one of its staple items, square burgers, would seem like a bad choice for the keto diet.

But not so fast. It is possible to sink your teeth into Wendy's burger without destroying your keto diet plan. It all comes down to how you order it. Of course, you'll need to ask for no bun, which might sound like an odd way to eat a burger. However, you can either cut it up with a knife and fork or request the lettuce wrap version. And you do want to watch what condiments you're using, but that doesn't mean you have to eat a plain burger either.

For example, if you want a Dave's Single, simply ask for no bun, onions, or ketchup for a keto-friendly meal that's around 5% carbs (per Square Deal Blog). And if you want an even lower carb option, try the Dave's Double, which is only about 4% carbs if you leave off the bun, onions, and ketchup. But if you're craving a burger with more toppings, the Baconator (minus the bun) might be a great choice for you since you can have it with avocado, tomato, and pickles.


If it wasn't for a nuclear physicist and a college student, there would be no Subway. As Subway tells it, it all started with Dr. Peter Buck, who wanted to help Fred DeLuca, an enterprising freshman who needed to figure out a way to pay for college. So, the two teamed up and opened the first Subway sandwich shop. It's understandable to think an international chain with more than 40,000 shops all specializing in submarine sandwiches wouldn't be good for the keto diet. But there are ways to eat keto options at Subway, especially since this chain is known for customizing orders to meet its customers' wants and needs. 

For example, there are salads at Subway that are lower in carbs, such as its Veggie Delite, Cold Cut Combo, and Rotisserie-Style Chicken. And dressings like oil, vinegar, and even Subway's Caesar (if you only use 14 grams) are good for the keto diet.

While Subway salads can be keto-friendly, let's be honest, not everyone is into salad. Fortunately, Subway also offers protein bowls that (depending on which one you order) can fit a keto lifestyle. In particular, the tuna bowl is loaded with roughly 47 grams of fat and 26 grams of protein. And you can always add bacon, guacamole, or cheese if you want to add a bit more fat to your protein bowl. Just make sure to check the macros on a particular item.

Taco Bell

Although the first Taco Bell opened in 1962, there were actually two precursors to this restaurant chain. Company founder, Glen Bell, opened two restaurants in 1954: Bell's Drive-In and Taco Tia. Once Taco Bell officially opened, it started being franchised roughly two years later and has grown not only because of its number of franchisees but also in terms of its menu.

Nevertheless, as registered dietician Carissa Galloway told Well+Good, "Keto eaters have it pretty rough at Taco Bell because they can't have rice, they can't have beans, and they can't have tortilla wraps or taco shells." However, Galloway, as well as her fellow registered dietician Jessica Cording, both say ordering a Power Menu Bowl without rice can help you create a keto-friendly meal. In particular, they recommend choosing either steak or chicken, then adding toppings like lettuce, onion, extra cheese, and/or sour cream.

In addition, Taco Bell might be an option for breakfast if you're on the keto diet. Taco Bell's Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito can be modified to fit into a keto lifestyle. After all, this burrito is filled with eggs, bacon, and cheese sauce. The most important thing is to let whoever takes your order know that you want it without the tortilla.

Burger King

It's unlikely anyone could have foreseen Burger King's future success when it first opened in 1954. Not only is it the second-largest fast-food hamburger chain on the planet, but it also serves more than 11 million people daily. And, if you're on the keto diet, it's still possible to enjoy one of its famous burgers ... with a few modifications.

Variations of arguably one of Burger King's best-known sandwiches, the Whopper, can be made keto-friendly. The trick is to order items like the Whopper with Cheese, the Double Whopper with Cheese, and the Whopper Jr. without a bun. You also want to skip condiments like sauce and ketchup to avoid extra carbs sneaking into your meal. This approach can also help you tweak other Burger King favorites like the Bacon King Sandwich, the double bacon cheeseburger, and the regular cheeseburger.

OK, but what if just a burger isn't enough flavor? That's not a problem — toppings like lettuce, tomato, and pickles are all fine under the keto diet. And if you really miss that sauce or ketchup, you might want to try mustard or even something a bit adventurous like ranch or buffalo dipping sauce. As for condiments, toppings are available at Burger King restaurants all day long, so you needn't worry about whether you're visiting for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


Although quite a few fast-food chains focus on hamburgers, Arby's menu is all about sandwiches. In fact, the company boasts that it's the second biggest sandwich restaurant brand and today has locations in nine countries. Of course, sandwiches can be an issue for a keto dieter because the bread adds to macro counts. However, that doesn't mean Arby's should be on your "restaurants to avoid" list.

By ordering items like the Corned Beef Reuben or the Half Pound Beef N' Cheddar without the bun, you can still enjoy a meal at Arby's without ruining your keto carb count. In addition, some Arby's locations offer salads, which depending on the ingredients, can be a great choice if you're on the keto diet. Just be careful because condiments like the Bronco Berry Sauce and the Dijon honey mustard dressing can add some serious carbs to your meal.

Although you can have a keto-friendly lunch or dinner at Arby's, that doesn't mean every item can be tweaked to fit your fat, protein, and carb needs. For example, mozzarella sticks and jalapeño bites are both loaded with carbs. You also want to avoid menu items that have fried chicken, like chicken tenders. And, of course, fries are definitely out if you want to stick to your keto goals.


Although it was Dick and Mac McDonald who created the first McDonald's restaurant, it was Ray Kroc who franchised the operation; and it didn't take long for it to take off. Roughly four years after Kroc met the McDonald brothers, McDonald's sold its 100 millionth burger. And although certain menu items have come and gone (like the grilled chicken), that doesn't mean you can't eat at McDonald's if you're on the keto diet.

Of course, hamburgers themselves can be a good choice for a keto diet, but not if they're on a bun. However, you can get menu items like a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a McDouble without the bun, making them instantly keto-friendly. In fact, you can even order a Big Mac, although it will add a couple more grams of carbs to your total for the day. And keep in mind that these and other burgers like McDonald's double cheeseburgers, regular cheeseburgers, and standard hamburgers come with keto-appropriate fixings like pickles and (except for the Big Mac) mustard.

Although McDonald's burgers can be customized to fit your keto needs, there is one small difficulty you might run into depending on how you like to eat your bunless burger. Not every McDonald's offers lettuce-wrapped burgers. Yes, you can still get lettuce with your order, but it might be shredded. So, you might need to dig in with a knife and fork.

El Pollo Loco

Since El Pollo Loco translates to "the crazy chicken," it's not surprising that this fast-food chain with over 480 locations across six states — Arizona, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, and Utah — is known in particular for its chicken dishes. But when it comes to the keto diet, El Pollo Loco boasts a unique menu item: The World's First Keto Burrito.

According to the El Pollo Loco, this burrito is Keto-certified. This means that the product must meet certain specifications regarding things like its carb content and its ingredients. But just because certain foods are not allowed under the keto diet doesn't mean that The World's First Keto Burrito doesn't have a variety of ingredients. Made from a special keto-OK tortilla, El Pollo Loco's keto burrito is packed with chopped chicken, slices of avocado, cotija cheese, red cabbage, organic super greens, pico de gallo salsa, and creamy cilantro dressing. And if any of those foods aren't your thing, you can always customize your burrito too; for example, leave off the red cabbage or avocado.

In addition to The World's First Keto Burrito, El Pollo Loco also offers the keto-friendly Double Chicken Avocado Salad on its Pollo Fit Menu. Like the keto burrito, this salad comes with pico de gallo salsa, avocados, cotija cheese, and organic super greens, as well as lettuce and corn. And, again, it's customizable, so you can, for example, add creamy cilantro dressing.

Firehouse Subs

With a name like Firehouse Subs, you'd assume that this fast-food chain has a link to firefighters — and you'd be right. Its founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen, came from a family that included both police officers and firefighters. Now, almost three decades after its creation, Firehouse Subs has more than 1,200 locations, all with customizable menu items that can fit a keto lifestyle.

The way to make certain meals keto-friendly at Firehouse Subs is to specify "in a bowl" when you order. For example, if you want a Large New York Steamer Sub, simply ask for it with no bread or mayo and served in a bowl. And in case you've never had this Firehouse Subs menu item, it contains corned beef brisket, pastrami, provolone cheese, lettuce, and Italian salad dressing. Plus, if you order it in a bowl, it's served on a bed of lettuce, making it like a hearty salad.

Another option at Firehouse Subs for the keto dieter is the Large Premium Roast Beef sub, but again, with some alterations. Like with the Large New York Steamer, you want to ask for it in a bowl and hold the bread and mayo. In addition, skip the onions but keep the provolone cheese, tomato, iceberg lettuce, dill pickle spear, and, of course, the roast beef. And if you really miss the mayo, you can always substitute it for spicy mustard or oil.


If you thought Chipotle was a restaurant chain that's unique to the United States, think again. The Mexican-inspired chain maintains stores in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and France. And while some of Chipotle's menu items contain rice, tortillas, and taco shells (all of which can up your carbs and ruin your keto diet), that doesn't mean keto dieters shouldn't consider Chipotle when dining out.

In 2019, Chipotle introduced "Lifestyle Bowls" to its menu, which included a special Keto Salad Bowl (via USA Today). Predesigned to meet the needs of a keto-friendly meal, this bowl contains chicken, freshly shredded cheese, guacamole, crispy super greens, and tomatillo-red chili salsa. And if you want to make changes, you can, for example, switch out the chicken for another keto option: steak. Interestingly, the creation of this new menu item spotlighted how Chipotle's menu had always been friendly to different diets, including keto.

Chris Brandt, Chipotle's chief marketing officer, said in a statement at the time that the fast-food chain's customers were often creating "lifestyle-specific bowls" on their own and that observation is what led to the creation of the "Lifestyle Bowls." So, if you're not in the mood for the Keto Salad Bowl, you can also customize your own keto-friendly meal creation — just as some customers have been doing all along.

Carl's Jr.

Even if you travel internationally, there's a pretty good chance you'll find a Carl's Jr. location. After all, this nearly eight-decades-old business has restaurants in 28 countries. And in 2020, the fast-food chain expanded its menu to include several keto-friendly options.

In 2020, to commemorate National Keto Day (January 5), Carl's Jr. introduced lettuce-wrap versions of its Jalapeño Thickburger, Guacamole Bacon Thickburger, and Original Thickburger. All three of these meals are made with 100% Angus beef patty, as well as tomatoes, red onions, and fresh iceberg lettuce. Other ingredients (which vary from item to item) include pepper jack cheese, American cheese, Santa Fe sauce, guacamole, pickles, and mustard.

It's important to note that, currently, Carl's Jr. no longer lists these three items as optional lettuce wraps, so it's more of a menu hack. You can still order the Thickburgers, as well as other Carl's Jr. items, as lettuce wraps. And one last word of caution: The Original Thickburger as a lettuce wrap could come with ketchup and mayo, which other sources cited in this article have recommended eliminating from other fast-food restaurants to truly turn an item keto-friendly. So, depending on your carb quota, you might want to make some alterations to your meal.

Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In is a unique fast-food experience in that you park your car, order the food, and eat it right there (if you choose to). Unique dining experience aside, though, Sonic's hot dog and burger offerings can indeed be keto-friendly — if you make a few tweaks when you order.

The Sonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger can work as a keto diet meal if you lose the bun and the ketchup. Similarly, you can alter an All American Dog from Sonic's hot dog menu to fit your keto diet by asking for no bun, ketchup, and relish. In addition, the grilled chicken sandwich (minus the bun) is a good choice and comes with keto-friendly toppings like tomato and lettuce. And don't forget the Chili Cheese Coney (again without the bun) can also be a good meal, but the chili does contain some carbs, so you might want to skip this one depending on how many fats, proteins, and carbs you've eaten on a particular day.

Besides lunch and dinner, Sonic also has a keto-friendly breakfast item: The bacon beakfast burrito. Of course, you can't have it with the tortilla, but it is possible to get this item bread-free in a bowl. Plus, if you're not feeling like having bacon, you can swap it out for other keto-OK foods like grilled chicken or sausage.


Oh, Chick-Fil-A, how you have won the hearts of chicken lovers all around. With so many fast food chains dotted around the country, it's a feat that so many choose this one over other competitors. The seasoning blend used might be a secret, but we do know that the franchise is strict about its chicken selection and ensures the poultry never hits a freezer. If you have had the opportunity to enjoy chicken from this fast food location, then you can attest to the flavor and superior quality.

But the question here is, can someone on the keto diet enjoy all that crispy, juicy goodness? Lucky for you, Chick-Fil-A has dedicated information that covers everything you need to know about ordering off the keto-conscious menu.

For breakfast, consider grabbing any breakfast sandwich sans bread. A hash brown scramble bowl with either chicken or sausage — just leave out the hashbrowns. The grilled breakfast fillet and black coffee are safe for consumption too. Otherwise, if you plan to stop in for lunch or dinner, consider grilled nuggets at 1 gram of net carbs per serving or a grilled chicken sandwich, no bun at 3 grams of carbs. A refreshing unsweetened iced tea is a safe bet coming in at 0 net carbs, and the chain also offers lots of low-carb side sauces if you need a little extra flavor.


When you think about Dunkin', your mind likely wanders off to strawberry frosted donuts with sprinkles and caramel swirl iced coffees. But beyond the obvious menu items like coffee and donuts, you'll want to steer clear of other options like refreshers, croissants, bagels, and muffins!

So, what does that mean for keto folks looking to grab a little DD on their way to work? Believe it or not, you'll find a few decent options if you're feeling hungry for a little Dunkin'. When keeping yourself cool and refreshed, consider sipping on a plain iced coffee or unsweetened iced tea. You can even get away with requesting unsweetened flavor shots like hazelnut, vanilla, or blueberry. Just clarify that you want "unsweetened."

If you're looking for a snack or meal, consider ordering meat, egg, and cheese with no bread. Protein options include sausage and bacon. You'll notice several locations offer Snackin Bacon, but don't let the name fool you — those salty pork slices have 10 grams of carbs per serving, which is pretty darn high for someone on the keto diet. Your best low-carb milk option is coconut milk, coming in at 0 net carbs, and cream, at two net carbs per serving. Don't order almond milk, as Dunkin' only offers sweetened varieties.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

When on the keto diet, you consume high amounts of fat, very low carbs, and moderate protein. But, if you consider yourself someone who loves fitness, chances are, you eat more than a moderate amount of protein while on the keto diet to maintain muscle mass.

If your macronutrient ratios call for decent protein intake, perhaps you'll appreciate finding yourself at a local Popeyes for a chicken dinner. It might not have several keto-friendly menu items available, but the chain does have one menu item that is both low-carb and high-protein.

When taking a whirl through the drive-thru, order the blackened chicken tenders. You'll find that a three-piece chicken offers 26 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs, while a five-piece offers 43 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbs. The blackened ranch, buttermilk ranch, and Mardi Gras Mustard are okay low-carb dipping sauces, but keep dipping minimal. 

Jack in the Box

If you are on the road and need a quick dinner to feed your family and keep things low-carb for yourself, Jack In The Box can actually be a great option. Between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you'll find plenty of keto-friendly substitutions on the menu that will keep you in ketosis and not ruin your diet.

As long as you stay away from bread and dipping sauces and make sure you don't order anything breaded and crispy, you should be pretty golden. Lucky for you, we have a few meal ideas to order, so you won't have to play 21 questions in the drive-thru.

A grilled club salad with julienne chicken keeps carbs down to 10 grams per meal, so be sure to top it off with a keto-friendly dressing. Creamy Southwest dressing and a low-fat balsamic vinaigrette contain 3 grams of carbs per serving. You can up the ante with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the top if you need a little extra fat. 

If you order the Extreme Sausage Sandwich or Ultimate Breakfast Sandwich off the menu, just remember to request no bun. The Buttery Jack Burger with no ketchup or bun is popular, but you can also get away with ordering The Bacon Swiss Buttery Jack without a bun as well.


We'll start by telling you there are plenty of things you shouldn't order on the KFC menu. Between its Popcorn Nuggets to its famous biscuits and mac and cheese sides, you'll find most of KFC's menu items are overloaded with carbs.

Don't worry. The chicken chain has some things you can order without missing out on KFC's yummy food, too. If you plan to stop in at a nearby location, you'll be able to order any of the grilled chicken varieties, including the thigh, breast, drummy, or wings. Not only are they absolutely delicious this way, but you'll love that each of these comes in at 0 net carbs. Stick to the thighs for additional fat, but consider the breast if you need a protein fix.

For exact carbohydrate counts on certain menu items, consider checking KFC's nutrition guide, where you can see what is worth spending your carbs on. On this menu, you'll notice you might be able to splurge on an Original Recipe chicken drumstick because it only has 4 grams of carbs or an Original Recipe chicken wing at only 3 carbs.

Marco's Pizza

Finding a fast-food pizza joint that offers low-carb options is nearly impossible, especially when you have had enough salads. If you have a Marco's Pizza location nearby, you are in luck because it has taken a step above all other pizza places when it comes to pleasing its keto-friendly customers.

Marco's offers a low-carb Specialty Pizza Bowl, which is essentially a crustless pie made with high-protein and low-carb ingredients. You can choose from a few tasty options like the Deluxe, which includes pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, and mushrooms which will cost you 14 total carbs.

Marco's have other specialty bowls, too, depending on location. You can request a Pizza Bowl with buffalo chicken containing 7 grams of total carbs or a Philly Pizza Bowl with 8 grams of carbs. Otherwise, the All Meat and Ultimate Magnifico Pizza Bowls each contain 13 grams of carbs per bowl.

Every bowl is made with Marco's original sauce, a signature three-cheese blend, and its tasty Romesan seasoning. If you are craving pizza (and at some point on the keto diet, you will), then be sure to snag a crustless pizza from Marco's to meet those needs.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys is best known for its crazy burgers and addictively salty and crispy French fries. While we could talk about those peanut oil fried potatoes all day, we won't tempt you because, unfortunately, they are a no-go for this diet.

You do, however, have a few decent burger and hot dog options to choose from. For burgers, be sure to order without the bun and select from a long list of great options. Cheese, applewood smoked bacon, grilled onion, mushrooms, mayo, lettuce, and pickles are all keto-friendly. Toppings to avoid include ketchup, relish, barbeque sauce, and A1 sauce. When ordering a burger, request a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

Then, there are hot dogs. The bacon dog, bacon cheese dog, or kosher-style hot dog are all great options, which you have the luxury of customizing with the keto-friendly toppings list we've already laid out for you.

In-N-Out Burger

If you have lived on the East Coast your entire life, then perhaps you've never had the luxury of enjoying In-N-Out Burger. But wow, if you ever travel anywhere out west, be sure to stop by at any In-N-Out location you find. Even if the line is a mile long (because it often is), make your way to the drive-thru. The name is spot on; even with long lines, your wait is never that long.

Because its menu has such minimal options, you'll have no issue ordering keto. Just stick to these rules; no buns, fries, ketchup, sugary drinks, or milkshakes. When it comes to selecting from its few burger options, be sure to order it "protein style," and the kitchen will wrap it with lettuce and ditch the bun altogether.

Otherwise, consider ordering The Flying Dutchman, which is simply two burger patties with two slices of melty cheese in the middle. You'll get all the deliciousness of a burger with no bun. For additional flavor, you can get away with ordering your burgers Animal Style, too, which means In-N-Out will cook those patties in mustard. Yum!

Panera Bread

Panera Bread is a little more on the bougie side of fast food, but it does have a lot of delicious keto-friendly meals to choose from when made with a few tweaks. For breakfast, try the avocado egg white and spinach sandwich without the bagel or a sausage scrambled egg and cheese without the ciabatta. You'll only be using up about 1 carb with eggs, and if you need a little extra flavor, order its garlic aioli sauce at 0 carbs. 

In fact, all of Panera Bread's sauces and dressings contain 4 or fewer carbs, aside from the poppyseed dressing, tangerine soy ginger, teriyaki sauce, and white balsamic vinaigrette. This gives you lots of great options to choose from. If you plan on ordering salads, keep fruit, croutons, beans, tortilla strips, and won-ton strips out of the equation.

The chipotle chicken, egg, and avocado wrap is safe to enjoy as long as you order without the tortilla wrap. Roasted turkey and avocado BLT and the Heritage Ham and Swiss, both ordered without the bread, make excellent keto options for lunch.