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Is Tarragon Keto-Friendly?

Tarragon on a kitchen counter

The ketogenic, or keto, diet can be a tricky path to navigate, especially when it comes to understanding which foods fit within its strict guidelines.

One question that often arises is, "Is Tarragon Keto-Friendly?" The answer isn't as straightforward as one might hope.

While tarragon, a flavorful herb beloved by many, can be incorporated into a keto diet, it must be done so cautiously and under strict portion control due to its relatively high carbohydrate content.

This article delves deeper into the intricacies of including tarragon in a keto diet plan, offering insights and tips to help ensure your ketogenic journey remains on track.


  • Although flavorful, tarragon is only moderately keto-friendly due to its relatively high carb content. Portion control is crucial.
  • Overconsumption of tarragon can potentially disrupt ketosis and lead to symptoms similar to the 'keto flu'.
  • Balancing tarragon's carb content with other low-carb food items or opting for lower-carb herbs can help maintain your keto diet.

Is Tarragon Keto-Friendly?

Diving straight into the question at hand - 'Is Tarragon Keto-Friendly?' Well, yes, but there's a catch.

Tarragon, a herb loved by many for its unique flavor and aroma, can be included in a ketogenic diet, but it needs to be severely limited. When we examine the nutritional content of tarragon, we see that per 5g serving, it contains 2.14g net carbs. Now, this figure might not seem much, but when you're on a keto diet, every gram of carb counts.

The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet where the body is forced into a metabolic state known as ketosis. In this state, the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This is achieved by keeping daily carb intake extremely low, ideally between 20 to 50 grams. Given this, even the seemingly small amount of carbs in tarragon can add up if not carefully moderated.

Therefore, while tarragon isn't strictly 'keto-incompatible', it’s the quantity that matters. Overconsumption can potentially disrupt ketosis, which is why portion control is key when incorporating tarragon into your keto diet.

Can Tarragon be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

When we talk about a strict keto diet, things get a bit more complex. While tarragon can be incorporated into a ketogenic diet, it can present challenges for those adhering to a stricter version of this diet due to its carbohydrate content.

Given that a strict keto diet often limits carb intake to as low as 20 grams a day, tarragon's 2.14g net carbs per 5g serving can take up a significant chunk of the daily allowance. Therefore, including tarragon in your keto meal plan requires careful monitoring and stringent portion control to ensure that you do not exceed your daily carb intake.

Eating tarragon on a strict keto diet is like walking a tightrope, a delicate balance where every gram of carb counts. The key is to use it sparingly and balance it out with other low-carb food items to maintain the desired macro-nutrient ratio.

To successfully incorporate tarragon into a strict keto diet, keeping a close eye on carb intake is indispensable. Consider using a food diary or a carb tracking app to keep tabs on your carb consumption. This will not only help you monitor your daily intake but also provide a clear view of how much tarragon you can afford to include in your meals without breaking ketosis.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Tarragon

When it comes to tarragon, a seemingly innocent herb, its carbohydrate content does demand scrutiny. As we have mentioned earlier, a 5g serving of tarragon contains approximately 2.14g of net carbs. To put it into perspective, if you were to add a teaspoon of tarragon (roughly weighing 1g) to your dish, you'd be contributing about 0.43g of net carbs to your meal.

But, what exactly are "net carbs"? It's a term you often hear in low-carb and keto communities, and it's pretty significant. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates in a food minus its fibre content. Why subtract fibre? Because our bodies don't digest it, so it doesn't raise your blood sugar levels or interfere with ketosis.

So, the net carbs, not the total carbs, are what you need to count on a keto diet. For instance, if a particular serving of food has 10g of total carbs and 4g of fiber, your net carbs for that serving would be 6g.

When it comes to tarragon, understanding its net carb content is critical for anyone on a keto diet. If you were to sprinkle a tablespoon of tarragon (about 3g) over your salad, you're looking at around 1.3g of net carbs. Now, that might not seem much, but remember, on a strict keto diet aiming for just 20g of net carbs a day, every gram counts.

Nutritional Snapshot of Tarragon

Tarragon, a popular culinary herb, is packed with a wealth of nutrients. In 100g of this potent herb, there are 295.0kcal and a surprising 22.77g of protein, alongside 7.24g of total fats. It contains 42.82g of net carbs and 50.22g of carbohydrates by difference, balanced by 7.4g of dietary fiber.

Notably, tarragon is a rich source of minerals. It provides 3020.0mg of potassium, 1139.0mg of calcium, and 347.0mg of magnesium. It also contains smaller amounts of sodium, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.

The vitamin content of tarragon is also impressive. It contains vitamins A, B-6, and C, along with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. Vitamin A is crucial for eye health, while Vitamin B-6 plays a significant role in brain development and function. Additionally, the vitamin C content contributes to immune function and skin health.

The fatty acids in tarragon are mostly polyunsaturated, with smaller amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are beneficial for heart health when consumed in moderation.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 42.82g
Carbohydrate, by difference 50.22g
Fiber, total dietary 7.4g
Total fats 7.24g
Protein 22.77g
Sodium, Na 62.0mg
Potassium, K 3020.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 347.0mg
Calcium, Ca 1139.0mg
Vitamin A 210.0ug
Vitamin B-6 2.41mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 50.0mg
Copper, Cu 0.68mg
Iron, Fe 32.3mg
Phosphorus, P 313.0mg
Selenium, Se 4.4ug
Zinc, Zn 3.9mg
Manganese, Mn 7.97mg
Thiamin 0.25mg
Riboflavin 1.34mg
Niacin 8.95mg
Folate, total 274.0ug
Calories 295.0kcal
Water 7.74g
Fatty acids, total saturated 1.88g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.47g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 3.7g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Tarragon on a Keto Diet

Including tarragon in a ketogenic diet can have certain implications, particularly when it comes to maintaining ketosis. As discussed, the relatively high net carb content of tarragon can make it challenging for individuals to stay within their daily carb limit. Overconsumption of tarragon, even inadvertently, can potentially disrupt ketosis, pulling your body out of the fat-burning state that is central to the ketogenic diet.

Furthermore, while tarragon is a flavorful addition to meals, it doesn't offer the high fat content that is a hallmark of the keto diet. Therefore, incorporating too much tarragon at the expense of other high-fat, low-carb foods might skew the desired macronutrient balance.

However, this doesn't mean tarragon is without its benefits. Despite the carb content, tarragon has several health-promoting properties. It's rich in antioxidants, which can combat damage from harmful free radicals, and it also provides various essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium.

Importance of Limiting Tarragon in Your Keto Meal Plan

Incorporating tarragon into your keto meal plan can indeed enhance the flavor of your dishes, but the importance of limiting its use cannot be overstated. Here are some practical tips and methods to help you walk that tightrope:

  1. Portion Control: Use tarragon sparingly. A pinch here and there for flavor is enough. Remember, a teaspoon of tarragon adds 0.43g of net carbs to your meal.
  2. Balance it Out: Offset the carbs from tarragon with other low-carb foods. If you're using tarragon in a recipe, make sure other ingredients are low in carbs to maintain the macro balance.
  3. Experiment with Mixes: Consider combining tarragon with other herbs and spices to distribute its flavor without using too much. For example, a mix of tarragon, rosemary, and thyme can be a delightful addition to roast chicken or fish, providing flavor without a substantial carb increase.
  4. Track Your Intake: Keep a close eye on your carb consumption. Use a food diary or carb tracking app to ensure that tarragon's carb content doesn't push you over your daily limit.

Remember, the aim of a keto diet is to maintain ketosis, a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy. Overindulging in tarragon can disrupt this balance, leading to what is often referred to as the 'keto flu', a collection of symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and irritability that can occur as your body adjusts to burning fat instead of carbs.

While we are limiting the use of tarragon, we don't have to eliminate it entirely. Here's an example of a keto-friendly recipe that uses tarragon in moderation:

- Keto Tarragon Chicken: Pan-sear chicken breasts in a mix of olive oil and butter. Add a teaspoon of tarragon along with garlic, salt, and pepper. Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine vinegar (remember, moderate use), add heavy cream, and let it simmer to a thick consistency. Serve it over a bed of fresh, low-carb greens!

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Tarragon

If you're finding it challenging to keep tarragon in check on your keto diet, don't worry. There are several keto-friendly herbs and spices that can be used as alternatives.

  1. Rosemary: This aromatic herb, with its pine-like flavor, is a great substitute in many recipes that call for tarragon. A 1g serving of rosemary has just 0.2g of net carbs, making it a more keto-friendly option. It works wonderfully in dishes like roasted meats and vegetables.
  2. Thyme: Thyme, with its subtle earthy flavor, is another low-carb alternative. It has approximately 0.9g of net carbs per 1g serving. It's a versatile herb that can be used in everything from soups to stews to roasts.
  3. Basil: Fresh or dried, basil can be a good substitute for tarragon, especially in Italian dishes. With 0.64g of net carbs per 1g serving, it's a safer bet for your keto diet. It's great in salads, sauces, and even as a topping for keto-friendly pizza.
  4. Parsley: Parsley is a common herb with a mild flavor that won't overpower your dishes. It contains around 0.36g of net carbs per 1g serving, making it another keto-friendly alternative. It's excellent in soups, salads, and as a garnish.

Let's illustrate with a recipe example: for a keto-friendly herb-roasted chicken, you could use a blend of rosemary, thyme, and parsley instead of tarragon. Not only would you get a flavorful dish, but you'd also keep your carb count lower.

Concluding Thoughts on Tarragon and Keto

Navigating the world of keto can be a challenging endeavor, especially when it comes to incorporating your favorite herbs like tarragon. With its enticing flavor but relatively high net carb content, tarragon poses a unique challenge for those adhering to a strict ketogenic diet.

Tarragon's carbohydrate content can take up a significant portion of your daily allowance on a keto diet, necessitating careful monitoring and stringent portion control. Overindulging could potentially disrupt ketosis, leading to symptoms akin to the so-called 'keto flu'. Therefore, it is generally recommended to limit the use of tarragon in your keto meal plan.

The essence of managing tarragon use in a keto diet lies in its mindful incorporation. Using tarragon sparingly, balancing its carb content with other low-carb food items, and diligent carb tracking are all practical strategies for making tarragon work on a keto diet. Alternatively, opting for keto-friendly herb substitutes like rosemary, thyme, or basil can help maintain variety in your dishes while keeping your carb count in check.

Though we've covered much about minimizing tarragon intake, it's crucial to remember the broader perspective of a ketogenic diet. It's not just about maintaining ketosis, but also about supporting overall health and well-being. If you find tarragon difficult to limit, it may be worth exploring other dietary plans that can accommodate higher carb intake while still promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Lastly, here's a fresh idea - try infusing your oils with a sprig of tarragon. It's a great way to extract the herb's flavor without significantly upping your carb count. Just remember to remove the tarragon before consumption to avoid extra carbs!

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, but only in very moderate amounts. Tarragon has a relatively high net carb content, making it important to maintain tight portion control when incorporating it into a keto diet.

Ideally, no. Due to its carbohydrate content, daily consumption of tarragon could potentially disrupt ketosis. It’s better to use it sparingly and offset its carbs with other low-carb foods.

Herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and parsley are lower in carbs and can be used as substitutes for tarragon in many recipes.