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Is Okonomiyaki Keto-Friendly?

Journeying through the world of food and nutrition often brings us face to face with intriguing questions, like "Is Okonomiyaki Keto-Friendly?" As culinary enthusiasts and keen observers of dietary lifestyles, we've dived into this question, exploring the carbohydrate content of Okonomiyaki, its impact on a ketogenic diet, and possible alternatives that align better with the low-carb, high-fat requirements of the keto lifestyle.

This exploration has revealed that while Okonomiyaki, a delicious and traditional Japanese dish, provides nutritional benefits, its high carbohydrate content poses challenges for those following a strict ketogenic diet.

However, with some creativity and willingness to experiment, you can still enjoy the flavors reminiscent of Okonomiyaki in keto-compatible alternatives.


  • Okonomiyaki, a traditional Japanese dish, is not keto-friendly due to its high carbohydrate content.
  • While Okonomiyaki has nutritional benefits, including protein and essential vitamins, it can disrupt ketosis in a ketogenic diet.
  • There are numerous keto-compatible alternatives to Okonomiyaki, including using low-carb flours or vegetables for the base.

Is Okonomiyaki Keto-Friendly?

Diving straight into the heart of the matter, is Okonomiyaki keto-friendly? In short, no, it is not. As much as we’d love for this flavorful dish to fit into the ketogenic lifestyle, the nutritional facts tell a different story.

Okonomiyaki, often hailed as the Japanese savory pancake, is a fascinating fusion of a variety of ingredients. The batter usually consists of flour, which is high in carbohydrates, and it's mixed with shredded cabbage. Additional ingredients can include anything from pork, octopus, and shrimp to cheese and green onion, which are then beautifully topped with a unique Okonomiyaki sauce and a dollop of mayonnaise.

While these ingredients come together to create a gastronomic delight, the macro-nutrient composition of Okonomiyaki makes it incompatible with the keto diet. The main culprit here is the high carbohydrate content. With 44.68g of net carbs per 100g serving, Okonomiyaki is indeed a high-carb dish. Remember, the cornerstone of a ketogenic diet is low-carb and high-fat intake. The goal is to bring your body to a state of ketosis where it starts burning fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.

To put it into perspective, individuals following a ketogenic diet typically aim to consume around 20-50g of net carbs per day. Thus, a 100g serving of Okonomiyaki may already near or exceed this allowance, making it challenging to maintain a state of ketosis when consuming this dish.

Can Okonomiyaki be Incorporated into a Strict Keto Diet?

Let's delve deeper into the question: Can Okonomiyaki be incorporated into a strict keto diet? Given the nutritional facts we discussed, it would be challenging to fit Okonomiyaki into a strict keto diet without compromising the fundamental principles of this dietary lifestyle.

As we've established, a strict ketogenic diet encourages a daily net carb intake of around 20-50g. With Okonomiyaki containing 44.68g of net carbs per mere 100g serving, it's clear that this dish alone could consume most, if not all, of your daily carb allowance. What's more, considering that Okonomiyaki is typically enjoyed as part of a meal rather than being the entire meal itself, it becomes even more difficult to fit this dish into a strict keto plan without significantly exceeding your daily carb limit.

So, how can we navigate this? One of the most effective strategies is to become vigilant about tracking your daily carb intake. Many apps and online tools are available to help you log the foods you consume and provide a breakdown of their nutritional content. Such tools can be instrumental in helping you understand where your carbs are coming from and making necessary adjustments to maintain your state of ketosis.

In light of this, it becomes evident that regularly including Okonomiyaki in your meal plan would require careful maneuvering to avoid jeopardizing your state of ketosis. While it's theoretically possible to have Okonomiyaki and still stay within your carb limit, it could likely only occur on a day where all your other meals are virtually zero-carb, and only a small portion of Okonomiyaki is consumed. However, this is not a practical or sustainable approach for those adhering to a strict keto diet.

Delving into the Carbohydrate Content of Okonomiyaki

Understanding the carbohydrate content of the foods we consume is vital, especially when adhering to a ketogenic diet. So, let's delve into the carbohydrate content of Okonomiyaki.

First and foremost, it's crucial to understand what we mean by net carbs. The term 'net carbs' refers to the total carbohydrates in a food item minus the fiber content. Since our bodies can't digest fiber and it doesn't impact blood sugar levels, it's excluded when calculating net carbs. For individuals on a keto diet, it's the net carbs that matter most as they affect the body's ability to maintain a state of ketosis.

Now, focusing on Okonomiyaki, as we've already established, this Japanese savory pancake contains a significant amount of net carbs - 44.68g per 100g to be precise. To give you a real-world example, a standard serving of Okonomiyaki at a restaurant could easily weigh between 200-300g. This would equate to a whopping 89.36g to 134.04g of net carbs in a single serving!

Those numbers clearly illustrate why Okonomiyaki is a challenging dish to fit into a ketogenic diet. Even consuming a small portion of Okonomiyaki, say 50g, would still provide around 22.34g net carbs. This amount is already close to the lower limit of a typical daily net carb intake for individuals on a strict keto diet.

Nutritional Snapshot of Okonomiyaki

In each 100g serving of Okonomiyaki, a notable concentration of carbohydrates stands out: 44.68g of net carbs and 45.38g of carbohydrates by difference, making it a rich source of this macronutrient.

It also contains a significant amount of protein, 4.05g, and dietary fiber, 0.7g. Protein is essential for building and repairing body tissues, while dietary fiber aids in digestion. The fat content is relatively low with just 0.38g of total fats, including 0.1g of both saturated and polyunsaturated fats and 0.12g of monounsaturated fats.

On the micronutrient spectrum, Okonomiyaki presents a variety of vitamins and minerals. It contains 0.09mg of Vitamin B-6 and 0.06mg of Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), both of which play crucial roles in several bodily functions. Additionally, 0.1ug of Vitamin K1 is present, a nutrient known to aid in blood clotting and bone metabolism.

There's a range of essential minerals as well, such as 5.0mg of Sodium, 62.0mg of Potassium, and 15.0mg of Magnesium, which contribute to the body's electrolyte balance and nerve function. It also delivers 17.0mg of Calcium, essential for bone health, alongside trace elements like 0.12mg of Copper, 2.32mg of Iron, and 0.62mg of Zinc, vital for various metabolic processes.

Furthermore, Okonomiyaki provides B-vitamins Thiamin (0.26mg), Riboflavin (0.02mg), and Niacin (2.38mg), important for energy production and cellular functions. It also contains 92.0ug of total Folate and 89.0ug of Folic acid, crucial for DNA synthesis and repair, and 3.3mg of total Choline, important for brain development and function.

Lastly, each serving delivers 207.0kcal and 49.8g of water, adding to its unique nutritional composition.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 100g
Net Carbs 44.68g
Carbohydrate, by difference 45.38g
Fiber, total dietary 0.7g
Total fats 0.38g
Protein 4.05g
Sodium, Na 5.0mg
Potassium, K 62.0mg
Magnesium, Mg 15.0mg
Calcium, Ca 17.0mg
Vitamin B-6 0.09mg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 0.06mg
Vitamin K1 0.1ug
Copper, Cu 0.12mg
Iron, Fe 2.32mg
Phosphorus, P 62.0mg
Selenium, Se 8.6ug
Zinc, Zn 0.62mg
Thiamin 0.26mg
Riboflavin 0.02mg
Niacin 2.38mg
Folate, total 92.0ug
Choline, total 3.3mg
Folic acid 89.0ug
Calories 207.0kcal
Water 49.8g
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.1g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.12g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.1g
This data was provided by the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system.
'Okonomiyaki' was not found in FoodData Central, so nutritional data for 'Chinese pancake' was used instead under Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards.

Health Implications of Okonomiyaki on a Keto Diet

When we talk about the health implications of Okonomiyaki on a keto diet, it's important to understand the balance between enjoying diverse cuisines and maintaining a state of ketosis.

As we've discussed, the high net carb content in Okonomiyaki disrupts the very foundation of the ketogenic diet, which is to maintain a state of ketosis. In this state, the body burns fats instead of carbohydrates for energy. The introduction of a high-carb dish like Okonomiyaki can easily tip the balance, bringing the body out of ketosis. This disrupts the metabolic state that ketogenic dieters aim to achieve and maintain. Hence, frequent consumption of Okonomiyaki can pose challenges to staying in ketosis.

However, it's also worth noting that Okonomiyaki has its own nutritional benefits that contribute to overall health and wellness, even if it doesn't fit within the parameters of a ketogenic diet. This Japanese dish is a rich source of protein, particularly when it's prepared with various types of seafood or meat. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build and repair body tissues, among other functions. Furthermore, cabbage, a key ingredient in Okonomiyaki, is packed with vitamins and minerals.

The distinctive Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise also add to the dish's flavorful profile, but they often contain sugars and additives that may not align with a ketogenic diet's principles.

In this context, it's important to remember that every diet plan, including keto, should be about nourishing your body with the right foods that make you feel good and support your overall health goals. While the ketogenic diet has shown potential benefits, it's crucial to consider the broader perspective of nutritional balance and personal enjoyment in food.

Avoiding Okonomiyaki in Your Keto Meal Plan

Navigating a ketogenic diet in a world full of diverse and delicious foods can be a challenge, especially when it comes to avoiding dishes like Okonomiyaki that are high in carbohydrates. Here are some practical tips and methods to make this journey a little smoother.

Firstly, awareness is key. Knowing the nutritional content of your foods is fundamental to maintaining a ketogenic diet. Always check menus, food labels, and ingredient lists when possible. Particularly when dining out at a Japanese restaurant or at an international food festival, dishes like Okonomiyaki might be part of the offerings. Being aware of its high net carb content can help you make informed decisions about what to eat to stay within your dietary guidelines.

Secondly, meal planning and preparation can be your best friends on a keto diet. By planning your meals in advance, you can ensure that you're consuming foods that align with your ketogenic lifestyle and help you avoid carb-heavy dishes like Okonomiyaki.

Having said that, cravings can still hit from time to time. If you find yourself longing for a taste of Okonomiyaki, there are ways to manage these cravings. Replacing the high-carb ingredients with low-carb alternatives can sometimes do the trick. For instance, using a cauliflower base instead of the traditional wheat flour can bring down the net carb content significantly.

Lastly, remember that maintaining a balance is crucial. A ketogenic diet is centered around low-carb, high-fat foods, but it's just as important to ensure you're getting a variety of nutrients from different food sources. If you occasionally indulge in a sliver of Okonomiyaki, don't beat yourself up. Instead, focus on returning to your low-carb meal plan at the next opportunity.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Okonomiyaki

While the traditional Okonomiyaki dish might not fit into a ketogenic lifestyle, there are several keto-compatible alternatives that can help you enjoy a similar culinary experience while adhering to your dietary guidelines.

One popular substitute is a low-carb, keto-friendly pancake, which can be made using almond flour or coconut flour instead of the traditional wheat flour used in Okonomiyaki. These flour alternatives are much lower in carbs, making them a more fitting choice for a ketogenic diet.

Let's take almond flour, for instance. One hundred grams of almond flour contains only about 10g of net carbs, a stark contrast to the same quantity of wheat flour, which contains approximately 73g net carbs. You can use this flour to make a savory pancake, adding keto-friendly ingredients such as cheese, bacon, and leafy greens for added flavor and nutritional value.

Another creative approach is using thinly sliced and pan-fried zucchini or eggplant as a base for your keto-friendly "Okonomiyaki". You can top these with your favorite protein source and a spoonful of sugar-free mayonnaise to mimic the creamy, tangy component of the traditional Okonomiyaki dish.

Cauliflower is another versatile, low-carb vegetable that you can use as an Okonomiyaki alternative. A cauliflower-based pancake or "hash brown" can serve as an excellent base to load up with keto-friendly toppings. A 100g serving of cauliflower contains only about 5g of total carbohydrates, making it a vastly lower-carb option compared to the traditional Okonomiyaki.

Concluding Thoughts on Okonomiyaki and Keto

As we've journeyed through the world of Okonomiyaki and the ketogenic diet, it's clear that this traditional Japanese dish, while delicious and richly flavored, poses certain challenges for the keto lifestyle.

The high net carbohydrate content of Okonomiyaki makes it a dish that could potentially disrupt the carefully cultivated state of ketosis that ketogenic dieters aim to maintain. However, this does not detract from the nutritional value of Okonomiyaki. It is a source of protein, especially if prepared with seafood or meat, and the cabbage used is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Yet, the goal of a ketogenic diet is to drastically limit carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel. In this light, Okonomiyaki, with its considerable carbohydrate content, is a dish that those on a strict keto diet might have to avoid or consume sparingly.

This doesn't mean you must abandon the flavors and culinary experiences Okonomiyaki offers. As we've explored, there are numerous keto-friendly alternatives that you can experiment with, from using alternative flours like almond or coconut to swapping the traditional base with vegetables like zucchini or cauliflower.

Lastly, an unexplored aspect in our discussion is the role of social and cultural experiences in our food choices. Food is deeply tied to our cultural identities and personal memories. If Okonomiyaki is a dish that holds sentimental value or is part of your cultural heritage, navigating your relationship with it on a ketogenic diet may require striking a balance between maintaining dietary integrity and relishing your culinary heritage.

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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

Okonomiyaki is traditionally made with wheat flour, which is high in carbohydrates. Additionally, some of the common toppings, like Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise, can add to the carb count.

While small portions might have fewer carbs, they can still be enough to disrupt ketosis depending on the rest of your diet.