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Are Cupcakes and Muffins Keto?

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  Published on January 2nd, 2023
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified December 14th, 2022
Cupcakes and muffins are not typically keto friendly

We all know it’s about the little things in life, and sometimes you just want a sweet fluffy cupcake or muffin as the perfect complement to your tea or coffee. Going keto means ditching sugar, but it doesn’t have to mean ditching your favorite baked goods. When those all-consuming cravings crop up, you may wonder if muffins and cupcakes are keto. Let’s discuss a ketogenic diet and how these delectable sweet treats can fit into it.

Are Traditional Cupcakes and Muffins Keto?

If you’re looking to stay in ketosis–which is the only way to reap the benefits of the keto diet–traditional cupcakes and muffins made of wheat flour or refined grain flour typically aren’t keto-friendly. Along with the carbs from grains, they also contain added sugars that will spike your blood sugar and hinder ketosis.

Traditional muffins and cupcakes are usually made from refined grains along with added sugars like white and brown sugar and honey, which are simple carbohydrates. White flour and refined grains are largely devoid of nutrients and contain mostly sugar and very little fiber, leading to a quick, high blood sugar spike that will take you out of the metabolic state of ketosis. In other words, these simple carbs are almost immediately absorbed into your bloodstream.

Keto dieters usually drop their carb intake to around 20-50 grams or less of net carbs daily, depending on the individual, their goals, and the type of ketogenic diet. People using keto therapeutically may reduce their daily carb count even more.

To give you an example of the high amount of carbs in the average muffin or cupcake, one chocolate cream cheese muffin from Starbucks provides a surprising 52 grams of net carbs, which is more than the entire daily carb allowance for keto dieters. [1]

One blueberry muffin from Starbucks has 48 grams of carbohydrates. Even if you were to only consume half a muffin, this is still too much for one sitting and will likely quickly spike your blood sugar, leaving ketosis behind. [2]

As another example, a 100-gram serving of carrot muffin from the Walmart bakery provides around 41 grams of net carbs. [3]

If you see ingredients in your cupcakes or muffins like wheat flour, rolled oats, dextrose, sugar, and corn syrup, you know they shouldn’t be on your keto plate. Instead, look for ingredients like zucchini, allulose, sunflower seed or almond flour, and monk fruit.

Test Your Ketones to Be Certain

If you’re ever unsure if a food product or sweet treat will kick you out of ketosis, you can test your ketone and/or blood sugar levels. Some people are more sensitive to certain types of carbs than others. 

Most high-carb desserts will negatively affect ketone and blood sugar levels. Moreoever, many traditional cupcakes and muffins have highly processed, artificial, and chemical ingredients that may not be the healthiest choice. 

Ketone test strips

However, some people whose bodies are well-adapted may be able to eat small amounts of low-sugar or unsweetened traditional baked goods while remaining in ketosis.

Keto-Friendly Muffins and Cupcakes

More food products and recipes are now available using keto-compliant grain alternatives, like coconut flour and almond flour. Many of these low-carb alternatives are higher in healthy fats as well, using ingredients like butter, almond milk, almond butter, and eggs.

With the rapidly growing concerns of allergies, obesity, and diabetes, almond flour and other alternative baked desserts are making their way to grocery stores, pantry shelves, and restaurant menus.

Check out our detailed articles for more info on keto flour and keto sweeteners.

Whether storebought or homemade, keto cupcakes and muffins usually use keto-compliant sweeteners like the following:

These keto sweeteners deliver sweetness without heavily impacting your blood sugar and potentially becoming an obstacle to your progress. When you’ve put so much effort into following a ketogenic diet, and you’re heading toward your goal, is it worth possibly hindering your success with a single muffin?

You don’t have to miss out. You’d be surprised by how delicious low-carb muffin and cupcake recipes can be, even without all that sugar and processed grain flour. The carb count of keto muffins can be as low as 3-5 grams per muffin. 

Whether you’re a chocolate or lemon lover or a fan of vanilla or berries, you can find an array of craving-crushing muffin and cupcake recipes here at Ketogenic.com:

Do you eat keto muffins and cupcakes? Delight other keto dieters with your favorite keto muffin and cupcake recipes.

Steph Green is a content writer specializing in and passionate about healthcare, wellness, and nutrition. Steph has worked with marketing agencies, written medical books for doctors like ‘Untangling the Web of Dysfunction,’ and her poetry book ‘Words that Might Mean Something.’ In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.



Self Nutrition Data. Starbucks Specialty. Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffin Nutrition Facts & Calories. Starbucks specialty: Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffin Nutrition Facts & Calories (self.com)


Self Nutrition Data. Starbucks Specialty. Blueberry Muffin. Nutrition Facts & Calories. Starbucks specialty: Blueberry Muffin Nutrition Facts & Calories (self.com)


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Database. Carrot Muffins Walmart Stores Bakery. FoodData Central (usda.gov)

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