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How to Stay Keto at Pollo Tropical

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  Published on September 4th, 2023
  Reading time: 5 minutes
  Last modified September 5th, 2023
Pollo Tropical fast food

Fast food joints aren’t all burgers and fries. Pollo Tropical is a delightful exception when you want juicy grilled meats and tropically-seasoned platters, bowls, and salads. If you’re hankering after flavorful Caribbean-inspired food delivered quickly and conveniently, Pollo Tropical is the place to go. What if you’re following a ketogenic diet? Can you stay keto at Pollo Tropical? Let’s go through the best ways to keep it low-carb at this tropical favorite.

TropiChop Bowls at Pollo Tropical

Like Chipotle, you can build your own TropiChop bowl at Pollo Tropical and mix and match keto-friendly items like chicken and tomatoes. 


First, you pick the base for your bowl. Carb-heavy rice, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and beans are off the keto menu, but you can opt for the lettuce instead, with only 1 gram of net carbs. To give you an idea of what happens when you pick a carb-heavy option, the yellow rice with veggies clocks in at a surprisingly high 87 grams of net carbs for just one regular bowl. [1]


Meat and seafood are usually low-carb, but some restaurants and fast food joints add sugary sauces, breading, and other not-so-keto ingredients. Most of the meat and seafood at Pollo Tropical have a low carb count that works for keto dieters. 

Choose your TropiChop protein from the following low-carb options:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast – 5 grams of net carbs (regular size)
  • Mojo Roast Pork – 0 grams of net carbs (regular size)
  • Churrasco Steak with chimichurri – 2 grams of net carbs (regular size)

Avoid the breaded crispy chicken. [2]


Add your toppings from these keto-suited options:

  • Tomatoes – 1 gram of net carbs (regular size)
  • Sauteed Onions – 1 gram of net carbs (regular size)
  • Sauteed Peppers – 1 gram of net carbs (regular size)

Avocado, shredded cheese, and other toppings might be available at some locations.

Garnishes and Condiments

Some of the condiments and additions at Pollo Tropical obviously won’t work for keto (think mashed potatoes, rice, the pineapple rum sauce, and the guava BBQ sauce). Just one ounce of the sugary guava BBQ sauce has 15 grams of net carbs, which is way too high for keto dieters, and way too high for a sauce. Ketchup is also typically sweetened with sugar or corn syrup, making it a no-go on keto.

Pollo Tropical salsa is keto

Spruce up your keto TropiChop bowl with one of the following low-carb sauces, garnishes, or condiments:

  • Fresh salsa (1 oz) – 1 gram of net carbs
  • Chipotle mayo (1 oz) – 2 grams of net carbs
  • Garlic sauce (1 oz) – 2 grams of net carbs
  • Cilantro garlic sauce (1 oz) – 2 grams of net carbs
  • Curry mustard (1 oz) – 0 grams of net carbs
  • Chopped onion (1 oz) – 3 grams of net carbs
  • Sliced jalapeno (1 oz) – under 1 gram of net carbs
  • Spicy poyo poyo (1 oz) – 1 gram of net carbs
  • Caesar dressing (1.75 foz/salad) – 1 gram of net carbs

The curry mustard sauce is the low-carb winner here with zero carbs. Go ahead, have seconds!

Platters and Side Dishes

Luckily for the keto dieter, the a la carte and platter meats at Pollo Tropical have very low-carb counts. The grilled chicken is a little higher, and two grilled chicken breasts on a platter clock in at 10 grams of net carbs, making them a little too high for some keto dieters. A better choice would be the churrasco steak with chimichurri, which only has 3 grams of net carbs, or the quarter white or dark meat chicken with zero carbs.

You’re limited in your choices of side dishes due to the carb-heavy sides at Pollo, from beans to plantains. A regular side of Caesar salad is the only low-carb side, coming in at 4 grams of net carbs.

Soups and Salads at Pollo Tropical

You’re out of luck when it comes to soups because Pollo soups typically contain non-keto ingredients like corn and plantains. One bowl of Caribbean chicken soup has a surprising 38 grams of net carbs

On the other hand, the Caesar salad without the dressing or protein has 8 grams of carbs, which works for keto! Make sure you ditch the croutons. Adding your Caesar dressing only brings another 1 gram of net carbs. You can also pick a lower-carb protein for your salad. 

In certain seasons and locations, Pollo offers an avocado chicken salad that could work for keto dieters if you remove the fiesta bean mix, switch up the dressing, and go for the grilled chicken. The salad has chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh avocado slices, and your choice of dressing or sauce. The Chipotle ranch dressing has 5 grams of net carbs, so you’ll probably need to choose a different dressing or sauce instead, like the Chipotle mayo or the Caesar dressing. Add fresh salsa for an extra kick!

Sandwiches and Wraps

Of course, refined grains, breaded items, and sandwiches aren’t keto-approved. You may be able to ask for a sandwich without the bread, but it’s typically better to go for a TropiChop, a salad, or an a la carte meat platter instead with a side of Caesar salad. 

Pollo Tropical cup


When it comes to keto drinks, your only selections are Diet Coke, unsweet tea, mango tea, and water—the healthiest and most hydrating option. The refreshing mango tea only has 1 gram of net carbs.

Desserts at Pollo Tropical

Unfortunately, you’ve probably guessed that Pollo has no special low-carb desserts. All desserts, from the key lime pie to the guava cheese parfait and the chocolate chip cookie, are surprisingly high in carbs. One slice of the key lime pie provides a whopping 63 grams of net carbs, so you’ll want to stay away from the dessert selections.

Top Ways to Stay Keto at Pollo Tropical

Here are the top tips to stay keto at Pollo Tropical:

  • Avoid the sandwiches (you may be able to order one without bread, depending on the location)
  • Avoid the desserts (try something from our dessert recipe section here at Ketogenic.com instead!)
  • Ditch the dinner roll, tortillas, and carby sides, like mash, mac and cheese, and yucca bites.
  • The best drink options include unsweet tea, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, mango tea, and water.
  • Build your TropiChop bowl with keto ingredients.
  • The most keto-friendly protein choices are bone-in fire-grilled chicken, Mojo roast pork, and shrimp skewers when they’re seasonally available.

Do you visit Pollo Tropical? What’s your favorite dish? Connect with other keto dieters here at Ketogenic.com!

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.



Pollo Tropical. Pollo Tropical Nutritional Guide. Nutrition (pollotropical.com)


Pollo Tropical. Pollo Tropical Menu. Pollo Tropical Menu | Pollo Tropical

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