Challenge for all you savvy keto cooks: Replacement for sweet kernels of corn in recipes


So I have a few beloved recipes from my prior, non-keto life that have corn in them and I’d like to ketofy them, like my chicken tortilla soup, and some salsa dips and my Mexican spoon bread, etc.

The corn in these recipes is unique because it creates that firm little burst of sweetness among all the other spiciness and/or textures. It’s rather enjoyable.

So far the only thing I can come up with is dicing a yellow or orange sweet bell pepper into kernel sized dices and adding them the last couple minutes so that they remain undercooked, can’t alter the flavor of the dish with excess cooking, and still provide a snappy sweet burst of flavor. Maybe.

But I’m not as versed in all the different kinds of strange veggies and fruits to know if something else is sweeter and could get closer to matching that unique flavor and texture of sweet corn.

Any better ideas than what I’ve come up with?

(Stickin' with mammoth) #2

Sounds like you’ve got some good ideas.

Better still, though, would be to transition away from sweet flavors entirely and get it out of your system. If you can go without for a month, you’ll never crave it again. Seriously, things that once seemed bland will burst with all sorts of new flavors and you’ll be able to taste the sweetness in meat and eggs. Cheese will be sweet enough to pass for dessert.


Oh I no longer crave sweets like sugar or its cohorts at all. As a matter of fact after 10 weeks on keto the slightest amount of sugar or sugar related products come off as way too strong and sweet for me and make me gag. And you are correct, the flavors of all foods definitely come through more now and I’m loving cooking.

But we all have different flavors we enjoy more than others. Some can’t make it 5 minutes without squirting hot sauce in their mouths and pouring it on everything, and making all their dishes spicy hot. Others prefer different herbs and spices like oregano, rosemary, or garlic taking center stage rather than heat. And then you have my Danish relatives who like sweetness in foods, and not just sugary sweetness but as you say, naturally sweet.

The sweet tooth I have is not what you are thinking at all. It’s not the same. And I’m not looking for a dish to be dominated by the sweet flavors. But when you have say just 2-4 Tablespoons of sweet corn thrown into a recipe, it adds these sweet little surprises here and there with a bite. Not sickly sugary, corn syrup sweetness either.

I just prefer a sweet overtone to some of my dishes the way some people prefer jalapeños in theirs. And I don’t crave it at all either.

And…the recipes I’m trying to ketofy just wouldn’t be the same without something to mimic the corn kernels a little bit. There aren’t many of them in any of the recipes but enough to make it special.


Nobody here will agree with this, but if the recipe only has it in as an ingredient, and it’s not the base of the recipe, I’d leave it in. I’ve never been a corn person, I think corn on the cob used to be good to get salt and butter in, but corn itself never had any flavor to me. That said, you’re literally crapping the stuff back out whole. It might as well be fiber. Even by the nutritional info it’s only a medium GI and medium GL food, so lets pretend you actually broke it down and fully absorbed it… still isn’t a slice of apple pie! Given that it’s just going out the other end anyways… I’d leave it. especially in the case of something like a salsa where it’s a minimal ingredient vs the others.

My $0.02

(Robin) #5

I agree with @lfod14. Not knowing how much of the corn you put in…. It may be fine. You could also try using less of it.
Your idea of bell pepper bits sounds good too.

Sometimes at a restaurant. I will be surprised by a sauce on my meat. I can just scrape most off or leave some on (if it’s incredibly yummy), knowing that one meal with sauce is not going to derail the train.


a cup of corn is roughly like 30g give or take

put in 1/2 of that, 1/2 cup and you are at around 15g

your recipe makes 1 or 2? servings…eat it all you got like 15g in it, eat 1/2 you got like 8 g in it etc.

so yea, if you truly ‘control’ it and it is not a factor to make ya walk back into carbland or trigger you want more…I say keep it if you truly want it.

there are subs, but are subs ever the real deal? nope!

key being, you do ok, then do you. Not good at any time the corn has to go.

(Jane) #7

For your Mexican sppon bread you might try this:

I use it to make cornbread out of almond flour and the taste and texture is the best substitute bread I’ve ever made.

eta: it won’t give you the crunch and texture of corn, if that is your goal.


Thank you. This is real? Lol. Someone else recommended it and literally I thought they were being funny. I’ll just have to have my husband keep it behind a locked cabinet until I need to use it, otherwise I may just dump it into my mouth :rofl:

This definitely will help with the spoon bread because I knew there had to be a way to get close to a cornbread texture since almond flour makes everything gritty, like cornbread. Lol Even the finely ground unblanched kind. So the extract will be perfect for me to try that. Thank you!

(Jane) #9

This is the recipe I use. I use almond flour, don’t add the sweetener and add 1/2 tsp of the corn extract.


You know, you guys are right!! Im getting all giddy here. I use less than 1/4 C in my salsa (full batch uses 3T?) and only 1/2 C in my soup, and ya there are at least 4-6 servings in both based on the serving sizes that I used to eat, probably double that many servings based on the new serving sizes that fill me up now. :joy: But even at 6 servings my soup then is only 3.2 net carbs per serving because of it. And, I know it would taste just as good with only 1/4 C added.

I guess I just somehow thought if I ate even one bite of a bad-for-you carb that it would somehow unravel everything I’ve done. Not because of triggering cravings or anything like that. I’ve a steely will power. But I thought it would create a reaction in my body, (like significantly spike my blood sugar,) and that would negate a whole week or month or more of keto, like throw me out of ketosis and make me have to start all over from square one again. So I haven’t touched a speck of off-limit foods since March 6th. I guess I’m still so new to keto that i haven’t acquired enough experience yet to know which starchy foods and at what amounts will spike my blood sugar excessively.

Thanks for all your thoughts!

(Rebecca ) #11

I am one that agrees with you!!


Thank you for you’re very, very valuable $0.02! Lol

Too funny. You’re so right! It comes right out with barely any being digested, like our gut and intestines can’t get rid of it fast enough. Lol I’m wondering if they get the net impact to our body by studying the effects of a completely puréed or liquified version. :rofl:

I’m almost feeling silly over all my efforts to find a substitute. But I so appreciate all these perspectives and feedback.

(KCKO, KCFO) #13

Canned baby corn. I mix it with butter and cream as a sub for creamed corn, which was a summertime favorite at our house.

As you get further along things are going to taste really sweet, so you might not even want that in the recipe.


it boils down to who is you and like ya said, what is that ‘real serving’ vs that amt of corn ya put in there for a few tablespoons ya get a ‘corn crunch sweeteness’ you love and IF YOU DO fine then ya DO fine so…this is all you at this point.

make it, eat it, enjoy it AND THEN ACCESS how you do…again it is all about you and a few corn nibbles ain’t gonna make or break your new healthy way forward.

Sometimes we ‘go in so tight and controlled’ and ‘what ifs’ that we lose sight of the real picture as ‘it MUST work for us and how we feel’ doing just that.

keep you in all this at all times :slight_smile:

(Jane) #15

Same thought process when I make gravy out of the juices from a pot roast - I just use flour. My husband likes really thin gravy so it doesn’t take a lot of flour and by the time I calculated the carbs it was like 2 or 3. The onions I cook with the roast and end up in the gravy probably have more carbs.


yea it works for you at all times and results are great for your lifestyle change and you are doing well from this plan doing ‘you guys’ and it suits ya’ll great that teaspoon or so of flour means nothing…then more power to you.


I can relate. I used to make yummy blended corn smoothies because they would give me a boost of energy from the Vitamin B3 (NAD+).

(Bob M) #18

For “normal” gravies for my wife and I, I use butter and make it thin. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., I use roux (flour and butter). While I could use another thickener, since I only do this a few times a year, roux is more foolproof. I just have to remember how to make roux. :wink:

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #19

Same here, except we use cornstarch for the roux, since it has more thickening power, thus requiring less. I figure that the amount in one serving of gravy isn’t worth worrying about, unless I’m planning drinking all the gravy, lol!


Now y’all have calmed my nerves over gravy too! C’mere….group hug!!!

I literally filled my pantry with every known keto thickening agent known to mankind to be prepared for that one single day I would want gravy. Of course when that day came I sat staring at a gelatinous pile of goo with my gorgeous roast because I didn’t understand how to use xantham gum and didn’t realize it wasn’t a 1 for 1 swap with flour. So that spurred me to purchase psyllium husk, glucomannan, beef gelatin, and guar gum all on that very night just ten minutes after eating the first plop on my fake potatoes, which were too runny thanks to my noobness.

Keto food manufacturers have never been more delighted than when my stupid a** pulled up to the party. Easy money in their pockets with me.