Whether you’re new to keto and looking for a good place to start or have been following the diet for a while and are searching for new recipes, there are some really great cookbooks out there. Sifting through them to find the best one to fit your specific needs, however, can take forever—that’s why we did the research and compared them for you.
The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook: Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes for Busy People on the Keto Diet
Easy meal options
Several recipes require more than five ingredients
Whether you’re new to keto or a seasoned pro, "The Easy 5-Ingredient Ketogenic Diet Cookbook" by Jen Fisch has something for you. The cookbook opens with a brief overview of the keto diet and how it works, then moves on to the kitchen equipment and pantry essentials you need to successfully pull off the recipes in the book.
These basic guidelines are followed by 125 five-ingredient recipes that are easy to pull together in 30 minutes or less. If you’re a no-frills, hurry-up-and-get-this-meal-on-the-table kind of person, or you just like simple meals that taste great (who doesn’t?), this cookbook is for you.
Price at time of publish: $15
Number of Recipes: 125 | Pages: 210 | Date Published: 2018
Best for Beginners
The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle
Includes keto info, recipes, meal plans, tips, and shopping lists
Variety of recipes
Simple to follow directions
Some wish for more recipes photos
Fewer recipes than other cookbooks
Beginners always need a good place to start, and “The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners” lives up to its title. This cookbook is filled with a number of helpful features and resources. It includes meal plans, shopping lists, tips and tricks, nutritional info charts, a breakdown of what keto means, and, of course, delicious recipes. There’s even advice on how to choose keto meals at restaurants.
Each recipe is easy to follow, simple, and designed to make in 30 minutes or less. A few highlights include bacon-artichoke omelets, roasted pork loin with grainy mustard sauce, lemon-cashew smoothie, and cauliflower-cheddar soup. Though there are only 75 recipes total, it may work well for beginners without overwhelming them.
Price at time of publish: $12 for paperback
Number of Recipes: 75 | Pages: 158 | Date Published: 2016
Best Easy to Follow
Photos of all recipe
Includes fitness tips
Info repetitive if familiar with keto
If you’re new to the keto diet, "Simply Keto" by Suzanne Ryan walks you through the science, provides general food guidance and grocery shopping tips, and then jumps into more than 100 keto-friendly recipes for every meal (and snack) of the day.
Ryan also provides tips for taking your keto diet on the go, including the best choices to make when you’re out at a restaurant, how to navigate a coffee shop menu, and what to grab when you’re out and about and only have access to a convenience store.
Price at time of publish: $35
Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 336 | Date Published: 2017
Best for Instant Pot
The Family-Friendly Keto Instant Pot Cookbook: Delicious, Low-Carb Meals You Can Have On the Table Quickly & Easily
Additional keto resources in appendix
Useful replacement chart
Not many photos
Pressure cookers like the Instant Pot can be a little intimidating at first, but once you learn how to use them properly, they’ll likely become one of your favorite kitchen tools. In her cookbook, "The Family-Friendly Keto Instant Pot Cookbook," Anna Hunley walks you through the functions of your Instant Pot and the Instant Pot accessories she recommends to make keto cooking easier.
The 100+ family-friendly recipes are quick and effortless, so you’ll be able to pull them off no matter which Instant Pot model you have.
Price at time of publish: $27
Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 200 | Date Published: 2019
Ketotarian: The (Mostly) Plant-Based Plan to Burn Fat, Boost Your Energy, Crush Your Cravings, and Calm Inflammation
Explains common keto jargon
Contains ideas for pescatarians
Lengthy intro section
The word “keto” often makes visions of bacon and steak dance around in peoples’ heads, but in his cookbook "Ketotarian," Dr. Will Cole shows you how to successfully pull off a plant-based version of the diet. The cookbook opens with the main principles and benefits of keto and then jumps into the advantages of designing your diet plan around plants.
While most of the recipes are suitable for a vegan keto diet, some also include eggs and ghee. Others give the option to include wild-caught fish and shellfish for any pescatarian keto dieters out there. Even if you’re not vegetarian, the recipes in this cookbook are a good way to optimize your vitamin and mineral intake while staying within your goals.
Price at time of publish: $21
Number of Recipes: 75+ | Pages: 304 | Date Published: 2018
Best for Meal Planning
Keto Meal Prep: Lose Weight, Save Time, and Feel Your Best on the Ketogenic Diet
Multiple meal plan options outlined
Less content than other cookbooks
"Keto Meal Prep" by Liz Williams shows you how to make your keto lifestyle easier by combining eight weeks of menu plans and corresponding recipes with meal prep tips and storage advice to keep your food fresh. The book is split into three major meal plan types—beginner, performance, and maintenance—so whether you’re brand new to meal prepping or just looking to add variety to an already well-established routine, you’ll find something here. The book also includes meal plans specifically designed for those who live an active lifestyle and want a little more protein.
Price at time of publish: $17
Number of Recipes: 40+ | Pages: 164 | Date Published: 2018
Best for Desserts
The Ultimate Guide To Keto Baking
Gorgeous images throughout
Has savory baked goods, too
Small type font
"The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking" by Carolyn Ketchum is the comprehensive kitchen guide you need. Ketchum begins the book by explaining the different nuances of baking and why it’s important to follow baking directions closely. She then jumps into general guidance on how to choose the best bakeware, troubleshoot problems, and measure ingredients accurately. The initial keto baking education is followed by more than 150 sweet and savory baked recipes that include step-by-step instructions for everything from desserts and breads to rolls and crackers.
Price at time of publish: $35
Number of Recipes: 150+ | Pages: 432 | Date Published: 2019
Best for Fat Bombs
Sweet and Savory Fat Bombs: 100 Delicious Treats for Fat Fasts, Ketogenic, Paleo, and Low-Carb Diets
Instructions easy to follow
Paleo options included
Formatting and content different in e-book version
In her cookbook, "Sweet and Savory Fat Bombs," Martina Slajerova put together 100 fat bomb recipes that include basics, such as salted caramel chocolate cups, to more outside-of-the-box options. including bacon, artichoke, and onion fat bombs.
The recipes are divided into four chapters—sweet, frozen, liquid, and savory—so you’ll find something to satisfy you, no matter what you’re craving. Although the cookbook was developed with the keto diet in mind, the recipes are also suitable for low-carb and paleo diets.
Price at time of publish: $22
Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 192 | Date Published: 2016
Best for Dirty Keto
The DIRTY, LAZY, KETO Cookbook: Bend the Rules to Lose the Weight!
Some vegetarian-friendly recipes
Contains some political references
If you’re someone who likes to bend the rules a little bit, Stephanie and William Laska wrote "The Dirty, Lazy, Keto Cookbook" for you. As someone who lost 140 pounds on a dirty keto diet plan, Stephanie Laska’s goal was to offer a funny, judgment-free cookbook that’s relatable no matter where you are on your journey.
It includes more than 100 recipes, all under 10 grams of net carbs per serving but have ingredient lists that are a little more lenient than stricter keto plans. The recipes are designed with sustainability—not perfection—in mind. They include easily recognizable and budget-friendly ingredients that you can find at most discount grocery stores.
Price at time of publish: $20
Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 224 | Date Published: 2020
Southern Keto: 100+ Traditional Food Favorites for a Low-Carb Lifestyle
Doesn’t sacrifice flavor in recipes
Includes grocery lists and menu ideas
A bit simple for longtime keto fans
The worst part about a diet is giving up your favorite comfort foods—but you don’t have to. “Southern Keto” is all about adapting tasty traditional Americana food for the keto diet. The book includes classics, such as barbecue chicken drumsticks, pumpkin pie, cheeseburger soup, blueberry muffins, and deviled eggs.
This book contains helpful information about the keto diet, shopping list ideas, and even a handy chart that indicates which recipes are free from common allergens, including dairy and nuts. The author, Natasha Newton, also shares her personal history with keto, detailing her struggles with childhood obesity and flip-flopping between unsuccessful diets.
Price at time of publish: $16 for paperback
Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 304 | Date Published: 2018
Best for Bread
Keto Bread: From Bagels and Buns to Crusts and Muffins, 100 Low-Carb, Keto-Friendly Breads for Every Meal
Ranges from meals, to sides, to desserts
Easy to follow directions
Includes calorie count and nutritional information
Coauthored by a registered dietitian nutritionist
Bread is a staple of many diets–not to mention a favorite comfort food with countless varieties available. This cookbook, coauthored by Faith Gorsky and Lara Clevenger, is all about making low-carb bread, so it fits the keto diet. And we’re not just talking sliced sandwich bread, here: Recipes range from bagels to pizza doughs to pastries to waffles and beyond.
The steps to each recipe are incredibly easy to follow, thanks to the numbered directions, spacing, and ingredients listed in a column. What makes this cookbook a gem for bread-loving keto dieters is the inclusion of nutritional information: the calories, fat, protein, sodium, fiber, carbs, and sugar.
Price at time of publish: $17
Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 176 | Date Published: 2019
The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes
Organized by meal type and ingredients
Includes recipes for condiments
Has nutrition information
Many recipes are repeats from author’s blog
Some diets can feel incredibly restrictive, but keto can cover a wide range of foods and flavors. “The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook” has 100 recipes that include cranberry-orange scones, hearty beef chili, cauliflower fried rice, bacon cheddar-dipped mushrooms, maple pecan-crusted salmon, Italian garlic breadsticks, lemon poppyseed cookies, and condiments such as sugar-free honey mustard.
Written by blogger Maya Krampf, many of the recipes included in the cookbook are also featured on her popular keto website Wholesome Yum. Each recipe has 10 ingredients or less, making them simple and achievable for both new keto and experienced eaters. The organized and well-rounded cookbook is filled to the brim with stunning photography, too.
Price at time of publish: $27 for hard cover
Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2019
What to Look for in a Keto Cookbook
Ease of Directions and Ingredients
Easy-to-follow instructions and steps are essential for any cookbook. If there are a lot of ingredients needed to make every recipe, or ones that aren't easy to find at your local grocery store, that can get frustrating, especially for people who are short on time.
A cookbook that provides those extra niceties are great. For example: how to get started and the background of the keto diet, shopping lists and meal plans to help you schedule for the week, and tips on how to prepare or tweak the recipes.
Photos can pull you in and entice you to cook a recipe. When you're searching through for something to cook, it's nice to see an image of what the finished dish should look like or ones that walks you step-by-step, not only verbally but visually, so you can compare how yours turns out against the chef who prepared the recipe for the cookbook.
Not all cookbooks include nutritional information for their recipes. However, when you’re looking for diet cookbooks, nutritional information can really help. Knowing how many calories are in a serving, or which recipes contain more sugars than others, can make managing your diet that much easier.
Look for cookbooks that have nutritional info for every recipe. It should include calorie count, fat, protein, sodium, fiber, carbs, and sugar per serving.
How many recipes are in a cookbook?
Cookbooks are incredibly diverse. There are cookbooks that feature over a thousand recipes and cookbooks that feature fewer than 50. If you do a quick internet search, you'll find answers ranging wildly from 150 to 400 recipes. If you're looking to really expand your keto recipe horizons, it may be worth it to look for cookbooks that include 300 recipes or more. However, if you want in-depth recipes with a lot of attention to detail including photos, sometimes smaller cookbooks will serve you better.
Are cookbooks broken out in sections?
Many cookbooks are geared to cover many kinds of dishes and divided into sections for ease of use. They can include sections such as appetizers, soups, salads, sides, main dishes, snacks, and desserts. Some cookbooks include areas for vegetarians or vegans, one-pot meals, and more.
Cookbooks vs. online recipe access?
The web has offered us easy access to a multitude of information all over the world. A benefit of a cookbook is that you can physically touch and flip the pages to find the recipe you want. You can also write your tweaks down on those favorite recipes and pass them down to your children for their use. Plus, not all recipes are online.
What is the keto diet?
If you’re new to the keto lifestyle, you may wonder exactly what the diet entails. “The keto diet is a high fat, very low carb diet,” says Sharon Lehman, RDN. “Protein is included in moderate amounts on the keto diet. Carbohydrates, which are the primary fuel source for our bodies, are replaced with fat. Carbs are restricted to a very low level—usually 50 grams or less, but it depends on the person. Eating high amounts of fat puts the body into a state called ketosis, which means your body is using fats instead of glucose for energy.”
Can you have a cheat day on the keto diet?
Since many diets restrict certain types of food, people often have a “cheat day” every once in a while to indulge in meals or desserts that don’t necessarily fit into the diet they’re on. This begs the question: Is it OK to have a cheat day for the keto diet?
Lehman says a cheat day may reset your goals. “If you eat more carbs on a cheat day, your body will get ‘kicked out’ of ketosis and revert back to using glucose instead of fats for energy. Getting back into ketosis can take several days, which may pause weight loss or any other benefits you experience with the keto diet.”
How long should you stay on the keto diet?
Nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits-all science. What works for you may not work best for someone else, and vice versa. So how do you decide if the keto diet is right for you? And if it works, how long do you stay on it? Lehman has some helpful advice.
“Many find the keto diet is not sustainable long-term. There are many nutritious carbohydrate foods, like fruit, whole grains, and legumes, that provide good-for-your gut fiber and offer health benefits you miss out on by sticking to keto for too long. Three to six months is enough time to see if the keto diet works for you. After that, it’s a good idea to try reintroducing healthy sources of carbs along with healthy fats and lean proteins.”
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist and keto diet expert who has written several keto cookbooks, including "Keto Snacks," "The Keto for Two Cookbook," and "200 Under 20g Net Carbs" of her own. She’s experienced the power of fat-adaptation firsthand and knows how important it is to have a collection of easily-accessible, delicious recipes to help you stay on track.
Rachel Werner is a culinary writer who has been reviewing food-related businesses and books for almost a decade. Her food photography and recipes are also featured in content she creates for a variety of regional and national publications such as TOPS News, The Gourmet Insider and Fabulous Wisconsin. See examples of Rachel’s work behind the camera capturing shots of plant-based eats on Instagram @trulyplanted.
Allison Wignall, who updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and kitchen products. Her father has followed the keto diet, and she’s enjoyed many tasty keto-friendly meals as a result. Her work has been featured in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Sharon Lehman, RDN, is a registered dietician nutritionist, certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and freelance writer specializing in food, health, and wellness topics.