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Chicken Express KETO Friendly Options for Low-Carb Diet [2023]


written by

Husein Gradasevic

chicken express keto friendly options

Chicken Express is a fast-food chicken delivery business that started back in 1988 in Texas.

Now, it has scaled to several dine-in restaurants known for its fresh, hot, and juicy chicken items! It is a go-to place when you quickly want to grab something to munch on.

But is there anything keto-friendly at Chicken Express?

For a quick brunch, you can order two pieces of chicken wings with chipotle ranch and seasoned Italian green beans on the side. They account for 25g of fat, 11g of net carbs, and 12g of protein in total. This makes them the lowest carb option available in the combo meals section of its menu.

It is hard to spot a low-carb dish on the menu of a fast-food restaurant like Chicken Express. So, here I’ve shared some tips on how to order keto-friendly food and make sure you stay into ketosis (to keep burning fat!)

Let’s get started!

chicken express keto friendly options

How to Survive Keto at Chicken Express

The specialty of Chicken Express is its fresh chicken products, marinated in their secret batter mix and cooked perfectly until golden brown.

Even though the restaurant is named after chicken, it also offers some other American favorites that are too hard to resist! Think about the fried fish fillets or those savory hushpuppies.

The best thing about Chicken Express is that they use fresh chicken instead of the frozen ones that you find at most cheap places. As a result, your chicken is completely free of carbs and also rich in B vitamins.

Fishes are also low in carbs and a good source of B vitamins along with selenium, magnesium, and omega 3 fatty acid. All of these are great choices for you on the keto diet.

From the combo meal section on their menu, you can choose the quantity and the type of chicken pieces you want. They come with a regular side order of choice like green beans, fried pickle slices, etc. Along with a drink of up to 32oz to 44oz.

One can also order a huge quantity of chicken pieces as they desire from the family meals section. But you must resist the temptations for those crispy biscuits or the rolls!

And even though chicken is a carb-free meat product, you can’t have anything and everything in this restaurant.

The main problem is that their method of preparation is unideal for someone following a ketogenic diet. First, the chicken pieces are coated with batter and bread which increases its carb count. Secondly, the chicken pieces are deep-fried in vegetable oil, which is the biggest drawback of any fast-food item. This way, they absorb too much oil which increases their caloric and saturated fat content.

And almost all of the meals on their menu have low to no dietary fiber. Dietary fibers help with the easier digestion of food, while the lack of it can cause stomach issues.

That’s why you should moderate your consumption even if it’s “just chicken!”.

But due to the time constraints, we are left with no other choice than to eat out. In this case, you should have some practices in place that will support your hard-earned state of ketosis. So here you go:

Keto Tips for Chicken Express

  • Practice portion control. Either order less high carb food or distribute them among different meals of the day. In this way, you will prevent overeating and consume less amount of carbs throughout the day.
  • Hold the biscuits, rolls, and gravy. These options come along with the express tenders as a combo. Consuming them along with the tenders can hike the carb count.
  • Order only from the chicken section of the menu. It has the least amount of carbs among all options. Though, even consuming more of those can hike the carb count.
  • Ask them to not bread or marinate the chicken in batter before frying (they probably won’t agree, but it’s worth a try!). This will reduce the carb count dramatically.
  • Their desserts, drinks & tea, and side add-on section of the menu are also dominated by high-carb dishes. It is good if you avoid them or don’t eat any carbs throughout the day after that.
  • Check out the nutritional info section of their online menu. There you will find a chart mentioning the nutritional facts and potential food allergens inside each dish. If you have any allergies, reading through the chart will help you avoid dishes with allergenic ingredients.
  • Fill up your plate with more greens and load your glass with water. This will help you feel fuller without any added carbs.

Now without any further ado, let’s take you through all the keto-friendly options available at Chicken Express!

ALSO READ: Keto-Friendly Options at Flower Child

Keto and Low-Carb Options at Chicken Express

Note: All the nutritional facts are as per the data given on their official website. Expect slight variations across the branches because preparation methods might differ.

#1. Fried Chicken Wing

  • Calories: 165kcal
  • Total Fats: 10g
  • Net Carbs: 5g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 61mg
  • Sodium: 573mg

#2. Fried Chicken Thigh

  • Calories: 435kcal
  • Total Fats: 33g
  • Net Carbs: 12g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 150mg
  • Sodium: 1035mg

#3. Fried Chicken Tender

  • Calories: 140kcal
  • Total Fats: 7.5g
  • Net Carbs: 7.5g
  • Protein: 10.5g
  • Cholesterol: 30mg
  • Sodium: 400mg

#4. Fried chicken leg

  • Calories: 198kcal
  • Total Fats: 12g
  • Net carbs: 7.2g
  • Protein: 18g
  • Cholesterol: 99mg
  • Sodium: 684mg

ALSO READ: Keto Guide for California Chicken Cafe

#5. Fried chicken liver

  • Calories: 112kcal
  • Total fats: 7g
  • Net carbs: 6g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 51mg
  • Sodium: 157mg

#6 Fried chicken gizzards

  • Calories: 126kcal
  • Total fats: 8g
  • Net carbs: 7g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 72mg
  • Sodium: 315mg

#7. Fried hot wings

  • Calories: 280kcal
  • Total fats: 16g
  • Net carbs: 9g
  • Protein: 24g
  • Cholesterol: 115mg
  • Sodium: 1120mg

#8 Coleslaw

Coleslaw means, cabbage salad. It is made of finely shredded raw cabbages along with a salad dressing like mayonnaise or vinegarette.

  • Calories: 140kcal
  • Total fats: 12g
  • Net carbs: 5g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 3400mg

#9 Cheese sticks

This dish is made by marinating the cheese sticks in the batter and frying it till the required texture is achieved.

  • Calories: 70kcal
  • Total fats: 2.5g
  • Net carbs: 6.5g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 10mg
  • Sodium: 280mg

#10 Seasoned Italian Green Beans

It is prepared by sauteing the green beans with black pepper, red pepper flakes, salt, and some other spices to add flavor. This dish will provide you with healthy carbs.

  • Calories: 40kcal
  • Total fats: 0g
  • Net carbs: 3g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 600mg

#11 Mini poppers

  • Calories: 130kcal
  • Total fats: 5g
  • Net carbs: 13.5g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 10mg
  • Sodium: 550mg

#12 Gravy

  • Calories: 140kcal
  • Total fats: 8g
  • Net carbs: 15g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 10mg
  • Sodium: 840mg

Some of the low-carb dips and sauces available at Chicken Express are ranch sauce and jalapeno ranch sauce. In terms of beverages, opt for plain water instead of sodas or teas. They will unnecessarily add more carbs without any health benefits.

Having said that, chicken Express is not a place where you go to have fancy dinners (especially on a low-carb diet!). Rather it is a place where you go to quickly grab something to eat. Their menu has limited keto-friendly options to choose from. Even if you find something within the nutritional range, you would not want to binge on them.


There are limited keto-friendly food options on the menu of Chicken Express. I have shared with you a total of 12 main and side dishes that I found appropriate for someone on a ketogenic diet. Following the tips shared in this article will help you easily order low-carb at this chicken joint!

Sometimes it is okay if you splurge a bit and end up exhausting your daily carb limit. Don’t be so hard on yourself and get back on track as soon as possible.

If you can not freshly prepare your meals at home, try to do meal prep. Prepare several meals in advance and store them in the refrigerator for convenient snacking. Meal prepping helps you save time and prevent you from having to eat unhealthy food.

Happy Keto-ing 🙂

Recommended: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Keto Options

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