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The Best and Worst Foods at Dairy Queen

The Best and Worst Foods at Dairy Queen
The Best and Worst Foods at Dairy Queen

While their gravity-defying Blizzards are what Dairy Queen is best known for, its menu is actually stocked with a variety of tasty lunch and dinner options, too. From cheeseburgers to hot dogs to onion rings and fries, you get the full American drive-thru experience.

But since many of the menu items have more than a day’s worth of calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat, it’s best to make your DQ trips an occasional treat. What’s worse is that many of their dishes also have artery-clogging trans fats. Still, it’s possible to make a less-than-terrible choice if you take the time to examine the menu. Here, we rank the best and worst menu items at Dairy Queen.

First, The Best Burgers

1

Cheeseburger

Dairy queen cheeseburger

370 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 870 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1g fiber, 7 g sugar), 21 g protein

If you’re craving a heartier meal, their cheeseburger is your best bet. At 370 calorie, you get a 100 percent beef patty topped with melted cheese, pickles, and mustard and ketchup in a warm bun. Since the fat and sodium content is high, be sure to wash it down with a glass of water and watch what you eat the rest of the day.

2

Deluxe Cheeseburger

Deluxe cheeseburger


460 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 820 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 22 g protein

Dairy Queen’s slightly larger deluxe cheeseburger offers up more calories and fat than the regular version, but it’s still not the worst choice they’ve got.

3

Quarter-Pound Cheese GrillBurgerr

Dairy Queen quarter-pound cheeseburger

540 calories, 30 g fat (12 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,000 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 27 g protein

While this burger is still on the low-end calorie-wise for the fast-food joint, the fat and sodium levels are off the charts, so make this pick the only thing you order at the drive-thru.

3

1/3-pound Double with Cheese

540 calories, 30 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 1,030 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 35 g protein

If a double cheeseburger is usually your jam, this choice isn’t all that terrible when you compare the nutritional details to the single-patty options. Just make sure to not double up your order with something else, or you could very well triple the recommended amount of sodium in one day.

The Best Sandwiches

4

Grilled Chicken Sandwich


440 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,150 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 31 g protein

You usually can’t go wrong when you opt for grilled chicken at lunch, and this sandwich isn’t really an exception. It has fewer calories, fat, and sodium than the other sandwiches on DQ’s menu.

5

Kansas City BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

Dairy Queen KC barbecue pulled pork sandwich


430 calories, 15 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,410 mg sodium, 69 g carbs (2 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 33 g protein

Although this sandwich is very high in sodium, the calorie and fat counts make it one of DQ’s better choices for lunch. Plus, it’s served on a pretzel roll, which makes it

The Best Chicken Options

6

Grilled Chicken BLT Salad

DQ grilled chicken blt salad Michelle W./Yelp
270 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,090 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 35 g protein

BLT lovers can rejoice: This salad version is healthier than most of the traditional sandwich variations, and grilled chicken adds a healthy dose of extra protein without piling on a ton of calories and fat.

7

Crispy Chicken BLT Salad

DQ cripsy chicken blt salad CeCe F./Yelp
400 calories, 21 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,070 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (4 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 26 g protein

Even if you opt for fried instead of grilled chicken in the BLT salad, it’s still not a terrible choice when you’re trying to keep your diet goals in check.

The Best Hot Dogs

8

Classic Hot Dog

Dairy queen hot dog


340 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 970 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 13 g protein

A hot dog is never a great pick when you’re trying to make a healthy choice, but if that’s what you’re craving, the plain version is your best bet on DQ’s menu as far as calories, fat and sodium are concerned.

9

Relish Dog

Dairy queen hot dog


350 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,000 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 13 g protein

As mentioned above, you’re better off keeping toppings to a minimum if you opt for a hot dog, but relish is a pretty safe choice as far as keeping calories and fat down.

The Best Snacks and Sides

10

Side salad

Dairy queen side salad


25 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar) 1 g protein

If you’d like a side item your burger, sandwich or hot dog, this side salad is clearly the healthier pick than fries or onion rings.

11

Chicken Bacon BBQ Snack Melt

DQ Chicken BBQ Snack Melt


280 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 17 g protein

If you’d like a smaller option similar to one of DQ’s sandwich offerings, try this sandwich with a side salad or small order of fries.

12

Buffalo Chicken Snack Melt

DQ buffalo chicken snack melt


280 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 5 g trans fat), 1,070 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 14 g protein

Similar to the Chicken Bacon BBQ Snack Melt, this mini-sandwich won’t do too much damage to your diet goals.

13

Fries

Dairy queen fries


per regular size: 290 calories, 13 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat) 590 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

If you’re at DQ for just a snack and skip the burger or sandwich, you can get away with a regular order of fries for minimal calories, fat and sodium than you otherwise might.

The Best Frozen Beverages

14

Sunshine Orange Light Smoothie

DQ orange smoothie

per small: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 0 g protein

If you’d really like a frozen beverage at DQ but prefer a low-calorie and low-fat option, this light smoothie is your best bet.

15

Misty Slush (small)

DQ strawberry misty slush

200 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 50 g carbs (0 g fiber, 50 g sugar), 0 g protein

As with the Light Smoothie, this fruity, dairy-free slush will satisfy your sweet tooth without as many calories and fat as a Blizzard or shake.

The Best Desserts

16

DQ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Treatzza Pizza

DQ Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Treatzza Pizza

200 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 110 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 3 g protein

Who would have thought a dessert pizza could be one of the healthier options on DQ’s menu? It’s true! This peanut butter cup concoction is fairly low in calories, fat, and sugar compared to other options.

17

Vanilla Cone

dairy queen soft serve cones Courtesy of Dairy Queen
per small: 230 calories, 7 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 95 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (0 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 6 g protein

A simple vanilla ice cream cone is another good choice for keeping calories and fat on the low end at dessert time at DQ.

18

Peanut Butter Sundae

DQ peanut butter sundae

per small: 380 calories, 22 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 260 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (1 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 9 g protein

If you’re usually craving a peanut butter-flavored treat for dessert, this sundae is definitely a better choice than the Blizzard or shake offerings.

19

Banana Split

DQ banana split

520 calories, 14 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 140 mg sodium, 92 g carbs (4 g fiber, 72 g sugar), 9 g protein

While the calorie count is higher than most of the healthier dessert options, a banana split is still a better pick than a Blizzard or shake, especially as the sizes get larger.

Now, The Worst Burgers

20

Quarter-Pound Bacon Cheese GrillBurger

DQ bacon cheese grillburger

630 calories, 36 g fat (14 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,250 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 34 g protein

When you add bacon to a burger, which is already known for not being a low-calorie or low-fat choice, be prepared to kick the calorie, fat, and sodium counts to skyrocket.

21

Half-pound Cheese GrillBurger

Dairy Queen auarter-pound cheeseburger

800 calories, 49 g fat (21 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,110 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar) 47 g protein

Increasing the size of the patty on your Cheese GrillBurger will raise the levels of calories, fat, and sodium. We say stick to the smaller version.

22

Half-pound FlameThrower GrillBurger

DQ flamethrower grillburger

970 calories, 68 g fat, (25 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,570 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (2 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 51 g protein

Between the double patties, bacon, and extra cheese, it’s no surprise this burger is a monster bomb of calories, saturated fat, and sodium. It’s best to stick to a regular cheeseburger order.

The Worst Sandwiches

23

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich

DQ chicken bacon ranch sandwich


500 calories, 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,160 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 33 g protein

While the calories are on the lower end and the solid protein count is a win, the high fat and sodium counts (thanks to the bacon and ranch) make this sandwich a less-than-healthy choice.

24

Turkey BLT Sandwich

DQ turkey blt


580 calories, 28 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,550 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 34 g protein

You’d think adding turkey to a BLT sandwich might be an effort to make it healthier, but this sandwich still ranks very high on the fat and sodium charts.

The Worst Chicken Options at Dairy Queen

25

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

DQ crispy chicken


530 calories, 29 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 900 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 23 g protein

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that a fried chicken sandwich would end up on the unhealthiest list. While the calorie count might not look terrible, this sandwich definitely doesn’t offer the fat and sodium make it one of the worst choices.

26

6-piece Chicken Strip Basket

DQ chicken strips

1,250 calories, 61 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 3,190 mg sodium, 121 g carbs (8 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 52 g protein

The insanely exorbitant calorie, fat and sodium counts on this basket easily make it one of the worst choices, period, on the DQ menu.

The Worst Hot Dogs

27

Cheese Dog

DQ chili cheese dog


390 calories, 24 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,000 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 16 g protein

If you’ve opted for a hot dog at Dairy Queen, you already haven’t made the healthiest choice. Adding cheese simply ups the calories, fat, and sodium to even more unhealthy levels.

28

Chili Cheese Dog

DQ chili cheese dog


420 calories, 25 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,070 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 18 g protein

Again, while the calorie count may not seem that high, a hot dog likely won’t fill you up, and you definitely want to stay away from an item like this with that much sodium. Yikes!

29

Bacon Cheese Dog

DQ chili cheese dog


420 calories, 26 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,140 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 19 g protein

If there are any trends with the DQ menu, it’s that any items containing bacon have sky-rocketing amounts of sodium. This hot dog is no exception.

The Worst Snacks and Sides at Dairy Queen

30

Pretzel Sticks with Zesty Queso

DQ pretzel sticks


330 calories, 9 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 500 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 9 g protein

While its nutritional value counts, for the most part, aren’t the worst out there, 330 calories is high for a snack, and a not very wholesome one at that.

31

Onion Rings

DQ onion rings


per regular size: 360 calories, 16 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 840 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

If you’re on the hunt for a healthy snack, you definitely want to stay away from anything deep-fried, like the onion rings.

32

Cheese Curds

DQ cheese curds


per regular size: 530 calories, 38 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 1,110 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 21 g protein

No snack item should ever contain over 500 calories and 1,000 mg of sodium. There’s nothing healthy about this pick.

The Worst Frozen Beverages

33

Tripleberry Smoothie

DQ berry smoothie


per small: 290 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 85 mg sodium, 70 g carbs (1 g fiber, 64 g sugar), 3 g protein

Don’t ever be fooled by thinking that the word “smoothie” implies a beverage is healthy, especially at a fast-food joint. Believe it or not, you’re better off eating a vanilla cone, which offers fewer calories and sugar.

34

Caramel MooLatte

DQ moolatee caramel

per small: 470 calories, 15 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat) 170 mg sodium, 77 g carbs (0 g fiber, 66 g sugar), 7 g protein

This high-calorie coffee drink might wake you up at the moment, but it’s sure to send you into a sugar crash later in the day.

35

Midnight Mocha Frappe

DQ mocha frapp

per small: 490 calories, 23 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 160 mg sodium, 67 g carbs (2 g fiber, 58 g sugar), 7 g protein

Another coffee drink that’s really a dessert sugar bomb in disguise. This one isn’t your best bet if you’re just looking for a caffeine buzz.

36

Peanut Butter Shake

DQ peanut butter shake

per small: 640 calories, 34 g fat (16g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 370 mg sodium, 67 g carbs (1 g fiber, 54 g sugar), 16 g protein

Even if you opt for a size small, most of Dairy Queen’s shake options are terrible choices that pack in calories, fat, and sugar. Either go for a mini-size, or just a plain ice cream cone to get your fix.

The Worst Desserts

37

Triple Chocolate Brownie Dessert

540 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 260 mg sodium, 75 g carbs (3 g fiber, 72 g sugar), 9 g protein

If you’re watching what you eat at all, just stay away from this dessert. 72 grams of sugar at the end of the day is not going to do you any favors.

38

Caramel Funnel Cake

DQ caramel funnel cake Sheryl M./Yelp
540 calories, 22 g fat (11 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 360 mg sodium, 77 g carbs (1 g fiber, 47 sugar), 9 g protein

Funnel cake is fried carnival food, so are you really surprised it’s on the high end as far as calories, fat, and sugar are concerned? There’s really nothing healthy about this dessert choice, even if it’s not the worst pick on the menu.

39

Fudge Stuffed Cookie Dessert

DQ fudge cookie

640 calories, 33 g fat (17 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 380 mg sodium, 80 g carbs (3 g fiber, 55 g sugar), 10 g protein

This is basically two desserts in one, and it certainly packs in the calories, fat, and sugar that would come in two items. Just say no to this one.

40

Peanut Buster Parfaitt

DQ peanut parfait

710 calories, 31 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 340 mg sodium, 95 g carbs (3 g fiber, 68 g sugar) 17 g protein

Peanut butter lovers, prepare to be disappointed yet again. This dessert is way too high in calories, fat, and sugar for it to be a good choice. Again, if you really want a peanut butter fix in the form of dessert, we say opt for a mini-size version of a shake or Blizzard.

41

Salted Caramel Truffle Blizzard

DQ caramel blizzard

per small: 780 calories, 35 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 390 mg sodium, 105 g carbs (2 g fiber, 87 g sugar) 13 g protein

This one is the worst of the worst on the Blizzard menu. Even in a small size, this dessert packs in an obscene amount of calories, fat and sugar. We say consider other flavors, especially in a mini size.

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