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The Best & Worst Menu Items at Zaxby's, According to Dietitians

When you need a wing fix, order wisely with our guide.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Known for its chicken and secret Zax sauce, Zaxby's is a fast-food restaurant with a selection of chicken fingers, sandwiches, and indulgent snacking items. You'll find plenty of fried food on the menu, meals accompanied by buttery Texas Toast, and a variety of sauce and dip options to make your wings just the way you like them. With options like these, you may not be sure how to navigate the menu when it comes to nutrition. Zaxby's will offer you a flavorful meal, no doubt; but if you want to keep wellness in mind, read on to learn how to make better choices at Zaxby's.

Our list of best and worst menu items at Zaxby's will educate you on the nutrition facts of your favorite meals, snacks, and desserts, and will help you make modifications and choices to build a healthier meal. Enjoying one of their meals as-is can be part of a balanced diet occasionally, but if you find yourself visiting the drive-thru often, consider our "best" suggestions and modifications to make for healthier meals. There is no shortage of protein on this menu with so many chicken options, but you'll find this protein punch can come along with shockingly high calorie, sodium, and fat counts.

While the "best" items on this list may not be as nutritionally balanced as a meal you make at home, they are the most ideal options amongst the menu offerings. Along with the suggestions below, build a healthier Zaxby's meal by limiting the number of fried foods in your order, incorporating fruit or veggies from home in place of their side offerings, and avoiding empty calories from sugary drinks. Here are the 16 best and worst orders on Zaxby's menu.

Fingerz & Wing Mealz

Best: Big Zax Snak Meal

Zaxby's Big Zax Snak Meal
Nutrition: 890 calories, 48 g fat (7 g sat fat), 2,650 mg sodium, 80 g carbs (6 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 36 g protein

Although this meal comes in just under 900 calories, it is the best option in the Fingers & Wing Mealz section. What this meal does have going for it is 6 grams of fiber, which is a decent amount for a meal, and the lowest fat count in the category. This meal comes with three fried chicken fingers, Zax sauce, Texas Toast, crinkle fries, and a drink. Make this a healthier option by swapping fries for coleslaw and going with a zero-calorie drink.

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Worst: Buffalo Traditional Wings & Things Meal

Zaxby's Buffalo Traditional Wings & Things Meal
Nutrition: 1,450 calories, 89 g fat (16 g sat fat), 4,850 mg sodium, 83 g carbs (6 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 79 g protein

At over 1,400 calories for a meal, it's no surprise this option made the "worst" list. A combination of five wings, three chicken fingers, Texas toast, fries, and a small drink create a meal that is just shy of 100 grams of fat. Not to mention, this meal comes with ranch and Zax sauce that can add several hundred calories on its own. The 80 grams of protein is more than you need in a single sitting, so share this meal or split it amongst 2 or three meals to make it a more reasonable option. Also consider skipping the sauces for an easy way to save 300 calories, mostly from fat.

Worst: Buffalo Chicken Finger Plate

Zaxby's Buffalo Chicken Finger Plate
Nutrition: 1,310 calories, 70 g fat (11 g sat fat), 4,930 mg sodium, 106 g carbs (8 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 64 g protein

A platter of 6 fried chicken fingers tossed in buffalo sauce creates a meal of over 1,300 calories with nearly double the sodium you need in an entire day. This option does have 8 grams of fiber, which is good for a meal, but not worth it for the other poor nutrition numbers. Make this a more reasonable meal by skipping the fries and toast it comes with, and just having the side of coleslaw. This change alone will save nearly 500 calories! Swap the buffalo sauce for traditional to save another 100 calories in the meal.

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Worst: Boneless Wings Meal (5)

Zaxby's Boneless Wings meal
Courtesy of Zaxby's
Nutrition: 1,040 calories, 60 g fat (9 g sat fat), 2,890 mg sodium, 92 g carbs (7 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 34 g protein

This meal is available with 5 or 8 wings, but both options will lead to a 1000+ calorie meal. Even with just 5 wings, this meal packs a day's worth of sodium and fat and a high carb count. With eight wings, you'll see these numbers climb even more. If you want wings, enjoy them on their own without all the sides that pack less nutritious calories. Even better, serve them at home with a large salad or a side of veggies to create a balanced meal.


Best: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

zaxbys grilled chicken sandwich
Nutrition: 470 calories, 20 g fat (3.5 g sat fat), 1,440 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 38 g protein

A grilled chicken sandwich is usually a good go-to on a fast-food menu when you are trying to eat healthy. This sandwich comes in under 500 calories, which can work within a wide range of calorie needs, and packs nearly 40 grams of filling protein. The low saturated fat content makes this a healthier option, too. Skip the ranch on this sandwich to reduce that number even more, and save on calories and fat grams. Turning this sandwich into a meal adds hundreds of calories, so enjoy the sandwich on its own or paired with fruit or veggies from home.

Best: Nibblerz Sandwiches

Zaxby's 3 Nibblerz Sandwiches
Nutrition: 1,030 calories, 60 g fat (11 g sat fat), 2,900 mg sodium, 81 g carbs (4 g fiber, 17 g sugar), 41 g protein

You may be surprised to see this option in the "best" category, but hear us out. Each sandwich is only 340 calories, making it perfect for a meal. A single sandwich also provides 14 grams of protein, allowing it to be filling, too. Enjoy one or two sandwiches for your meal, and save what's left for another time. Skip the Zax sauce to make this even healthier and pair with coleslaw, or fruit and veggie from home. The ability to easily control your portion makes this a reasonable choice at Zaxby's

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Worst: Kickin Chicken Sandwich

Zaxby's Kickin Chicken Sandwich
Nutrition: 690 calories, 39 g fat (6 g sat fat), 2,760 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 34 g protein

This sandwich places fried chicken fingers topped with spicy sauce and ranch dressing between two slices of Texas Toast. Although a hearty meal that is likely to leave you full, satiety doesn't have to come along with 700 calories and 40 grams of fat. Skip the sauces for a slightly healthier option, but you may be better off skipping this choice altogether. Instead, enjoy the plain chicken fingers on their own, or go with the leaner grilled chicken sandwich.

Worst: Zaxby's Spicy Signature Sandwich

Zaxby's Spicy Signature Sandwich
Nutrition: 710 calories, 40 g fat (9 g sat fat), 2,740 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 39 g protein

Another fried chicken sandwich option, this choice isn't much better than the Kickin Chicken Sandwich. Another choice better left skipped, this sandwich provides a day's worth of sodium without much fiber and more fat than is reasonable in a single sitting. Skipping the sauce and half the bun makes this a little healthier, but still not as good as the "best" options in this category.

Big Zalads

Best: The Grilled House Zalad

zaxby's house zalad
Zaxby's / Facebook
Nutrition: 410 calories, 25 g fat (11 g sat fat), 700 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 17 g protein

A simple grilled chicken salad is a great selection when trying to eat healthier at a fast-food restaurant. A base of lettuce and veggies provides the fiber in this meal and allows it to pack plenty of volume for relatively few calories. Grilled chicken allows this to be a 400-calorie meal, and you'll still get plenty of flavor from the included cheese and dressing. Go with the lite vinaigrette for the healthiest option, and skip some—or all—of the Texas toast it comes with to avoid empty calories.

Worst: The Fried Cobb Zalad

Zaxby's Fried Cobb Salad
Nutrition: 780 calories, 45 g fat (16 g sat fat), 2,130 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (4 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 55 g protein

This cobb salad combines fried chicken with lettuce, veggies, cheese, bacon, hard-boiled egg, and fried onions to create a high-calorie meal. Make this option healthier by swapping the fried chicken for grilled, choosing the lite dressing, and skipping the toast. These simple changes will save hundreds of calories while still allowing for an ingredient-packed salad.

Sides, Fingerz, Wings & Extras

Best: Coleslaw

Zaxby's Coleslaw
Nutrition: 140 calories, 10 g fat (1.5 g sat fat), 170 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1 g protein

Although this side option contains 11 grams of sugar, it is still one of the best choices. You'll get a serving of veggie, a bit of fiber, and a lower calorie option than all of the other sides. It also has the lowest sodium content, making it a healthier choice.

Extra Chicken Finger

Zaxby's extra chicken finger
Nutrition: 80 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g sat fat), 410 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 9 g protein

If you want to build your own meal, this is a great place to start. A couple of chicken fingers will provide nearly 20 grams of filling protein for fewer than 200 calories. Skip the sauce and enjoy them with a side of coleslaw for a 300-calorie meal. If you need a quick protein-packed snack on the road, grab a single chicken finger and pair it with an apple or banana from home to make a balanced and filling snack.

Worst: Chicken Bacon Ranch Loaded Fries

zaxbys Chicken Bacon Ranch Loaded Fries
Nutrition: 1,270 calories, 78 g fat (22 g sat fat), 3,070 mg sodium, 88 g carbs (8 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 61 g protein

With bacon and ranch in the name, you probably aren't surprised to see these loaded fries on the worst list. Crinkle fries topped with fried chicken, cheese, bacon, and ranch dressing make for a side that is nearly 1300 calories. You'll get some fiber and protein from this choice, but eating more than a couple of bites turns into a high-calorie side very quickly. Skip this option, and if you are craving fries, go with a regular side for 330 calories and dip sparingly in ranch dressing as a better alternative.

RELATED: 10 Restaurant Chains That Serve the Best Seasoned Fries

Worst: Fried Pickles

zaxbys fried pickles
Nutrition: 470 calories, 31 g fat (4.5 g sat fat), 2,150 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 5 g protein

Although there are other sides with a higher calorie count, the fried pickles made the "worst" list because of their low protein and high fat counts. The Fried White Cheddar Bites may be 700 calories, but at least they also provide 27 grams of protein to make them more filling. If you love the flavor of pickles, ask for a side of plain pickles with your meal to get the flavor without the calorie punch.


Best: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Zaxby's Chocolate Chip Cookie
Nutrition: 170 calories, 8 g fat (4 g sat fat), 125 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein

If you want to end your meal with something sweet, the chocolate chip cookie packs a reasonable number of calories for a fast-food dessert. You'll get 15 grams of added sugar, which contributes a high percentage of what you should have in a day but is better than the funnel cake available. Enjoy the cookie occasionally, and instead, grab a square of dark chocolate or fruit from home for healthier, lower-sugar dessert options.

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Worst: Funnel Cake with Caramel Sauce

Zaxby's Funnel Cake with Caramel Sauce

540 calories; Full nutrition information unavailable.

Fried batter topped with powdered sugar and caramel sauce makes this an indulgent dessert. Although the portion size is more reasonable than the funnel cake you see at your local fair, this dessert still packs over 500 calories. Skipping the caramel sauce will save you some added sugar, but not enough to suggest this dessert over a single cookie.

Melissa Rifkin, MS, RDN, CDN
Melissa is a Connecticut-based registered dietitian with over 15 years of experience, including clinical and outpatient settings, and runs the popular nutrition education Instagram account, Confessionofadietitian. Read more about Melissa