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The Best & Worst Menu Items at Hooters, According to a Dietitian

These items at the popular wing chain will keep your diet on track—or set you back!
FACT CHECKED BY Samantha Boesch

As of this year, the global Hooters phenomenon boasts 300 locations across the United States alone, offering up hot wings and cold beer from Florida to California. What was once a restaurant chain catering to a very specific clientele has now become a family-friendly establishment, offering a cheery setting for your favorite ballgame or for when you get a hankering for some surprisingly delicious wings. Their options have expanded, too, and the chain serves up anything from seafood to salads, reaching well beyond traditional pub food. With all of these choices, Hooters customers may be wondering about which items are the healthiest to order, and which ones they may want to avoid.

Thanks to the FDA, it's not hard to find nutritional information on dishes served up by big chain restaurants. But, really, whose game night routine includes scrolling nutritional labels? Unless you're a registered dietitian who lives for this stuff, you're probably not holding the family up as you check every dish for sodium and fat counts as everyone is ready to order.

Therefore, we've gone ahead and done the hard work for you. As with most sports pubs and, for that matter, larger chains, there are hidden caveats in even the healthiest dishes, including surprise sugars and egregious sodium counts. To help you navigate these nutritional landmines, we've rounded up 16 of the "best" and "worst" dishes at Hooters in eight separate categories so that ordering will be a breeze.

Read on, then check out The Best & Worst Buffalo Wild Wings Menu Items.


Best: Hooters Original Buffalo Shrimp

Hooters Buffalo Shrimp
Nutrition (Per Meal):
Calories: 390
Fat: 22 g (Saturated fat: 4 g)
Sodium: 810 mg
Carbs: 22 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g)
Protein: 29 g

If you're looking for a lighter Hooters teaser, the Hooters Original Buffalo Shrimp stands out as the healthiest option. At under 400 calories with 4 grams of saturated fat and only 1 gram of sugar, these shrimp won't leave you feeling groggy before your entree even arrives. Shrimp is a great source of antioxidants including astaxanthin which may help reduce inflammation and aid in skin health. That being said, this dish does serve up some high sodium, so consider sharing and remember to drink lots of water.

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Worst: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Hooters Buffalo Chicken Dip
Nutrition (Per Meal):
Calories: 1,370
Fat: 79 g (Saturated fat: 25 g)
Sodium: 4,140 mg
Carbs: 121 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 35 g

The Buffalo Chicken Dip "Teaser" is loaded with spicy Buffalo sauce, melted cheese, and your choice of ranch or bleu cheese (both sauces have the same nutritional composition). This dip alone offers over half of your daily calorie count if you are following a 2,000-calorie meal plan while pumping your body full of 4,140 milligrams of sodium, nearly double the AHA's recommendation of no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. There's no upside to this appetizer as you're sure to receive plenty of protein in your entree, so perhaps give this dip a wide berth.


Best: 6 Piece Roasted Wings

Roasted Wings, 6 piece
Nutrition (Per 6 Wings):
Calories: 420
Fat: 22 g (Saturated fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1,090 mg
Carbs: 1 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g)
Protein: 46 g

Roasted wings are a lighter wing choice as they have been marinated and oven-roasted instead of fried. Of course, it's also important to note that ordering only 6 wings can really aid in portion control which is a big factor in weight management. The trouble arises when choosing your rub or sauce, so we recommend a dry rub like Caribbean jerk which adds no calories and half the sodium of other choices. Don't forget to opt for that garden side salad instead of onion rings!

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Worst: 10 Piece Original Wings

hooters original wings
Nutrition (Per 10 Wings):
Calories: 950
Fat: 57 g (Saturated fat: 14 g)
Sodium: 380 mg
Carbs: 24 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 75 g

It was tough to choose the "worst" wing dish, as overall nutrition isn't based solely on one metric. After careful consideration, we concluded that Hooters' 10 Piece Original Wings are the unhealthiest choice as they offer nearly 1,000 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, and 3 grams of unnecessary sugars. That being said, Hooters' original wings have less than half the sodium count of our "healthier" roasted choice, so that is a big consideration if you're experiencing hypertension. All in all, it may be best to avoid the wings period as these dishes provide ample protein, but not much else.


Best: BYOB Burger on a Brioche Bun With "Regular" Patties, Provolone Cheese, and Veggies

Hooters B.Y.O.B. Burger
Nutrition (Per Burger):
Calories: 840
Fat: 55 g (Saturated fat: 25 g)
Sodium: 3,480 mg
Carbs: 49 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 9 g)
Protein: 40 g

"Healthy" is a relative term when it comes to burgers. Red meat, when eaten in moderation, is not necessarily unhealthy, and it provides ample amounts of iron which is imperative to staving off iron deficiency which can lead to a slew of health concerns. When ordering a BYOB, opt for the "regular" two-patty burger (or even ask for one!), load on all veggies, including tomatoes, lettuce, onion, and pickles, and opt for provolone cheese. The brioche bun has slightly better nutritionals, but you do have the option to go bunless in an effort not to eat more sugar and carbohydrates than necessary.

Note that the sodium and saturated fat found in this burger are quite high, but when compared to the other options, this burger seems to be the best choice out there.

Worst: Home Run Burger on Texas Toast with Cheddar Cheese

Hooters Home Run Burger
Nutrition (Per Burger):
Calories: 1,310
Fat: 96 g (Saturated fat: 42 g)
Sodium: 5,770 mg
Carbs: 48 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 64 g

Four ¼ pound patties – enough said, right? That's a pound of meat on a single burger. No one needs to eat a pound of meat in one sitting – no one needs to eat a pound of meat in one sitting, period. This Home Run Burger takes up ¾ of your daily caloric needs, constitutes a whopping 42 grams of saturated fat (reminder that the AHA recommends no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day), and an incredible 5,770 milligrams of sodium. In a nutshell, this burger is a heart attack waiting to happen.

Sandwiches & Tacos 

Best: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos

Hooters Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Nutrition (Per 3 Tacos):
Calories: 480
Fat: 12 g (Saturated fat: 3.5 g)
Sodium: 2,670 mg
Carbs: 54 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 34 g

Lean meats like chicken can be a great calorie-saver and contain much less fat than many cuts of red meat. With only 3.5 grams of saturated fat, Hooters' Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos offers 34 grams of protein and even 4 grams of fiber. Remember to choose the grilled option for these tacos. However, there seems to be a common nutritional trade-off at Hooters: when you opt for lower calories, the sodium tends to go up (perhaps to make up for a loss in taste?). Therefore, it's up to you to balance whether you want more calories with less sodium or vice versa. Unfortunately, it's a double-edged sword.

Worst: Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich with Chicken

Hooters Philly Cheesecake Sandwich
Nutrition (Per Sandwich):
Calories: 790
Fat: 34 g (Saturated fat: 15 g)
Sodium: 4,340 mg
Carbs: 52 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 72 g

Again, we are shown this strange lower-calorie, higher-sodium paradox with the Philly Cheese Steak made with chicken. Although this option has fewer calories than the traditional Philly Cheese Steak and even the Chicken Tender Melt, the sodium count is double, and we simply can't ignore it. This sodium count, despite the leaner meat choice, is nearly twice the daily recommendation of sodium, and excess sodium can be linked to serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease.


Best: 1/2 Pound Steamed Shrimp

Hooters Half Pound Steamed Shrimp
Nutrition (Per ½ pound shrimp):
Calories: 360
Fat: 25 g (Saturated fat: 15 g)
Sodium: 3,410 mg
Carbs: 13 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 24 g

While the sodium count for Hooters' ½ Pound Steamed Shrimp may seem egregious, much of this sodium comes from the cocktail sauce and melted butter served on the side. Shrimp themselves are a great source of protein and antioxidants without the unwanted fats found in other protein sources. ½ pound is certainly enough to share, and ordering this dish is a great way to add protein to any garden salad. Just go easy on the butter and cocktail sauce, and you should be okay.

Worst: Fish and Chips with Tartar Sauce

Hooters Fish and Chips

Nutrition (Per meal):
Calories: 720
Fat: 52 g (Saturated fat: 9 g)
Sodium: 950 mg

Carbs: 33 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 31 g[/nutrinfo-black]

It probably comes as no surprise that Hooters' Fish and Chips clocks in as the nutritionally worst choice in the seafood category. Fried all over, this dish serves up 52 grams of fat, 9 grams of which are saturated, as well as 6 grams of sugar, most likely from the tartar sauce. While there are caveats throughout the entire seafood category, it's important to note that this dish does contain less sodium than other options, but the fat counts are higher. This double-edged sword requires personal choice.


Best: Buffalo Chicken Salad (With Shrimp)

Hooters Buffalo Chicken Salad
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 230
Fat: 16 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 970 mg
Carbs: 9 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 16 g

The Buffalo Chicken Salad with substituted shrimp is a healthier option due to its (relatively) lower sodium count, low-calorie count, and 16 grams of protein. This salad comes tossed with tomatoes, bleu cheese, and onion, and you have your choice of dressing. For a lighter option, we recommend the balsamic vinaigrette or even asking for a naked salad with no dressing. There's certainly enough flavor in the buffalo shrimp to go around.

Worst: Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Hooters Chicken Caesar Salad
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 600
Fat: 41 g (Saturated fat: 8 g)
Sodium: 4,950 mg
Carbs: 25 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 6 g)
Protein: 34 g

Again, the grilled meat and sodium paradox strikes. Although it may seem smart to order the grilled chicken on your Hooters Caesar Salad instead of the fried chicken, you're saving less than 200 calories and adding over twice the sodium count. This salad with grilled chicken offers an egregious sodium count of 4,950 grams which is well over twice the daily limit set by the AHA, and for those experiencing hypertension, the AHA recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. Hooters may be the one place where ordering something fried can be considered "healthier."

Fries & Sides

Best: Garden Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Hooters Garden Salad
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 250
Fat: 17 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 570 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 8 g

A mix of romaine and iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheddar cheese, and croutons, Hooters' Garden Salad is by far your healthiest option when it comes to sides. We recommend ordering the balsamic vinaigrette which has a relatively low calorie, fat, and sodium count as compared to other dressings. If you're looking to make your side even healthier, consider foregoing the croutons, as they don't provide much fiber and are little calorie bombs that don't consist of much nutrition.

Worst: Curly Chili Cheese Fries

Hooters Curly Chili Cheese Fries
Nutrition (Per side):
Calories: 1,100
Fat: 58 g (Saturated fat: 13 g)
Sodium: 1,850 mg
Carbs: 123 g (Fiber: 14 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 22 g

Despite its surprising 14 grams of fiber, the Curly Chili Cheese Fries are by far the unhealthiest side. At over half your daily caloric needs – and your daily saturated limit of 13 grams – these fries bring nothing to the table when it comes to nutrition. Packed with sodium, these curly fries may be delicious, but they're bound to overpower your entree and leave you feeling bloated and groggy after consuming. Even regular curly fries provide half the calorie and sodium counts.


Best: Cookies n Cream Mini

Hooters Cookies And Cream Mini
Nutrition (Per mini):
Calories: 190
Fat: 11 g (Saturated fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 150 mg
Carbs: 22 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 15 g)
Protein: 2 g

If you do find you still have room for dessert, Hooters' line of "mini" desserts is a great option – our favorite is the Cookies n Cream mini. These shooters are perfect for portion control and will satisfy any sweet tooth with just the right amount of sweetness. The Cookies n Cream mini clocks in at just under 200 calories and provides only 150 milligrams of sodium, which is one of the lowest counts we've seen on the menu so far – even for salads!

Worst: Chocolate Mousse Cake

plate of chocolate cake
Nutrition (Per slice):
Calories: 830
Fat: 40 g (Saturated fat: 17 g)
Sodium: 540 mg
Carbs: 123 g (Fiber: 9 g, Sugar: 95 g)
Protein: 10 g

No one ever said dessert was healthy, but the Chocolate Mousse Cake certainly takes the cake (sorry) in terms of the unhealthiest dessert option. At 830 calories with 17 grams of saturated fat – far over your daily recommended amount – this dessert does nothing for you, except maybe put you in a chocolate coma. Let's not ignore that one slice of this cake offers up a whopping 95 grams of sugar.

Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren
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