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10 Unhealthiest Menu Items at Outback Steakhouse

Armed with registered dietitian input, we've identified the unhealthiest dishes on the Australian-themed restaurant's menu.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Outback Steakhouse has some pretty iconic dishes. Among these classics are the Melbourne Porterhouse steak, the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under cake, and the infamous Bloomin' Onion appetizer, a colossal deep-fried onion blossom served with a zesty "bloom" sauce. In case it's not immediately obvious, there's no shortage of indulgent menu options awaiting diners at this Aussie-themed restaurant.

While Outback offers a range of options to suit various tastes and dietary preferences—yes, there are some healthy options and strategies you can use to make your meal at the steakhouse more balanced—certain menu items stand out for their sky-high calorie counts and other nutritional pitfalls.

We set out to uncover the unhealthiest choices at Outback with the help of the experts: registered dietitians. Armed with their insights, we've compiled a list of the 10 menu items that could derail even the most well-intentioned dining plans. From monstrous steaks to decadent desserts, the unhealthiest Outback Steakhouse dishes pack a serious caloric punch that may leave you feeling more stuffed than satisfied.

So, let's go down under and uncover the dishes that dietitians advise you to approach with caution at Outback Steakhouse. And note that while an occasional splurge at Outback won't have any lasting negative consequences on your health, if you're making a habit of ordering from this list, you might want to consider pulling back on dining out or finding ways to make healthier options at home.

How we identified the unhealthiest menu items at Outback Steakhouse:

When the unhealthiest menu items at Outback, here were the biggest factors we considered.

  • Calories: Total calories as well as empty calories were the biggest deciding factor as to whether or not these Outback menu items were healthy. "Empty calories" come from added oils and added sugars. In excess, these foods are not any more filling for the amount of energy they give us.
  • Saturated fat: Saturated fat has been associated with a greater risk for heart disease, so it's best to limit your intake as much as possible. The Outback Steakhouse menu is littered with saturated fat-containing items like red meat, dairy, and butter, and many of these meals ended up on our list.
  • Sodium: Salt is used to make food taste better, but too much sodium in your diet can be linked to high blood pressure, weight gain, and bloating. The fried foods, sauces, and other heavily seasoned food options on Outback's menu all are higher in sodium than some of the healthier orders at the steakhouse.

Chocolate Tower Cake

Outback Steakhouse Chocolate Tower Cake
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 1,650 calories, 84g fat (40g sat fat), 1,350mg sodium, 233g carbs (13g fiber, 170g sugar), 25g protein

With nearly 6 times your daily sugar allowance, the chocolate tower cake at Outback is one of the least healthy things you can order on the menu.

The chocolate tower cake is one of the unhealthiest options on the menu, adds Megan Huff, RDN, LDN, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian. "This cake is a sugar bomb with 170 grams of sugar, 233 grams of carbs, and 84 grams of fat. Avoid a spike in your blood sugar by passing on this cake. If you still want a dessert, opt for the butter cake which has 50% fewer calories, carbs, and sugars," she says.

 30 Low-Calorie Desserts to Buy Under 150 Calories

Aussie Cheese Fries

Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 2,620 calories, 182g fat (69g sat fat), 7,490 mg sodium, 153g carbs (16g fiber, <1g sugar), 89g protein

"It's no surprise that Outback's cheese fries are a significant source of sodium, with a whopping 300% more than the daily recommended allowance of 1 teaspoon of salt in our diet. The Aussie Cheese Fries are one of the worst appetizers on the menu at Outback Steakhouse," says Sheri Berger, RDN, CDCES a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant.

"An order of the Aussie Cheese Fries is incredibly high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and calories. A diet that is rich in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends reducing trans fats, limiting saturated fat to no more than 6% of total daily calories, and limiting sodium to no more than 2,300 mg per day," she adds.

Kookaburra Wings Mild

Outback Steakhouse Kookaburra Wings
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 1,780 calories, 125g fat (33g sat fat), 4,150mg sodium, 72g carbs (7g fiber, 4g sugar), 90g protein

Not only are these wings high in calories and saturated fat, but they are also a triple whammy with nearly double the amount of sodium allowance Americans need in a day. "With over 1,700 calories, 33 grams of saturated fat, and 4,000 milligrams of sodium, the Kookaburra Wings appetizer stands out as one of the least healthy offerings at Outback Steakhouse. For reference, The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day and saturated of less than 20 ggrams per day for most," Edwina Clark, MS, RD, CSSD tells us.

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Outback's Bloomin' Onion

outback-steakhouse-bloomin-onion
Outback Steakhouse / Facebook
Nutrition: 1,620 calories, 126g fat (4.5g sat fat), 4,140 mg sodium, 107g carbs (14g fiber, 20g sugar), 15g protein

Everyone's favorite Bloomin' Onion is sadly not the healthiest menu item. This particular menu item is high and empty calories as the entire onion will get you over 1,600 calories without much protein or fiber to keep you full.

"Diets high in saturated and trans fats are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, elevated LDL, the "bad" cholesterol, and contribute to obesity and weight gain. Plus, diets high in sodium can increase one's risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease," says Michelle Rauch, MSc, RDN, a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for The Actors Fund.

Queensland Chicken and Shrimp Pasta

Outback Steakhouse Queensland Chicken and Shrimp Pasta
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 1,360 calories, 49g fat (18g sat fat), 1,620mg sodium, 135g carbs (7g fiber, 20g sugar), 85g protein

While this menu item might initially look like lighter fare, the entire plate clocks in at over 1300 calories. You might consider sharing this menu item with someone else, and you'll both walk away with a more moderately portioned meal and still 40 grams of protein each.

"The Queensland Chicken and Shrimp Pasta might be looked at as lighter since not fried and it has chicken and shrimp instead of steak. However, the pasta has an alfredo sauce that's loaded with tons of calories and unhealthy fats. It comes in at just under 1300 calories, 48 grams of fat and 121 carbs. That equals about eight slices of bread," says Bess Berger, RDN, is a registered dietitian specializing in PCOS and menopause at Nutrition by Bess in NJ.

3 Crab Cakes Entree

crab cakes
Shutterstock
Nutrition: 1,430 calories, 119g fat (35g sat fat), 3,000mg sodium, 26g carbs (2g fiber, 5g sugar), 59g protein

The crabcakes at Outback are a significant source of fat and sodium. With over doubled the daily recommendation of saturated fat and more than once daily requirement of added sodium, this meal is not the healthiest at Outback.

"The 3 Crab Cakes Entree at Outback Steakhouse stands out as one of the unhealthiest choices on the menu. With an astonishing 35 grams of saturated fats, exceeding the daily recommended amount by 175%, and a sodium content of 3,000 milligrams, nearly double the daily recommendation, this dish raises serious health concerns. It's also important to note that these alarming numbers don't even account for additional items like appetizers, drinks, sides, or desserts, emphasizing the importance of practicing portion control and prioritizing nutrient-rich foods when dining out," says Samantha Turner, MPH, RDN, a registered dietitian and owner of OakStone Health and Nutrition located in Martinsville, Virginia.

Tim Tam Brownie Cake

Outback Steakhouse — Tim Tam Brownie Cake
Outback Steakhouse / Facebook
Nutrition: 1,500 calories, 85g fat (49g sat fat), 790mg sodium, 174g carbs (6g fiber, 130g sugar), 18g protein

The Tim Tam Brownie Cake at Outback is one of their newer menu items and is one of the unhealthiest items that you can order, says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT, Owner of One Pot Wellness. If you don't share this cake with a friend, you will serve yourself 1500 calories and 130 grams of added sugar. We know that empty calories do not keep us very full for long and do not provide much nutrition otherwise.

"The cake consists of layers of chocolate brownie, peanut butter, and chocolate mousse topped with a caramel sauce. The combination of these ingredients results in a dessert that has 130g of added sugars, 49g saturated fat, and 790 milligrams of sodium. An excess consumption of all of these nutrients can contribute to various health issues including obesity and heart disease," Chun concludes.

The Prime Rib Sandwich

Outback Steakhouse The Prime Rib Sandwich
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 2,090 calories, 146g fat (61g sat fat), 5,040 mg sodium, 124g carbs (15g fiber, 12g sugar), 56g protein

While a sandwich might seem like a fairly balanced choice at most restaurants, the prime rib sandwich at Outback packs over 100% of your daily recommended sodium allowance and a whopping 42 grams of saturated fat. "This sandwich contains 1,330 calories, 42 g saturated fat, and 2,850 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day. This sandwich alone exceeds the daily recommended sodium limit. For a healthier option, consider Outback's grilled chicken on the barbie," shares Mandy Tyler, M.Ed., RD, CSSD, LD.

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

New York Style Cheesecake

Outback Steakhouse New York Style Cheesecake
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 1,040 calories, 62g fat (37g sat fat), 660 mg sodium, 103g carbs (2g fiber, 86g sugar), 17g protein

Cheesecake is notoriously rich in calories and certainly better off being a "sometimes" indulgence. With 62 grams of total fat and nearly two times the amount of your daily saturated allowance, this cheesecake is full of empty calories and lacks nutrition balance. If you're looking for dessert, consider splitting this with a friend and choosing to make it a special occasion.

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Chicken Tender Platter

Outback Steakhouse Chicken Tender Platter
Outback Steakhouse
Nutrition: 1,310 calories, 78g fat (49g sat fat), 3,310 mg sodium, 104g carbs (9g fiber, 3g sugar), 49g protein

Consisting of almost all fried foods, the chicken tenders and fries turn out to be one of the highest-calorie menu items. With 1,300 calories, a whopping 49 grams of saturated fat, and 150% of your daily sodium allowance, this meal is the trifecta of the least healthy foods to order at Outback. If you want to lighten up this dish, consider adding a side of fruit and foregoing the fries to decrease the calories, added fat, and excess salt.

Caroline Thomason, RDN, RD, LDN, CDCES
Caroline is a women's health Registered Dietitian and diabetes educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more about Caroline