When celebrating a birthday, big event, or anniversary, many Americans head to a steakhouse to mark the occasion—considering there will be sizzling steak and seafood, attentive service that makes you feel extra special, and arguably the best part of any meal: shareable sides.
Almost always oversized and packed with flavors that complement a perfectly cooked steak, these sides are ones you should be careful about when ordering. While we'd never tell you not to indulge, many steakhouse sides pack a big calorie punch. In looking at the menus for places like Outback Steakhouse , LongHorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse, and other national chains, we found the biggest side dish offenders.
Read on for the worst steakhouse sides that you might want to avoid…or, at least, share with a few people. And next, don't miss The #1 Unhealthiest Steak at Every Popular Steakhouse Chain.
Texas Roadhouse Cactus Blossom
First off, this fried item isn't actually made from cactus. It's a giant fried onion that clocks in at 2,250 calories, 135 g fat, 26 g saturated fat, 236 g carbohydrate, 36 g sugar, 25 g protein, and 5,000 mg sodium. Yikes!
Plus, this high-calorie and sodium-heavy treat is served with ranch dressing or Cajun horseradish sauce for dipping, which adds a couple hundred more calories.
Outback Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are good for you, right? Well, yes, but when they're packed into a fryer for the ultimate flavor, sprinkled with bacon, and topped with admittedly delicious lemon aioli, the fat content can be through the roof. This veggie side has over 1,000 calories and 89 grams of fat! You'd honestly be better off with the mac and cheese, though you will get more fiber with the Brussels sprouts.
The Texas Roadhouse Loaded Sweet Potato
A baked sweet potato can be a nutritious side dish, but at Texas Roadhouse, you'll want to avoid "loaded" options if you're watching your calorie intake. The chain's loaded sweet potato side–a baked sweet potato topped with honey cinnamon caramel sauce and marshmallows–contains 770 calories, 28 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 126 g carbohydrate, 70 g sugar, 7 g protein, and 310 mg sodium.
Capital Grille Lobster Mac 'N' Cheese
The perfect place to celebrate a big event, Capital Grille is known for its juicy steaks (and even employs an in-house butcher). But, the chain's shellfish-heavy side is the menu item to watch out for. With 830 calories, 57 g fat, 56 g carbs, and 25 g protein per serving (which is half the small skillet it comes in. This one is definitely worth splitting.
Morton's Steakhouse Baked Corn Soufflé
The next time you take a trip to Morton's and you want a healthy component on the table beside your steak of choice, this Baked Corn Soufflé might not be the way to go. Yes, it does have an abundance of corn—a wonderful veggie source—but its nutritional value is drowned out by loads of heavy cream, butter, and a parmesan cheese crust. The side dish also comes out to 870 calories all on its own—yikes!
Outback Steakhouse Mac & Cheese
It's hard to pass on ooey-gooey mac and cheese, and Outback's is a favorite for many. But, when you consider that this side has 850 calories, 52 g fat, 1,320 mg sodium, 64 g carbs, and 29 g protein, it's probably best to get an order for the table to share.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
Brussels sprouts can be so tricky on a restaurant menu! At home, most of us simply roast them with a little olive oil. However, Fleming's flash fried sprouts with bacon and bacon vinaigrette dressing are a surprising 800 calories, which doesn't leave a lot of room for steak!
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse Cauliflower Mash
This one is pretty shocking to anyone who typically swaps cauliflower for pasta or potatoes. The calorie count per serving on Fleming's Cauliflower Mash, which is finished with cilantro oil, comes in at 500! It's probably worth noting that the restaurant's mashed potatoes come in at 580 calories, so choose wisely.
Outback Steakhouse Clam Chowder
You might think a shellfish soup is the perfect side or starter, but this stick-to-your-ribs bowl is probably best enjoyed as a main. Each order of Clam Chowder has 710 calories, 44 g fat, 2,130 mg sodium, 47 g carbs, and 25 g protein, which is about half of the daily recommended calories for the average woman.
LongHorn Steakhouse Loaded Idaho Baked Potato
You wouldn't think a baked potato would be on this list, but this loaded-up spud wins for having the most dietary transgressions, including a sodium count of 2,390 milligrams (nearly a full teaspoon of salt). You'll also find that the add-ons take this potato from an undressed (on average) 160 calories all the way up to 450 calories.
Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crust
Sweet potatoes are making several appearances on this list because, while they're delicious on their own, chefs can't help but make additions that load them up with extra calories. This casserole from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse has 315 calories, 14.8 g of fat, 44.7 carbohydrates, and 2.9 g of protein per half-cup serving. If you've ever had a side at Ruth's Chris, you know it's a lot more than half a cup!
Logan's Roadhouse Three Cheese Mac & Cheese, Loaded
We're starting to think the word "loaded" on a menu is a red flag for unhealthy if this mac & cheese is any indication. Just one serving of this dish has a gut-busting 470 calories, 31 g of fat, 24 g of carbohydrates, and 24 g of protein.
LongHorn Steakhouse Loaded Potato Soup
Here's another "loaded" option that's full of sodium and fat. This hearty soup has 270 calories, 19 g fat, 670 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, and 10 g protein, which is about a third of your daily recommended fat in one bowl.
And there you have it, the worst steakhouse sides that you'd be smart to split or skip.
A previous version of this article was originally published on June 22, 2022.