Want to Eat Keto at McDonald’s? We Have Plenty of Tasty Ideas
When it comes to McDonald’s fare, you’re not picky. You’ve eaten a few dozen (OK, a few hundred) McNuggets in your day, not to mention cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches—and let’s not even get started on their breakfast offerings. But now that you’re on a ketogenic diet, your usual orders are off the table. What’s a fast food lover to do? Don’t fret, friend: It’s easier than you think to eat keto at McDonald’s. As long as you mind your carbs and sugars while bulking up on protein and fat, the following menu items are on your diet. (Pro tip: Use McDonald’s online nutrition calculator to figure out the stats of your modified meal before you hit the restaurant or drive-thru.)
1. Egg McMuffinModified nutrition information: 170 calories, 12g fat, 3g carbs, 12g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber
Make it keto: ask for no English muffin
The standard Egg McMuffin is relatively low in calories and high in protein, making it a solid way to start the day—if you’re not on a keto or low-carb diet, that is. The sandwich contains 30 grams of carbs if ordered as is, but you can eliminate nearly all of them by nixing the bread. (This also costs you 2 grams of fiber, but the egg, Canadian bacon and cheese should hold you over in their place anyway.) There are a few McMuffin choices to choose from, and luckily, they’re all on your diet if you skip the English muffin.
Other keto McMuffin options: Sausage McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin with Egg
2. Bacon, Egg and Cheese McGriddles
Modified nutrition information: 200 calories, 15g fat, 4g carbs, 12g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber
Make it keto: ask for no McGriddles griddle cakes
These sammies, held together by pancake-like cakes, are the stuff of dreams, but they contain a whopping 36 carbs and 14 grams of sugar. Without the griddle cakes in the picture, the fillings offer protein and fat with minimal carbs. (We’ll miss them in all their syrupy splendor, though.) The same goes for the other McGriddles menu options.
Other keto McGriddles options: Sausage McGriddles, Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles
3. Sausage Burrito
Modified nutrition information: 160 calories, 13g fat, 3g carbs, 9g protein, 1g sugar, 1g fiber
Make it keto: ask for no flour tortilla
This on-the-go handheld boasts scrambled egg, pork sausage, American cheese and a vegetable mix including tomatoes, onions and green chiles. Unfortunately for keto eaters, it’s wrapped in a carby tortilla. If you skip the tortilla, it eliminates nearly all the carbs in the meal, leaving you with protein, fat and even a little fiber to get you through the morning. You can either nosh on the scramble solo or bring your own low-carb tortilla or wrap to fill.
4. The Big Breakfast
Modified nutrition information: 350 calories, 28g fat, 3g carbs, 20g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber
Make it keto: ask for no hash brown, biscuit and hotcakes
As it stands, this massive meal contains about a day’s worth of calories and far too many carbs for anyone on a low-carb diet. (It also has an astounding 48 grams of sugar, and that’s not accounting for the extra syrup you’ll drench those hotcakes with.) To make this smorgasbord within reach, you’ll have to skip the biscuit, hotcakes and—the most painful cut of all—the hash brown. (You’ll also want to avoid the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and all the McCafé Bakery breakfast treats—they’re loaded with carbs and sugar.) You may be thinking those little spud patties are basically just vegetables, but each one contains 18 grams of carbs. With those three items off your plate, you’ll be left with scrambled eggs and a sausage patty. Feel free to ask for a side of bacon or cheese on your eggs if you’d like to jazz things up a bit.
5. McDoubleModified nutrition information: 240 calories, 18g fat, 3g carbs, 17g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber
Make it keto: ask for no bun and ketchup
This juicy beauty starts with a beef patty and American cheese, which are topped with pickle slices, ketchup, onions and mustard. The bun is the source of most of the burger’s carbs (28 grams, to be exact), but the ketchup also clocks in at 2 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar per serving. Without them, the meal is totally keto-friendly. Ask for extra lettuce (or bring your own) to make a low-carb lettuce wrap or use your own low-carb bun if you’d like it to feel more like a regular burger. Also note that there are *tons* of burger options at McDonald’s, and they’re all fair game if you order them without a bun or ketchup. (As for the famous Big Mac, you may also want to skip the Big Mac sauce, since it contains 2 grams of carbs per serving.)
Other keto burger options: Big Mac, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Quarter Pounder with Cheese Deluxe (skip the tomatoes to save 1 gram of carbs), Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Bacon, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, Hamburger
6. Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Modified nutrition information: not available
Make it keto: ask for it without the bun
Say it ain’t so: Chicken McNuggets are far from keto-friendly, since they’re coated in crispy, drool-worthy breading that’s high in carbs. The same goes for all the crispy chicken sammies and the Filet-O-Fish. The Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich was, unfortunately, the only chicken item on the menu that could be keto-fied (aka ordered without a bun and tomatoes), but it was chopped from the menu during the pandemic. Here’s hoping it makes a triumphant return sometime soon.
7. Low-Carb Sides
Normally, the side salad would be at the top of our list, but McDonald’s quietly stripped salads from their menu in the U.S. in early 2020, along with the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. But we know the fries are likely top of mind. Unfortunately, they aren’t keto-friendly.
Here is one keto McDonald’s side to eat…
- Apple slices (15 calories, 0g fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, 3g sugar, 0g fiber)
…and one to avoid.
- World Famous Fries (from 29g carbs and 0g sugar)
8. Low-Carb Sauces
Odds are you only ask for McDonald’s sauces to dip your McNuggets in, but they can actually add lots of extra flavor to your burgers, and even your breakfast order. (We like dipping our fries in them too, but you’ll have to settle for your own low-carb fries if you’re on keto.)
Here are six keto McDonald’s sauces to order…
- Spicy Buffalo Sauce (30 calories, 3g fat, 1g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Creamy Ranch Sauce (110 calories, 12g fat, 1g carbs, 0g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Mayonnaise (100 calories, 11g fat, 1g carbs, <1g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Mild and Hot Picante Sauces (0 calories, 0g fat, 1g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Mustard (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
…and four to avoid.
- Honey Mustard Sauce (6g carbs and 4g sugar per serving)
- Hot Mustard Sauce (8g carbs and 6g sugar per serving)
- Tangy Barbeque Sauce (11g carbs and 9g sugar per serving)
- Sweet ‘n Sour Sauce (11g carbs and 10g sugar per serving)
9. Low-Carb Drinks
We doubt this comes as a surprise, but McDonald’s milkshakes (and all of their desserts) aren’t keto-friendly due to their high sugar content. You’ll also have to avoid their lattes, macchiatos and iced coffees, since they come with carb-laden dairy and sugar already mixed in. (Also, don’t be fooled by the sugar-free flavorings: They may be free of sugar, but they aren’t free of carbs, so you’ll need to use your own low-carb sweeteners instead.) Nevertheless, there are a handful of bevs to drink instead that are on your diet.
Here are six keto McDonald’s drinks to order…
- Unsweetened iced tea (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 1g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Hot tea (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Diet Coke (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Black coffee (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
- Americano (0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbs, 0g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber)
…and nine to avoid.
- All regular fountain drinks (from 39g carbs and 39g sugar)
- Sweet tea (from 26g carbs and 24g sugar)
- All lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos (from 9g carbs and 9g sugar)
- All iced coffees (from 24g carbs and 22g sugar)
- All smoothies (from 44g carbs and 39g sugar)
- Hot chocolate (from 52g carbs and 48g sugar)
- Milkshakes (from 84g carbs and 55g sugar)