What to Eat at Chili's: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Chilis Nutrition Facts
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In 1975, a former post office in Dallas, Texas was converted into the first Chili’s restaurant. The casual dining chain has over 1,600 locations in the United States and can be found in 32 countries around the world.

Chili’s menu is predominantly inspired by bold Southwest flavors. You’ll find a mix of traditional Tex-Mex dishes such as fajitas and tacos, entrees like steak, pasta, soups, sandwiches, and salads as well as classic burgers and fries.

As with other sit-down eateries, Chili’s meals are generally high-calorie, high fat, and served in large portions. Checking out the menu ahead of time and using the online nutrition chart to get an estimate of the calorie count of a meal can help you make choices that best suit your tastes and health goals.

If you have special dietary needs or food allergies, Chili’s offers helpful information about the ingredients it uses to create its menu and notes which dishes contain the most common food allergens. You’ll also find a selection of vegan and vegetarian options on the regular menu, as well as a separate gluten-free menu at Chili’s.

What Experts Say

“The menu at Chili’s includes vegetarian and vegan options and the ability to personalize an order to exclude some allergens (but there's no guarantee). While there are whole grain options and veggie sides to add fiber to your meal, the sodium levels of most dishes are very high. Even if you opt for lower sodium foods for your other meals, you may find you are still exceeding your daily sodium limit if you eat here regularly.”

— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options

  • Kid’s Homestyle Fries

  • Burger Bites

  • Mango Chili Chicken

  • Ancho Salmon

  • Classic Sirloin with Avocado 

  • Chili’s 1975 Tacos

  • California Turkey Club

  • Southwest Chicken Soup

  • House Salad

  • Roasted Asparagus

  • Mini Chocolate Molten Cake

  • Dasani Water

Least Nutritious Options

  • Texas Cheese Fries with Chili

  • The Boss Burger

  • Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers & Waffles

  • Cajun Shrimp Pasta

  • Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs

  • Bacon Ranch Steak Quesadilla 

  • Bacon Avocado Chicken Sandwich 

  • Original Chili 

  • Quesadilla Explosion Salad

  • Awesome Blossom Petals

  • Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 2% Chocolate Milk 

Appetizers

Most of the items on Chili’s menu of starters contain a meal’s worth of calories (or more). When you’re dining out, focus on choosing a healthy entree instead of filling up on appetizers before your main meal arrives. If you order an appetizer, look for smaller portions to share. If you want to start with something closer to an individual serving, try looking at the Kid’s Menu.

Most Nutritious Option

Homestyle Fries (Kid’s Menu)

210 calories, 8g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 330 mg sodium, 30g carbs, 0g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Texas Cheese Fries with Chili

1860 calories, 127g fat, 58g saturated fat, 3880 mg sodium, 97g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 81g protein
Chips and guacamole might look like a small starter compared to other menu items like a large plate of nachos—but the appetizer-size serving of tortilla chips and fresh guac has over 1,000 calories and 66g fat. It’s also packed with salt: 2590 mg sodium per order.

Burgers

Chili’s “Big Mouth Burger” menu lives up to its name. Every burger on the menu has over 1,000 calories and several options, including the Southern Smokehouse Burger and Big Mouth Bites, have over 1,500 calories.

Most Nutritious Option

Burger Bites (Kids Menu)

410 calories, 20g fat, 8g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 580 mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate, 8g sugar, and 23g protein

Least Nutritious Option

The Boss Burger

1600 calories, 111g fat, 44g saturated fat, 3.5g trans fat, 3240 mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 95g protein

While the burgers are some of the least nutritious options at Chili’s, it is possible to customize your burger to be lower in carbs, fat, and calories. Skipping extras like bacon, cheese, and sauces can save calories, fat, and sodium.

Swapping the beef patty for turkey will also save calories and fat without sacrificing protein. A beef patty has 500 calories, 32g fat, and 38g protein, while a turkey patty has just 200 calories and 8g fat but still packs 32g protein.

Chicken

In addition to burgers and sandwiches, Chili’s also offers several chicken entrees. Look for grilled options rather than fried and avoid dishes that come with carb-heavy sides like fries, waffles, or pasta.

Most Nutritious Option

Mango Chili Chicken

490 calories, 19g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 1710 mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 53g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers & Waffles

2150 calories, 125g fat, 40g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 4480 mg sodium, 283g carbohydrate, 105g sugar, and 64g protein

Boneless wings are popular as starters and entrees, but when cooked in thick glazes or served with dipping sauce, they can be high in calories and sodium.

Chili’s Loaded Boneless Wings has 1390 calories, 93g fat, and 3540 mg sodium. The kid’s menu Grilled Chicken Bites sliders have just 290 calories, 7g fat, and 550 mg sodium—leaving room for a dab of dipping sauce, a slice of cheese, or a small side.

Seafood

If you’re looking for a non-fried source of protein at Chili’s, the seafood options present a couple of options. Try seared shrimp or grilled salmon paired with a side of veggies or used to top a salad.

Most Nutritious Option

Ancho Salmon with Mexican Rice and Steamed Broccoli

630 calories, 30g fat, 6g saturated fat, 1850 mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 48g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Cajun Shrimp Pasta

1100 calories, 51g fat, 21g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 3500 mg sodium, 111g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 48g protein

Chili’s doesn’t offer as many seafood options compared to red meat and chicken, but you can use these protein sources creatively to create a healthier meal. Avoid pasta and rice dishes, as these high-calorie, high-carb dishes can negate the calorie-saving benefits of choosing seafood.

Ribs & Steak

Chili’s is known for its Baby Back Ribs. While a full rack of ribs or large steak can easily account for more than one meal's worth of calories, Chili’s also gives you the option of smaller portions, such as a half-order of ribs or 6-oz steak.

Most Nutritious Option

Classic Sirloin with Grilled Avocado (6oz)

330 calories, 16g fat, 4g saturated fat, 1190 mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 38g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Texas Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs (Full Rack)

1480 calories, 107g fat, 41g saturated fat, 5120 mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 24g sugar, and 99g protein

If you want to center your meal around a steak, be choosy about sides. On its own, 6-oz sirloin steak is only 260 calories. A side of homestyle fries adds 420 calories (double that of the steak) to your meal.

Choosing a side of steamed broccoli only adds 40 calories, leaving room for a drizzle of Black Pepper Gravy for 25 calories, 10g fat, and 240mg sodium.

Tacos, Fajitas, & Quesadillas

Chili’s menu of Southwestern-style fare includes Tex-Mex favorites like tacos and nachos, as well as quesadillas, fajitas, and other Cajun and Chipotle-inspired entrees.

Most Nutritious Option

Chili’s 1975 Tacos (Lunch Combo, no sides)

450 calories, 24g fat, 11g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 1160 mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 23g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Bacon Ranch Steak Quesadilla

1830 calories, 137g fat, 46g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 4000 mg sodium, 69g carbohydrate, 10g sugar, and 82g protein

Try mixing and matching items from the side and kid’s menu to create your own lower-calorie Tex-Mex inspired dish.

For example, an order of Grilled Chicken Dippers from the kid’s menu has 300 calories and the mini-sized cheese quesadilla has 400 calories. Paired up, you can make a quesadilla for 700 calories — compared to the regular menu Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla which has 1680 calories, 125g fat, and 3710 mg sodium. 

Sandwiches

Chili’s offers limited sandwich choices, all of which are high-calorie (especially with all the fixings and sides). However, there are a few swaps you can use to make a healthier sandwich.

Most Nutritious Option

California Turkey Club (Lunch Combo, no sides)

590 calories, 35g fat, 10g saturated fat, 1050 mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 27g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Bacon Avocado Grilled Chicken Sandwich

1140 calories, 60g fat, 15g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 2670 mg sodium, 74g carbohydrate, 15g sugar, and 79g protein

The go-to method for reducing the calories of any sandwich is to skip the cheese, bacon, and high-fat condiments. Instead of creamy mayo, add a few slices of avocado for 80 calories and 7g of mostly healthy fats.

Passing up a side of fries will save over 400 calories and 600 mg sodium. If you want something crunchy to go with your sandwich, a kid’s menu side of celery sticks with ranch dip is only 180 calories.

Soup

Chili’s serves up a few varieties of soup by the bowl or cup, as well as paired with soups or sandwiches as part of a meal deal. Choose from Southwestern-inspired recipes with chicken, chili, and even clam chowder.

Most Nutritious Option

Southwest Chicken (Cup)

110 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 740 mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 4g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Original Chili (Bowl)

730 calories, 49g fat, 20g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 1910 mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 46g protein

While soup can be a low-calorie choice, it may not be filling enough on its own. A cup of Chicken Enchilada soup has 210 calories and 13g fat, but if you pair it with the Santa Fe Crispers Chicken Salad, you’ll need to add 940 calories and 69g fat to your meal. If you add dressing to your salad, that’s another 100-300 calories.

If you want to turn a cup of soup into a heartier meal, choose a lightly-dressed House Salad or a side of black beans for protein.

Salad

While you might expect salads to always be the healthiest choice, several of Chili’s salads are actually among the highest-calorie items on the menu. Avoid salads loaded with fried chicken or seafood, topped with crunchy carb-heavy extras, and doused in a high-fat dressing.

Most Nutritious Option

House Salad (Lunch Combo, no dressing)

80 calories, 3.5g fat, 1.5 saturated fat, 280 mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 6g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Quesadilla Explosion Salad

1400 calories, 93g fat, 29g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2370 mg sodium, 83g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 61g protein

To make a more filling salad from a side order of greens, look elsewhere on the menu for protein-rich sides. On the kid’s menu, you’ll find smaller portions of grilled chicken and even fresh pineapple, which you can use to add interesting flavors and protein to your salad.

On the fajita, sandwich, and sides menus, you’ll find an array of veggie toppings that can spice up a salad without dressing. If you do want to add dressing, order it on the side and avoid creamy dressings which can be high in calories, fat, and even sugar.

Choose lighter options like Honey Lime Vinaigrette (130 calories per 1.5oz) or better yet, ask for the greens to be tossed with just a classic mix of oil and vinegar. 

Sides

Chili’s offers a range of items to accompany the main part of your meal, but not all sides are created equal. Some options, like steamed veggies, can increase the nutrition to your meal without adding too many extra calories.

Most Nutritious Option

Roasted Asparagus

35 calories, 1g fat, 135 mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 2g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Awesome Blossom Petals

820 calories, 56g fat, 9g saturated fat, 1570 mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate, 10g sugar, and 9g protein

Other choices (especially those that are fried) may account for a meal on their own in terms of nutrition—even if the smaller serving fails to leave you feeling satisfied.

If you want to round out your entree with a side, stick to veggies. A side of steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus contributes nutrition to your meal without heaping on extra calories.

Desserts

The selection of sweets at Chili’s is basic compared to other casual dining restaurants and all the options are high in calories, fat, and sugar without adding much helpful nutrition. Large portions make it harder to determine the nutrition content of a single serving. Though, if you do choose a sweet treat, sharing with friends or packing up half to take home to enjoy later will help keep calories in check.

Most Nutritious Option

Mini Chocolate Molten Cake (Kids Menu)

570 calories, 25g fat, 13g saturated fat, 530 mg sodium, 82g carbohydrate, 56g sugar, and 7g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

1420 calories, 71g fat, 38g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 900 mg sodium, 189g carbohydrate, 116g sugar, and 14g protein

Even though it’s not that much bigger than the kid’s version, the regular menu Molten Cake has 1150 calories, 61g fat, and 102g sugar. A simple slice of cheesecake has fewer calories and carbs than other options (770 calories, 74g carbohydrate) but still adds 43g fat and 61g sugar.

To finish off with something just a little sweet, a side of fruit like pineapple or mandarin oranges will add fewer than 100 calories and 20g sugar to your meal.

Beverages

Chili’s has most of the classic beverage choices, such as fountain sodas, iced tea, lemonade, fruit juice, and milk. The chain also has a full menu of alcoholic drinks including beer, wine, and cocktails, though these beverages can add a lot of extra calories (and even sugar) to your meal.

Most Nutritious Option

Dasani Water

0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein
Least Nutritious Option

2% Chocolate Milk (ToGo Size)

330 calories, 8g fat, 5g saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 42g sugar, and 13g protein

Most of Chili’s non-alcoholic beverages are "bottomless,” meaning your drink will be refilled continuously unless you ask your server to stop. Those calories can quickly add up.

For example, one regular size strawberry lemonade has 140 calories. But if you have three lemonades during your lunch, you've consumed 420 extra calories and over 100g of sugar.

Whether you’re ordering take out, dining in, or eating at home, water is the healthiest beverage choice. Black coffee, “light” juice or iced tea, and diet soda tend to add few (if any) extra calories to your meal. Keep in mind that these choices often contain sugar substitutes or preservatives, such as aspartame, which you may want to avoid.

Diet-Specific Options

With such a wide-ranging menu, Chili’s offers options that suit a variety of dietary tastes and preferences. If you follow a special diet or avoid certain ingredients due to a food allergy, many meals at Chili’s can be prepared according to your needs as long as you let your server know when you place your order.

Gluten-free

Chili’s gluten-free menu is available to diners who need to avoid gluten or wheat due to sensitivity or Celiac’s disease. You can view the gluten-free menu online or request it when you’re dining in.

If you need your food handled according to special protocols to reduce cross-contamination of allergens, let your server know. While Chili’s staff can take steps to prevent contamination with gluten-containing products, these ingredients are present. Therefore, Chili’s can’t guarantee a meal is completely free from gluten.

Chili's Allergy Statement

Chili’s makes no claim that these items meet the definition of gluten-free, defined as containing less than 20 ppm of gluten per FDA standards. Because we have multiple sources of gluten in our kitchen there is a risk that gluten cross-contact may occur during the preparation and cooking of these items.

Gluten-free options at Chili’s may include:

  • Ancho Salmon
  • Classic Ribeye Steak
  • Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Baby Back Ribs (no sides)
  • Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

Low-carb

  • Caesar Salad
  • Seared Shrimp
  • Classic Sirloin (6oz)
  • Southwestern Chicken Soup (Cup)
  • House BBQ Baby Back Ribs (Half Rack)

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Turkey Patty
  • Buffalo Bone-In Wings
  • Grilled Chicken Dippers
  • 6-oz Sirloin with Avocado
  • House Salad (no dressing)

Low-fat

  • Chicken Bites
  • Black Bean Patty
  • Classic Sirloin (6 oz)
  • Margarita Grilled Chicken
  • Chicken Enchilada Soup (Cup)

Low-sodium

  • Beef Patty
  • Clam Chowder (Cup)
  • Homestyle Fries (Side)
  • Seared Shrimp (Half Order)
  • Mashed Potatoes (no gravy)

Vegetarian & Vegan

If you don’t eat meat or consume animal products, you’ll find a few vegan and vegetarian options at Chili’s. While the menu offerings aren’t as robust as they are at other popular chain restaurants, some meals can be customized to be vegan or vegetarian.

However, since Chili’s does use animal products, even meat-free options prepared in shared kitchen space, meaning they may not be suitable depending on the diet you follow.

Chili’s orders that may be suitable for a vegan diet include:

In addition to vegan-friendly choices on Chili’s menu, vegetarians may also enjoy:

  • Fruit and Veggie Sides
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Caesar or House Salad
  • Black Bean and Veggie Fajitas
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich or Cheese Quesadilla (Kid’s Menu)

Food Allergies and Safety

Chili’s provides a chart to help diners with food allergies and other special dietary considerations navigate its menu.

While Chili’s can’t assure an allergen-free meal due to the potential of cross-contamination of ingredients in the kitchen, it does denote the presence of several common food allergens on its menu, including:

The matrix also notes which dishes are at risk for cross-contact with allergens. If you have food allergies, it’s best to exercise caution and review the information carefully when dining out.

A Word From Verywell

Inspired by Southwestern-style fare as well as traditional casual dining favorites, Chili’s extensive menu caters to many different tastes and diets. However, with large serving sizes, bottomless drinks, and a menu of primarily salty, high-calorie dishes, finding nutritious options can be challenging. If you opt for the smaller portions of grilled meat, choose a serving of steamed veggies instead of starchy sides, and say no to a refill on your drink, it is possible to create a healthy, satisfying meal at Chili’s.

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