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


Verywell / Christian Alzate

Denny’s is a chain of American restaurants best known for its breakfast menu and diner-style food. When you open up the Denny’s menu, you’ll see large images of omelets, sausage links, burgers, and more. While these aren’t traditionally thought of as healthy choices, Denny’s has some menu items that are lower in calories, fat, and carbs, including salads, egg white dishes, and more.

Breakfast foods tend to be heavy with butter, sugar, and salt, but everything can be enjoyed in moderation. An easy way to fit pancakes and other classic American foods into your lifestyle is by planning ahead, sharing the meal with a friend, or putting a portion of the serving into a container for later.

What Experts Say

“If you are dining at Denny’s, it's easy to consume more than half a day’s worth of calories if you are not careful. If you are eating here regularly, check out the Fit Fare menu which includes nutrient-dense, healthier items served with lots of vegetables, such as grilled sirloin, wild Alaskan salmon, and egg white scrambles.” —Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN 

Navigating the Menu

Denny’s is known for its Slams, breakfast meals consisting of a main entrée and several sides. However, the menu also offers lunch and dinner options. The Denny’s menu is quite extensive.

With so many choices, you are bound to find something that satisfies both your taste buds and your dietary preferences. Consult the Denny’s Nutrition Guide for a full look at the nutrition facts for every menu item.

 Most Nutritious Option Least Nutritious Option
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks (Starters) Zesty Nachos (Starters)
Vegetable Beef Soup (Soups) Loaded Baked Potato Soup (Soups)
Single Cheeseburger (Burgers) Double Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger (Burgers)
House Salad (Salads) Cobb Salad (Salads)
The Super Bird (Melts & Handhelds) The Big Dipper Melt (Melts & Handhelds)
Fit Slam (Slams) Lumberjack Slam (Slams)
Hearty 9-Grain Pancake Breakfast (Pancakes & Crepes) Cinnamon Roll Pancake Breakfast (Pancakes & Crepes)
Loaded Veggie Omelette (Omelettes) Ultimate Omelette (Omelettes)
Country-Fried Steak & Eggs (Classic Breakfast) The Grand Slamwich (Classic Breakfast)
Wild Alaska Salmon (Classic Dinners) Plate Lickin’ Chicken Fried Chicken (Classic Dinners)
Broccoli (Sides) Seasoned Fries (Sides)
Jr. Premium Chicken Tenders (Kids) Jr. Cheeseburger (Kids)
New York Cheesecake, Plain (Desserts) Signature Panookie (Desserts)
Unsweetened Iced Tea (Drinks & Shakes) OREO Milk Shake (Drinks & Shakes)

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at Denny’s, the Fit Slam breakfast offers a large serving size while being lower in calories, fat, carbs, and cholesterol than other menu items.  


Denny's offers a selection of starters for every meal—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Choose from wings, mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders, nachos, pancake puppies, and more.

✓ Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

An order of the mozzarella cheese sticks will add 560 calories, 22g fat, 13g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrates, 32g protein, and 2,460mg sodium. While not the lowest-sodium dish, this is the lowest-calorie starter available.

✗ Zesty Nachos

The zesty nachos have as much calories, fat, and sodium as two to three meals. A full serving has 1,660 calories, 106g fat, 36g saturated fat, 170g carbohydrates, 44g protein, and 3,370mg sodium. Consider ordering the half-order of the dish, instead, for 870 calories.


Denny's offers a selection of three kettle-cooked soups, available all day long. Choose from chicken noodle, loaded baked potato, and vegetable beef soup.

✓ Vegetable Beef Soup

An 8-ounce cup of the vegetable beef soup has 200 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrates, 11g protein, and 2,280mg sodium.

✗ Loaded Baked Potato Soup

The loaded backed potato soup is the most calorie-dense option on this part of the menu. A bowl (12 ounces) of this soup has 440 calories, 29g fat, 15g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrates, 12g protein, and 1,650mg sodium. A cup of this soup has 100 fewer calories.

Alternatively, order the chicken noodle soup. A cup contains 260 calories, 10g fat, 4g saturated fat, 28g carbohydrates, 14g protein, and 2,580mg sodium.


Denny’s has a handful of burgers to choose from, each served with a side of your choice. Since burgers tend to be greasy and calorie-dense, the offerings on this section of the menu are typically higher in saturated fat, sodium, carbs, cholesterol, and calories. 

✓ Single Cheeseburger 

The single cheeseburger has 590 calories, 29g fat, 13g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrates, 35g protein, and 820mg sodium (including the bun and toppings). The beef patty on its own has 320 calories, 24g fat, 11g saturated fat, 0g carbs, 26g protein, and 440mg sodium.

Denny's also offers a meat-free Beyond burger patty (270 calories, 19g fat, 6g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrates, 20g protein, and 860mg sodium).

✗ Double Bacon Avocado Cheeseburger

The double bacon avocado cheeseburger has the highest markers across the board in this category. Each serving (burger, bun, and toppings, without sides) contains 1,420 calories, 99g fat, 38g saturated fat, 54g carbohydrates, 79g protein, and 2,000mg sodium. Each serving also contains 285mg cholesterol.

For much of the same flavor with less fat and sodium and fewer calories, you can order a single (one beef patty instead of two).


When it comes to navigating restaurant menus, the salad section is a go-to for many. Denny’s salad section is smaller than others with just two salads to choose from. However, you can customize your salad with toppings like avocado, grilled chicken, salmon, and more. There is also a small garden salad available as a side.

✓ House Salad

The house salad is a low-calorie option. It starts at 190 calories, 9g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 340mg sodium. Adding dressing and toppings will change these nutrition facts.

✗ Cobb Salad

The Cobb salad at Denny’s contains 480 calories, 34g fat, 12g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 22g protein, and 610mg sodium. Adding 3 ounces of blue cheese dressing increases the calories by 310 and fat by 32 grams, so order the dressing on the side and use a conservative amount or choose low-fat balsamic vinaigrette or fat-free Italian dressing.

Melts & Handhelds

Denny’s has almost a dozen sandwiches on its menu. Many of them contain chicken tenders, though some have deli slices or steak. Sandwiches made with deli slices tend to be lower in calories than other options.

✓ Super Bird Sandwich

The Super Bird sandwich features turkey breast slices and other toppings on grilled sourdough bread. Each sandwich contains 680 calories, 35g fat, 14g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrates, 46g protein, and 1,830mg sodium. Bacon is a recommended topping, but skipping it will reduce cholesterol and sodium.

✗ The Nashville Hot Chicken Melt

Of all the sandwiches on Denny’s menu, the Nashville Hot Chicken Melt is the highest in calories, fat, and saturated fat. Each serving contains 1,260 calories, 81g fat, 25g saturated fat, 84g carbohydrate, 50g protein, and 2,910mg sodium. If you choose this sandwich, opt for a side garden salad instead of fries.


The most well-known section of the Denny’s menu is the Slams. The Original Grand Slam consists of two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two bacon strips, and two sausage links. These items together result in a meal with enough calories for the whole day.

✓ Fit Slam

While you can build your own Slam or choose from a variety of other Slams, the most nutritious option is the Fit Slam. It contains 450 calories, 12g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 59g carbohydrates, 27g protein, and 860mg sodium. The meal consists of egg whites scrambled with veggies, turkey bacon strips, an English muffin, and fruit.

✗ Lumberjack Slam

The Lumberjack Slam is similar to the original but it has more sides. In addition to pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage, this Slam also includes grilled ham, hash browns, and bread. This meal provides 1,000 calories, 45g fat, 14g saturated fat, 110g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 3,410mg sodium. The sodium and 160mg cholesterol are more than what's recommended for an entire day.

Pancakes & Crepes

If you’re going to Denny’s, there’s a good chance you’ll be tempted to order the pancakes. Fortunately, there’s a nutritious way to enjoy this breakfast comfort classic. Just be mindful of the toppings high in sodium or sugar, such as butter, whipped cream, and caramel sauce.

✓ Hearty 9-Grain Pancake Breakfast

While not as fluffy as traditional buttermilk pancakes, the hearty 9-grain pancakes are lower in calories, sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium, making them the best choice in this category.

The serving contains 410 calories, 11g fat, 4g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates, 10g protein, and 880mg sodium. It also contains 21g sugar, which pales in comparison to the other pancake breakfasts. Request berries and banana slices on top for an extra serving of fruit.

✗ Cinnamon Roll Pancake Breakfast

As the name suggests, the cinnamon roll pancake breakfast with cream cheese icing is like a dessert. These pancakes provide 990 calories, 23g fat, 10g saturated fat, 185g carbohydrates, 10g protein, and 1,660mg sodium. They are served with hash browns and eggs, but the nutrition facts here are for the pancakes only.


Omelettes are another classic breakfast food. Depending on location, Denny’s has only a couple different omelettes to choose from. When made with veggies and minimal meat, omelettes can be a hearty and nutritious breakfast. 

✓ Loaded Veggie Omelette

The Loaded Veggie Omelette is exactly what it sounds like: an egg dish served with spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese. Each omelette contains 500 calories, 38g fat, 12g saturated fat, 29g protein, 9g carbohydrates, and 680mg sodium.

✗ Ultimate Omelette

Unlike the other offerings in this category, the Ultimate Omelette contains multiple types of meat: bacon and sausage. This dish provides 720 calories, 59g fat, 19g saturated fat, 37g protein, 9g carbohydrates, and 1,250mg sodium.

Classic Breakfasts

Since breakfast foods like pancakes and omelettes get their own menu categories, this section is reserved for the remaining options. Here you’ll find foods like country-fried steak, T-bone steak and eggs, various skillets, and more.

✓ Country-Fried Steak & Eggs

The most nutritious option in this section is the Country-Fried Steak & Eggs. The steak and hash browns provide 570 calories, 33g fat, 11g saturated fat, 16g protein, 51g carbohydrates, and 1,450mg sodium. The eggs are not included in those figures; choose egg whites for 40 additional calories, 15mg sodium, and 7g protein per egg

✗ Grand Slamwich

If you combine the classic Grand Slam with a breakfast sandwich, you get the Grand Slamwich. This consists of scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, and cheese on bread. Each Slamwich contains 1,320 calories, 81g fat, 27g saturated fat, 52g protein, 95g carbohydrates, and 3,410mg sodium. It also contains 595mg cholesterol. If you have your heart set on the Grand Slamwich, consider splitting it with a friend or omitting some of the meat.

Classic Dinners

The menu at Denny’s is breakfast heavy, but it has a hefty amount of dinner options, too. Among the dinner entrées are steak, fish, pot roast, chicken tenders, and more. For the healthiest options, stick to steak or fish.

✓ Wild Alaska Salmon

The sirloin steak and the wild Alaska salmon are very similar in terms of calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. But if you're trying to reduce your intake of red meat, the salmon might be a better choice. The nutrition facts for the Wild Alaska Salmon are as follows: 540 calories, 31g fat, 8g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 1,130mg sodium.

✗ Plate Lickin’ Chicken Fried Chicken

The Plate Lickin’ Chicken Fried Chicken at Denny's features chicken, gravy, and dinner bread. Before you add on any additional sides, you're already consuming 1,070 calories, 62g fat, 14g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates, 60g protein, and 3,230mg sodium.

Classic Sides

Along with your main dishes—for any meal of the day—Denny's provides a host of sides. In general, stick to steamed vegetables to pack in the most nutrition; avoid anything fried if you're looking to save calories.

✓ Broccoli

A side of broccoli provides 35 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 180mg sodium. This is the lowest-calorie side, and provides zero additional fat and minimal sodium.

✗ Seasoned Fries

One serving of seasoned fries will add 490 calories, 26g fat, 5g saturated fat, 57g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 1,100mg sodium to your meal. If you're craving potatoes, consider ordering the red-skinned mashed potatoes for 140 calories, 6g fat, 4g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 530mg sodium.


Denny’s often has promotions for kids’ meals, so it’s no surprise that kids have lots of options to choose from, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each kids' entrée comes with a choice of side; options include breakfast meats (like bacon), banana slices, fries, Goldfish crackers, grapes, a garden salad, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and and corn.

✓ Jr. Premium Chicken Tenders

The two-piece Jr. Premium Chicken Tenders entrée has 270 calories, 16g fat, 2g saturated fat, 18g protein, 15g carbs, and 1,000mg sodium. Pair with a fruit or veggie side to add micronutrients without much sodium.

✗ Jr. Cheeseburger

The Jr. Cheeseburger is likely a popular choice on the Denny’s kid’s menu, but it’s quite high in sodium and calories. Each burger contains 470 calories, 25g fat, 12g saturated fat, 27g protein, 34g carbohydrates, and 1,000mg sodium.


Aside from milkshakes, you'll find a few other dessert options on the Denny's menu, like the signature "Panookie" (a warm chocolate-chip cookie filled with molten chocolate and served on a skillet).

Denny's also has a separate dessert menu just for kids—but adults seeking smaller portions might be interested too. Options include a single scoop of ice cream and junior-size shakes in a few flavors.

✓ New York Style Cheesecake, Plain

The smaller size of this dessert (5 ounces) might account for its more favorable nutrition profile (compared to other desserts). It has 490 calories, 32g fat, 19g saturated fat, 9g protein, 42g carbohydrates, and 370mg sodium. It also has the least sugar of the dessert choices (29g).

The cheesecake is also available with strawberry topping and whipped cream, which adds about 70 calories, 1g fat, 15g carbohydrates, and 13g sugar,

✗ Signature Panookie

The Panookie, topped with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel, provides 820 calories, 40g fat, 25g saturated fat, 10g protein, 108g carbohydrates, and 460mg sodium. It has 73g sugar.

The fourth dessert option is the caramel apple pie crisp. While it has slightly more calories than the Panookie (830), it has less fat (27g; 15g saturated). It also has more carbohydrates (142g), sodium (690mg), and sugar (100g).

Drinks & Shakes

From fountain sodas and coffees to teas and milk shakes, Denny's offers a full menu of beverages at all hours of the day.

✓ Unsweetened Iced Tea

Water is always the most nutritious and hydrating option whether you're dining out or cooking at home. However, for a little more flavor, you can order the unsweetened iced tea at Denny's. It has 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 10mg sodium.

✗ OREO Milk Shake

When it comes to calorie-loaded beverages, the OREO Milk Shake is as packed as they come. This milkshake provides 1,050 calories, 56g fat, 32g saturated fat, 125g carbohydrates, 15g protein, and 610mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

Denny’s offers choices for gluten-free, low-carb, and vegetarian diets, but people following vegan, low-FODMAP, low-fat, and diabetes-friendly diets may have a more difficult time finding suitable options.


Denny’s has several gluten-free menu items that are clearly labeled. Though many items are served with bread, Denny’s offers gluten-free English muffins upon request.

  • Baked potato (no toppings)
  • Sirloin steak
  • Beef patty
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Egg whites
  • Salmon


Since a lot of Denny’s menu is heavy with animal products, it’s no surprise that people on a low-carb diet recommend the restaurant. Some low-carb favorites on the menu include:

  • Loaded Veggie Omelette 
  • Ultimate Omelette
  • T-Bone Steak & Eggs with hash browns
  • House salad
  • Fresh sautéed zucchini and squash


One of the major challenges of the low-FODMAP diet is maintaining the diet while eating out. Since the diet usually omits wheat, dairy, and some fruits and vegetables, options at Denny's are limited.

  • Fruit (omit apples, watermelon, and peaches)
  • Wild Alaska salmon
  • Grilled chicken
  • House salad (omit dressing and substitute oil and vinegar)


People with diabetes should generally limit dairy, starchy vegetables, and sweets. Recommended foods include those that are rich in protein, fiber, and good sources of carbs and fats.

  • Fit Slam
  • House salad
  • Garden side salad
  • Broccoli
  • Fresh sautéed zucchini and squash
  • Grilled chicken breast


For those following a low-fat diet, sticking to vegetarian options instead of those that contain a lot of meat can be a good strategy.

  • Hash Browns
  • Fit Slam
  • Double Berry Banana Pancake Breakfast 
  • House Salad
  • Red-Skinned Mashed Potatoes
  • Broccoli


Finding low-sodium options can be challenging at nearly any restaurant. At Denny’s, it’s difficult, but not impossible. To avoid high-sodium meals, avoid large serving sizes such as Build Your Own Slams. 

  • House salad
  • Sweet petite corn
  • Fresh sautéed zucchini and squash
  • Broccoli


Denny’s is very vegetarian-friendly. If you avoid meat but still consume dairy and eggs, you’ll have no problem navigating the menu. Note that the tomato sauce contains pork and chicken, so avoid dishes with tomato sauce. The grill is seasoned with bacon, so you may also wish to avoid dishes prepared on the grill.

  • Hearty 9-Grain Pancake Breakfast
  • Loaded Veggie Omelette
  • Beyond burger
  • House salad
  • Fresh sautéed zucchini and squash
  • Broccoli


If you follow a vegan or plant-based diet, there are just a few vegan options at Denny’s. These usually require modifications. Some of the sides are also vegan-friendly with modifications.

  • Beyond Burger (omit cheese and American sauce)
  • English muffin or toast (swap butter for jam)

Food Allergies and Safety

Denny’s provides an allergen guide, but warns that cross-contamination is possible in its kitchens. Though Denny's offers dairy-free and gluten-free options, people with allergies should be aware that these foods may come in contact with allergens.

It is generally safe for people with allergies to soy, fish, peanuts, and shellfish to enjoy a meal at Denny’s. However, many menu items contain dairy, eggs, and wheat. People with those food allergies should be extra cautious.

A Word From Verywell

Denny’s is a popular restaurant because of its extensive and affordable menu with American classics like pancakes, sandwiches, and burgers. It’s also a common chain restaurant with more than 1,700 locations, so you’re likely to come across a Denny’s at some point.

If you stop at a Denny’s, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the menu. The menu items tend to be high in calories, sodium, and fat, but one meal won’t derail your long-term health plans.

By Lacey Muinos
Lacey Muinos is a professional writer who specializes in fitness, nutrition, and health.