What to Eat at Dairy Queen: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Dairy Queen nutrition facts
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The first Dairy Queen opened in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Today, the chain has more than 6,800 locations worldwide. The franchise started out with malts, milkshakes, banana splits, and its signature soft serve ice cream. Over the last 70 years, Dairy Queen’s menu has expanded to include other frozen treats as well as other popular fast food favorites like burgers and fries. 

If you’re counting calories, you may find the large, high-calorie portions at most casual dining restaurants to be frustrating. At Dairy Queen, you’ll find many choices on the menu for 500 calories or less. With a few tips for making healthy fast food choices, you can even order treats that are under 300 calories. 

Of course, there’s more to nutrition than calories. Many items on Dairy Queen's menu are still high in fat, carbohydrates, and sugar—even if they’re within your calorie goal for the day.

It’s easy to order the most popular Dairy Queen treats in a smaller serving size, which can save 500 or more calories, as well as fat, carbs, and sugar. One option is to have a healthy meal at home, then visit Dairy Queen for dessert.

As long as you keep portions in mind, you can enjoy a sweet treat at Dairy Queen without compromising your health and fitness goals.

Viewing the nutrition for the entire Dairy Queen menu online before you go can help you choose the dessert that best suits your dietary needs and preferences. If you follow a special diet or have food allergies, the Dairy Queen nutrition chart also indicates which common food allergens are present in each menu item. 

What Experts Say

“Dairy Queen does have a side salad that can add fiber to a meal, but other options are lower in veggies and fiber and higher in sodium. If you’re eating here regularly, try to balance out your daily nutrition by opting for higher fiber and lower sodium meals that include veggies.”  


— Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options

  • Hamburger

  • Grilled Chicken BLT Salad

  • Side Salad

  • Vanilla Soft Serve

  • Strawberry Sundae

  • Banana Split

  • Dilly Bar (No Sugar Added)

  • Summer Berry Cheesecake Blizzard

  • Banana Shake

  • Dasani Water

Least Nutritious Options

  • 1/2lb FlameThrower GrillBurger 

  • Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Strip Basket

  • Cheese Curds

  • Dreamsicle Dipped Cone

  • Peanut Butter Sundae

  • Peanut Buster Parfait

  • Buster Bar

  • Royal Reese’s Brownie Blizzard

  • Peanut Butter Malt Shake

  • Mocha MooLatte

Burgers

Dairy Queen “Brazier” locations offer a menu of fast food staples like burgers, fries, and chicken tender baskets. As with most take-out burger options, Dairy Queen’s are mostly high in calories and sodium (even before you add a side of fries). 

Most Nutritious Option

Hamburger (Kid’s Menu)

320 calories, 14g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 620 mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 18g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1160 calories, 78g fat, 26g saturated fat, 2.5g trans fat, 1750 mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 52g protein

Chicken

Dairy Queen has several chicken options, including sandwiches, wraps, salads and strip baskets. Choose grilled chicken instead of fried, order smaller portions, and skip extras like a dipping sauce or a side of fries if you want to keep the calories, fat, and sodium content of your meal low. 

Most Nutritious Option

280 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 34g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1600 calories, 80g fat, 12g saturated fat, 4150 mg sodium, 167g carbohydrate, 48g sugar, and 53g protein

Snacks & Sides

In recent years Dairy Queen has offered a few savory snacks to its menu alongside classic sides like fries and onion rings, though most are high-carb and high-calorie. To make a more nutritious meal, choose a simple side salad instead of fried food like cheese curds. 

Most Nutritious Option

Side Salad (no dressing)

25 calories, 0g fat, 15 mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 1g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Cheese Curds (Large)

1000 calories, 67g fat, 38g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 1960 mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 49g protein

Classic Cones

Dairy Queen’s soft serve recipe is kept a secret, but what the chain will tell you is that the delicious treat technically can’t be called ice cream. The chain’s famous soft serve has just 5 percent milk fat — less than the percentage necessary for it to be dubbed ice cream. Smaller servings of plain vanilla soft serve in a dish or on a kid-size cone can be a cool treat for around 200 calories.

Most Nutritious Option

Vanilla Cone (Kids) 

170 calories, 4.5g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0.2g trans fat, 65 mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 4g protein

Least Nutritious Option

650 calories, 30g fat, 24g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 200 mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate, 63g sugar, and 12g protein

Sundaes

Made with its silky soft serve, the sundae options at Dairy Queen can be sensible treats as long as you stick with smaller sizes and avoid too many toppings like nuts and sauces. 

Most Nutritious Option

230 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 31g sugar, and 6g protein

Least Nutritious Option

780 calories, 44g fat, 13g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 520 mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 58g sugar, and 18g protein

Royal Treats

Dairy Queen’s menu also features a rotating cast of special treats like parfaits and splits. Keep in mind that these tasty takes on classic ice cream favorites tend to be high in calories, carbs, and sugar compared to the simpler options. 

Most Nutritious Option

520 calories, 14g fat, 9g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 140 mg sodium, 92g carbohydrate, 72g sugar, and 9g protein

Least Nutritious Option

710 calories, 31g fat, 18g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 340 mg sodium, 95g carbohydrate, 68g sugar, and 17g protein

Novelties

Dairy Queen’s line of prepackaged novelty treats vary in availability, but at most locations, you can find the classic Dilly Bar. Since these treats come in a wrapper, they may be safe ice cream options if you have food allergies or are trying to avoid ingredients like wheat or gluten, which might be present in Dairy Queen’s kitchen. 

Most Nutritious Option

No Sugar Added Dilly Bar

200 calories, 12g fat, 9g saturated fat, 60 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 3g protein

Least Nutritious Option

480 calories, 30g fat, 18g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 37g sugar, and 10g protein

Blizzards

Often served upside down to demonstrate its won’t-spill thickness, Dairy Queen Blizzards have been a fixture at the chain since it began (although the name wasn’t trademarked until the 1980s). Depending on the size and mix-ins you add, Blizzards can range from being a sensible dessert option to having more calories and fat than a full meal. Stick to the “minis” and resist the urge to toss in more extras. 

Most Nutritious Option

320 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 150 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 37g sugar, and 8g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1500 calories, 72g fat, 31g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat, 1000 mg sodium, 189g carbohydrate, 149g sugar, and 34g protein

Shakes & Malts

You’ll find an ever-changing list of milkshakes on Dairy Queen’s menu, and just about any flavor can be malted. Choose from hand-spun classics like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, fruity-flavors like banana and pineapple, or creamy peanut butter and caramel. 

Most Nutritious Option

Banana Shake (Small)

470 calories, 19g fat, 13g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 190 mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate, 53g sugar, and 13g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Peanut Butter Shake + Malt (Large)

1360 calories, 73g fat, 27g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat, 1007 mg sodium, 142g carbohydrate, 105g sugar, and 32g protein

Beverages

Whether you’re having a meal at home or dining out, water is always the healthiest beverage choice. At some locations, you’ll find a selection of Orange Julius (part of the Dairy Queen franchise) smoothies. Other options include Arctic Slush, Misty’s, and blended coffee drinks—though these options will add calories, fat, carbs, and sugar to your meal. 

Most Nutritious Option

Dasani Bottled Water

0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Mocha MooLatte (Large)

740 calories, 27g fat, 15g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 270 mg sodium, 114g carbohydrate, 100g sugar, and 13g protein

There are a few calorie-free and/or sugar-free drinks available at Dairy Queen. However, soft drinks often contain sugar substitutes or preservatives, such as aspartame, which you may prefer to avoid.

Diet-Specific Options

If you follow a special diet you might not expect to have many options when you go out to eat, especially at fast food restaurants. Whether you’re avoiding gluten, follow a plant-based diet, eat a certain way to manage a health condition, or have a food allergy, you’ll likely be able to find something tasty on Dairy Queen’s menu. 

Gluten-free

While Dairy Queen doesn’t denote certified gluten-free items on its menu, you can find snacks and treats that don’t contain wheat, rye, oats, or barley. While these items may not contain gluten or wheat, keep in mind that they could be cross-contaminated with these allergens during the storage or cooking process. 

If you have Celiac disease, talk to your doctor about how to safely order fast food with a gluten allergy. 

Items on Dairy Queen’s menu that may be suitable for a gluten-free diet include:

  • Vanilla and Chocolate Soft Serve
  • Vanilla, Caramel, and Mocha MooLattes
  • Dilly Bar and other novelties in a sealed wrapper
  • Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Patty, Hot Dog (no bun)
  • Chocolate, Caramel, Hot Fudge, Marshmallow, and Strawberry Sundaes and Shakes

If you’re wondering if Blizzards are gluten-free, Dairy Queen provides a specific explanation for gluten-sensitive diners.

Dairy Queen Allergen Statement

Please know, many of our Blizzard® candies and toppings contain wheat, rye, oats, and/or barley and would not be safe for a customer with gluten intolerance. As the Blizzard® machine is used for all flavors, cross-contamination may occur on any flavor Blizzard®. So for your safety, we recommend notifying the Dairy Queen® staff of your allergy or intolerance and requesting they thoroughly clean the Blizzard® machine before blending your Blizzard® to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Low-carb

  • Side Salad
  • Kid’s Chicken Strips
  • BLT Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Snack Melt
  • Vanilla Soft Serve (cup or kid’s cone)

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Side Salad
  • Cheeseburger
  • Kid’s Grilled Chicken Wrap
  • Buffalo Chicken Snack Melt
  • Chocolate or Vanilla Soft Serve (cup or kid’s cone)

Low-fat

  • Fries (kid’s menu)
  • Misty Slush (small)
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Pretzel Sticks with Queso
  • Mini Butterfinger Blizzard
  • Summer Berry Sundae (small)

Low-sodium

  • Side Salad
  • Banana Shake (small)
  • Vanilla MooLatte (small) 
  • Pineapple Sundae (small)
  • Mini Cotton Candy Blizzard

Vegetarian & Vegan

As dairy-containing soft serve is the cornerstone of the menu and the majority of its traditional fast food meals contain meat, you won’t find many vegan or vegetarian options at Dairy Queen.

Possible vegan-friendly items at Dairy Queen include:

  • Arctic Slush and Misty’s 
  • Side Salad (no dressing)
  • Banana or Applesauce (kid’s sides menu)
  • French Fries, Hash Browns, and Onion Rings

In addition to the vegan options, vegetarians may be able to add a few other Dairy Queen items to their diet-friendly list, including: 

  • Cheese Curds
  • Pretzels Sticks (optional queso)
  • Hot Desserts (Brownie or Cookie)
  • Classic Cones, Sundaes, Parfaits, Blizzards, Shakes, and Malts
  • Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cakes, Treatzzas, and Mini Blizzard Cakes (where available)

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have food allergies, carefully review the allergen information and Frequently Asked Questions section of Dairy Queen’s website. The nutrition chart for Dairy Queen’s menu uses a key to denote the presence of the following common food allergens

If you have a food allergy it’s always best to be cautious when going out to eat. Let Dairy Queen employees know about your allergy when you place your order. If you have questions about the ingredients used or food handling and safety practices in the kitchen, ask a manager for more information. 

A Word From Verywell 

Dairy Queen’s menu of traditional fast food favorites and its classic ice cream treats contains many high-calorie, high-fat, high-carb items with a lot of sugar. However, if you pay attention to portion size, it’s possible to enjoy a lower-calorie snack or dessert. If you have food allergies or follow a special diet, you may not find quite as many choices on Dairy Queen’s menu. Reviewing the nutrition information online before you go can help you plan an order that suits your tastes and meets your dietary needs. 

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