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

Dairy Queen

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Dairy Queen’s menu contains popular fast food favorites like burgers and fries, as well as its famous Blizzard and soft serve sweet treats.

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

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

Dairy Queen's menu includes items that range quite a bit in nutritional value.

What to Order & Avoid at Dairy Queen
 Most Nutritious Option Least Nutritious Option
Hamburger 1/2lb FlameThrower GrillBurger 
Grilled Chicken BLT Salad Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Strip Basket
Side Salad Cheese Curds
Vanilla Soft Serve Dreamsicle Dipped Cone
Strawberry Sundae Peanut Butter Sundae
Banana Split Peanut Buster Parfait
Dilly Bar (No Sugar Added) Buster Bar
Summer Berry Cheesecake Blizzard Royal Reese’s Brownie Blizzard
Banana Shake Peanut Butter Malt Shake
Dasani Water Mocha MooLatte

Most Nutritious Option

If you're looking for a sweet treat at Dairy Queen, your most nutritious option will be the Kids Vanilla Cone.

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). 

✓ Hamburger

The kids' menu hamburger contains 320 calories, 14g fat, 6g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 620 mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 18g protein. In a smaller portion than the regular menu hamburger, and containing the beef patty, ketchup, mustard, and sliced pickles on a bun, this burger delivers the classic taste for the fewest number of calories, sodium, and fat.

✗ 1/2lb FlameThrower GrillBuger

The ½ lb FlameThrower GrillBurger combo meal provides 1,160 calories, 78g fat, 26g saturated fat, 2.5g trans fat, 1,750 mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 52g protein. Eliminate the soda and fries (these are included with the combo meal) to save nearly 300 calories and 590mg sodium.

Chicken

Dairy Queen has several chicken options, including sandwiches, wraps, salads, and strip baskets.

✓ Grilled Chicken BLT Salad

Dairy Queen's Grilled Chicken BLT Salad includes 280 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 980 mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 34g protein. Served on a bed of greens, this option can be a healthy main meal when you want to satisfy a chicken craving.

✗ Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Strip Basket

The 6-piece Honey BBQ Glazed Chicken Strip Basket contains 1,600 calories, 80g fat, 12g saturated fat, 4,150 mg sodium, 167g carbohydrate, 48g sugar, and 53g protein. Choose rotisserie-style 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. The 6-piece Rotisserie-Style Chicken Bites Basket contains 610 calories, 27g fat, 5g saturated fat, 1,300mg sodium, 57g carbohydrates, 1g sugar, and 35g 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.

✓ Side Salad

The Side Salad with no dressing contains 25 calories, 0g fat, 15 mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 1g protein. Made with only four ingredients — lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage — this simple salad is low in calories while delivering a nutritious crunch.

✗ Cheese Curds

The large Cheese Curds contain 1,000 calories, 67g fat, 38g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 1,960 mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 49g protein. To make a lower-calorie and lower-sodium meal, skip the side of cheese curds and order a small fry or onion ring instead.

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 milkfat — less than the percentage necessary for it to be dubbed ice cream.

✓ Kids Vanilla Cone

Dairy Queen's kids' Vanilla Cone contains 160 calories, 4.5g fat, 3g saturated fat, 0.2g trans fat, 65 mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, and 4g protein. These smaller servings of plain vanilla soft serve in a dish or on a kid-size cone can be a cool treat for less than 200 calories.

✗ Dreamsicle Dipped Cone

The large Dreamsicle Dipped Cone has 650 calories, 30g fat, 24g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 200 mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate, 63g sugar, and 12g protein. Opt for a kids' size Dreamsicle Dipped Cone to save 440 calories and 43g sugar.

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. 

✓ Strawberry Sundae (Small)

The small Strawberry Sundae contains 230 calories, 7g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 90 mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 31g sugar, and 6g protein. This classic sweet and cool treat provides the fewest calories in this category, and the choice of strawberry syrup saves you on sugar, when compared to other possible toppings including peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate.

✗ Peanut Butter Sundae (Large)

The large Peanut Butter Sundae has 780 calories, 44g fat, 13g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 520 mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate, 58g sugar, and 18g protein. Choose a smaller size — either small or medium — to save additional calories and sugar, and opt for alternative toppings.

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. 

✓ Banana Split

Dairy Queen's Banana Split contains 520 calories, 14g fat, 9g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 140 mg sodium, 92g carbohydrate, 72g sugar, and 9g protein. With soft serve, bananas, sauces, and whipped toppings, the dish is the lowest-sugar royal treat available.

✗ Peanut Buster Parfait

The Peanut Buster Parfait has 710 calories, 31g fat, 18g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 340 mg sodium, 95g carbohydrate, 68g sugar, and 17g protein. It contains soft serve, peanuts, and hot fudge sauce, all which contribute to the high sugar count of the dish. Reach for the Triple Chocolate Brownie as an alternative chocolate treat. It contains 540 calories, 25g fat, 9g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 260mg sodium, 74g carbohydrates, 57g sugar, and 8g 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. 

✓ No Sugar Added Dilly Bar

The No Sugar Added Dilly Bar has 200 calories, 12g fat, 9g saturated fat, 60 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 3g protein. This low-calories sweet treat is potentially a better option for those avoiding certain allergens.

✗ Buster Bar

The Dairy Queen Buster Bar contains 480 calories, 30g fat, 18g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 37g sugar, and 10g protein. With peanuts, fudge, soft serve, and a chocolate coating, this treat is DQ's most sugar-loaded novelty item. Alternatively, choose the regular Dilly Bar or vegan-friendly Non-Dairy Dilly Bar to cut back on calories and sugar.

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. 

✓ Summer Berry Cheesecake (Mini)

The mini Summer Berry Cheesecake blizzard contains 320 calories, 12g fat, 7g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 150 mg sodium, 46g carbohydrate, 37g sugar, and 8g protein. With three different fruit berries — raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries — and chunks of cheesecake, this sweet blizzard does feature healthy fruit ingredients.

✗ Royal Reese’s Brownie (Large)

The large Royal Reese’s Brownie includes 1,500 calories, 72g fat, 31g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat, 1,000 mg sodium, 189g carbohydrate, 149g sugar, and 34g protein. The "Royal" blizzards on Dairy Queen's menu tend to contain the most calories and sugar of all available blizzard treats. The Royal Rocky Road Trip DQ Blizzard Treat and Royal New York Cheesecake Blizzard Treat each contain 1,510 and 1,350 calories, respectively.

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. 

✓ Banana Shake (Small)

The small Banana Shake has 470 calories, 19g fat, 13g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 190 mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate, 53g sugar, and 13g protein. The blended drink does benefit from the addition of the banana — meaning you receive added fiber and potassium.

✗ Peanut Butter Shake + Malt (Large)

The large Peanut Butter Shake + Malt contains 1,250 calories, 72g fat, 26g saturated fat, 1.5g trans fat, 830 mg sodium, 119g carbohydrate, 89g sugar, and 30g protein. Consider sharing this drink with a friend — with high calories, carbohydrates, and sugar, this sweet treat can be enjoyed together.

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. 

✓ Dasani Bottled Water

The Dasani Bottled Water provides 0 calories, 0g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein. When it comes to beverage choices, water is the top option.

✗ Mocha MooLatte (Large)

The large Mocha MooLatte contains 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

  • 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

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. 

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)
  • Fruit Smoothies
  • Orange Julius (orange flavor)
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich
  • Summer Berry Sundae (small)

Low-Sodium

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

Vegetarian

  • 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)

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.

Vegan

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

The abpve are possible vegan-friendly items at Dairy Queen but note that items are prepared in an environment where meat and dairy are handled.

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: 

  • Soy
  • Milk
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Tree nuts

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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Article Sources
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  1. Am. D.Q. Corp. Nutrition Facts & Allergy Information For Food & Treats. Updated June 2021.