What to Eat at Shake Shack: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Shake Shack restaurant


Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

Since its early days, Shake Shack has offered gourmet-style American classics like burgers, hot dogs, fries, and shakes. This chain also emphasizes food quality. Shake Shack only uses 100% Angus beef that is antibiotic- and hormone-free.

If you are looking for elevated American food in a fast-casual setting, Shake Shack might be of interest to you. Though the menu is simple, Shake Shack offers options for gluten-free and vegetarian diets. With some advance planning and modifications, you may find a suitable choice on the Shake Shack menu for your dietary needs.

What Experts Say

"When dining at Shake Shack, you are likely looking to enjoy a burger, but the restaurant also offers 100% Vienna beef hot dogs, a variety of French fries, chicken, veggie burgers, custard, breakfast, and even treats for dogs. There are not many vegetable options on this menu, so if you are dining here frequently, you will want to make sure you are getting your fruits and vegetables in throughout the rest of the day. If you want to lighten up your meal, you can ask for a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. Single burgers will be less caloric and equally satisfying. Sharing French fries and omitting the cheese and bacon sauce will also save you sodium, calories, and saturated fat."

Barbie Cervoni, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

Since the restaurant chain started as a small hot dog cart, it is no surprise that the Shake Shack menu is relatively simple. Patrons can expect gourmet-style burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and fries, and at some locations, breakfast sandwiches. The chain is also known for its wide variety of frozen custards, which include shakes, floats, cups, cones, and malts.

Shake Shack also offers a variety of beers and wines made exclusively for its restaurants by a Brooklyn-based brewery and a California-based winery. Shake Shack also offers a selection of non-alcoholic drinks like sodas and lemonade.

What to Order & Avoid at Shake Shack
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Veggie Shack (Burgers)  Lockhart Link Burger Triple (Burgers)
Chicken Bites (Chicken)  Chicken Shack (Chicken)
Garden Dog (Flat-Top Dogs) Shackmeister Cheddar Brat (Flat-Top Dogs)
Fries (Crinkle Cut Fries) Double Down Fries (Crinkle Cut Fries)
Vanilla Cup (Shakes & Frozen Custard) Loaded Chocolate Cookies & Cream Shake (Shakes & Frozen Custard)
Organic Iced Tea (Drinks) Grape Fanta (Drinks)

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest item on the Shake Shack menu, the Veggie Shack’s nutrition profile makes it the most nutritious option. It is a vegan-friendly veggie burger patty topped with vegetables. Order it lettuce-wrapped in lieu of a potato bun brushed with butter for fewer carbs and calories.

Burgers

While the restaurant chain started out with a gourmet-style selection of hot dogs, Shake Shake is usually referred to as a burger chain. It is known for its 100% Angus beef that is fresh instead of frozen. 

Meat lovers will have no problem finding a juicy burger on the Shake Shack menu, though vegetarians and vegans have meatless options as well. Shake Shack offers three meatless options: the ‘Shroom Burger, the Veggie Shack, and grilled cheese.

All burgers can be served on a non-GMO potato bun that is brushed with butter, a gluten-free bun, or lettuce-wrapped.

✓ Veggie Shack

Shake Shack’s beef burgers tend to be high in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium, so the meatless options are likely the most nutritious option. When ordered vegan and lettuce-wrapped, the Veggie Shack contains 310 calories, 18g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 31g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 900mg sodium.

The Veggie Shack is a newer menu option that is available at select Shake Shack locations. It is a veggie patty that is packed with greens, grains, and herbs. Toppings include avocado, roasted tomato, shredded lettuce, and lemon mayo on a wheat bun. Vegans can omit the mayo and anyone can omit the wheat bun for fewer carbs and calories. Shake Shack’s signature potato buns contain dairy, so they are not vegan-friendly.

If your Shake Shack location does not have veggie burgers, or you prefer some beef in your burger, the best choice is likely to be the single hamburger. It provides 370 calories, 18g fat, 8g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrates, 25g protein, and 850mg sodium. (Note that the Single Shackburger has a different nutrition profile, as it comes with cheese and ShackSauce.)

✗ Lockhart Link Burger Triple

Many of Shake Shack's burgers can be ordered with double or triple the beef. When ordered triple, the Lockhart Link Burger contains 1,300 calories, 92g fat, 38g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 83g protein, and 4,110 mg sodium. Though low in carbs and high in protein, the calories and sodium content in this burger are high. This burger also contains 320mg of cholesterol.

Chicken

The chicken entrees at Shake Shack are limited. The chain offers two main chicken menu items: the chicken shack sandwich and chicken bites. The chicken entrees at Shake Shack are made with real white meat that is hormone- and antibiotic-free. But both are breaded and fried.

✓ Chicken Bites

To enjoy Shake Shack’s fried chicken in moderation, opt for the six-piece chicken bites. These are the restaurant’s take on chicken nuggets. The six-piece order contains 300 calories, 19g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 780mg sodium. Dipping sauces include barbecue and honey mustard.

✗ Chicken Shack

The chicken shack is Shake Shack’s basic chicken sandwich, made with crispy chicken breast served on a potato bun and topped with lettuce, pickles, and buttermilk herb mayo.

Each sandwich contains 550 calories, 31g fat, 7g saturated fat, 1,170mg sodium, 34g carbohydrates, and 33g protein. This menu item also contains 110mg cholesterol per serving.

Flat-Top Dogs

Shake Shack's 100% Vienna beef hot dogs are free of hormones and antibiotics and served on a non-GMO potato bun. The chain also offers a meatless option called the Garden Dog at some locations.

Shake Shack offers five variations of its hot dog: the regular hot dog, the sausage link dog, the Publican pork sausage, the Shackmeister cheddar brat, and the garden dog, Not every option appears on the menu (some are considered "secret menu" options) in every location.

✓ Garden Dog

The Garden Dog is the most nutritious in this category due to its low calorie, fat, and cholesterol content. Though customers might wonder if the Garden Dog is a veggie dog, it is actually a pickle base loaded up with vegetables and classic hot dog toppings. This brings the nutrition facts to 180 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 1,060mg sodium.

Meat lovers might consider a sausage link, which has fewer calories and less fat than the beef hot dog: 240 calories, 20g fat, 7g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 682mg sodium.

✗ Shackmeister Cheddar Brat

Hot dogs are known for being rich in protein and flavor, but they are also high in calories, fat, and cholesterol. The Shackmeister cheddar bratwurst provides 690 calories, 51g fat, 21g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 27g protein, and 1,210mg sodium.

For comparison, the regular hot dog has 350 calories, 22g fat, 10g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrates, 16g protein, and 800mg sodium.

Crinkle Cut Fries

Shake Shack is known for its crinkle cut fries. Though the chain once tested hand-cut fries on the menu, the crinkle cut fries were dubbed superior. They are made from golden potatoes and contain zero trans fats. However, this classic side dish is known for being high in calories, fat, and carbs.

Shake Shack offers five different variations of fries to choose from: regular fries, cheese fries, bacon cheese fries, truffle fries, and double down fries.

✓ Regular Fries

When looking for the most nutritious fries at Shake Shack, opt for fewer toppings, as these tend to significantly increase calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

An order of the regular fries at Shake Shack contains 470 calories, 22g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 63g carbohydrates, 6g protein, and 740mg sodium. They also contain just 15mg cholesterol and 1g sugar and provide 7g fiber.

✗ Double Down Fries

The Double Down Fries at Shake Shack (not available at all locations) contain almost quadruple the amount of calories and sodium as the plain fries. This menu item consists of crinkle cut fries topped with cheese sauce, spicy cherry peppers, and bacon served in a bowl with utensils.

Each serving of these fries contains 1,910 calories, 117g fat, 49g saturated fat, 164g carbohydrates, 41g protein, and 4,020mg sodium. They also contain 1g trans fat, 270mg cholesterol, and 5g sugar per serving. Splitting an order of these fries with your table is a great way to try a fun menu item without consuming as much fat and sodium.

Shakes & Frozen Custard

The largest part of Shake Shack’s menu is its extensive selection of frozen custards and shakes. This category consists of shakes, malts, floats, cups, and cones. 

The custard base is made from cage-free eggs and all-natural sugar. These desserts are always free of high fructose corn syrup. Customers can opt for a single or double serving size of all frozen custard menu items.

✓ Vanilla Cup

Though there are nearly endless options and combinations of flavors and toppings in Shake Shack’s frozen custards menu, the best way to reduce calories is to keep it simple. To try Shake Shack’s popular custard, order the single serving of vanilla ice cream in a cup. 

The vanilla cup provides 280 calories, 15g fat, 9g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 180mg sodium. It also contains 100mg cholesterol and 30g sugar per serving.

✗ Loaded Chocolate Cookies & Cream Shake

The loaded chocolate cookies and cream shake is not on the menu at every location, although the unloaded version is. It is a shake made from chocolate frozen custard with chocolate cookies and whipped cream.

The loaded shake provides 1,160 calories, 56g fat, 32g saturated fat, 126g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 450mg sodium. This dessert also contains 265mg cholesterol and 108g sugar. Like the double down fries, the loaded chocolate cookies and cream shake is a delicious treat that is best enjoyed on occasions or split with your party.

Drinks

Like most fast-casual restaurants, Shake Shack offers a wide variety of drinks, including fountain sodas. Shake Shack also offers cold brew coffee, juice, and lemonade. Water is always a great source of hydration that is naturally calorie-free.

✓ Organic Iced Tea

Shake Shack offers multiple types of lemonade and iced teas. Its organic iced tea contains minimal calories and sodium. The small size contains 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 10mg sodium, 1g carbohydrates, and 0g protein. Apple juice and orange juice are also sound options, though they have more calories and naturally occurring sugar.

✗ Grape Fanta

Burgers, fries, and sodas are a classic American diner trio. While Shake Shack offers classic soft drinks like root beer, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Sprite, these tend to be potent sources of sugar and calories.

A large serving of grape Fanta soda contains 270 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 55mg sodium, 73g carbohydrates, and 0g protein. All 73g of carbohydrates come from sugar. To enjoy soda like grape Fanta, order the smaller size or enjoy it on special occasions only.

Diet-Specific Options

Shake Shack offers gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, and low-carb menu items, but few options for diabetes-friendly, low-FODMAP, and low-sodium diets. Since the menu is limited, it can be challenging for people following certain diets to find suitable choices.

Gluten-Free

Shake Shack states that it can accommodate a gluten-free diet, though it can’t guarantee cross-contamination will not occur. Guests can request a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap, making many of the burgers and hot dogs free of gluten ingredients. Note that the chicken sandwich and meat-free ‘Shroom Burger contain gluten (even when ordered without a bun).

  • Hot dog or garden dog (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap; omit relish)
  • Crinkle cut fries (made in shared equipment so cross-contamination is possible)
  • Any beef burger except Link Burgers (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap; omit ShackSauce)
  • Shakes: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors do not contain gluten and are not processed in a gluten-containing environment
  • Custard cups (vanilla and chocolate) and floats

For a nutritious option, order the garden dog on a lettuce wrap to load up on vegetables for relatively few calories.

Low-Carb

People who follow a low-carb diet are more likely to have success finding suitable menu options at Shake Shack when building a meal around animal products, which are naturally low in carbohydrates. Avoid menu items that are served on a bun or bread, such as burgers and hot dogs, or swap a lettuce wrap for the bun.

  • Burger patty (0g carbs)
  • Sausage link (2g carbs)
  • 6-piece chicken bites (15g carbs)

For the lowest-carb meal, order the burger patty without a bun. It has no carbohydrates (a lettuce wrap adds 1g carbohydrate). Add veggie toppings such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions for additional flavor without additional carbs.

Low-Fat

Burger joints like Shake Shack are not typically go-to places for low-fat options. However, some of the menu items contain less than 20 grams of fat.

  • Vegan Veggie Shack with lettuce wrap (18g fat)
  • Single hamburger (18g fat)
  • Burger patty (12g fat)
  • Grilled cheese (18g fat)
  • 6-piece chicken bites (19g fat)
  • Garden dog (3g fat)
  • Single vanilla custard cup (15g fat)

The garden dog contains only 3g fat and provides a serving or two of veggies. Order this to minimize your fat intake.

Vegetarian

Shake Shack offers two meatless burger options for vegetarians, the ‘Shroom Burger and Veggie Shack. Vegans should avoid the ‘Shroom Burger since it contains cheese, but the Veggie Shack is a plant-based patty. 

  • ‘Shroom Burger
  • Veggie Shack
  • Grilled cheese
  • Garden dog
  • Fries
  • All custard items

Vegan

The non-GMO potato buns at Shake Shack are not vegan since they contain dairy. Vegan-friendly burger and hot dog options at Shake Shack can instead be served with a gluten-free bun, wheat-bun, or lettuce wrap, which are all free of animal ingredients. While the vegan offerings at Shake Shack are limited, vegans can enjoy a filling meal at the popular chain restaurant.

  • Veggie Shack (omit mayo and request a wheat bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Garden dog (request a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Crinkle cut fries

Food Allergies and Safety

According to Shake Shack’s allergen information, food allergens are present in the restaurant kitchens. So while users can opt for menu items that do not contain certain dietary allergens, Shake Shack can’t guarantee that cross-contamination will not occur. Allergen-friendly foods may come in contact with equipment that has been used to prepare foods containing allergens like wheat, peanuts, milk, and soy.

Since Shake Shack offers a gluten-free bun, many of the hot food items can be modified to accommodate a gluten-free diet. Burgers can also be ordered with a lettuce wrap for a naturally gluten free option that is lower in calories and carbohydrates. Though the fries are made with gluten-free ingredients, they are passed through the same fryer as the ‘Shroom Burger, which contains breadcrumbs made with gluten.

Someone with an allergy to soy will have a difficult time finding soy-free choices on the Shake Shack menu. Many of the hot food options, including the fries, contain soy. While the shakes and custards are not the most nutritious options, many of them are soy-free.

Vegans and vegetarians should be aware that plant-based menu items like the ‘Shroom Burger and Veggie Shack may be cooked on the shared equipment. Cross-contamination with chicken and beef may occur in the Shake Shack kitchen.

A Word From Verywell

Shake Shack does not claim to be a health food establishment. However, the chain does make some efforts to elevate classic American food favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and fries, including offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options and sourcing ingredients carefully.

If you dine at Shake Shack, consider meatless options to cut back on calories, fat, and cholesterol. While foods like fries, shakes, and burgers can exceed your recommended sodium and saturated fat limits quickly, enjoying a burger or hot dogs on occasion is reasonable. Just plan ahead and eat in moderation.

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shake Shack. Stand for something good.