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

Shake Shack restaurant


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Shake Shack is an American fast-casual restaurant chain. In 2001, Shake Shack founder and celebrity chef Danny Meyer started a hot dog cart inside Madison Square Park in New York City. Soon after the cart opened, customers lined up daily during busy lunchtimes. 

In 2004, the hot dog cart was converted into a permanent, kiosk-style fast food restaurant. The restaurant expanded in 2010 and now has more than 270 locations worldwide, including 168 locations in the United States and 86 locations internationally.

Since its early days, Shake Shack has offered gourmet-style American classics like burgers, hot dogs, fries, and shakes. People gravitate to the burger chain since it emphasizes the importance of food quality. Shake Shack only uses 100 percent Angus beef that is antibiotic- and hormone-free.

Though Shake Shack is often compared to fast-food restaurants like In-N-Out, the restaurant chain has a fine dining mentality that sets it apart. The high-quality ingredients, commitment to excellent customer service, and overall sophisticated dining experience keep hungry customers lined up at the door.

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 preparation and modifications, you may find a suitable choice on the Shake Shack menu for your specific 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 hotdogs, a variety of French fries, chicken, veggies 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

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 for their entree. These entree items are always cooked fresh and never frozen, which is another reason why customers are drawn to Shake Shack. The chain is also known for its wide variety of frozen custards, which include shakes, floats, cups, cones, and concretes.

While some fast-casual dining spots do not offer alcoholic beverages, Shake Shack does. The offerings include a variety of beer and wine that are made exclusively for Shake Shack restaurants by a Brooklyn-based brewery and California-based winery. Customers who do not wish to consume alcoholic beverages can choose from a selection of non-alcoholic drinks like carbonated sodas and lemonade.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Vegan Veggie Shack (Burgers)

  • Chick’n Bites (Chicken)

  • Garden Dog (Flat-Top Dogs)

  • Fries (Crinkle Cut Fries)

  • Vanilla Cup (Frozen Custard)

  • Seasonal Lemonade (Drinks)

  • Shack White Wine (Beer and Wine)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Lockhart Link Burger Triple (Burgers)

  • Chick’n Shack (Chicken)

  • Publican Pork Sausage (Flat-Top Dogs)

  • Double Down Fries (Crinkle Cut Fries)

  • Shack Attack Double (Frozen Custard)

  • Grape Fanta (Drinks)

  • Brooklyn Brewery Shackmeister Ale 60-ounce draft (Beer and Wine)

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 its gourmet-style selection of hot dogs, Shake Shake is usually referred to as a burger chain. It is known for its 100 percent Angus beef that is antibiotic- and hormone-free 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.

Most Nutritious Option

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, 900mg sodium, 31g carbohydrates, and 4g protein.

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.

Least Nutritious Option

All of Shake Shack’s beef burgers are made with 100 percent all-natural Angus beef. The main burger menu items include the ShackBurger, SmokeShack, Link Burger, ShackStack, and Hamburger. Many of the burgers can be ordered with double or triple the beef.

When ordered triple, the Lockhart Link Burger contains 1,330 calories, 96g fat, 40g saturated fat, 4,110 mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, and 83g protein. Though low in carbs and high in protein, the calories and sodium content in this burger are high. This burger also contains 330mg of cholesterol.

Chicken

The chicken entrees at Shake Shack are limited. The chain offers three main chicken menu items: Chick’N Bites, Hot Chick’N, and Chick’N Shack. The chicken entrees at Shake Shack are made with real white meat that is fresh and never frozen as well as hormone- and antibiotic-free.

Most Nutritious Option

Shake Shack’s chicken options are fried instead of grilled or baked, so they are breaded. The chicken sandwiches are served on a potato bun, which is non-GMO but tacks on additional calories.

To enjoy Shake Shack’s fried chicken in moderation, opt for the six-piece Chick’N Bites. These are the chain restaurant’s gourmet-style take on chicken nuggets. Each crispy piece is made with hand-breaded chicken breast made from all-natural cage-free chicken. The six-piece order of the Chick’N Bites contains 300 calories, 19g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 780mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, and 17g protein. Choose from your choice of dipping sauce: BBQ sauce or honey mustard.

Least Nutritious Option

Though a crowd favorite, the Chick’N Shack’s nutritional profile makes it the least nutritious option among the chicken entrees. The Chick’N Shack is Shake Shack’s signature chicken sandwich, made with crispy chicken breast served on a potato bun and topped with lettuce, pickles, and buttermilk herb mayo.

Each sandwich contains 590 calories, 36g fat, 10g saturated fat, 1,170mg sodium, 34g carbohydrates, and 33g protein. This menu item also contains 120mg cholesterol per serving.

Flat-Top Dogs

Shake Shack continues to attract hungry customers with their selection of 100 percent Vienna beef hot dogs. They are free of hormones and antibiotics and served on a non-GMO potato bun. The chain also offers a meatless option for vegans and vegetarians called the Garden Dog. Since Shake Shack started as a hot dog stand in New York City, this is a popular section of the menu.

Shake Shack offers seven variations of its hot dog: Chicken Dog, Chicken Shack-Cado Dog, Garden Dog, Hot Dog, Publican Pork Sausage, Sausage Link, and Shack-Cado Dog.

Most Nutritious Option

The menu’s meatless hot 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 220 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 1,020mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates, and 8g protein.

For a healthier option for meat lovers, consider swapping the beef dog with a sausage link. The Chicken Dog is also a superior option to the beef-based hot dogs on Shake Shack’s menu.

Least Nutritious Option

Like burgers, hot dogs are classic American foods. They are known for being rich in protein and flavor, but they are also high in calories, fat, and cholesterol. The Publican Pork Sausage hot dog contains 560 calories, 47g fat, 16g saturated fat, 1,188mg sodium, 14g carbohydrates, and 13g protein.

Crinkle Cut Fries

Shake Shack is known for their Crinkle Cut Fries, which rival regular straight fries. Though the chain once tested hand-cut fries on the menu, the Crinkle Cut Fries were dubbed superior even though they are cooked from frozen. They are made from golden potatoes and contain zero trans fats. However, this classic American side dish is known for being high in calories, fat, and carbs.

The fast-casual chain offers five different variations of its fries to choose from: Fries, Bacon Cheese Fries, Big Bob’s Cheese Fries, Cheese Fries, and Double Down Fries. When looking for the most nutritious fries at Shake Shack, opt for options containing fewer toppings as these tend to significantly increase calories, saturated fat, and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

Shake Shack does not offer side dishes other than fries, so you will not find soups or salads on the menu. Working within the limited options for sides, which are all variations of the chain’s Crinkle Cut Fries, the plain fries contain the least calories, fat, carbs, and sodium.

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

Least Nutritious Option

The Double Down Fries at Shake Shack contain almost quadruple the amount of calories and sodium as the plain fries. This menu item consists of Crinkle Cut Fries topped with Shack cheese sauce, spicy cherry peppers, and all-natural smoked Niman Ranch bacon served in a bowl with utensils.

Each serving of these fries contains 1,910 calories, 117g fat, 49g saturated fat, 4,020mg sodium, 164g carbohydrates, and 41g protein. 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 with just a fraction of the nutrition facts.

Frozen Custard

The largest part of Shake Shack’s menu is its extensive selection of Frozen Custards. This comes as no surprise since the word “shake” is in the restaurant chain’s name. This category consists of shakes, floats, ice cream cups and cones, and concretes, which are frozen custards blended with toppings. 

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.

Most Nutritious Option

Though there are nearly endless options and combinations of flavors and toppings in Shake Shack’s Frozen Custards menu, the best way to keep the calories at bay is to keep it simple. If you are eager to try Shake Shack’s popular custard, try the single serving of vanilla ice cream in a cup. 

The Vanilla Cup will yield just 280 calories, 15g fat, 9g saturated fat, 180mg sodium, 30g carbohydrates, and 7g protein. It also contains 100mg cholesterol and 30g sugar per serving. Since some of Shake Shack’s Frozen Custards may contain more than 1,000 calories and 100g sugar per serving, this is a more reasonable option.

Least Nutritious Option

Right on the main menu, the Shack Attack is a highly popular Frozen Custard at Shake Shack. It is a chocolate frozen custard with fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, and Dude, Sweet Chocolate cocoa nib crack bar, topped with chocolate sprinkles.

Ordering a double of this chocolate dessert contains 1,090 calories, 69g fat, 43g saturated fat, 340mg sodium, 116g carbohydrates, and 18g protein. This dessert also contains 255mg cholesterol and 95g sugar. Like the Double Down Fries, the Shack Attack Double 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 carbonated sodas at the fountain. Shake Shack also offers cold brew coffee, juice, and lemonade. While water is always a great source of hydration that is naturally calorie-free, here are some drink options to consider and some to avoid if nutrition profiles are important to you.


Most Nutritious Option

Shake Shack offers multiple types of lemonade, including Seasonal Lemonade and Shack-Made Lemonade. Their Seasonal Lemonade is the nutritionally superior choice since it is made with real ingredients like fruit zest and fruit purees, and they are made without high fructose corn syrup.

When ordering the Seasonal Lemonade, choose between a small or large serving size. The small size Seasonal Lemonade contains 5 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 10mg sodium, 1g carbohydrates, and 0g protein. The cold brew coffee, apple juice, and orange juice are also sound options.

Least Nutritious Option

Burgers, fries, and sodas are a classic American diner trio. When enjoying your Shake Shack burgers and crinkle cut fries on special occasions, it may be tempting to order a soft drink or carbonated soda. While Shake Shack offers classic soft drinks like Root Beer, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Sprite, these tend to be potent sources of sugar.

A large order of the 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 in moderation, order the smaller size or enjoy it on special occasions.

Beer and Wine

Many fast-casual restaurants do not sell alcoholic beverages, but Shake Shack sets itself apart by offering a small variety of beer and wine. While this attracts many customers, alcohol can be high in calories and carbohydrates. Like food, alcohol should be consumed in moderation.

Most Nutritious Option

Since wine is associated with some health benefits, you can order a glass of wine at Shake Shack with confidence. Shake Shack’s red and white wines are made exclusively for the restaurant by Frog’s Leap, a winery in Napa Valley, California.

A glass of Shack White, the restaurant’s exclusive white wine, contains 140 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg sodium, 4g carbohydrates, and 0g protein. A 750ml bottle of Shack White wine contains 600 calories.

Least Nutritious Option

Like Shake Shack’s wine offerings, the restaurant’s beer selection is limited and made exclusively for the chain by Brooklyn Brewery. While Shake Shack is selective with its menu of alcoholic beverages, beer can be a potent source of calories and carbohydrates. It also may contain gluten.

A 60oz draft of the Brooklyn Brewery Shackmeister Ale contains 780 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg sodium, 62g carbohydrates, and 9g protein. If you like to drink beer but want to watch your calorie consumption, split this draft with your party.

Diet-Specific Options

Shake Shack offers choices for gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, low-fat, and low-carb diets, but could improve its offerings 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 options on the Shake Shack menu.

Gluten-free

Shake Shack boasts that it can accommodate a gluten-free diet, though they can’t guarantee cross-contamination will not occur. Guests can request a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap upon request, making many of the burgers and hot dogs free of gluten ingredients. Since the chicken sandwiches and ‘Shroom Burger contain gluten, they should be avoided by people who follow a gluten-free diet.

  • Garden Dog (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Veggie Shack (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Crinkle Cut Fries (made in shared equipment so cross-contamination is possible)
  • Hamburger (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Cheeseburger (request gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)

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. However, these menu items can be made with fewer carbohydrates by substituting the potato bun with a lettuce wrap.

  • Chick’N Bites
  • Sausage Link
  • Burger Patty
  • Chicken Dog
  • Shack White

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 20g of fat.

  • Chicken Dog
  • Vegan Veggie Shack (lettuce wrap)
  • Chick’N Bites
  • Garden Dog

Vegetarian

Since vegetarians have fewer restrictions than vegans, they tend to have more options when dining out. Shake Shack offers two meatless burger options for vegetarians, including 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
  • Vanilla Cup

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 the mayo and request a wheat bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Garden Dog (request a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap)
  • Seasonal Lemonade
  • Crinkle Cut Fries

Food Allergies and Safety

According to Shake Shack’s Allergen Information, food allergens are present in the restaurant kitchens. 

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

A burger joint may not be your ideal of a restaurant with healthy options, and 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. Shake Shack sources their ingredients carefully, so the quality is superior to your typical fast food restaurant.

If you find yourself at a Shake Shack for lunch or dinner, consider ordering the meatless options to cut back on calories, fat, and cholesterol. While you probably should not visit Shake Shack on a daily basis since foods like fries, shakes, and burgers can exceed your recommended sodium and saturated fat limits quickly, enjoying one of their popular burgers or hot dogs on special occasions is reasonable. Just be sure to plan ahead and eat in moderation.

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