What to Eat at Steak ‘n Shake: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Steak N Shake

Verywell / Christian Alzate

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A staple in the mid-western and Southern U.S. since the 1930s, Steak ‘n Shake restaurants offer their famous steakburgers complemented by hand-dipped, flavorful shakes.

A hybrid of takeaway and sit-down establishments, Steak ‘n Shake caters to diners looking for a quick lunch and those longing to catch up with family and friends over a slow meal of tasty burgers and ice cream. A number of the locations are also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with breakfast items available for the earliest of risers.

You won’t find a number of healthy menu options, as this restaurant is known for food with its namesake—burgers made with steak and milkshakes. To stick to a diet of lean proteins and vitamin-rich foods, you should only visit Steak ‘n Shake on special occasions and stay mindful of what you order when you do.

What Experts Say

“Steak n’ Shake uses fresh ingredients, but the menu options can be high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. For healthier options, stick to a basic burger and try a side salad instead of French fries for added fiber. Aim to make your other meals in the day lower in calories, sodium, and saturated fat to balance your daily intake.”

Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDE

Navigating the Menu

The majority of the menu items are high calorie, and most include gluten, dairy, and/or meat. This includes a number of steakburgers with toppings such as bacon, mushrooms, and cheese, and dozens of flavors and sizes of milkshakes.

You will also find a number of French fry options, including flavors such as Chili Cheese, Cajun, and the popular Parmesan and Garlic Herb, as well as desserts.

The most ordered treats are the hand-dipped shakes of both classic and specialty flavors, including the traditional chocolate and strawberry, egg nog, and candy milkshake confections, such as Kit Kat or cotton candy mixed in the ice cream.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Single Without Cheese (Steakburgers)

  • Grilled Chicken (Sandwiches)

  • Chili – Genuine Cup (Chili)


    Veggie with Portobellos (Melts)

  • Applesauce (Sides)

  • Small Fries (French Fries)

  • Garden Fresh Salad (Salads)

  • Mac and Cheese (Kids)

  • Steak Frank (Steak Franks and Footlongs)

  • Very Berry Strawberry - Small/Kids (Milkshakes)

  • 1 Slice of Bacon (Breakfast)

Least Nutritious Options
  • 7 x 7 (Steakburgers)

  • Fish Plate (Sandwiches)

  • Chili Mac Supreme (Chili)

  • Frisco (Melt)

  • Onion Rings (Sides)

  • Chili Cheese Fries, Large (French Fries)

  • Fried Chicken Salad (Salads)

  • Grilled Cheese and Fries (Kids)

  • Chili n Cheese (Steak Franks and Footlongs)

  • Oreo® Cookies Double Stuf – Regular (Milkshakes)

  • Pancakes - a la carte (3 -incl. butter and syrup) (Breakfast)

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at Steak ‘n Shake, the Garden Fresh Side Salad’s nutrition profile makes it the best choice.

Steakburgers

The most famous item on the menu, Steak ‘n Shake offers a variety of steakburgers for lunch and dinner with toppings such as jalapenos, bacon, butter, and portobello mushrooms.

Steak-based meals are generally not the healthier choice if you’re looking for a meat-based meal—you will find low-calorie and low-in-saturated fat sandwiches to enjoy instead. If you do prefer a steakburger, you should stick to the options with vegetable toppings and avoid cheese, which adds to the fat content.

Most Nutritious Option

Single Without Cheese

Steak ‘n Shake’s Single Without Cheese steakburger provides 390 calories,14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 15g protein, and 820mg sodium. To make this item healthier, remove the bun to create a low-carb, high-protein meal. You can either wrap the steakburger in lettuce or eat it with a fork and knife like a traditional steak.

Least Nutritious Option

7 x 7

The 7 x 7 steakburger contains 1,660 calories, 128g fat, 62g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrate, 95g protein, and 3,800mg sodium. You should avoid this steakburger as this one item has almost as many calories as you eat in a day. If you want more than a single steakburger without any toppings, ordering a jalapeno- or Portobello-topped burger is a healthier choice than the grease-laden 7 x 7.

Sandwiches

Steak ‘n Shake offers other warm entrees, including grilled cheese, fish, and chicken sandwiches as an alternative to red meat burgers. However, sodium ranges from a low 340mg to 1,660mg for each sandwich, also making them not the healthiest of options.

Most Nutritious Option

Grilled Chicken

The Grilled Chicken contains 360 calories, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g carbohydrate, 28g protein, and 980mg sodium, and offers the highest amount of protein than any other sandwich on the menu. Another healthy option is the Fish Sandwich if you prefer to shake up your palate.

Least Nutritious Option

Fish Plate 

The Fish Plate on the sandwich menu contains 890 calories, 59g fat, 10g saturated fat, 63g carbohydrate, 25g protein, and 780mg sodium. This item contains the highest amount of calories, but not the highest amount of sodium. The Grilled Cheese ‘n Bacon and the Spicy Chicken sandwiches have more than 1,400mg of sodium each.

Chili

Steak ‘n Shake provides a warm, comfort food for the winter months: chili in a number ways, including 3-way, 5-way, Mac, and Deluxe. Even a small cup of chili contains a high amount of calories; your diet would benefit from looking at other, healthier warm foods, such as the Grilled Chicken sandwich.

Most Nutritious Option

Chili – Genuine Cup

A cup of traditional chili contains 500 calories, 28g fat, 16g saturated fat, 36g carbohydrate, 29g protein, 980mg sodium. For those who are hungrier, the chili bowl has double this amount.

Least Nutritious Option

Chili Mac Supreme

The Chili Mac Supreme is spaghetti topped with chili beef and sauce for a hearty, yet unhealthy meal. The Supreme contains 1,410 calories, 78g fat, 42g saturated fat, 114g carbohydrate, 64g protein, and 2,660mg sodium. The Chili Mac contains less calories but actually more sodium, even though this particular entrée sounds like it would be healthier than the Chili Mac Supreme. Instead, you should stick to a small cup if you want to order chili.

Melts

As an alternative to steakburgers, you can order another warm sandwich—melts. However, all melts contain a high amount of calories and sodium, and they are not the healthiest option for an entrée.

Most Nutritious Option

Veggie with Portobellos

The Veggie with Portobellos Melt contains 620 calories, 45g fat, 11g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrate, 16g protein, and 1,000mg sodium. If you must order a melt, this option does provide you with a serving of vegetables.

Least Nutritious Option
Frisco

The Frisco melt has 960 calories, 66g fat, 21g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate, 34g protein, and 1,440mg sodium. If you want a meat melt rather than the vegetarian sandwich, the Grilled Cheese Steakburger Melt is healthier than the Frisco.

Sides

Rather than up your calorie count with fries, you can choose from a number of sides, which include applesauce and Southern favorites, such as baked beans and coleslaw.

Most Nutritious Option

Applesauce

An easy-on-the-stomach side is applesauce, which has 90 calories 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrate, 0g protein, and 10mg sodium. If you must order a steakburger, a side of applesauce instead of French fries can help offset the grease, calories, and sodium, and lessen the heaviness you might feel after a meal.

Least Nutritious Option

Onion Rings - Large

The Onion Rings, large size, contain 660 calories, 35g fat, 6g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 79g protein, and 1,890mg sodium. You have a number of other options for sides, including baked beans, chicken fingers, and chicken bites, all of which are lower in calories. 

French Fries

Steak 'n Shake offers a variety of types of French Fries, including traditional, Cajun, Parmesan and Garlic Herb, Bacon Cheese Fries, Chili Cheese Fries, and Cheese Fries. All kinds come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. You can also order a separate kids' size, which is only available in the traditional version.

Most Nutritious Option

Small Fries

The Small Fries have 150 calories, 13g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrate, 2g protein, and 550mg sodium. Dipping them in one tablespoon of ketchup will add 19 calories to your meal. 

Least Nutritious Option

Chili Cheese Fries, Large

The Chili Cheese Fries, large size, contain 1,070 calories, 53g fat, 14g saturated fat, 120g carbohydrate, 26g protein, and 2,990mg sodium. If you need to try the Chili Cheese Fries, you should limit yourself to the small size, which contain 700 calories less than the large.

Salads

Steak ‘n Shake has only three salads on the menu: Garden Fresh (vegetarian), Fried Chicken, and Grilled Chicken.

Most Nutritious Option

Garden Fresh Salad

The Garden Fresh Salad is the healthiest option on the entire menu, and is vegetarian friendly, low in sodium, and gives you a serving of fresh vegetables. The salad has 310 calories, 19g fat, 12g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 18g protein, and 480mg sodium. The restaurant also offers seven types of dressings, the healthiest of which is the Lite Italian with 45 calories per serving.

Least Nutritious Option

Fried Chicken Garden Fresh Salad

If you prefer protein on your salad, opting for the Grilled Chicken is healthier than the Fried Chicken Garden Fresh Salad. The fried version contains 330 calories, 18g fat, 3g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrate, 21g protein, and 900mg sodium.

Kids

All items on the kids menu aren't that healthy, and all contain starch. Kids' options include chicken bites, chicken fingers, corn dogs, steakburgers with cheese, and grilled cheese.

Most Nutritious Option

Mac and Cheese

The healthiest option on the Kids menu is the Steak ‘n Shake Mac and Cheese, which has 170 calories, 5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrate, 6g protein, and 310mg sodium. The Mac and Cheese has the least amount of calories and sodium compared to the starch heavier options.  

Least Nutritious Option

Grilled Cheese and Fries

The Grilled Cheese and Fries contain 780 calories, 56g fat, 16g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate, 18g protein, and 1,620mg sodium, which is a quite a load of calories and fat for a child in one meal. Cutting the sandwich in half will help, and you can save it for another meal.

Steak Franks and Footlongs

For for those who might prefer hot dogs over burgers at a backyard BBQ, Steak 'n Shake offers a number of hot dog varieties made of steak instead of pork.

Most Nutritious Option

Steak Frank

For the healthiest option, the Steak Frank has 390 calories, 23g fat, 9g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 13g protein, and 1,140mg sodium. This doesn’t include condiments.

Least Nutritious Option

Foot Long, Chili n Cheese

The Foot Long, Chili n Cheese contains 730 calories, 45g fat, 22g saturated fat, 48g carbohydrate, 33g protein, and 1,600mg sodium. Rather than slather a hot dog with the extra toppings loaded with saturated fat and sodium, sticking to the traditional ketchup, mustard, and onions will keep this menu item heart healthier.

Milkshakes

You can’t have Steak ‘n Shake without the shake. To stave off extra calories, you’re better off visiting this establishment for a dessert-only trip versus a steakburger and a shake in the same meal, which would most likely push you near the 2,000 calories you should eat in an entire day.

Most Nutritious Option

Very Berry Strawberry - Small/Kids 

When you do order a milkshake, the Very Berry Strawberry, small size, is your best bet. This option contains 340 calories, 9g fat, 7g saturated fat, 56g carbohydrate, 16g protein, and 180mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Oreo Cookies Double Stuf – Regular

The least healthy milkshake option is the Oreo Cookies Double Stuf, regular size, with 1,010 calories, 54g fat, 22g saturated fat, 75g carbohydrate, 38g protein, and 380mg sodium. The Steak ‘n Shake shake menu contains more than 70 flavors, from fruit-based shakes to candy infused to your standard chocolate and strawberry milkshakes. You should consult the menu before you head to the restaurant to make sure you’re staying within your daily caloric intake.

Breakfast

Many Steak ‘n Shake establishments are open for breakfast. Menu options for your first meal of the day include Breakfast Bowls with Hash Browns, Biscuits, a la carte Pancakes with Syrup, and the popular Banana Pancakes. Those following vegetarian, protein-heavy, and low-fat diets will find diet-friendly options; however, low-sodium dieters should stick to eggs and hash browns.

Most Nutritious Option

1 Slice of Bacon

With only 40 calories, 3.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrate, 2g protein, and 115mg sodium, one slice of bacon is your healthiest option. You can pair that with a scrambled egg and orange juice for a light breakfast.

Least Nutritious Option

Country Skillet

The Country Skillet contains 1,320 calories, 106g fat, 43g saturated fat, 57g carbohydrate, 37g protein, and 2,340mg sodium. This is more than half the calories you should eat on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet for the first meal of the day alone. For anyone who prefers a hearty breakfast, the Potato and Egg Breakfast Taco, the Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit, or the Cheddar Scrambler are healthier,
lower calorie options.

Diet-Specific Options

A popular hangout joint for meat enthusiasts, Steak ‘n Shake is not the healthiest restaurant option. You should save this establishment for exclusive occasions. When do you visit, you can stick to a number of specific diets, including the following:

  • Low-carb
  • Low-fat
  • Low-sodium
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-Free

Low-Carb Diet

If you remove the bun from the steakburgers, you can make the most popular item on the menu low carb and not have to skip out on what people love about Steak ‘n Shake. You should stay cognizant of the fact that the steakburgers are still high in saturated fat and sodium and only consume them on occasion.

Other low-carb options on the menu include the following:

  • Coleslaw
  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • Garden Fresh Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Breakfast Bowl Without Hash Browns
  • Cheddar Scramble

Many of the breakfast items are low carb as well as vegetarian, although you should avoid making a visit to Steak ‘n Shake for breakfast a habit.

Low-Fat Diet

Although not known for its healthy options, you can find low-fat food at Steak ‘n Shake. These include a couple of steakburgers. Low-fat items include the following:

  • Single Without Cheese Steakburger
  • The Original Double Steakburger
  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • Garden Fresh Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Kids Mac and Cheese

Low-Sodium Diet

Sticking to your low-sodium diet at a steakburger restaurant might seem like an impossibility, but ordering one of their fresh salads, a fish sandwich, or a number of breakfast items will allow you to do so.

Low-sodium food include the following:

  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • Fish Sandwich
  • Orange Freeze - Small/Kids Milkshake
  • Hash Browns
  • 2 Eggs (over easy, medium, hard)

Vegetarian Diet

The menu at Steak ‘n Shake is comprehensive enough to allow even the vegetarians menu options, such as the following:

  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • Pancakes - a la carte (3 -incl. butter and syrup)
  • Egg and Cheese Biscuit
  • Milkshakes
  • French Fries, Regular and Parmesan & Garlic Herb

Vegans will find ordering challenging because most of the items contain either meat or dairy (the steakburgers and the shakes, the most popular items on the menu). Breakfast items, of which many are vegetarian, do contain dairy.

Gluten-Free Diet

The abundance of steakburger buns, hot dog buns, bread on sandwiches, and toast will create an issue for gluten-free eaters. You can find a few gluten-free items, however, such as the following:

  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Salad
  • 2 Eggs (over easy, medium, hard)
  • Genuine Chili
  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Sausage patties

You should avoid fried foods, as multiple items could be cooked in the fryer and create a cross-contamination. Although most Steak ‘n Shake milkshakes are considered gluten free, with the exception of peanut butter and s’mores flavors, they could be cross-contaminated.

Certain items with gluten could be mixed using the same machine as gluten-free milkshakes. You should order with caution and ask the server if your milkshake could be made with a clean machine.

Food Allergies and Safety

Steak ‘n Shake is not generally safe for people with common food allergies, such as dairy, eggs, tree nuts, and soy. This is especially true for dairy allergies, as the establishment makes hand-dipped milkshakes with dozens of flavors. You also might find cross contamination in the kitchen, and locations might not be able to guarantee that foods are free from allergens.

To make sure an item is safe, you could try doing the following:

  • Check out the online nutritional information from the Steak ‘n Shake website.
  • Ask if a modification is possible. For example, remove the cheese from the Portobello and Swiss Steakburger to give you a serving of vegetables without the dairy.
  • Ask questions of the staff if you have any concerns about a menu item.
  • Order sides such as bacon or applesauce in which you know the ingredients, instead of an entree in which you might not.
  • Always look for "grilled" on the menu for a healthier protein choice.

A Word From Verywell

Steak ‘n Shake’s comprehensive menu contains a variety of items, but the majority of which contain a high number of calories and sodium. As a burger joint, you will find that the most popular entrees contain gluten and protein. You can create a healthier meal by ordering the small size, avoiding cheese and bacon toppings, and removing the bun from the burgers for a low-carb meal.

If you follow a particular diet or have food allergies, you will find Steak ‘n Shake's menu difficult in meeting your needs, but the salad options and sides can provide you with a hearty meal.

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  1. Steak ‘n Shake. Nutritional information. Updated December 1, 2020.