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

Steak N Shake

Verywell / Christian Alzate

A hybrid of takeaway and sit-down establishments, Steak ‘n Shake caters to diners looking for a quick lunch and those who want to catch up with family and friends over burgers and ice cream.

As the name suggests, the menu focuses on burgers ("steakburgers") and milkshakes. To stick to a diet of lean proteins and vitamin-rich foods, you'll need to visit Steak ‘n Shake just occasionally 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, MS, RD, CDCES, CDN

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, and cheese, dozens of flavors and sizes of milkshakes, and a number of French fry options.

To find a menu item that best matches your dietary needs and taste preferences, visit the menu online and check nutrition facts prior to your visit.

What to Order & Avoid at Steak 'n Shake
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Single Steakburger Without Cheese (Steakburgers & Specialties) Frisco Melt (Steakburgers & Specialties)
Small Thin 'n Crispy Fries (Chili & Sides) Chili Mac (Chili & Sides)
Mac and Cheese (Kids Menu) Grilled Cheese Combo (Kids Menu)
Iced Tea (Beverages) Dr Pepper (Beverages)
Cotton Candy (Milkshakes) Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter (Milkshakes)

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at Steak ‘n Shake, the single steakburger's nutrition profile makes it the best choice. Pair with a side salad for more vitamins and fiber.

Steakburgers & Specialties

Steak ‘n Shake offers a variety of steakburgers with toppings such as jalapenos, bacon, butter, and portobello mushrooms. This section of the menu also includes other sandwiches, hot dogs, and melts.

Steak-based meals tend to be higher in calories and saturated fat. Adding cheese and bacon makes those tallies even higher, so be aware of that if you are looking to reduce calories and fat in your meals.

✓ Single Steakburger Without Cheese

Steak ‘n Shake’s single steakburger without cheese provides 320 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 15g protein, and 820mg sodium. 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.

You might also consider the steak frank—Steak 'n Shake's hot dog option—for 390 calories, 23g fat, 9g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrates, 13g protein, and 1,140mg sodium.

✗ Frisco Melt

The Frisco melt contains 960 calories, 66g fat, 21g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate, 34g protein, and 1,440mg sodium. It is a melted cheese sandwich with Frisco sauce (a tomato-based sauce).

As an alternative, the grilled cheese sandwich has 620 calories, 43g fat, 14g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 1,090mg sodium.

Chili & Sides

Steak ‘n Shake offers sides including fries and chili in a number ways, such as regular, 5-way, and chili mac. Both tend to be high in calories and fat.

✓ Small Thin 'n Crispy Fries

The small thin 'n crispy fries have 240 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. 

✗ Chili Mac

The chili mac is spaghetti topped with chili beef and sauce. This order contains 1,200 calories, 61g fat, 26g saturated fat, 112g carbohydrate, 46g protein, and 2,710mg sodium.

The chili 5-way contains slightly fewer calories and less fat and sodium. It comes in at 1,160 calories, 33g fat, 1g saturated fat, 103g carbohydrates, 59g protein, and 2,060mg sodium. If you love chili, the small cup has the best nutrition profile: 300 calories, 12g fat, 5g saturated fat, 39g carbohydrate, 18g protein, and 760mg sodium.

Kids

Kids' options include steakburgers, grilled cheese, and hot dogs. Kids' meals come with a beverage and a choice of applesauce or fries as a side.

✓ Mac and Cheese

One of the most nutritious options on the kids' menu is mac and cheese, with 170 calories, 5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrate, 6g protein, and 310mg sodium. It has the least amount of calories and sodium among the kids' menu items, but may not be available at all Steak 'n Shake restaurants.

If it isn't, consider chicken bites, mini corn dogs, or a steakburger and choose applesauce as the side to limit calories and sodium.

✗ Grilled Cheese Combo

The grilled cheese combo with fries contain 780 calories, 56g fat, 16g saturated fat, 51g carbohydrate, 18g protein, and 1,620mg sodium, which is a quite a lot of calories and fat for a child in one meal. Cutting the sandwich in half will help, as will swapping the fries for applesauce (nutrition facts here include fries).

Beverages

The Steam 'n Shake menu contains a vast selection of familiar sodas and fountain drinks and even beer and wine. Choosing water is your most nutritious option, but there are other ways to stay hydrated for relatively few calories.

✓ Iced Tea

A 20-ounce unsweetened iced tea contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 1g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 10mg sodium.

✗ Dr Pepper

A 44-ounce Dr Pepper soda delivers 320 calories, 0g fat, 89g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 125mg sodium. Stick to a smaller size drink if you're craving a Dr Pepper, or try the diet option.

Milkshakes

You can’t have Steak ‘n Shake without the shake, and you'll find dozens of options on the menu. You might visit for a dessert-only trip versus having a steakburger and a shake in the same meal, which would most likely total nearly 2,000 calories (a day's worth of calories for many people).

✓ Small Cotton Candy Shake 

When you do order a milkshake, the cotton candy flavor in a small/kids' size is your best bet. This option contains 370 calories, 9g fat, 7g saturated fat, 63g carbohydrate, 16g protein, and 170mg sodium.

If you're not a fan of cotton candy, a few other flavors have a similar nutrition profile and calorie count when ordered in the small/kids' size: chocolate, egg nog, pumpkin spice, strawberry banana, and very berry strawberry.

✗ Regular Reese's Chocolate Peanut Butter

In a regular size, the Reese's chocolate peanut butter milkshake provides 980 calories, 47g fat, 17g saturated fat, 118g carbohydrate, 48g protein, and 510mg sodium.

Regular is the larger of the two sizes Steak 'n Shake offers. A small Reese's chocolate peanut butter shake contains 560 calories, 25g fat, 10g saturated fat, 71g carbohydrate, 22g protein, and 310mg sodium, so it's significantly different from the regular size.

Diet-Specific Options

Even with its fairly limited menu, Steak 'n Shake does offer options for people who follow gluten-free, low-carb, and vegetarian diets. Those who need low-fat, low-sodium, or vegan menu items will have more difficulty dining here.

Gluten-Free

The abundance of steakburger buns, hot dog buns, bread on sandwiches, and toast will create an issue for people who need to avoid gluten. But some menu items and components do not contain gluten:

  • Genuine chili and chili deluxe
  • Steakburger patty
  • Steak frank
  • Grilled chicken fillet
  • All cheeses
  • All sauces, dressings, and toppings except chipotle sauce, maple bourbon sauce, and crispy onions
  • Garden salad (omit croutons)
  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw

Avoid fried foods, as multiple items could be cooked in the fryer and create a risk of cross-contamination. You could make a hearty gluten-free meal from a grilled chicken fillet with sides of baked beans and a salad.

Low-Carb

If you order a steakburger without the bun, you can make the most popular item on the menu low carb. While you will need to avoid the shakes, you can top a steakburger patty or steak frank with veggie toppings (such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions) for a satisfying plate.

  • Steakburger patty
  • Steak frank
  • Grilled chicken fillet
  • Garden salad (omit croutons and skip honey mustard and honey French dressings)
  • Coleslaw

Vegetarian

The menu at Steak ‘n Shake has a few options that may be appropriate for lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Choosing a garden salad with baked beans will offer a balanced meal that contains protein without meat.

  • Grilled cheese
  • Milkshakes
  • French fries
  • Garden salad
  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw

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). Once again, the baked beans and garden salad are an option. The light Italian dressing is the only one that is free of animal products.

Food Allergies and Safety

Use caution at Steak ‘n Shake if you have allergies to foods such as dairy, eggs, tree nuts, and soy. Detailed allergen and ingredient information is available, but cross-contamination is always a risk since allergens are present in the kitchen environment.

You can order menu items without allergens (such as a plain hamburger instead of a cheeseburger) or modify them (such as omitting croutons from a salad). But inform the staff if you have an allergy before you order so they can take extra precautions.

A Word From Verywell

As a burger joint, you will find that the most popular entrees at Steak 'n Shake contain gluten and saturated fat. You can create a more nutritious meal by ordering small sizes, avoiding cheese and bacon toppings, and removing the bun from the burgers if you need to avoid gluten or reduce carbs.

Salad options and sides can also provide you with a hearty meal. But of course, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a juicy burger or creamy milkshake from time to time.

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