Learn how to order low carb at Dairy Queen on your next visit.
See 5 real-life photos of my actual low carb Dairy Queen orders.
My freshman year of high school was spent in a building we tabbed The Fish Tank.
Dairy Queen was so close-by it felt like an annex.
It was “cheap labor plus sugar sells to kids” as a real estate investment strategy. Warren Buffett liked it so much that he bought Dairy Queen in the late nineties.
I’m not here to bash Buffett and Dairy Queen though. I’m here to complete my low carb fast food challenge and help you figure out what to order. So let me step off this soap box and try their food.
What To Order
Dairy Queen bombards you with blinking flat screens and large cardboard signs telling you to order something cold and high carb.
Luckily, there are some savory options on the menu that can be ordered low carb.
Here are my favorites.
1. FlameThrower GrillBurger (No Bun)
Dairy Queen is as succinct as this author when it comes to branding. They tell you everything you need to know about this meal in the name. It has flaming hot ingredients on top of a grilled burger patty. Comes with a half-pound beef patty (or two quarter pound patties depending on your location), jalapeno bacon, creamy jalapeno sauce, sliced jalapenos, chopped lettuce, sliced tomato, and two slices of pepper jack cheese.
- Price: $7.29
- Macros: 760 calories, 4g net carbs, and 45g protein.
The FlameThrower is the best burger I’ve had on this challenge. The patties have grill marks and a characteristic crisp outer texture that reminds me of home cooked burgers. The spicy jalapeno cream sauce, the pepper jack cheese, and the added jalapenos were great fits for my tastes.
2. Grilled Chicken BLT Salad
My second favorite entree was a Grilled Chicken BLT Salad. I was expecting a sham salad, but was impressed. There were hefty portions of calorie-dense bacon, cheese, chicken, and two free containers of ranch dressing, so the salad was delicious and filling.
- Price: $6.49
- Macros (no dressing): 270 calories, 7g net carbs, and 35 grams of protein.
At 270 calories and 7 net carbs for the salad ingredients and then another 500 calories and 3 net carbs for the dressing, it ended up being a full meal with about 800 calories and 10 net carbs.
3. Turkey BLT (No Ciabatta Roll)
Comes with sliced turkey, sliced bacon, melted Swiss cheese, chopped lettuce, sliced tomato, and mayo. This was a surprisingly good entree and featured a combination of foods I’ve rarely had during this fast food challenge.
- Price: $4.99
- Macros: 390 calories, 5g net carbs, and 27g protein
4. Original Cheeseburger (No Bun)
Comes with a small beef patty, slice of American cheese, chopped lettuce, slice of tomato, a couple sliced pickles, diced onions and mustard. I opted to add mayo as well for extra calories.
- Price: $4.29
- Macros: 220 calories, 3g net carbs, and 16g protein.
I usually rate bunless cheeseburgers higher, but the patty was served colder than I like it on this one.
5. Chicken Bacon Ranch (No Ciabatta Roll)
Comes with a grilled chicken breast filet, sliced bacon, two slices of melted Swiss cheese, ranch sauce, a slice of tomato, and chopped lettuce. It was good, but I’d probably go with the Grilled Chicken BLT Salad above if I were in the mood for chicken at Dairy Queen.
- Price: $4.99
- Macros: 310 calories, 5g net carbs, and 26g protein.
Note: I also ordered a sixth entree that’s not pictured here. It was a bunless single patty burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. No jalapenos, no cheese, and no jalapeno sauce. It was very good which verified for me that their patties are delicious without any special sauces added and suggests my cold cheeseburger patty was a fluke.
What you can order
It should be the perfect resource if you’re looking for a Dairy Queen sugar free menu or a Dairy Queen diabetic menu.
My low carb menu is derived from their national menu. Which in this case means everywhere except Texas — the state where I was born and now live.
Nobody told the Dairy Queen’s in Texas that they’d rejoined the Union. They still have their own menu, website, and handshakes.
I’ve only reviewed foods that are available nationally. Bunless hot dogs are supposed to be available nationally, but no Dairy Queen in the greater Austin area serves hot dogs so I couldn’t review them. Maybe a reader will send in a Dairy Queen hot dog review and I’ll update this post.
What you should avoid
In case you’re new to low carb eating, I’ll point out that you can’t eat any of the desserts, frozen beverages, frozen treats, sodas, or any of the stuff that Dairy Queen is generally known for. All their buns, fries, and toasts are off limits
Their Chicken Strips are also too high carb. For a 3 pieces Chicken Strip order you get 32 net carbs. Can’t do it. Sorry.
If you’re looking for some lower carb fried chicken and bummed out after reading this, then check out my ordering guide for Chick-Fil-A.
Dairy Queen is low carb friendly if you can go in blindfolded. They devote most of their menu space and signage to desserts that low carb peeps can’t eat. It’s easy to get caught up in the nostalgia & marketing and order something bad.
- Low carb friendly – No. Menu has too many triggers to get my recommendation.
- Low carb entrees on menu – Yes. Saved by a footnote. Their menu lists a Chicken BLT Salad and underneath says “Available with grilled chicken” which technically means they have 1 low carb item on the menu. You can also get bunless burgers and hot dogs by special ordering.
- Satiety of low carb entrees – Above Average. Dairy Queen gets it right on serving size. Their Grilled Chicken BLT Salad was large enough to constitute a meal and they have double & triple patty burger options which will fill you up.
- Taste of low carb entrees – Above Average. Surprisingly, their bunless FlameThrower Burger is the best burger I’ve had on the challenge. The Grilled Chicken BLT Salad was also very good. I try not to let my biases towards the company affect my ratings of their food.
- Price / value of low carb entrees – Average. The trade off for larger entrees is higher prices. I paid $7.29 for their bunless FlameThrower burger which felt a little high and $6.49 for the Chicken BLT salad which felt like a good price for its size.
- Ordering experience – Below Average. My nearest DQ looks like a used car lot from the street and its in-store ambiance is lacking. The cashier for my first visit lacked patience and personality, but wasn’t exactly rude. Their drive-thru lane was so narrow it required a 5-point turn to get to the window.
If you’re an experienced low carb eater who isn’t easily swayed by triggers, then Dairy Queen has a few low carb entrees absolutely worth trying. If you’re new to low carb eating and still learning how to hate sugar and avoid temptation, then I’d steer clear.
My next low carb fast food guide should be completed soon. Subscribe to my newsletter to get it for free:
I’ll report back with final results for how this fast food experiment affects my health, well-being, and bank account. And you’ll get some simple low carb recipes and other tips from me for all the times you’re not eating in a fast food joint.