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Low Carb Panera Ordering Guide

Learn how to order low carb Panera like an expert.

Get the special 46 item Panera low carb menu I used to plan my orders.

See photos of my top low carb Panera orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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This is one of the final stops on my low carb fast food challenge. For each fast food chain I order as many low carb options as possible and report back with my favorites.

In a hurry? Get my Panera Low Carb Menu one-pager if you want to see full macros for all 46 Panera low carb options.

What to order

Even though I spent four hours doing menu research and arrived at Panera with a plan, I still had to make adjustments in real-time because they didn’t offer everything listed online.

It’s worth your time to do some order planning and have a backup order ready to go just in case your first option isn’t available. The rankings below reflect my taste preferences.

Low Carb Panera Breakfast Options

For a low carb breakfast at Panera, you’ll be ordering one of their breakfast sandwiches without the bun. They put them in a small salad bowl for you to eat with a fork. Below are the five bunless breakfast sandwiches I tried, ranked in order of my preference.

1. Ham Egg & Cheese Sandwich (No Bread)

The Ham Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich comes with egg, a slice of white cheddar cheese, and some smoked ham. I think I liked this one the best because they stuck to traditional breakfast flavors for each ingredient.

Low Carb Panera Ham Egg and Cheese Sandwich (No Bun)

My Low Carb Panera Ham Egg and Cheese Sandwich (No Bun)

  • Order it low carb: “Ham Egg and Cheese Sandwich, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $4.29
  • Macros: 210 calories and 3 net carbs

2. Bacon Egg & Cheese Sandwich (No Bread)

Comes with egg, a slice of white cheddar cheese, and bacon. The cheese and bacon clump together for some decadent bites. I plated this one so you can see it more clearly.

  • Order it low carb: “Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $4.29
  • Macros: 250 calories and 1 net carb

3. Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Spinach Sandwich (No Bagel)

Comes with turkey sausage cooked into egg whites, a slice of white cheddar cheese, fresh spinach and tomato. Loved everything about this dish except for the sage seeds in the turkey sausage. They had an off putting flavor for a breakfast dish.

  • Order it low carb: “Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Spinach Sandwich (No Bagel)”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $4.29
  • Macros: 170 calories and 2 net carbs

4. Sausage Egg & Cheese Sandwich

Comes with an egg patty, a slice white cheddar cheese, and a sliced up sausage patty.

  • Order it low carb: “Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich (no bread)”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $4.29
  • Macros: 335 calories and 3 net carbs

Typically the bunless sausage, egg & cheese is my favorite low carb breakfast sandwich, but the sausage at Panera is too lean and dry. I prefer the low carb McDonald’s version which is $1 cheaper.

5. Steak Egg & Cheese Sandwich (No Bagel)

Comes with egg, a slice of white cheddar cheese, and sliced steak. Looks amazing, but chewing through steak in the morning wasn’t pleasant.

Low Carb Panera Steak Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich (No Bagel)

My Low Carb Panera Steak Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich (No Bagel)

  • Order it low carb: “Steak and Egg sandwich (no bagel)”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $4.29
  • Macros: 335 calories and 3 net carbs

Aside from the 5 bunless breakfast sandwiches that I ordered you can also get a basic Egg & Cheese or an Egg White, Avocado, and Spinach sandwich, but they are fairly low calorie and might not be filling enough without the bread.

Low Carb Panera Lunch and Dinner Options

The lunch and dinner options at Panera are interchangeable. You can choose from about 15 different sandwiches (no bread, of course) and a couple different salads. Below you can see how I ranked the entrees I tried.

1. Steak and Baby Arugula Sandwich (No Bread)

I ordered the Steak and Baby Arugula Sandwich with no bread and the cashier kindly suggested it be served on a bed of lettuce. I agreed. It came with sliced steak, lettuce, tomatoes, pickled onions, and garlic and herb cream cheese spread.

  • Order it low carb: “Steak and Arugula Sandwich, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: Omit pickled red onions to save 3-5 net carbs.
  • Price: $9.39
  • Macros: 290 calories and 10 net carbs

The Steak and Arugula sandwich in a bowl should also come with arugula and horseradish mustard but those ingredients were omitted from my order. I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

2. Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken (No Onions)

They forgot to add the chicken to my salad, but I forgive them because this salad was still delicious. Comes with arugula, romaine, kale, radicchio, Green Goddess dressing, avocado, bacon, and hard-boiled egg. I omitted the red pickled onions because they have 3 net carbs.

Low Carb Panera Cobb Salad

My Low Carb Panera Cobb Salad

  • Order it low carb: “Cobb salad, no onions”
  • Recommended mods: Ask for extra side of dressing.
  • Price: $9.39
  • Macros: 450 calories and 10 net carbs

You can cut out 2-3 more net carbs by cutting the tomatoes.

3. Caesar Salad with Chicken (No Croutons)

Comes with chicken, romaine, parmesan and Caesar dressing. I would have ranked this entree higher if they’d used shaved parmesan cheese instead of grated.

Low Carb Panera Caesar Chicken Salad

My Low Carb Panera Caesar Chicken Salad

  • Order it low carb: “Caesar salad, no croutons”
  • Recommended mods: Additional side of dressing.
  • Price: $9.39
  • Macros: 440 calories and 6 net carbs

4. Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT (No Bread)

This is the best option if you’re looking for high protein low carb fast food after a workout. It comes with turkey,  bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and mayo.

  • Order it low carb: “Turkey Avocado BLT, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: Side of Greek dressing
  • Price: $9.39
  • Macros: 440 calories and 2 net carbs

This has a crisp and fresh taste, but could use a little salad dressing so that it’s not too dry.

5. The Italian

If you’re looking for the most filling low carb lunch option at Panera, then the Italian without bread is a good option. It comes with ham, salami, sopressa, provolone cheese, giardiniera, basil mayo and arugula.

Low Carb Panera The Italian

My Low Carb Panera Italian Sandwich (No Bread)

  • Order it low carb: “The Italian, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $8.89
  • Macros: 500 calories and 4 net carbs

You’ll need a knife to eat The Italian as the ingredients are served in too big of pieces to eat with a fork. Jimmy John’s has low carb Italian sandwiches if you’re looking for a lettuce-wrapped version.

6. Steak and White Cheddar (No Bread)

The bread-less Steak and White Cheddar is the least appetizing of the Panera lunch options in terms of looks. It comes with steak, pickled red onions, white cheddar cheese and horseradish.

Low Carb Panera Steak and White Cheddar

My Low Carb Panera Steak and White Cheddar Sandwich (No Bread)

  • Order it low carb: “Steak and Cheddar, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: Add mayo, mustard or hot sauce.
  • Price: $9.39
  • Macros: 560 calories and 7 net carbs

The Steak and Cheddar tastes a little bland so I recommend adding mayo, mustard, hot sauce, or some other low carb sauce to increase flavor.

7. Chicken Chipotle Avocado Melt

The least tasty of the breadless sandwich options I tried is the Chicken Chipotle Avocado Melt. It comes with shredded chicken, Gouda cheese, avocado, cilantro, piquant peppers, and chipotle mayo.

Panera Low Carb Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt Sandwich (No Bread)

My Panera Low Carb Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt Sandwich (No Bread)

  • Order it low carb: “Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt, no bread”
  • Recommended mods: None
  • Price: $8.89
  • Macros: 470 calories and 4 net carbs

The melted cheese stuck to the avocado and the mixture of some warm ingredients with some cold ingredients wasn’t a match for my tastes.

What else can you order?

There are 15 different sandwiches and 6 different breakfast sandwiches on the Panera menu that become low carb when ordered without the bread. They also offer a Greek Salad, a chopped salad, and a Caesar salad that be ordered low carb.

Panera used to have a secret Power Bowl menu with some low carb options on it, but I did some online research and made a phone call to a Panera store manager to confirm that it’s been discontinued.

Review my Panera Low Carb Menu one-pager if you want to see full macros for every low carb option that’s still available.

My personal low carb menu is derived from this much longer and more complicated official Panera Nutrition Information PDF.

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 Panera breads, pastries, sweets, bagels, or pastas.

All their side items are too high carb, except for the pickle spears.

There are some less obvious foods to avoid that I’ve listed below. They seem like they might be low carb, but aren’t.

Tempting bread-less sandwiches to avoid:

  • Napa Almond Chicken Salad – 25 net carbs
  • Tuna Salad – 12 net carbs

Tempting soups to avoid:

  • New England Clam Chowder – 49 net carbs
  • Southwest Chicken Tortilla – 44 net carbs
  • Bistro French Onion Soup – 42 net carbs
  • Broccoli Cheddar – 24 net carbs
  • Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice – 22 net carbs
  • Turkey Chili – 16 net carbs

Tempting sides to avoid:

  • Panera Baked Crisps – 23 net carbs

Tempting salads to avoid:

  • Thai Chopped Chicken Salad – 36 net carbs
  • Fuji Apple with Chicken Salad – 30 net carbs
  • Asian Sesame Chicken Salad – 21 net carbs

Tempting salad dressings to avoid:

  • White Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette – 12 net carbs
  • BBQ Ranch Dressing – 8 net carbs
  • Thai Chili Vinaigrette – 8 net carbs
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette – 8 net carbs
  • Asian Sesame Vinaigrette – 6 net carbs

Summary

Panera’s restaurants are modern & clean, their employees are friendly & helpful, and their food seems fresher and more carefully prepared than your typical fast food restaurant.

Expect to pay a hefty premium for the experience (about 1.5x the price of typical fast food), but leave a happier person for it.

You can generally consider me a hater of any restaurant with “Bread” in its brand name, but I left impressed with Panera’s commitment to the customer experience.

If you’re a frequent low carb fast food eater and can withstand the tempting smells of baked goods, then Panera provides a nice of change of pace meal.

What’s Next

My next low carb fast food guide is for Church’s Chicken which is the third fried chicken restaurant on the fast food challenge. I’m excited!

If you want to get all of my low carb fast food guides via email, sign up here:

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I’ll also 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.

Cheers,
Ryan
aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”

Cheers,
Ryan
aka “Mr. SkinnyPants”

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