How many calories are in a 1 4 pounder with cheese from McDonald’s?

Quick Answer

A McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese contains 520 calories. This is based on the standard build of the burger, containing a quarter pound beef patty, cheese, pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard on a sesame seed bun. The exact calorie count may vary slightly depending on customizations and sauce options.

Calories in Each Ingredient

To understand how many calories are in a Quarter Pounder with cheese, we need to look at the calorie count of each ingredient:

Ingredient Calories
Quarter pound 100% beef patty 260
1 slice American cheese 50
Sesame seed bun 150
Pickle slices 5
Onions 5
Ketchup 20
Mustard 20
Total Calories 510

As you can see, the quarter pound beef patty contains the majority of calories at 260. The bun and cheese also contribute a significant number of calories. When all the ingredients are added up, the total calorie count comes to 510 calories.

Other Factors Affecting Calorie Count


The 510 calorie count is based on the standard Quarter Pounder with cheese build. However, some customizations and sauce swaps can alter the calories:

– Adding bacon: 70 additional calories
– Subbing a premium bun: adds 50 calories
– Removing pickles and onions: subtracts 10 calories
– Extra cheese: adds 50 calories
– Mayo instead of mustard: adds 90 calories

Any additions or upgrades will increase the total calorie count, while removals deduct calories.

Cooking Methods

How the Quarter Pounder is cooked can also impact calories:

– Grilled: Lower in fat and calories than frying
– Fried: Adds about 40 calories from oil

Grilling is the healthier cooking method that reduces the calorie count compared to frying.

Serving Size

The standard Quarter Pounder is one sandwich. Eating multiple sandwiches or a larger meal would increase the calorie intake.

Some examples:

– Quarter Pounder large meal with fries and drink: 940 calories
– Two Quarter Pounders without cheese: 700 calories
– Quarter Pounder and 10 piece McNuggets: 820 calories

Consuming larger serving sizes adds more calories overall to your meal. Sticking to a single Quarter Pounder keeps calories in check.

Daily Calorie Needs

To put the 510 Quarter Pounder calories into context, here is a look at recommended daily calorie intake based on age, gender, and activity level according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines:

Gender Age Sedentary Moderately Active Active
Female 19-25 1,800-2,400 2,000-2,400 2,400-2,800
26-50 1,800-2,200 2,000-2,200 2,200-2,400
Male 19-25 2,400-3,000 2,600-3,000 3,000-3,200
26-50 2,200-3,000 2,400-3,000 2,800-3,200

As you can see, the 520 calories in a Quarter Pounder accounts for 22-29% of the daily recommended intake for sedentary adults. For active individuals with higher calorie needs, it provides 15-21% of the daily intake.

Consuming a Quarter Pounder as part of a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and other whole foods can fit into most people’s daily calorie budget. It’s best to limit higher calorie fast food to occasional treats rather than everyday eating.

Nutrients in a Quarter Pounder

Beyond just calories, a Quarter Pounder also provides a range of macronutrients:

Nutrient Amount Percent Daily Value
Total Fat 28g 43%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Trans Fat 1.5g N/A
Cholesterol 80mg 27%
Sodium 970mg 41%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Protein 25g 50%

As expected from a high fat beef burger, it is very high in saturated fat providing 60% of the daily value. It also contains a full day’s worth of cholesterol at 80mg.

The sodium is quite high as well at 970mg or 41% of the daily recommended limit. Making customizations like removing pickles, onions or sauce can reduce some of the sodium content.

On the positive side, the Quarter Pounder provides 25g of protein equal to half the recommended daily intake. The protein comes mainly from the beef patty.

Overall, while the Quarter Pounder tastes great, it is very high in saturated fat and sodium and low in nutrients compared to more balanced meal options. Enjoying them only occasionally can allow you to get the taste you crave while limiting the nutritional downsides.

Comparing Quarter Pounder Calories to Other McDonald’s Burgers

To put the 520 calories of a Quarter Pounder into perspective, here is how it compares to some other popular McDonald’s burgers:

Burger Calories
Hamburger 250
Cheeseburger 300
Double Cheeseburger 440
Big Mac 540
Quarter Pounder with Cheese 520
Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese 760

The Quarter Pounder has over double the calories of a basic hamburger due to the larger beef patty and extra ingredients like cheese. It has about 80 more calories than a Big Mac, likely due to the larger beef patty size.

For hungry diners, the Double Quarter Pounder packs a whopping 760 calories from its double beef patties and double cheese. This accounts for a huge chunk of a full day’s calories.

Overall the Quarter Pounder hits a middle ground calorie-wise compared to McDonald’s lineup of burgers. It offers more fillings than a cheeseburger or hamburger, but less than mega burgers like the Double Quarter Pounder or Triple Cheeseburger.

Quarter Pounder Calories Compared to Other Fast Food Burgers

Here is how the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder stacks up against burgers from other major fast food chains:

Burger Calories
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese 520
Burger King Whopper 670
Wendy’s Single Cheeseburger 390
Five Guys Cheeseburger 700
In-N-Out Double-Double 670
Sonic SuperSONIC Cheeseburger 790

The Quarter Pounder is lower in calories than famous burgers like the Whopper, Five Guys Cheeseburger and Sonic SuperSONIC Cheeseburger. It comes out ahead of these by avoiding extras like bacon and relying on a smaller patty size compared to some competitors.

On the other hand, it has significantly more calories than a basic cheeseburger from Wendy’s at 130 calories higher. Overall the Quarter Pounder hits a middle point calorie-wise among popular fast food burgers.

Tips to Reduce Quarter Pounder Calories

If you want to enjoy a Quarter Pounder but reduce the calorie impact, here are some tips:

– Request no cheese and sauce: Saves you 170 calories
– Opt for a hamburger instead: Saves 200 calories
– Order a kids meal slider: Cuts calories in half
– Split the sandwich and eat half: Halves the calories
– Swap fries for a salad: Saves you about 400 calories
– Get a medium diet drink: Avoids 150+ calories from a sugary drink
– Share the meal with a friend: Cuts calories for each person

Making some simple tweaks like omitting the cheese or sauce while still enjoying the delicious beef patty can make a big calorie difference. Overall moderation is key – sharing, sizing down, or only eating part of the Quarter Pounder can all help with portion control.

Healthier Alternative Meals to a Quarter Pounder

For a more balanced meal that still satisfies your burger craving, here are some healthier alternatives to consider:

Turkey or Veggie Burger

– Turkey burger with cheese: Around 300 calories
– Black bean veggie burger: Roughly 350 calories

Choosing a lean turkey or plant-based patty reduces the fat, sodium and calories compared to beef. Load it up with veggies instead of cheese or heavy condiments to cut even more calories.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

A grilled chicken breast sandwich clocks in around 400-500 calories depending on toppings. It provides lean protein and less saturated fat compared to a Quarter Pounder.

Taco Salad or Bowl

Taco salads and bowls with lettuce, beans, salsa and other veggies deliver a more balanced meal with protein and fiber for around 500-600 calories. It makes for a lighter but still tasty lunch or dinner option.


A McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese contains a total of 520 calories from its beef patty, bun, cheese and sandwich toppings. While the occasional Quarter Pounder can fit into most people’s daily calorie budget, it is very high in saturated fat and sodium so it’s best enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. There are also many ways to tweak your order or swap it for healthier alternatives to reduce the calorie impact when satisfying a Quarter Pounder craving.

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