How many calories are in a Filet-O-Fish without cheese and tartar sauce?

A Filet-O-Fish is a popular menu item from McDonald’s that features a fish fillet served on a bun with cheese and tartar sauce. However, some customers prefer to order this sandwich without the cheese and tartar sauce. So how many calories would a Filet-O-Fish have if ordered plain, without any additional toppings?

The Filet-O-Fish Sandwich

The Filet-O-Fish was first introduced to the McDonald’s menu in 1962. It was invented by Lou Groen, a McDonald’s franchise owner in Cincinnati, Ohio. At the time, Groen’s restaurant was located in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood that observed frequent meatless Fridays. He created the Filet-O-Fish to cater to his customer base on Fridays during Lent, when Catholics abstain from eating meat.

The original Filet-O-Fish featured a fried fish fillet made from Atlantic cod, placed on a warm bun with tartar sauce and melted American cheese. The sandwich was an immediate hit in Groen’s restaurants and was added to the national McDonald’s menu the following year in 1963.

Over the years, the Filet-O-Fish has remained a popular menu choice at McDonald’s restaurants, especially during the Lenten season. Some minor tweaks have been made to the recipe, including switching from cod to Alaska pollock as the fish source in the late 1980s.

Filet-O-Fish Nutrition Facts

Here are the basic nutrition facts for a standard Filet-O-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s:

  • Calories: 380
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg
  • Sodium: 870mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 16g

As you can see, a regular Filet-O-Fish contains 380 calories. But this is with both the tartar sauce and American cheese included.

Filet-O-Fish Without Cheese

The slice of pasteurized prepared cheese that comes on a Filet-O-Fish contains 50 calories and 4.5g of fat. So by ordering the sandwich without cheese, you can reduce the calories and fat significantly.

A Filet-O-Fish without cheese has approximately 330 calories. Here is the modified nutrition facts breakdown:

  • Calories: 330
  • Total Fat: 13.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg
  • Sodium: 930mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 16g

As you can see, eliminating the cheese slice removes 50 calories and 4.5g of total fat from the Filet-O-Fish.

Filet-O-Fish Without Tartar Sauce

The tartar sauce that comes on a Filet-O-Fish also contributes calories and fat to the total. A packet of McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish tartar sauce contains:

  • Calories: 90
  • Total Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 5mg
  • Sodium: 135mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2g
  • Sugars: 0g

Removing the tartar sauce would eliminate 90 calories and 10g of fat from the Filet-O-Fish. Ordering without tartar sauce or cheese brings the calorie count down significantly.

Calories in Filet-O-Fish with No Cheese or Tartar Sauce

Ordering a Filet-O-Fish sandwich without the cheese or tartar sauce is one of the lowest calorie options for this menu item. Here are the nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 240
  • Total Fat: 3.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.5g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg
  • Sodium: 795mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 34g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 16g

As you can see, a Filet-O-Fish without cheese or tartar sauce contains only 240 calories. That’s 140 fewer calories than a Filet-O-Fish with cheese and tartar sauce.

Nutrition Breakdown

Here is a side-by-side nutritional comparison of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich with and without cheese and tartar sauce:

Nutrition Facts Filet-O-Fish Filet-O-Fish with No Cheese or Tartar Sauce
Calories 380 240
Total Fat 18g 3.5g
Saturated Fat 3.5g 3.5g
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Cholesterol 50mg 50mg
Sodium 870mg 795mg
Total Carbohydrates 38g 34g
Dietary Fiber 2g 2g
Sugars 3g 3g
Protein 16g 16g

As shown in the table, eliminating the cheese and tartar sauce cuts out 140 calories and 14.5g of total fat. The amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugars and protein stay relatively the same.

Ordering Tips

Here are some tips when ordering a lower calorie Filet-O-Fish:

  • Request no cheese – this will remove 50 calories and 4.5g fat
  • Request no tartar sauce – this will remove 90 calories and 10g fat
  • Order the sandwich as-is but remove the cheese slice and tartar sauce before eating to make it a 240 calorie sandwich
  • Request the sandwich be prepared in a lettuce wrap instead of a bun to further reduce carbs

Some other simple ways to drop more calories include:

  • Order a small sandwich instead of a regular-sized
  • Skip the medium or large size fry and soda
  • Choose a side salad, apple slices or yogurt instead of fries
  • Order a diet soda or water instead of a sugary soft drink

Making these customizations when ordering a Filet-O-Fish can really help cut down on the total calories while still enjoying the fish sandwich.

Health Benefits of Filet-O-Fish

Despite being a fast food menu item, the Filet-O-Fish does provide some health benefits, especially when ordered without cheese and tartar sauce. Here are some of the nutrition highlights:

  • Protein – Each Filet-O-Fish has 16g of protein from the fish fillet. Protein helps build muscle, aids in weight management, and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  • Vitamin D – The fish fillet provides a good amount of vitamin D, which supports bone health and immunity.
  • Heart Healthy Fats – Unlike burgers, the Filet-O-Fish contains mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from the fish oils, rather than saturated fat and trans fat.
  • Low Mercury Fish – Alaska pollock used in the Filet-O-Fish is low on the food chain, so mercury levels are low compared to bigger fish.

When paired with fruits and vegetables instead of fries and soda, a Filet-O-Fish sandwich can be a relatively nutritious fast food choice.


Ordering a Filet-O-Fish without the cheese and tartar sauce is one of the lowest calorie options for this popular McDonald’s sandwich. A plain Filet-O-Fish contains only 240 calories, compared to 380 calories with cheese and tartar sauce. Removing the cheese and sauce eliminates 140 calories and 14.5g of fat. The Filet-O-Fish also provides some nutritional benefits like protein, vitamin D, heart healthy fats, and low mercury.

To cut more calories, order a small sandwich, skip the fries and soda, or put the fish fillet in a lettuce wrap. Overall, customizing your Filet-O-Fish order is an easy way to reduce the calories of this McDonald’s menu item while still enjoying the crispy fish sandwich.

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