How many calories are in a plain Sonic burger?

A plain Sonic burger is a simple hamburger served by the American fast food chain Sonic Drive-In. With its soft bun, juicy beef patty, and basic toppings, it’s a classic burger choice for those looking for a filling meal without too many extras. But for calorie-counters and health-conscious eaters, an important question is: how many calories are actually in a plain Sonic burger?

The short answer is that a plain Sonic burger contains about 420 calories. This number can vary slightly depending on the size and cooking method, but a single patty Sonic burger without cheese or other toppings contains around 420 calories on average.

Below we’ll take a more in-depth look at the calorie count and nutrition facts for a plain Sonic burger. We’ll break down how many calories come from the bun, patty, and toppings. We’ll also look at how Sonic burgers compare to similar options from other fast food restaurants. Whether you’re watching your calorie intake or just curious about what’s in a basic Sonic burger, read on for the details.

Calories in a Sonic Burger Bun

The bun is a major source of calories in any burger, and Sonic’s is no exception. A standard bun used for Sonic burgers contains about 150 calories.

Sonic uses a classic sesame seed bun for most of its burger options. The bun is soft and pillowy, providing a substantial base for the burger patty and toppings. It’s made from refined white flour and likely contains high fructose corn syrup or other added sugars along with vegetable oil and preservatives.

Buns used at major fast food chains tend to range from 120-180 calories each. So Sonic’s 150-calorie bun is pretty typical for a big, hearty burger bun. Those calories come mainly from refined carbohydrates and added fats.

When you’re trying to reduce the calorie count of a burger, skipping the top bun is one strategy. This eliminates about 150 calories while still allowing you to enjoy the burger patty and toppings. Pairing the patty with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun is another lower-carb option. But for the traditional burger experience, expect the soft sesame bun to contribute about 150 calories.

Calories in a Plain Sonic Burger Patty

The meat patty is the main event in any burger. For a plain Sonic burger, the patty contributes about 260 calories.

Sonic’s burger patties are made from 100% pure beef. They’re grilled up fresh when you order. A standard patty is likely in the range of a quarter pound, or about 4 ounces of beef.

Based on USDA data, we know 4 ounces of 80/20 ground beef contains roughly:

Calories: 260
Fat: 18g
Protein: 16g

Beef is high in protein but also contains a good amount of fat, which contributes significant calories. An average plain burger patty from Sonic provides about 260 calories, making it the single most calorie-dense ingredient in the burger build.

Opting for leaner beef or a smaller patty size could reduce the calorie count slightly. But the patty will always be the main calorie source in a beef burger.

Calories in Plain Burger Toppings

Part of what gives a burger its appeal are the toppings. When you order a plain Sonic burger, it comes with the bare minimum of toppings – just ketchup, mustard, onion, and pickles on the side. These basic toppings add just a small amount to the total calorie count.

Here is the calorie breakdown for a plain Sonic burger’s toppings:

Ketchup (1 packet): 20 calories
Mustard (1 packet): 0 calories
Onions: 10 calories
Pickles: 0 calories

So the total calories added by a plain Sonic burger’s condiments and veggies is minimal, around 30 calories or less.

Adding on extra toppings like cheese, bacon, avocado, and mayo would quickly increase the calorie count. But the standard toppings on a plain Sonic burger contribute just a few calories.

Total Calories in a Plain Sonic Burger

Adding up the calories in the bun, beef patty, and bare-bones toppings, a plain Sonic burger clocks in at around 420 calories.

Here is the full nutrition breakdown:

Bun: 150 calories
Beef patty: 260 calories
Toppings: 30 calories
Total: 420 calories

So you can expect a single plain Sonic burger without any cheese or special sauces to contain about 420 calories.

This number could be slightly lower if you get a junior sized patty or skip the top bun. But overall, a typical plain burger from Sonic will cost you around 420 calories.

Plain Sonic Burger vs. Other Fast Food Burgers

How does Sonic’s 420-calorie plain burger compare to similar options from other major fast food chains? Here is a breakdown:

Burger Restaurant Plain Burger Calories
McDonald’s 250
Burger King 260
Wendy’s 390
Sonic 420

Sonic’s 420-calorie plain burger contains more calories than a basic hamburger from McDonald’s or Burger King. At Wendy’s, a plain burger comes closer to Sonic’s numbers, with 390 calories.

The difference in calories is likely due to patty size. Sonic burgers tend to use a bigger quarter-pound patty compared to the smaller patties at other chains. More meat equals more calories.

So although it’s one of the higher-calorie options, Sonic’s 420-calorie plain burger isn’t outrageously unhealthy compared to other regular fast food burgers. It lands right in the typical calorie range for a standard burger without extras.

Tips for Reducing Calories in a Sonic Burger

If 420 calories is more than you’d like to spend on a burger, there are ways to cut back:

– Ask for a junior sized patty instead of a quarter pound. This will immediately reduce the calorie count by about 100 calories.

– Skip the top bun and make it a lettuce wrap instead. Going bun-less saves you 150 calories.

– Leave off calorie-dense toppings like cheese, bacon, and heavy sauces. Stick to mustard and veggies.

– Opt for grilled chicken instead of a beef patty. A grilled chicken breast has around 200 calories.

– Split the burger in half and share it or save part for later. This allows you to enjoy the flavor while only eating a portion of the calories.

– Pair your burger with lower calorie side options like a side salad instead of fries.

Making smart choices like these can help reduce the calorie impact of your Sonic burger while still letting you enjoy the tasty flavors.


A plain Sonic burger contains around 420 calories, which comes mainly from the refined flour bun and beef patty. This gives it a higher calorie count than a basic hamburger from McDonald’s or Burger King, but is similar to a Wendy’s plain burger. While not the healthiest menu option, a Sonic burger without cheese or additional toppings provides a reasonable calorie option for a beef burger from a major fast food chain. Those looking to reduce calories can opt for a smaller patty size, skip the bun, or remove high-calorie toppings. Overall, being aware of the calorie content in a Sonic burger can help you make informed choices to achieve your nutritional needs.

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