How many calories in a McDonald’s double cheeseburger only cheese?

A McDonald’s double cheeseburger with only cheese contains approximately 440 calories. This is based on the standard McDonald’s double cheeseburger containing 440 calories, with around 100 of those calories coming from the two slices of cheese. So removing the meat patties leaves just the cheese, bun, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions, totaling about 340 calories.

Nutrition Facts for a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger

Here are the basic nutrition facts for a standard McDonald’s double cheeseburger (with meat patties):

  • Calories: 440
  • Total Fat: 24g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Trans Fat: 1.5g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 980mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 31g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 6g
  • Protein: 21g

As you can see, nearly half the calories come from fat. The protein mainly comes from the two 1.6 oz beef patties. Removing those patties eliminates most of the protein, cholesterol, and a significant portion of the calories.

Calories in the Cheese

Each slice of pasteurized process American cheese in a McDonald’s double cheeseburger contains around 50 calories. So two slices adds up to approximately 100 calories.

Cheese is high in fat and contains a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. It also contains some carbohydrates and protein. But the biggest contributor to cheese’s calorie count is the fat.

Calories in the Bun

The bun used in a McDonald’s double cheeseburger is a simple white flour bun. Each bun provides about 150 calories, so together the top and bottom bun total 300 calories.

Buns are high in carbohydrates from the flour, accounting for most of their calories. They also contain a little bit of protein, sugar, and fat.

Calories in the Condiments

The McDonald’s double cheeseburger comes with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions. Here is the calorie breakdown:

  • Ketchup: 20 calories
  • Mustard: 0 calories
  • Pickles: 5 calories
  • Onions: 15 calories

So the total calories from the condiments is around 40.

The calories in ketchup come from sugar. Mustard has very few calories. Pickles get calories from the vinegar brine they are pickled in. And onions provide calories mostly from carbohydrates.

Total Calories Without Meat Patties

If we add up the calories from each component of a McDonald’s double cheeseburger without the meat patties, we get:

  • Cheese: 100 calories
  • Bun: 300 calories
  • Condiments: 40 calories

That brings the total calorie count to approximately 440 calories.

So a McDonald’s double cheeseburger without the meat patties contains about 440 calories.

How the Calories Compare

For comparison, here are the calorie counts:

  • McDonald’s double cheeseburger with meat: 440 calories
  • McDonald’s double cheeseburger without meat: 440 calories

As you can see, removing the meat patties does not significantly alter the calorie count, since the majority of calories come from the bun and cheese.

However, without the meat, the burger provides almost no protein. A standard McDonald’s double cheeseburger contains 21g of protein, which represents about 42% of the recommended daily protein intake. The pickles and cheese provide negligible protein.

Nutrition Facts Comparison

Here is a nutrition facts comparison for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger with and without meat patties:

Nutrient With Meat Patties Without Meat Patties
Calories 440 440
Total Fat 24g 24g
Saturated Fat 10g 10g
Trans Fat 1.5g 1.5g
Cholesterol 80mg 30mg
Sodium 980mg 980mg
Total Carbs 31g 31g
Dietary Fiber 1g 1g
Sugar 6g 6g
Protein 21g 6g

As you can see, nutrition stats like total fat, carbs, sugar, and fiber remain unchanged without the meat. Sodium also stays the same. The two differences are the elimination of 50mg of cholesterol and a reduction of 15g of protein.

Cheeseburger Ingredients by Calories

Here is a breakdown of the calories by ingredient in a McDonald’s double cheeseburger:

  • Bun: 300 calories
  • Cheese: 100 calories
  • Meat patties: 100 calories
  • Onions: 15 calories
  • Ketchup: 20 calories
  • Pickles: 5 calories

The bun accounts for the majority of calories at 68%, followed by cheese and the meat patties at 11% each. Onions provide 3% of calories, ketchup 5%, and pickles 1%.

So when removing the meat patties in a double cheeseburger, you are only eliminating about 23% of the total calories.

Health Impact of Removing Meat Patties

There are some potential health implications from removing the meat patties from a McDonald’s double cheeseburger:

  • Less protein – eliminates 21g of protein, or 42% of recommended daily intake
  • Lower cholesterol – reduces cholesterol by 50mg
  • Less iron, zinc, B12 – meat provides minerals not found in other ingredients
  • Fewer calories – eliminates 100 calories, or 23% of calories in the burger
  • Less filling – protein and fat in meat keeps you full longer than carbs alone

The lower protein and nutrients like iron are the biggest health downsides. The small reduction in calories and cholesterol are benefits.

However, the burger still remains high in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium without the meat. The white flour bun and cheese are still highly processed foods.

Cheeseburger Meat Alternatives

For vegetarians or those looking to reduce meat, there are some alternatives that can replace the beef patties in a McDonald’s double cheeseburger:

  • Veggie patty – typically made of soy, vegetables, grains
  • Black bean patty – made of mashed black beans
  • Portobello mushrooms – can be marinated and grilled
  • Breaded chickpea patty – made of chickpeas
  • Tofu – can be baked or fried into a patty

These alternatives provide more protein and nutrients than just having the cheeseburger without meat. However, the calories may remain similar depending on preparation methods.

Making a Healthier Cheeseburger

There are ways to modify a double cheeseburger to make it healthier whether you keep the meat or use a vegetarian substitute:

  • Use whole grain bun
  • Use avocado instead of cheese
  • Add veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion
  • Use leaner meat like ground turkey
  • Use reduced-fat cheese
  • Use mustard instead of mayo
  • Bake or grill instead of frying
  • Use smaller burger patties
  • Select a veggie patty with less fat

Making these simple substitutions and adding more fresh produce can reduce the calories, fat, sodium, and increase the nutritional value of a double cheeseburger.


A McDonald’s double cheeseburger without the meat patties contains approximately 340 calories from the bun, cheese, condiments, and toppings. This compares to 440 calories with the meat patties included. So removing the meat eliminates about 100 calories, as well as nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc. The burger still remains high in calories, fat, carbs, and sodium even without the meat. Substituting meat with a vegetarian patty or adding fresh vegetables can improve the nutrition profile. But overall, a double cheeseburger is a high calorie, low nutrient food with or without the meat.

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