How many calories in a plain hamburger steak?

A plain hamburger steak contains approximately 300-350 calories per 4 ounce serving. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the leanness of the meat, as well as the cooking method used. Leaner cuts of beef with less fat will be on the lower end of the calorie range, while fattier cuts with more marbling will be higher in calories. Grilling or broiling generally adds minimal calories, while frying can add more. Below is a more detailed breakdown of the calorie count in a plain hamburger steak.

Calories In 4 Ounce Plain Hamburger Steak

Here is the calorie count for a typical 4 ounce serving of plain hamburger steak, cooked:

Cooking Method Calories
Grilled, 85% lean 300 calories
Grilled, 90% lean 285 calories
Grilled, 95% lean 260 calories
Pan-fried, 85% lean 375 calories
Pan-fried, 90% lean 340 calories
Pan-fried, 95% lean 310 calories

As you can see, grilling generally results in fewer calories than pan frying for the same cut of meat. Additionally, the leaner the cut, the fewer calories it will have. A 95% lean grilled hamburger steak has about 260 calories, while an 85% lean pan-fried version can have up to 375 calories.

Factors That Affect Calorie Count

There are a few key factors that affect the calorie count in a plain hamburger steak:

  • Fat content – Fattier cuts of beef with more marbling will be higher in calories than leaner cuts. Choose at least 90% lean meat to reduce calories.
  • Cooking method – Frying adds more calories from oil/fat. Grilling, broiling, or pan-searing with minimal oil is best for limiting calories.
  • Portion size – A 6 or 8 ounce steak will have more calories than a 4 ounce serving.
  • Additions – Avoid adding high-calorie toppings like cheese, mayo, or sauces to keep the calorie count low.

Choosing a lean cut of beef, trimming any excess visible fat, using healthy cooking methods, and sticking to a 4-6 ounce portion are all ways to keep the calories down in a plain hamburger steak.

Calories Per Ounce

To determine the calories in a hamburger steak of any size, you can use the following estimates for calories per ounce:

Cooking Method Calories Per Ounce
Grilled, 85% lean 75 calories
Grilled, 90% lean 70 calories
Grilled, 95% lean 65 calories
Pan-fried, 85% lean 90 calories
Pan-fried, 90% lean 85 calories
Pan-fried, 95% lean 75 calories

You can use these estimates to calculate the calories in a hamburger steak of any weight. For example:

  • 6 oz grilled hamburger steak, 90% lean: 6 x 70 calories per oz = 420 calories
  • 8 oz pan-fried hamburger steak, 85% lean: 8 x 90 calories per oz = 720 calories

Calories For Thinner and Thicker Burgers

The calorie counts provided above are based on a typical burger thickness of around 1/2 inch. However, you may want a thinner or thicker burger, which will affect the calories:

  • Thinner 1/4 inch burger: Remove 20-30% of calories
  • Thicker 3/4 inch burger: Add 20-30% of calories

So for a thinner 1/4 inch burger, you’d multiply the calories by about 0.7-0.8x. For a thicker 3/4 inch burger, you’d multiply the calories by about 1.2-1.3x.

Calories For Common Portion Sizes

Here are the approximate calories for some common cooked plain hamburger steak portion sizes:

Portion Size Calories (90% lean, grilled)
4 ounces 285
1/4 pound 315
6 ounces 420
8 ounces 560
12 ounces 840

As you go up in portion size, the calories increase as well. A typical restaurant burger may be 6-8 ounces and contain 420-560 calories for a 90% lean grilled plain hamburger steak.

Lean Versus Fatty Cuts

The leanness or fat content of the beef used for a hamburger steak also impacts its calories. Here is a comparison:

Fat Content Calories (4 oz patty)
95% lean 260
90% lean 285
85% lean 300
80% lean 325
75% lean 365

Choosing a leaner cut like 95% fat free ground beef can reduce the calories by more than 100 per serving compared to fattier 75% or 80% lean beef.

Grilled vs. Pan-Fried Calories

Cooking method also impacts the calorie content of a hamburger steak. Frying adds more calories due to the added cooking fat/oil. Here is a comparison between grilled and pan-fried for a 4 oz burger:

Cooking Method Calories (4 oz)
Grilled (85% lean) 300
Pan-fried (85% lean) 375
Grilled (90% lean) 285
Pan-fried (90% lean) 340

The pan-fried option has at least 50-75 more calories per serving compared to grilling. To limit calories, grilling, broiling, or pan-searing with minimal added fat are the best options.

Calories With Burger Toppings/Sides

While a plain hamburger steak itself may contain 300-350 calories, once you add in buns, cheese, condiments, and sides the calorie count goes up significantly. Here are some estimates for typical burger toppings and sides:

  • Bun: 100-150 calories
  • Cheese slice: 50-80 calories
  • Mayonnaise: 90-100 calories per tablespoon
  • Ketchup: 20 calories per tablespoon
  • Lettuce/tomatoes: 5-10 calories
  • Onion: 15 calories
  • Pickles: 5-10 calories
  • Bacon: 40-50 calories per slice
  • Fries: 200-400 calories

With basic toppings and a side of fries, a burger meal can end up being 800-1200 calories total fairly easily. Go light on high-calorie sauces and accompaniments to keep the meal relatively low in calories.

Low Calorie Burger Topping Swaps

To make your burger lower in calories, here are some ingredient swaps to consider:

  • Use a whole wheat bun or lettuce wrap instead of a white refined flour bun
  • Choose a turkey or veggie burger patty instead of beef
  • Use one slice of cheese instead of two
  • Opt for mustard, salsa, or other low-calorie sauces instead of mayo
  • Pile on veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles for very few calories
  • Skip the fries and have a side salad instead

Making simple substitutions like these can save hundreds of calories compared to a higher fat burger with multiple cheeses, special sauces, and fried sides.

Low Calorie Burger Recipe Ideas

Here are some ideas for putting together a lower calorie burger meal:

  • Use a lettuce bun or hollowed out tomato instead of a flour bun
  • Top your burger with mushrooms, onions, spinach, avocado, and mustard
  • Serve your burger with oven-baked sweet potato fries instead of deep fried
  • Grill lean ground turkey or bison burgers flavored with herbs and spices
  • Make mini 100-calorie veggie bean burgers from black beans and quinoa
  • Pair your burger with a side salad with light balsamic dressing instead of mayo-laden potato salad

With some creativity, you can enjoy flavorful and satisfying burgers while still keeping your calorie count in check.

Calories In Homemade vs. Restaurant Burgers

Burgers from a restaurant or fast food establishment typically contain more calories than a homemade burger. Here’s a look at the calorie difference:

Burger Type Calories
Homemade (4 oz patty) 300-400
Restaurant/fast food (6-8 oz) 600-1,000

Restaurant burgers often use larger portion sizes for their patties plus additional high-fat toppings like multiple cheese slices, bacon, special sauces, and large buns. Homemade burgers can be tailored to be leaner and lighter overall.

Tips For a Lower Calorie Burger

Follow these tips to enjoy burgers while limiting the calorie content:

  • Choose at least 90% lean ground beef and form into patties thinner than restaurant burgers
  • Grill, broil, or pan-sear instead of frying in oil
  • Use whole grain buns and limit to one per burger
  • Load up on veggie toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms instead of bacon and extra cheese
  • Opt for mustard, salsa, or other low-calorie condiments
  • Stick to 4-6 oz patty sizes instead of 1/2 pound or more
  • Make your own oven-baked fries instead of deep fried for sides

Following these guidelines can help you enjoy juicy burgers while keeping your total calorie intake under control.


A plain hamburger steak contains roughly 300-350 calories for a typical 4 ounce serving, depending on the leanness of meat and cooking method. Choosing lean cuts of beef, trimming fat, grilling instead of frying, and sticking to reasonable portion sizes are the keys to keeping calories down. While a burger by itself may not be too high in calories, once you add in buns, thick patties, high-fat toppings, and fried sides, the calories can quickly skyrocket. Making smarter choices when constructing your burger and meal can help keep you satisfied while maintaining a healthy calorie intake.

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