How many calories in a quarter pound of cooked ground beef?

Quick Answer

A quarter pound of cooked ground beef contains around 300 calories. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the leanness of the beef, cooking method, and other factors. But on average, a 4 oz cooked serving (114g) of 85% lean ground beef contains approximately:

  • Calories: 300
  • Total fat: 18g
  • Saturated fat: 7g
  • Protein: 28g

So a typical quarter pound patty of cooked ground beef will have roughly 300 calories.

Calories in Ground Beef by Fat Percentage

The leanness or fat content of ground beef can impact the calorie count. Here are the calories for a 4 oz cooked serving of different types of ground beef:

Type of Ground Beef Total Fat (g) Calories
95% lean 5g 180
90% lean 10g 220
85% lean 18g 300
80% lean 24g 360
75% lean 27g 390

As you can see, the leaner cuts of ground beef with only 5-10g fat have around 180-220 calories per 4oz cooked serving. Fattier ground beef with 24-27g fat can contain up to 360-390 calories per 4oz serving.

So when calculating calories, go with the percentages listed on the packaging or ask your butcher for the fat percentage. This will give a more accurate calorie count.

Calories by Cooking Method

How you cook ground beef also impacts its calorie content. Fattier cooking methods add more calories:

  • Pan fried: Cooked in its own fat or oil adds around 50 calories per ounce.
  • Grilled: Lower calorie method, adds approximately 10 calories per ounce.
  • Broiled: Also a lower calorie cooking method, adds about 10 calories per ounce.

Pan frying in oil adds the most calories because the beef absorbs the extra fat. Broiling, grilling and roasting add minimal extra calories.

For example, pan frying a quarter pound burger patty in oil would add around 200 extra calories, for a total of 500 calories.

But broiling that same quarter pound patty would only add about 40 calories, for a total of 340 calories.

So for a lower calorie option, choose leaner beef and use healthier cooking methods like grilling, broiling or roasting. Pan frying adds a significant amount of extra calories from the added fat and oil.

Calories in Quarter Pounder vs Homemade Burgers

When eating a beef burger at a fast food restaurant, the calorie count may be higher than a homemade burger patty. Here is a comparison of a quarter pound burger from McDonald’s versus a quarter pound homemade burger (using 85% lean beef and broiling):

Burger Calories
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese 520
Homemade Quarter Pound Broiled Beef Patty (85% lean) 340

The McDonald’s burger has almost 200 more calories because it likely uses beef with a higher fat percentage and is cooked in more oil. The homemade patty is leaner and broiled, creating a lower calorie option.

So be cautious when eating fast food burgers, as they often use fattier beef and cooking methods that significantly increase the calorie density. Homemade burgers can provide more reasonable calorie options, especially when using lean beef and healthier cooking techniques.

Comparing Ground Beef to Other Proteins

Ground beef is higher in calories and fat compared to other protein options:

Protein Source (cooked) Calories per 4oz Fat (g)
85% lean ground beef 300 18
Chicken breast 140 3
Tofu 80 4
Salmon 180 8
Beans 110 1

Beef has more calories and saturated fat than most other proteins. So substituting poultry, seafood, plant-based proteins or beans can reduce the calorie density of your meal.

Tips for Lower Calorie Ground Beef

Here are some tips for keeping your ground beef calories in check:

  • Choose leaner beef: Select beef that is 90-95% lean to reduce the calories from fat.
  • Portion control: Limit portions to 3-4 oz cooked servings to control calorie intake. A quarter pound is a large serving.
  • Healthy cooking: Use grilling, broiling, roasting or baking instead of pan frying in oil.
  • Avoid processing: Freshly ground beef is lower calorie than highly processed pre-formed frozen patties or crumbles.
  • Mix it up: Consider mixing beef with lower calorie ingredients like mushrooms, cauliflower rice or lentils to reduce the calorie density.

Choosing lean cuts, controlling portions, cooking with healthy methods and adding veggies can help keep your homemade beef burgers or tacos reasonably low in calories.

Nutrition Facts Panel for Ground Beef

Here is an example nutrition facts label for 4 ounces of 85% lean cooked ground beef:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 300 15%
Total Fat 18g 28%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Protein 28g 56%

Key things to note are the high saturated fat content (35% DV) and cholesterol (28% DV). Choosing leaner ground beef can reduce the saturated fat percentage.

The protein content is a major benefit of ground beef, providing 28g (56% DV) in a 4 oz serving. So when eaten in moderation, ground beef can be included as part of a healthy diet.


A quarter pound of cooked ground beef contains approximately 300 calories, with the exact amount dependent on fat percentage, cooking method and other factors. Choosing leaner beef, controlling portion sizes, and using healthy cooking methods can help keep calories in check. Ground beef is relatively high in saturated fat and calories compared to other protein foods, so moderating intake and mixing with veggies are good strategies. But eaten in reasonable amounts, ground beef can be incorporated into an overall balanced diet. Just be aware that quarter pound servings are large, so aim for smaller 3-4oz portions to keep calories under control.

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