The average chicken burger contains around 300-600 calories, depending on the size and toppings. A plain chicken burger patty contains around 200-300 calories, while burger toppings like cheese, bacon, sauces, etc. can add anywhere from 50-300 additional calories. Generally speaking, a small chicken burger from a fast food restaurant contains 300-400 calories, a medium contains 400-500 and a large contains 500-600.
– Plain chicken burger patty: 200-300 calories
– Small chicken burger with toppings: 300-400 calories
– Medium chicken burger with toppings: 400-500 calories
– Large chicken burger with toppings: 500-600 calories
Calories in Chicken Burger Components
The main components that make up a chicken burger are the bun, chicken patty, toppings like cheese and sauces, and sides like french fries. Here is a breakdown of the approximate calories in each component:
– Regular white burger bun: 100-150 calories
– Whole wheat burger bun: 90-130 calories
– Brioche bun: 180-250 calories
– Pretzel bun: 200-300 calories
The type of bun used can significantly impact the calorie count. Brioche and pretzel buns tend to be larger and contain more calories than regular white or whole wheat buns. Smaller buns around 4 inches wide tend to be 90-130 calories, while larger buns 6 inches wide are 180-250 calories.
– 4 oz plain grilled chicken patty: 120-180 calories
– 4 oz breaded and fried chicken patty: 230-280 calories
– 6 oz plain grilled chicken patty: 180-270 calories
– 6 oz breaded and fried chicken patty: 345-420 calories
The size and preparation method of the chicken patty impacts the calories. A plain grilled 4 oz patty contains around 150 calories, while a 6 oz fried breaded patty can contain over 400 calories.
– 1 slice American cheese: 50 calories
– 2 slices American cheese: 100 calories
– 1 slice Swiss cheese: 80 calories
– 2 slices Swiss cheese: 160 calories
– 2 tbsp shredded cheddar: 60 calories
Cheese slices contain around 50-80 calories each, while shredded cheese is around 30 calories per tablespoon. Adding 2 slices of cheese to a burger adds about 100 calories.
– Ketchup: 15-20 calories per tbsp
– Mayonnaise: 90-100 calories per tbsp
– BBQ sauce: 60-80 calories per tbsp
– Ranch dressing: 60-80 calories per tbsp
– Burger sauce: 80-120 calories per tbsp
Sauces like mayo, BBQ and burger sauce can add nearly 100 extra calories per tablespoon. Lighter sauces like ketchup only add around 15 calories per tbsp. A chicken burger with 2-3 tbsp of heavy sauce can add over 200 extra calories.
– Small fries: 220-320 calories
– Medium fries: 320-420 calories
– Large fries: 500-600 calories
The portion size of french fries significantly impacts the calories. A small serving of fries adds 220-320 calories, while a large serving can be over 500 calories.
Putting it all together
Based on these numbers, here are some examples of chicken burger combos and their approximate calories:
– Chicken burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and ketchup: 350 calories
– Chicken burger with cheese, mayo and medium fries: 720 calories
– Chicken burger with bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and large fries: 980 calories
As you can see, calories add up quickly with larger portions and calorie-dense toppings like cheese, bacon and heavy sauces.
Calories in Popular Chicken Burgers
Here is a comparison of calorie counts in chicken burgers from some popular fast food and casual dining restaurants:
Fast food chicken burgers
|Classic Chicken Sandwich
|Original Chicken Sandwich
|Homestyle Chicken Sandwich
|Original Chicken Sandwich
As you can see, most fast food chicken burgers contain 350-450 calories depending on the restaurant.
Casual dining chicken burgers
|Classic Bacon Cheeseburger
|Avocado Grilled Chicken Burger
|Oldtimer with Cheese
|Crispy Chicken Bacon Burger
Chicken burgers at casual dining chains tend to range from 700-1,200 calories depending on toppings like bacon and sauces.
Fast casual chicken burgers
|Double Double with Onions
|Classic Smash Burger
Fast casual burgers tend to range from 470-880 calories depending on patty size and toppings.
As shown, calories can vary significantly based on restaurant and burger customization with toppings.
Factors that Affect Chicken Burger Calories
There are several factors that impact the calorie count of chicken burgers:
Larger chicken patties contain more calories. A 4 oz patty may have 120 calories, while an 8 oz patty has over 300 calories. Doubling the patty size more than doubles the calories.
Breaded, fried chicken patties contain more calories than grilled patties due to absorbing oil or butter during cooking.
Larger, more dense buns like brioche contain about twice as many calories as a basic bun.
Each slice of cheese adds around 50-80 calories to the total burger count.
Sauces and condiments
Heavy sauces like mayo and BBQ sauce can add nearly 100 calories per tablespoon. Ketchup and mustard add minimal calories.
Bacon, avocado, fried onion strings and other extra toppings can significantly increase the calories.
Frying chicken patties in oil adds extra calories absorbed from the oil. Grilling generally requires little or no oil.
Calorie-dense side dishes like fries can add 300-600 calories to the meal.
Tips for Making a Lower Calorie Chicken Burger
Here are some tips to reduce the calories in a chicken burger:
Choose a lean grilled chicken patty
A 4-6 oz grilled chicken breast patty provides plenty of protein and flavor for few calories. Avoid breaded or fried options.
Use a whole wheat bun
Whole wheat buns have slightly fewer calories than plain white buns. Brioche and pretzel buns should be avoided.
Limit cheese and bacon
Toppings like cheese and bacon add significant calories. Limit to 1 slice of cheese and 1-2 strips of bacon.
Choose lighter sauces
Opt for ketchup, mustard, relish, or a light mayo spread. Avoid heavy creamy sauces.
Load up on veggie toppings like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles which provide nutrients and fiber for minimal calories.
Bake don’t fry
Baking chicken patties is healthier than frying in oil. Grilling is even better.
Avoid fries or chips
Fries and chips pile on an extra 300-600 calories. Opt for a side salad instead.
Stick to a single patty and smaller bun size to avoid overdoing portion size and calories.
Nutritional Benefits of Chicken Burgers
Chicken burgers have some nutritional advantages compared to beef:
Chicken breasts are very high in protein with around 25g per 3 oz cooked chicken. Protein helps you feel full.
Less saturated fat
Chicken is much lower than beef in saturated fat, which raises bad cholesterol levels.
Ounce for ounce, chicken breast contains nearly 1/3 fewer calories than 80/20 ground beef.
Chicken provides niacin, vitamin B6, selenium and phosphorus.
Unseasoned chicken is naturally low in sodium compared to unseasoned beef.
So while chicken burgers are not necessarily low-calorie, they can provide more protein and nutrients than beef burgers when portion sizes are equal.
Healthiest Ways to Make Chicken Burgers
Here are some healthy tips for preparing lower calorie chicken burgers at home:
Grill don’t fry
Grilling, baking or broiling chicken patties avoids excess calories from frying in oil.
Try ground chicken breast
Using lean ground chicken breast avoids the higher fat content of ground chicken thigh.
Season with herbs and spices
Flavor chicken patties with salt-free seasonings instead of buttery sauces.
Go easy on breadcrumbs
Excess breadcrumbs act as binders but also increase calories. Use just enough to hold the patties together.
Use canola or olive oil
When brushing patties or buns with oil, use heart-healthy canola or olive oil instead of butter.
Skip the fatty sauces
Make your own healthy sweet honey mustard or bean sauce instead of thousand island or creamy ranch.
Load up the produce
Take advantage of veggies on top of your burger and in side salads instead of fries.
Swap refined for whole grains
Choose 100% whole wheat buns and brown rice over white versions to increase fiber.
Watch the cheese
Use just 1 slice or a light sprinkle of low-fat shredded cheese instead of a thick melty slice.
A chicken burger can range from 300-600 calories depending on size and toppings. Sticking to a 4-6 oz grilled chicken breast patty with lots of veggie toppings and minimal cheese, bacon and heavy sauces keeps calories in a reasonable range while providing protein, nutrients and satisfaction. Preparing chicken burgers by grilling instead of frying and pairing them with fresh sides like salads further reduces the calorie count while still providing great flavor. With some simple substitutions and smart choices, it’s easy to enjoy a healthier chicken burger any time.