How many carbs in a McDONALD’s cheeseburger without the bun?

Quick Answer

A McDonald’s cheeseburger without the bun contains around 5 grams of net carbs. The burger patty itself is low in carbs, but the cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and onions add a small amount of carbohydrates. Removing the bun eliminates around 30 grams of carbs from a traditional cheeseburger.

Detailed Nutrition Information

A standard McDonald’s cheeseburger contains the following ingredients and nutrition facts according to the McDonald’s website:

Ingredient Carbs (g)
Bun 30
Beef patty 0
Cheese slice 1
Onions 1
Pickles 1
Ketchup 4
Mustard 0

The bun contributes the most carbohydrates with 30 grams. By removing the bun, the majority of carbs are eliminated.

The burger patty itself contains no carbohydrates, as it is purely protein and fat. The slice of cheese adds 1 gram of carbs. The other toppings – onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard – add around 5 grams total.

So in total, a McDonald’s cheeseburger without the bun contains approximately 5 grams of net carbs. This makes it a very low-carb fast food option for people following diets like the keto diet.

Reasons to Skip the Bun

There are a few key reasons you may want to order a McDonald’s cheeseburger without the bun:

Reducing Carbs

Skipping the bun is an easy way to significantly reduce the carb content of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. The bun alone contributes 30g of carbs, which makes up nearly all the carbs in a traditional cheeseburger. Removing it takes the carb count down to around 5g net carbs.

This makes the burger a good low-carb option for anyone following a low-carb or keto diet. On keto, you typically aim to keep net carbs under 20-50g per day. One bun-less burger won’t blow your daily carb limit.

Lowering Calories

Eliminating the bun also removes a significant number of calories from the burger. A standard McDonald’s hamburger bun has around 150 calories. So skipping it can slash the total calorie count by about 25-30%.

For anyone watching their calorie intake, ordering without the bun is an easy way to make the burger a bit lighter.

Gluten-Free Diet

McDonald’s burger buns contain gluten. For those following a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or another reason, removing the bun is necessary. It ensures the burger is gluten-free and safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.

Preference for Lettuce Wraps

Some people simply prefer the taste and texture of lettuce wrapped burgers rather than buns. McDonald’s may be able to accommodate this preference by wrapping the burger in crispy lettuce leaves rather than a bun.

Keep in mind availability can vary by location. Not all McDonald’s offer lettuce wrap burgers. But it’s an option to consider requesting.

Ordering Tips

Here are some tips for ordering a McDonald’s cheeseburger without the bun:

Plain Hamburger

The easiest way is to order a plain hamburger. A plain hamburger comes without any toppings or condiments except for ketchup and mustard. Requesting it without the bun results in just the beef patty.

You can then add any extra toppings you want, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, or cheese. Add them one by one to keep the carb count low.

Bunless Cheeseburger

You can also specifically order a “cheeseburger without the bun”. This ensures you get the full cheeseburger toppings (ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions) on top of the beef patty and cheese.

Keep in mind this will be a bit higher in carbs than a plain hamburger due to the extra toppings. But at around 5g net carbs, it’s still a low-carb option.

Lettuce Wrap

As mentioned, you can ask for the burger to be wrapped in lettuce instead of served bun-less. Say “lettuce wrap” when ordering to request this.

However, not all locations offer lettuce wraps, so it’s best to ask first. It’s a great way to get the burger “bundled” together without the extra carbs.

Extra Napkins

Request extra napkins when ordering your bun-less burger. Without the bun to contain everything, the fillings can get a little messy. Extra napkins help keep you and the table clean.

Nutrition Comparison to Bun Version

Here is a nutrition comparison of a standard McDonald’s cheeseburger versus one without the bun:

Nutrition Facts Standard Cheeseburger (with bun) Bunless Cheeseburger
Calories 300 150
Fat 12g 12g
Carbs 33g 5g
Fiber 1g 1g
Net Carbs 32g 4g
Protein 15g 15g

As you can see, removing the bun cuts the calories in half, slashes the carbs significantly, and leaves the protein and fat content unchanged. It transforms the burger into a low-carb, high-protein option.

Alternatives to the Bun

If you want to replace the bun with something other than lettuce, here are some low-carb alternatives to consider:

Portobello Mushroom Bun

Sliced and roasted portobello mushrooms can stand in for buns. They have a meaty, savory flavor and texture. Just 5g net carbs per large mushroom.

Cheese Buns

Buns made from mozzarella or cheddar cheese are an option. When fried or baked, the cheese makes bread-like buns. Around 2g net carbs per cheese bun.

Low-Carb Tortillas

Wrapping the burger in a low-carb tortilla can provide a bun-like texture. Mission and other brands make tortillas with about 5g net carbs.

Lettuce Leaves

Crispy lettuce leaves add crunch and contain under 1g carb each. Romaine, butter lettuce, or iceberg work well.


Thick slices of cucumber can surround the burger for added moisture and crunch. Each cucumber slice has around 1g net carb.

Keto-Friendly Condiment Options

To keep your bun-less burger keto, choose low-carb condiment options like:


Yellow mustard has 0-1g net carbs per teaspoon. Dijon and spicy mustards also fit low-carb diets.


Regular mayo has 0g net carbs. Go for full-fat mayo on keto.

Horseradish Sauce

Most horseradish sauces have 0-2g net carbs per tablespoon.


Fresh guacamole is a creamy, low-carb option with around 3g net carbs per 2 tablespoons.


Tomato salsa can add flavor and moisture with around 2-3g net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving.

Sour Cream

Full-fat sour cream contains about 1g net carb per tablespoon, making it keto approved.

Low-Carb Side Options

Pair your bun-less cheeseburger with low-carb sides like:


Get a side salad with low-carb dressing like ranch, blue cheese, olive oil and vinegar, etc.


Order extra veggies like lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles on the side.

Apple Slices

A small side of apple slices (without caramel dip) has 10-15g net carbs.


Plain full-fat Greek yogurt with 5-10g carbs per cup.


String cheese is an easy grab with just 1g net carb each.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Boiled eggs contain less than 1g carb each. Request a couple as a side.

Is It Healthy Without the Bun?

Ordering a cheeseburger without the bun is certainly healthier than eating a traditional cheeseburger, but it still may not be considered a truly healthy meal option.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Lower Calories/Carbs

Eliminating the bun significantly reduces the calories and carbs, making it less unhealthy. But the beef patty and cheese still deliver a good amount of fat and sodium.

Fresh Veggies

Adding extra veggies like lettuce, tomato, and onion boosts the nutrient content. Going “all veggie” and skipping the beef entirely would be healthiest.

Lean Protein Options

Turkey or grilled chicken burgers would be lower in fat and calories than beef. Without the bun, a turkey burger is a pretty solid low-carb, high-protein choice.

Healthy Fats

Adding sources of healthy fats, like avocado or olive oil-based sauce, provides nutrients and satisfies hunger. But cheese and mayo do pack saturated fat.

Nutrients Lost from Bun

One downside is the bun removal also strips nutrients like B vitamins, minerals from whole grains. So the meal loses some nutritional value.

Overall, without the bun it’s a better option than a regular cheeseburger if eating fast food. But it’s still high in fat, sodium and lacks veggies, fiber and healthy carbs found in a balanced meal.

Low-Carb Burger Tips

Here are some additional tips for enjoying burgers while reducing carbs:

– Lettuce wrap the burger instead of skipping the bun entirely for easier eating

– Add extra toppings like guacamole, bacon, avocado to boost fat and flavor

– Use thick sliced tomato or portobello mushrooms as the “bun”

– Opt for a turkey or veggie patty over beef to reduce saturated fat

– Order a side salad instead of fries for fiber and nutrients

– Use high-protein cheese like cheddar or Swiss for staying power

– Avoid sugary condiments like honey mustard, ketchup with added sugar

– Create lettuce shells for holding juicy burger fillings and toppings


Ordering a McDonald’s cheeseburger without the bun is an easy way to remove around 30g of carbohydrates and reduce the calorie count. The burger alone contains only around 5g net carbs from the cheese, condiments and toppings. Skipping the bun makes it a tasty low-carb fast food option, though not necessarily the healthiest choice. Adding fresh toppings like lettuce, tomato and avocado boosts nutrition, and pairing it with a side salad instead of fries further improves the meal. Overall, the bun-less burger fits low-carb diets like keto fairly well, offering a higher fat and protein meal that can satisfy cravings. Just be mindful of portions and accompaniments to make the cheeseburger work with your nutritional needs and goals.

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