How many Kcals is a Big Mac?

A Big Mac is one of the most iconic burgers sold by the fast food chain McDonald’s. With its signature triple-decker buns, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions, the Big Mac has been a customer favorite for over 50 years.

But how many calories are actually in a Big Mac? Read on to find out the calorie count, nutrition facts, and tips for enjoying a Big Mac as part of a balanced diet.

The Basics on Calories

Before determining the calorie content of a Big Mac, it helps to understand what exactly a calorie is. A calorie is a unit of energy. It refers to the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C.

Calories are typically used to measure the energy content of foods. The number of calories in a food tells us how much potential energy those foods contain.

When we eat foods, our bodies break down the calories and use them as fuel for bodily functions like breathing, digesting, circulating blood, and being physically active. Any excess calories not used right away get stored as fat tissue.

Knowing the calorie content of foods is important because the total number of calories we eat has a major impact on our health and weight. Eating more calories than our bodies burn leads to weight gain over time.

Calorie Needs

The number of calories a person needs each day varies based on many factors like age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and health status. An average moderately active adult male may need 2,200-2,800 calories per day, while an average moderately active adult female may need 1,800-2,400 calories.

As a general recommendation, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise consuming:

  • 2,000 calories per day for sedentary adult women
  • 2,200-2,400 calories per day for moderately active adult women
  • 2,400-2,600 calories per day for active adult women
  • 2,400 calories per day for sedentary adult men
  • 2,600-2,800 calories per day for moderately active adult men
  • 2,800-3,000 calories per day for active adult men

However, each person’s calorie needs are individual and may be higher or lower than these averages.

Calories in a Big Mac

Now that we’ve covered some calorie basics, let’s look at the calories in a standard Big Mac sandwich from McDonald’s:

Big Mac Calories

A regular-size Big Mac contains:

  • 563 calories

This calorie count is based on the standard build of a Big Mac, which includes two 1.6 oz (45.4 g) all-beef patties, Big Mac sauce, iceberg lettuce, American cheese, pickles, and onions on a three-piece sesame seed bun.

Big Mac Nutrition Facts

Here is the complete nutrition information for a Big Mac according to McDonald’s:

Nutrition Facts Big Mac
Calories 563
Total Fat 28 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Trans Fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol 80 mg
Sodium 970 mg
Total Carbohydrates 45 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 25 g

As you can see, the Big Mac provides over half of the calories you might eat in an entire day, with significant amounts of fat and sodium as well.

Big Mac Calories in Context

To put the 563 calories into context, here’s how the Big Mac compares to some other popular McDonald’s menu items:

  • McDouble: 390 calories
  • 6 piece Chicken McNuggets: 280 calories
  • Filet-O-Fish: 380 calories
  • Medium fries: 380 calories

The Big Mac contains significantly more calories than options like McNuggets or a Filet-O-Fish. But a burger alone isn’t a full meal. Once you factor in sides and drinks, even lighter menu choices can add up quickly:

  • Big Mac medium meal with fries and soft drink: 1,040 calories
  • Quarter Pounder with Cheese medium meal: 1,010 calories
  • 10 piece Chicken McNuggets medium meal: 1,020 calories

Just one meal can provide at least half of your daily calorie needs. To avoid excessive calories, opt for healthier sides like apple slices or a salad.

Big Mac Ingredients

To understand where all those Big Mac calories come from, let’s look at what goes into making it.


The sesame seed bun contributes roughly 170 calories to the burger. The bun contains enriched bleached wheat flour, water, yeast, corn syrup, dextrose, soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, mono and diglycerides, DATEM, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, calcium propionate (preservative), sodium stearoyl lactylate, sesame seeds.

Beef Patties

Two 1.6 oz beef patties account for about 320 calories. They’re made of 100% pure USDA inspected beef.


The legendary Big Mac sauce is a creamy, tangy special sauce made with mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, white wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. It adds around 50 calories.


The melted American cheese on the burgers contributes about 50 calories per slice, so around 100 calories total.


Crisp iceberg lettuce and onions add less than 10 calories.


The sliced dill pickles also provide only negligible calories.

In summary, the bulk of calories in a Big Mac comes from the bun, beef patties, sauce, and cheese. Limiting condiments won’t make much of a calorie dent, but you could request no cheese or smaller patties to reduce the calories slightly.

Big Mac Fat and Sodium

In addition to calories, two other nutrition considerations with the Big Mac are its high saturated fat and sodium content.


The Big Mac contains 28 grams of total fat, including 10 grams of saturated fat. That’s close to half of the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit on saturated fat.

All that fat comes mainly from the beef patties and cheese. Going with lower-fat burger options or removing the cheese can reduce the fat intake.


There are 970 milligrams of sodium in a Big Mac. That’s over 40% of the daily sodium limit of 2,300 mg recommended by dietary guidelines.

Sodium levels are high due to the salt added to the beef patties, cheese, bun, and special sauce. Requesting no salt added to the patties is one way to potentially decrease the sodium.

How Many Calories Does the Average Person Need?

To determine if 563 calories is reasonable for one meal, let’s look at the average daily calorie needs:

  • Sedentary women: about 2,000 calories
  • Moderately active women: about 2,200-2,400 calories
  • Active women: about 2,400-2,800 calories
  • Sedentary men: about 2,400 calories
  • Moderately active men: about 2,600-2,800 calories
  • Active men: about 2,800-3,200 calories

These numbers are just general guidelines; individual needs vary. But based on these estimates, a Big Mac meal provides around half of the average person’s calorie needs for one day.

For someone who requires about 2,000-2,400 calories per day, a Big Mac meal would be a very calorie-dense meal choice. It’s best to balance it with lighter meals and snacks for the rest of the day.

However, more active individuals with higher calorie needs may be able to more comfortably fit a Big Mac into their daily diet. Just keep in mind that calories, portion sizes, and frequency of eating out should all be considered.

Tips for Enjoying a Big Mac in a Balanced Diet

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to occasionally enjoy a Big Mac as part of a healthy, balanced diet:

Watch Portion Sizes

Stick to a regular size Big Mac without upsizing the meal. A large Big Mac has 760 calories, significantly more than the regular size.

Split It

Share one Big Mac as a snack or light meal with a friend. This can help you avoid overeating.

Pick Healthier Sides

Choose apple slices, a side salad, or a yogurt parfait instead of fries for a more nutrient-dense, lower calorie accompaniment.

Watch Extras

Go easy on high-calorie add-ons like bacon, extra cheese, or sugary sauces.

Limit Frequency

Enjoy a Big Mac as an occasional treat, not a regular menu item. Consider it a once-a-week splurge at most.

Stay Active

Maintain an active lifestyle to help burn extra calories from larger meals.

Drink Water

Opt for water or unsweetened tea instead of soda to avoid excess added sugars.

Healthier Burger Options at McDonald’s

If you love burgers but want to make smarter menu selections at McDonald’s, here are some lower calorie sandwich options to consider instead of the Big Mac:


250 calories


300 calories


390 calories


380 calories

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

380 calories

Chicken McNuggets

4 pieces have 190 calories

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

150 calories

Side Salad

15 calories without dressing

Apple Slices

15 calories

Building a meal with these lower calorie options can help reduce the total calorie intake. For example, pairing a Cheeseburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich with a Side Salad and Apple Slices creates a satisfying meal under 600 calories.

Bottom Line

A Big Mac contains 563 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 970 milligrams of sodium. That’s nearly half of the average person’s recommended daily calorie intake from one sandwich. While an occasional Big Mac can fit into a healthy lifestyle, it’s best enjoyed in moderation. Keep portion sizes reasonable, limit extras, and balance out the meal with lighter sides and snacks.

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