How many net carbs are in a Quarter Pounder with cheese?

Quick Answer

A Quarter Pounder with cheese from McDonald’s has approximately 11 net carbs. The total carbohydrates are 30g, which includes 19g of sugar, 2g of fiber, and 11g of net carbs (Total Carbs – Fiber = Net Carbs).

What is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?

A Quarter Pounder with cheese is one of McDonald’s most popular hamburgers. It features a 1⁄4 lb beef patty topped with ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, and a slice of cheese, sandwiched between a sesame seed bun.

Some key facts about a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese:

  • Introduced in 1972
  • The patty is made with 100% beef with no fillers, additives or preservatives
  • The cheese is typically American cheese or processed cheese slice
  • It has about 420 calories
  • It contains 30g total carbs

The Quarter Pounder was one of the first mainstream fast food burgers to use a thicker, heartier patty compared to regular hamburgers. It helped set McDonald’s apart from competitors by offering a more premium burger option.

Nutrition Facts for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese

Here are the basic nutrition facts for a standard Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s:

Serving Size: 1 burger (207g)
Calories: 420

Fat: 22g
Carbohydrates: 30g
– Fiber: 2g
– Sugar: 19g

Protein: 28g
Sodium: 950mg

As you can see, the total carbohydrates are 30g. But to calculate net carbs, we need to look at the fiber content.

Calculating Net Carbs

Net carbs are calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs.

Fiber is subtracted because it is indigestible by the body, so it does not impact blood sugar or ketosis like digestible carbs do.

So for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese:

Total Carbs: 30g

– Fiber: 2g
= Net Carbs: 28g

Therefore, the net carbs in a Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s is approximately 11g.

This means if you are on a ketogenic or low carb diet, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese will provide about 11g net carbs.

Net Carbs in a Quarter Pounder with Cheese Ingredients

To understand where the net carbs are coming from in a Quarter Pounder, we can break it down by ingredients:

Ingredient Grams Net Carbs
Hamburger bun 57g 15g
Beef patty 113g 0g
Cheese slice 21g 1g
Ketchup 28g 4g
Pickle slices 15g 1g
Onions 7g 1g
Mustard 10g 0g
Total 251g 11g

As you can see, the hamburger bun accounts for over half of the net carbs with 15g. The ketchup and other toppings make up the rest.

The beef patty itself is zero net carbs since it is purely protein and fat. The cheese and mustard are also negligible sources of carbs.

How to Order a Low Carb Quarter Pounder

If you want to reduce the net carbs in your Quarter Pounder, there are a few modifications you can request:

  • No bun: Eliminating the bun reduces carbs by about 15g.
  • Extra lettuce wrap: Using lettuce leaves instead of a bun adds fiber and subtracts carbs.
  • No ketchup/sauces: Getting your burger plain with no ketchup or special sauces can remove 4g of carbs.
  • No onions: Onions add 1g of carbs, removing them saves a gram.

With these modifications, you can bring a Quarter Pounder down to under 5g net carbs.

Some other tips for ordering a low carb Quarter Pounder:

– Opt for mustard instead of ketchup for zero carbs
– Add extra pickles and tomatoes for more fiber
– Choose a side salad instead of fries

How Many Carbs Fit Your Diet

Whether 11g net carbs will fit into your carbohydrate limit for the day depends on the specific diet you are following:

  • Ketogenic diet: Typically limits carbs to 20-50g per day.
  • Moderate low carb diet: May allow 50-100g daily.
  • High carb diet: Could have space for a 300+ carb meal.

On keto or a stricter low carb diet, an unmodified Quarter Pounder would likely take up too many of your daily carb allowance in one sitting.

But those on a more moderate low carb diet or carb cycling diet could probably accommodate it within their plan along with some low carb sides and other meals.

If you are focused on healthy sourcing or nutritional density, a Quarter Pounder may not align with your goals despite the macros. In that case, you could recreate it yourself with grass-fed beef, avocado, and other upgrades.

Net Carbs in Other McDonald’s Sandwiches

How does the Quarter Pounder compare to other popular McDonald’s burgers and sandwiches?

Here are the approximate net carbs for a few other menu items:

Sandwich Net Carbs
Big Mac 29g
Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese 15g
Bacon McDouble 13g
Filet-O-Fish 18g
McChicken 13g
Crispy Chicken Sandwich 21g
Hamburger 21g
Cheeseburger 22g

As you can see, a Quarter Pounder is around average in terms of net carbs compared to McDonald’s other flagship burgers. Removing the bun and condiments can lower the carbs on any of these sandwiches.

Net Carbs in McDonald’s French Fries

When it comes to McDonald’s side dishes, french fries are one of the highest carb options:

Small French Fries
Total Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 2g

Net Carbs: 21g

Medium French Fries
Total Carbs: 38g

Fiber: 3g
Net Carbs: 35g

Large French Fries
Total Carbs: 54g
Fiber: 4g
Net Carbs: 50g

As you can see, even a small order of fries adds significantly to your carb total for the meal.

Some lower carb sides at McDonald’s include:

– Side salad with vinaigrette dressing
– Artisan grilled chicken sandwich
– 2 apple slices

Getting a Quarter Pounder with a side salad or grilled chicken can help balance out the carbs. But pairing it with a large fries would add up to over 60g net carbs for the entire meal.

Quarter Pounder Net Carbs on Keto Diet

On a ketogenic diet, the recommended daily limit for net carbs is typically 20-50g per day.

An unmodified Quarter Pounder with cheese would use up nearly half of that allowance in one meal. Even if you get it without a bun and tomato, it would still have around 6g net carbs just from the cheese, ketchup and onions.

To make it fully keto-friendly, you would need to get a lettuce wrap with no ketchup or onions. This would bring it down to under 3g net carbs from the pickles and cheese only.

Pairing it with a side salad or sliced apples would allow it to fit into a keto meal plan. But eating it with fries or a soda would likely knock you out of ketosis.

Some other tips for ordering a keto Quarter Pounder:

– Add extra pickles for flavor
– Use mustard and mayo for sauces
– Swap the cheese for extra bacon

Overall it can be customized to fit a keto diet, but does require some modifications. There are likely better quality burger options at sit-down restaurants for keto, but McDonald’s can work in a pinch.

Net Carbs on Low Carb Diets

On less restrictive low carb diets like under 100g per day, an unmodified Quarter Pounder would use up about 11% of your daily carb limit.

This means it can likely be accommodated in moderation along with other sensible low carb meal options. You may want to avoid pairing it with a large fries which could add up to over 60g net carbs.

Some ways to maximize it for a low carb diet:

– Get it with a side salad or apple slices instead of fries
– Enjoy it in a lettuce wrap without the bun
– Stick to water or unsweetened iced tea instead of soda

While not as carb-friendly as a bunless burger salad, it can be worked into a moderately low carb diet with some adjustments to accompaniments and other meals. Having it occasionally along with mostly whole, unprocessed foods can provide satisfaction for your cravings while keeping daily carbs in check.


A Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s contains about 11g net carbs from its bun, condiments, and toppings. Requesting no bun and low carb accompaniments can reduce that number to under 5g.

For keto dieters, getting it with no bun or high-carb toppings in a lettuce wrap is advised to stay under 20g per day. On a moderate low carb diet of under 100g daily, it can be accommodated in moderation along with other low carb foods.

At any carb level, balance and nutrition should still be considered when incorporating fast food burgers. But for an occasional treat, a customized Quarter Pounder can fit into many low carb lifestyles. Just be mindful of your total carb limit and adjust the rest of your meals accordingly.

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