What is the lowest sugar item at Dairy Queen?

Dairy Queen is a popular fast food restaurant chain that is well-known for its indulgent ice cream treats. However, with rising rates of obesity and diabetes, more and more people are looking for lower sugar options when dining out. For those looking to make healthier choices at Dairy Queen, identifying the lowest sugar items on the menu can help guide your order. So what is the lowest sugar item you can get at Dairy Queen?

DQ Menu Overview

Dairy Queen’s menu features a variety of ice cream treats, including sundaes, Blizzards, shakes, malts, cones, and Cool Treats. They also offer burgers, hot dogs, chicken strips, and other savory items. When looking at their offerings, it’s clear that most menu items are high in added sugars from ice cream, syrups, and candies. However, they do have some lower sugar options available.

Ice Cream Treats

The majority of Dairy Queen’s ice cream treats are high in added sugars. Blizzards, sundaes, shakes, malts, and cones typically have over 30g of sugar each. Even their small cone sizes still have around 10g of sugar. The same goes for their Cool Treats lineup of Dilly Bars, Cookie Jar Treats, and Candy Jar Treats, which have between 15-30g of added sugar each.

Cakes and Pies

Dairy Queen’s ice cream cakes and pies are another very high sugar option. A typical 8-inch round ice cream cake has around 60-70g of sugar. Their fruit and pie slices have around 40-50g of sugar each as well.

Burgers, Hot Dogs, and Chicken

In the savory part of their menu, the burgers, hot dogs, and chicken tend to be lower in sugar, averaging around 5-15g per item. However, this can increase if you add condiments like sugary sauces or start customizing your order.


When it comes to Dairy Queen drinks, sugar content varies quite a bit. Their regular fountain soda sizes have 35-60g of sugar. Milkshakes have around 60-75g of sugar. Their flavored Coolatta drinks have 45-60g of sugar per medium or large size. However, they do offer diet soda options and bottled water that have 0g sugar.

Lowest Sugar Items at Dairy Queen

After looking through the different categories on Dairy Queen’s menu, we can determine which items are the lowest in sugar.

1. Diet Soda

One of the best low sugar options is diet soda. A medium or large diet soda at Dairy Queen contains 0g of sugar. Some diet soda flavors available include:

  • Diet Coke
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Diet Sprite
  • Diet Fanta

Opting for a diet soda instead of a regular fountain soda can save you 35-60g of added sugar.

2. Bottled Water

Like diet soda, bottled water contains 0g of sugar. Choosing bottled water over a sugary fountain soda or shake is an easy way to avoid extra sugar. Dairy Queen carries regular bottled water as well as some flavored bottled water options such as:

  • Dasani
  • Aquafina
  • Smart Water
  • Vitamin Water Zero

3. Simple Burger or Hot Dog

Ordering a simple hamburger or hot dog with no added sauces or toppings is another low sugar choice. A plain DQ hamburger or hot dog has around 5-10g of sugar. Compare that to a shake which can have up to 75g of sugar! Stick to ketchup, mustard, pickles or other lower sugar toppings to keep your burger or hot dog relatively low in added sugar.

4. Grilled Chicken Sandwich

The grilled chicken sandwich has about 5g of sugar, which is lower than many other menu options. Order it plain or with low sugar toppings like lettuce and tomato to limit added sugars.

5. Kid’s Meal Hamburger

Kid’s meal versions of burgers and hot dogs will be smaller and lower in sugar. A kid’s hamburger has about 8g of sugar compared to 15g of sugar in a regular DQ hamburger. Opting for a kid’s meal burger is an easy way to cut the sugar if you aren’t very hungry.

6. Side Salad

Ordering a plain side salad with low-sugar dressing is another way you can minimize added sugars with your meal. Dairy Queen’s side salads have around 5-15g of sugar depending on toppings and dressing. Choose options like vinegar, oil, or low-sugar balsamic for the healthiest choice.

7. Vanilla or Chocolate Soft Serve Cone

If you really want to enjoy Dairy Queen’s famous soft serve, opt for a kiddie-sized vanilla or chocolate cone with no toppings. This will limit you to about 8-10g of sugar. Compare that to a regular size vanilla cone with 30g of sugar. Going small on soft serve is key for lowering sugar intake.

8. Slushies

Slushies and Coolattas may be icy and fruity, but they aren’t sugar-free. Your best bet is to choose a small size slushy in a lower sugar flavor like cherry or lemon-lime. A small Slushy has around 15g of sugar compared to 45g in a medium or large.

Tips for Ordering Low Sugar at Dairy Queen

Here are some tips to help you order lower sugar items when dining at Dairy Queen:

Size Down Treats

One of the best things you can do is choose a smaller size of any treat. The smaller the serving size, the less sugar it will have. Get a mini Blizzard instead of a large or choose a kid-sized cone rather than a towering waffle cone.

Skip Sugary Toppings

When ordering sundaes, Blizzards, or cones, skipping candies, cookies, and syrupy toppings will help minimize added sugars. Go for one or two ingredients like fruit or nuts instead.

Choose Milk over Cream

In shakes and Blizzards, opt for low-fat or skim milk rather than heavy cream. Cream adds more saturated fat and a slight amount of extra sugar.

Avoid Pre-Made Cakes

Dairy Queen’s pre-made ice cream cakes are sugar bombs, often containing over 60g sugar per slice. Order a small cone with a candle instead for birthdays or special occasions.

Mix and Match Menu Items

Don’t be afraid to order food and treats separately. Pair a burger or grilled chicken sandwich with a kid-sized cone for a more balanced lower sugar meal.

Check Nutrition Info Online

If in doubt, check Dairy Queen’s nutrition information online. Look at their allergen guide or nutrition calculator to look up sugar content before ordering.

Sample Low Sugar Meal at Dairy Queen

Here is an example of how you can put together a lower sugar meal at Dairy Queen:

Food Item

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no sauce)

This simple grilled chicken sandwich has only about 5g of sugar.


  • Medium Diet Dr. Pepper

Choose any medium diet soda for 0g sugar.


  • Kid Cone with vanilla soft serve

The kid sized cone limits you to about 10g of sugar.

Total Sugar

The meal totals around 15g of sugar, which is low compared to most other meal choices which can easily top 50 or 60g of sugar each.

The Healthiest Choice at Dairy Queen

When dining at Dairy Queen, the overall healthiest choice is to customize your meal by mixing and matching lower sugar items from their menu. Avoid pre-sweetened ice cream treats and sugary toppings and dressings as much as possible. Your best bet is to choose simple grilled sandwich options, salad, or plain burgers paired with diet soda, bottled water, or a small soft serve cone for a treat. Although most menu items at Dairy Queen are high in added sugar, you can put together a lower sugar meal by making smart choices.

Should You Avoid Dairy Queen If You Have Diabetes?

People with diabetes need to carefully monitor their carbohydrate and sugar intake when eating out. Because most options at Dairy Queen are high in carbs and added sugar, it is not the most diabetic-friendly restaurant. However, with careful ordering, people with diabetes can still reasonably fit Dairy Queen into their meal plan on occasion. Focus on sticking to the lower sugar items discussed in this article. Be mindful of your portion sizes and accompanying carbohydrates like buns and fries as well. Pair your meal with non-starchy vegetables and lean protein containing little saturated fat when possible. Those with diabetes should also pay close attention to how the meal affects their blood sugar afterward so they can determine if that item or portion size works for their diet. Moderation and careful ordering is key for those with medical dietary restrictions like diabetes to still enjoy an occasional treat from Dairy Queen.

Sugar and Health

Consuming too much added sugar from processed foods, sweetened beverages, and desserts can negatively impact your health in many ways. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar intake to no more than:

  • Men: 36g per day
  • Women: 25g per day

The average American consumes a whopping 82g of added sugar per day, which can contribute to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and more. When dining out a restaurants like Dairy Queen, taking steps to minimize added sugars is key for your health.

Effects of Too Much Added Sugar

Some effects of excessive added sugar consumption include:

  • Weight gain – extra calories from sugar can lead to obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes – spikes blood sugar levels, increasing diabetes risk
  • Inflammation – chronic inflammation raises risks of chronic illnesses
  • Heart disease – extra sugar increases bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and belly fat
  • Fatty liver – excess fructose contributes to fatty liver disease
  • Cognitive decline – excess sugar intake linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer – increased risk of certain cancers linked to high sugar diets

Because of these negative health impacts, it’s important to limit sweets and added sugars in your diet, including when dining out a restaurants like Dairy Queen. Although an occasional treat is ok, a diet high in added sugar can have detrimental effects on your health over time.

Sugar Recommendations for Active Individuals

For very active individuals and athletes, sugar needs may be slightly higher to replace glycogen stores. However, added sugars should still be limited. According to sports dietitians, active individuals should aim to get the majority of their sugar intake from natural food sources like fruits and dairy instead of processed sweets. Active individuals can use sports drinks, gels, or bars during long endurance exercise for temporary easy-to-digest carbohydrate fuel. However,Added sugars from treats like Dairy Queen should be occasional and hormonal, active individuals should still limit added sugars from sweets to 2-3 times per week at most.

Sugar Recommendations for Kids

It’s especially important to limit added sugar for children due to the childhood obesity epidemic. The American Heart Association recommends the following maximum daily sugar intakes for children:

  • Children ages 2-18:
    • Boys: 25g per day
    • Girls: 20g per day
  • Children under 2: Avoid added sugars

When occasional treats at places like Dairy Queen are given, the portions should be small and shared among family members. Focus on building healthy eating habits in children by emphasizing nutrient-dense whole foods at home and limiting processed items with added sugars.


Dairy Queen’s menu is filled with delicious yet indulgent ice cream treats loaded with added sugar. However, with mindful ordering, you can craft a lower sugar meal by choosing items like grilled chicken sandwiches, diet soda, bottled water, and kid-sized soft serve cones. Limit sugary sauces, candies, and toppings and opt for smaller sizes to minimize added sugars when dining at Dairy Queen. While an occasional treat is ok, be cautious with portions and frequency due to the many adverse health effects linked to over-consuming refined sugars. Focus on a balanced diet emphasizing whole foods over heavily processed items with added sugars.

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