High-Protein McDonald's

7 High-Protein McDonald’s Orders to Help You Satisfy Cravings and Hunger

We’re lovin’ these protein counts.

When you roll up to the McDonald’s drive-thru, eating healthy might feel impossible. But there are options at the Golden Arches that won’t derail your goals, including ones that deliver up to 20 grams of protein.

Eating enough protein can help keep you full, lose weight, and support muscle maintenance and growth (1, 2). “Protein helps you feel full as it takes longer to digest and releases certain satiety hormones after you eat it like Peptide YY and Glucagon (3). It also contains amino acids needed to build new muscle,” says registered dietitian Ana Reisdorf, M.S., R.D.

Still, just because a meal contains protein, doesn’t automatically make it healthy. That’s why we scoured the McDonald’s menu for items that deliver protein without going overboard on calories, saturated fat, or sodium.  

Placing your order right now? Here are our top picks:

Ana Reisdorf, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian. She was a clinical dietitian at Kaiser Permanente and a nutrition professor at Cal State Long Beach before founding The Food Trends.

Is Mcdonald’s a Good Source of Protein?

McDonald’s isn’t your best high-protein fast food option. But, the menu does feature a handful of items containing 20 grams of protein or more—the amount Reisdorf suggests getting in a meal. 

“This amount supports muscle repair, helps increase satiety, and can help you maintain a healthy body weight,” she explains. If you’re looking to maximize muscle growth, aim for a little more—20 to 40 grams per meal, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (4). 

The Healthiest High-Protein McDonald’s Items

Ranked from least to most protein, here are the healthiest McDonald’s menu items around 20 grams of protein or more.

A-La Carte Quarter Pounder Beef Patty

(18 g protein)

We get it: Sometimes, you just want to hit your protein goals and avoid any questionable ingredients or extra calories for whatever reason. A Quarter Pounder Beef Patty from the a-la-carte menu does the trick. 

According to McDonald’s, each patty is made with 100% USDA-inspected beef and free of fillers. It’s not quite 20 grams of protein, but it’s close. And since each patty is only $2.20, you can always add on another without breaking the bank. 

Calories: 220

Protein: 18g 

Carbs: 1g (0g fiber)

Fat: 16g (7g saturated fat)

Sodium: 210mg 

Sausage McMuffin with Egg

(20 g protein)

A Sausage McMuffin with Egg is the healthiest McDonald’s breakfast item that single-handedly delivers 20 grams of protein. The surprisingly even blend of macros will help keep blood sugar and energy levels balanced throughout the morning. 

If you’re watching calories, consider customizing the classic McMuffin with Egg. Ask for double Canadian Bacon to get the same 20 grams of protein and save 155 calories (compared to the sausage version).

Calories: 480 

Protein: 20g 

Carbs: 30g (2g fiber)

Fat: 31g (12g saturated fat)

Sodium: 830mg 


(22 g protein)

When you want a burger, Reisdorf usually recommends sticking to a single beef patty and slice of cheese to keep the saturated fat down. The problem? A McDonald’s hamburger only has 12 grams of protein. The McDouble is the next best thing—it doubles down on beef, without doubling up on cheese for a total of 22 grams of protein.  

Calories: 400 

Protein: 22g 

Carbs: 33g (2g fiber)

Fat: 20g (9g saturated fat)

Sodium: 830mg 

10 Piece Chicken McNuggets

(23 g protein)

You could do worse than classic chicken nugs for protein. A 10-piece knocks out an easy 23 grams. Plus, knowing each nugget delivers around 2.3 grams of protein makes it easy to adjust your nugget order up or down depending on your exact goals. 

Calories: 410 

Protein: 23 g 

Carbs: 26g (1 g fiber)

Fat: 24 g (4 g saturated fat)

Sodium: 850 mg 

Deluxe McCrispy

(27 g protein)

Mcdonald’s recently got rid of their Grilled Chicken Sandwich (which delivered 36 grams of protein). A breaded McCrispy is a decent alternative. It offers 27 grams of high-quality protein. Just know it also contains 80 percent of your daily sodium cap, so skip the fries. 

Calories: 530 

Protein: 27 g 

Carbs: 48 g (3 g fiber)

Fat: 37 g (14 g saturated fat)

Sodium: 1210 mg 

6 Piece Chicken Nugget Happy Meal

(24 g protein)

If you struggle to hit up McDonald’s without getting fries, the kid’s meal is the way to go. Each kid’s meal comes with a smaller kids-sized portion of fries, apple slices, and a low-fat milk jug—which adds 8 grams of protein to the meal, and less fat than if you just went for more nugs. The 6-Piece Chicken Nugget Meal has the most protein of any of the Happy Meals (24 grams) while keeping calories, saturated fat, and sodium in check. 

Calories: 475

Protein: 24 g 

Carbs: 45 g (2 g fiber)

Fat: 22 g (4.5 g saturated fat)

Sodium: 670 mg  

Quarter Pounder Deluxe

(30g protein)

McDonald’s Quarter Pounder Deluxe has a bigger patty (which means more protein) than the McDouble, plus veggies for more fiber. Skip the mayo and cheese to shave 200 calories, 6 grams of saturated fat, and 470mg of sodium. Yes, it cuts the protein by 5 grams, but the overall nutrition upgrade is worth it. 

Calories: 630 

Protein: 30 g 

Carbs: 44 g (3 g fiber)

Fat: 37 g (14 g saturated fat)

Sodium: 1210 mg 

Make Your High-Protein Pick Even Healthier

These pro tips can instantly upgrade the nutrition and protein profile of your order.

Customize your meal

McDonald’s best-kept secret: The a-la-carte menu. Want more protein? Ask for an extra burger patty (7g protein, $.89), quarter pounder patty (18g protein, $2.20), chicken filet (20g protein, $2.00), or egg (6g protein, $2.39).

Look for fiber

“Fiber supports digestive health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and contributes to satiety,” says Reisdorf. Fiber is sparse on the McDonald’s menu, but ordering a burger or sandwich “Deluxe”-style adds lettuce and tomato—and 3 grams of fiber.

Minimize saturated fat

Saturated fat at McDonald’s comes in the form of refined oils, cheese, and mayo-based sauces. All of the menu items we’ve listed stay under the 10% limit (for someone sticking to a 2,000-calorie diet), but most don’t leave wiggle room for a side of fries (5).