Like most fast food restaurants, Hardee’s is big on battered and fried foods as well as burgers. This can make eating keto at Hardee’s a little challenging. But, if you order carefully, you can make it work in an emergency.
Some of the best Hardee’s options on a keto diet are the bacon double-cheese burger or Frisco Angus burger without the bun. You can also enjoy a bacon (or sausage), egg, and cheese biscuit, minus the biscuit.
We never recommend making fast food your first choice, but when life happens, here’s how to order a low-carb Hardee’s meal to ensure you stay in ketosis.
Tips For Ordering Low Carb at Hardee’s
Hardee’s is open daily from about 6 AM until around 10 PM or 11 PM. They’ve always been known for being a breakfast place since they became a popular franchise back in the 1970s and it looks like they want to continue to keep it that way.
Keep in mind that eating at home is always best for you, especially if you’re on a ketogenic diet. This is because eating at home allows you to pick out your ingredients.
Eating at Hardee’s or any fast food restaurant once a month or so won’t hurt you too badly. Just make sure you never rely on fast food as your meal of choice and only hit the drive-through for an emergency only.
Dishes that are lowest in carbs
Here are the top items that are lowest in carbs at Hardee’s, based on the website’s nutrition information:
- Frisco Breakfast sandwich (2 grams carbs as hold as you hold the bun)
- Egg and cheese biscuit (2 grams carbs if you hold the biscuit)
- Add bacon for 0 grams extra carbs!
There are lots of opportunities to accidentally order something that contains hidden carbs, so make sure you follow these tips to keep your diet on track.
#1. Look up the nutritional information of your food
Start by visiting the Hardee’s menu. Click on your food of choice and customize it so that it matches your needs. You’ll be able to compare your modified version with the calories in the original dish.
For example, a ⅓ pound bacon cheese thickburger normally contains 850 calories, 54 grams of fat, 54 grams of carbs (51 grams net carbs), 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 42 grams of protein. But if you hold the bun and mayonnaise, your new macronutrient profile reads as follows: 400 calories, 27 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs (5 grams net carbs), 1 gram of fiber, 3 grams of sugar and 35 grams of protein.
This is a great tool to use if you need to stay within a certain carb or fat ratio for the day and are worried that Hardee’s will put you over.
#2. Ask to “low-carb” it
Hardee’s used to have a “low-carb it” option that allowed you to order any burger without the bun. Instead, they would serve it to you in a lettuce wrap. They also had an option called “trim it,” where you could get a sandwich or burger as a lettuce wrap AND without bacon and cheese or other toppings that add to calories.
It does not appear that they offer these preparations anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. Specifically, they used to have two “low-carb it” sandwiches, including the charbroiled chicken club sandwich and the ⅓ pound low-carb thickburger. The “low-carb it” option did not leave off the sugary sauces, so you will want to be sure to hold these if you order a lettuce wrap.
We noticed that the Hardee’s nutrition menu lists some of the older foods on their menu, such as the “low-carb it” options and the low-carb breakfast bowl. So be sure to ask what else is on the menu if you want something special as they might still be able to make these for you.
#3. Go with breakfast
Hardee’s used to serve breakfast all day, but it doesn’t appear that they do this anymore. You can still order off the breakfast menu until 10:30 at most locations.
We recommend going with a breakfast sandwich without the bun. This would be a good way to go as eggs, bacon, and meat are always guaranteed to be low-carb. Breakfast sandwiches are also less likely to contain sauce than burgers, so you won’t have to do as much customizing.
One thing to keep in mind is that Hardee’s uses “folded” eggs. We aren’t sure what this means as Hardee’s doesn’t include ingredients in their nutritional information, but we’re sure it contains some type of preservative to keep the eggs in patty form.
This makes the eggs easier to eat, especially without a bun, but it’s not something you want to indulge in often. They also have fried eggs, too. If you end up ordering breakfast, be sure to hold the hash browns and any tempting starchy sides that come with it, such as their scratch-made biscuits.
We like the prime rib and fried egg biscuit, which comes with slow cooked prime rib, Swiss cheese, and a fried egg on a biscuit. You can keep it low carb by holding the biscuit.
What To Order At Hardee’s
We’ve looked over the entire menu at Hardee’s and come up with a list of foods you can safely eat on a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Be sure to follow these recommendations closely to avoid hidden sugars or bad ingredients.
For all breakfast sandwiches, hold the bread or biscuit; add cheese or bacon if you need more calories:
- Smoked sausage biscuit
- Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit
- Loaded omelet biscuit (hold any sauce that comes in the omelet)
- Country ham biscuit
- Monster biscuit
- Sausage biscuit
- Smoked sausage biscuit with egg and cheese
- Sausage and egg biscuit
- Honey butter sausage biscuit (hold the honey butter)
- Frisco breakfast sandwich
- Loaded breakfast burrito (hold the zesty salsa and eat the insides of the burrito only)
- Hardee breakfast platter with bacon (hold the biscuits and gravy and hash rounds)
For all burgers, ask for no bun and sauce or get a lettuce wrap instead; order a side salad without dressing in place of French fries or onion rings:
- ⅓ pound cheeseburger (hold the ketchup)
- ⅓ pound original thickburger (hold the ketchup and mayo)
- ⅓ pound mushroom and Swiss burger
- ⅓ pound bacon cheese thickburger (skip the mayo)
- Frisco thickburger (skip the mayo)
- ⅔ pound monster thickburger (skip the mayo)
- ¼ pound cheeseburger (skip the ketchup)
- ¼ pound thickburger (hold the ketchup and mayo)
- Hardee’s double cheeseburger (skip the ketchup)
- Double charbroiled slider (skip the ketchup)
- Single charbroiled slider (skip the ketchup)
- Famous star with cheese (no ketchup)
- Super star with cheese (no ketchup)
- The big Hardee and the Really Big Hardee (no ketchup)
*For strict keto, avoid most store-bought mayo products because of the added sugar and vegetable oil.
Chicken and more
Note that not all stores offer grilled chicken options. If it’s battered and fried, it is not keto friendly, so rather go for something else.
If you can get grilled chicken sandwiches, hold the bun and sauce or ask for a lettuce wrap; get a side salad without dressing in place of French fries and onion rings:
- Charbroiled chicken club sandwich (no mayo)
- Charbroiled BBQ chicken sandwich (hold the BBQ sauce)
- Big hot ham and cheese
For all burritos, toss the burrito shell and eat the insides only:
- Beef soft taco (hold the sauce and ask for more cheese if needed)
- Beef taco salad (hold the salsa and don’t eat the taco shell)
- Side salad (no dressing)
- Unsweetened iced tea
- Black coffee
- Bottled water
Foods To Avoid at Hardee’s
Some foods are Hardee’s just aren’t worth trying to customize. They either contain fried meat or come with too many carbs. We recommend sticking with one of the low-carb options listed above and staying away from the following foods.
- Biscuit N’ gravy
- Country fried steak biscuit
- Chicken biscuit
- Pork chop N’ gravy biscuit
- Cinnamon N’ raisin biscuit
- Honey butter chicken biscuit
- Honey butter bacon biscuit (you could order this without the bun and honey butter, or you could just order a side of bacon)
- Hash rounds
- Froot loops mini donuts
- All made from scratch biscuits
Chicken and more:
- All chicken tenders
- The big chicken fillet sandwich
- Spicy chicken sandwich
- Jumbo chili dog (you could order this without the bun and chili, but we recommend staying away from hot dogs as they are highly processed and sticking with grilled chicken or a burger instead)
- Hardee’s hot chicken sandwich
- Veg-it thickburger
Burritos (these burritos contain beans, rice, and salsa; you’re better off ordering a plain chicken or beef taco and eating the insides only):
- Beef grilled burrito
- Chicken grilled burrito
- Steak quesadilla
- Cheese quesadilla
- Chicken quesadilla
- All nachos
- Red burrito chicken or steak bowl
- Chips and salsa
All star meals (we recommend staying away from all star meals as they include a drink, a cookie, and French fries; order two low-carb sandwiches if you’re really hungry instead and don’t tempt yourself with food you can’t eat):
- Hand breaded chicken tender all star meal
- Double cheeseburger and spicy chicken sandwich all star meal
- Double cheeseburger and hot dog all star meal
- 2 hot ham and cheese, fry, cookie, drink
- Two double sliders, drink, fry, cookie
- Triple cheeseburger, spicy chicken sandwich, fry, cookie, drink
- French fries
- Crispy curls
- Beer-battered onion rings
- All dipping sauces
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Apple turnover
- All sweetened drinks and milkshakes
- All soda and diet soda
If you’re in a pinch and Hardee’s is the only thing on the way to work, then consider going with a breakfast sandwich. If it’s lunch or a snack you need, then try one of their biscuit sandwiches minus the biscuit or a bunless burger without any sauce.
Order a side salad without dressing in place of French fries or onion rings, and be careful about adding sauce to your burgers. Hold the mayo and ketchup as these likely contain added sugars. Ask for extra cheese if you need a bit of a flavor enhancer. And whatever you do, stay away from the scratch-made honey biscuits!
For a list of foods to eat and avoid on keto, check this here!
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