If you’ve never eaten at the Cheesecake Factory before, then you’ll be pleased to know that it offers more than just cheesecake. In fact, the Cheesecake Factory has one of the most extensive menus we’ve seen since we started reviewing restaurants.
You can visit the Cheesecake Factory for Saturday or Sunday morning brunch or anytime you want to choose from steak, pasta, fish, extensive salads, and other glamorous specialties, including chicken riesling, truffle-honey chicken, or chicken Madeira.
Despite its extensive and glorified menu, there are many pitfalls and traps to be aware of if you’re trying to eat low-carb here.
The Cheesecake Factory likes to jazz up its dishes using sauces and toppings that aren’t low-carb, which is why we recommend studying this guide before you visit the restaurant.
We’ve outlined some crucial tips that you need to know before visiting the Cheesecake Factory on the ketogenic diet. We’ve also provided a list of what dishes are best suited for your low-carb needs and which ones you should stay away from!
Tips For Ordering At The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory has so many dishes on their menu (over 250 to be exact) that it can become overwhelming. Even if you manage to read all of them before your server asks to take your order, it’s not always easy to know what to pick.
Although the Cheesecake Factory has one of the healthier menus we have seen so far, it’s still best to eat at home whenever you can.
The Cheesecake Factory claims that they make their dishes from scratch every day. And while we notice that they offer “superfood” ingredients that most places don’t, we recommend that you limit your dining out experiences to once or twice a month.
Eating at home is a good way to control what and how much you’re consuming. Additionally, the quality of ingredients that you can buy at the grocery store is usually better than what you’ll get at a chain restaurant.
We recommend buying organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meats, cheeses, eggs, and poultry whenever possible, and cooking them in organic ghee or healthy oils. This ensures that you’ll get a completely ketogenic meal as opposed to just something that’s low-carb.
If you manage to find yourself out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and don’t know what to order, you can use these tips to help guide your decision based on your low-carb needs.
#1. Focus your attention to areas of the menu with low-carb options
Because the menu is so big and you probably don’t have time to read the whole thing before your server comes, it’s best to focus your attention on the areas of the menu that offer low-carb options.
Don’t even look at the pasta, pizza or specialty sections, which are usually too high maintenance and would require a lot of special ordering on your part.
Even their superfoods section tends to be focused on plant-based foods such as grains, beans, and starchy fruits and vegetables. Some of the starchier fruits and vegetables such as beets, pears, and grapes should be avoided if you’re on a low-carb diet.
Instead, jump straight to the steaks, chops, fish and seafood section. This is where you’ll find the best dishes to accommodate your low-carb needs.
#2. Watch out for extras
One of the problems you’ll run into at the Cheesecake Factory is that they try to make their dishes as fancy as possible, which just means that they put extra sauce on their foods and pair them with starchy sides that you can’t eat.
Ordering a steak at most places is pretty simple. You just ask for a side of steamed broccoli or house salad instead of the potato. But even some of the steaks at the Cheesecake Factory come smothered in sauces. This makes them harder to customize because there are more opportunities for you to accidentally sabotage your diet.
Forgetting to ask your server to leave one ingredient off your dish could result in being kicked out of ketosis. Pay extra attention to the ingredients in each dish, even the steak dishes that seem like low-carb no-brainers. Watch out for sugar-laden sauces, soy-based dips, and other traps.
#3. Don’t be lured by false advertising
Don’t assume that something is healthy for you just because it’s on the skinnylicious menu. These dishes usually include a smaller portion of some of the more traditional meals on the menu, such as soft tacos, pasta, and pot pie. This means that they contain fewer calories, but it does not guarantee that it’s low-carb.
There might be better options for you on other areas of the menu, so don’t assume that you need to order something off the skinnylicious menu just because of clever marketing gimmicks.
#4. Think twice about soup
The soup at the Cheesecake Factory appears to be made from scratch, which means it’s probably very tasty. However, because the Cheesecake Factory website does not list the ingredients on their menu, we can’t tell what’s in each one.
It’s best to avoid soups in general as they are usually a source of hidden sugar and flour. Stick with a side salad instead.
#5. Consider a lunch special if you need a snack
If you don’t want a full meal at the Cheesecake Factory and just want something to tide you over, then consider ordering something off of their lunch special menu. These make the perfect snacks.
According to their website, you can get just about anything on the regular menu for a smaller lunch portion, including grilled salmon, a half of a turkey sandwich (minus the bread) with a side salad, chicken dishes, and just about any salad on the menu.
#6. Go with breakfast
If you visit the Cheesecake Factory on a weekend, then go with an egg-dish. According to their website, they serve eggs all day long.
Just like many fast food places, breakfast is a good way to eat low-carb because you can order eggs, bacon, meat, meat, avocados and other low-carb veggies without the sauce. You’ll just want to be sure to ask to hold the hash browns and toast as well as any milk that they add to their eggs.
What To Order at The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory is open from 11 AM until 11 PM every day. This means that you might be eating there for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Happy hour is from 4 PM to 6 PM on weekdays, but you’ll want to pass on the alcohol if you’re trying to eat low-carb.
Be prepared for long wait times at most Cheesecake Factory locations as it’s a popular place, thanks to its impressive menu. We recommend calling ahead or getting there early if you plan to eat there, especially on the weekends.
The attire is a bit fancier at the Cheesecake Factory than it is at other chain restaurants, such as Applebees or Outback Steakhouse. This means that you can go in wearing casual clothing, but some people might be dressed up.
We’ve gone over every single item on the menu and placed it into one of two categories: foods that are safe for your low-carb diet (keto-friendly foods) and foods you should avoid. We’ll show you what and how to order at the Cheesecake Factory to ensure you’re getting a low-carb dish without any surprises.
If you have any questions about a particular dish at the Cheesecake Factory, then we recommend asking your server for details. The Cheesecake Factory website does not list the nutritional information of their foods like some restaurants do, so it’s hard to calculate your macronutrient needs if you need to stay in a certain range for ketosis purposes.
Here are the best dishes for eating low-carb at the Cheesecake Factory, broken down by each section on the menu.
Small plates, snacks, and appetizers:
- Little house salad (you’ll want to order this with oil and vinegar dressing instead of house vinaigrette as there is usually sugar in house dressing)
- Greek salad (also listed on the skinnylicious menu; order this with oil and vinegar dressing in place of Greek)
- Spicy Caesar salad (order without the croutons; ask for oil and vinegar dressing if the spicy Caesar dressing contains sugar)
- Stuffed mushrooms (ask to hold the wine sauce)
- Crispy Brussels sprouts (ask to hold the Vermont maple butter glaze, which we assume is a combination of maple syrup and butter)
- Beets with goat cheese (order without the vinaigrette if you are low-carb and avoid this dish completely if you are strict keto)
Salads (order all salads without croutons; ask for olive oil and vinegar or lemons in place of house dressing):
- Tossed green salad (this salad comes with assorted vegetables, so ask your server what they are before you order; if it contains beets, zucchini, carrots or other starchy veggies, then avoid this dish if you’re strict keto or ask for a side house salad instead)
- Chicken Caesar salad (no croutons)
- French country salad (hold the candied pecans and vinaigrette; also hold the beets if you’re strict keto)
- Fresh vegetable salad with chicken (hold the green beans, edamame, and pomegranate vinaigrette; also hold the apples and beets if you’re strict keto or just order a different salad)
- Factory chopped salad (hold the corn and vinaigrette; if you’re strict keto, then also hold the apple)
- Sheila’s chicken and avocado salad (hold the tortilla strips, corn, and citrus-honey peanut vinaigrette; also hold the carrots and make sure the cashews are raw if you’re strict keto)
- Chicken, mango, and avocado salad (hold the wontons and vinaigrette dressing; if you’re strict keto, then also hold the pineapple and mango, and make sure the almonds are raw)
- Cobb salad (no vinaigrette; oil and vinegar instead)
- Seared tuna tataki salad (hold the wasabi vinaigrette)
- California guacamole salad (hold the corn, black beans, and tortilla strips; ask for fresh avocado or guacamole instead of the mildly spicy guacamole dressing)
- Wellness salad (ask for oil and vinegar instead of lemon-blueberry vinaigrette; if you’re strict keto, then also hold the grapes and roasted pears)
- Almond-crusted salmon salad (confirm that the salmon isn’t breaded before ordering; hold the quinoa and cranberries; ask for oil and vinegar dressing)
Glamburgers and sandwiches (order all sandwiches without the bun and any sauce that it comes with; choose a side salad with oil and vinegar instead of fries):
- Old fashioned burger (no mayo or bun)
- Stuffed cheddar burger (hold the special sauce)
- Classic burger
- Factory burger (hold the mayo and bun)
- Smokehouse BBQ burger (hold the BBQ ranch sauce and crispy onion strings)
- Mushroom burger (hold the mayo)
- Americana cheeseburger (hold the secret sauce and potato crisps)
- Bacon-bacon cheeseburger (hold the secret sauce)
- Grilled turkey burger
- Renee’s special (get a fresh turkey sandwich without the bread and a small salad)
- The club (no mayo)
- Grilled chicken and avocado club (no herb mayo)
- Southwest chicken sandwich (hold the mayo)
- California cheese steak (no bread)
Note: we recommend holding the mayo just in case it contains added sugar. You can make your own low-carb keto-friendly mayo by using this recipe.
Steak, chops, fish, and seafood:
- Carne asada steak (hold the creamy ranchero sauce, corn and rice; ask for a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing or steamed veggies instead)
- Chargrilled bone-in New York steak (hold the potatoes and ask for double vegetables; if you’re strict keto, make sure these vegetables are low-carb)
- Grilled pork chop (hold the applesauce and potato; order a side salad or steamed low-carb veggies instead)
- Steak Diane (hold the mushroom wine sauce and potatoes; ask for double grilled onions and a side salad)
- Hibachi steak (hold the mashed potatoes and bean sprouts; ask for grilled asparagus instead of tempura)
- Grilled ribeye steak (ask for double vegetables and no potatoes; ensure these vegetables are low-carb if you’re strict keto)
- Filet mignon (ask for double vegetables and no potatoes; ensure these vegetables are low-carb if you’re strict keto)
- Shrimp and chicken gumbo (ask to have this served over low-carb veggies instead of rice; also hold the sauce)
- Seared ahi tuna (get this over a bed of low-carb veggies; hold the white rice, sriracha aioli and wasabi butter sauce)
- Fresh grilled salmon (get this with double broccoli and no potatoes)
- Herb crusted filet of salmon (order this without the lemon sauce and double asparagus instead of potatoes)
- Factory combinations (order your meats without any sauce; ask for asparagus or broccoli in place of mashed potatoes)
- Baja chicken tacos (order these without the rice, beans, crispy onions, and any sauce that comes on the chicken; eat the insides of the tacos only or ask to hold the shells, too)
- Fish tacos (order grilled fish instead of crispy; hold the rice, beans, crispy onions and chipotle sauce; ask for extra veggies; hold the shell or eat the insides of the tacos only)
- Grilled steak tacos (hold the chipotle sauce, rice, beans, crispy onions, and flour tortilla shells)
- Tuna poke (hold the soy-sesame sauce, onion rings, edamame, and sriracha aioli; ask for a kale-cashew salad with avocado instead of white rice)
- Chicken madeira (hold the madeira sauce and mashed potatoes; ask for double asparagus)
- Lemon herb roasted chicken (hold the garlic-lemon sauce if it contains added sugar; ask for double arugula instead of carrots and mashed potatoes)
Safe side dishes:
- Sauteed spinach
- Grilled asparagus
- Oven roasted broccoli
- Grilled artichoke (order this without the dipping sauce)
- Chicken lettuce wrap tacos (order these pain without added sauces)
- Ahi tartare (order this without soy-ginger sesame sauce)
- Hamburger (minus the mayo and bun)
- Turkey and avocado sandwich (no bread or mayo)
- Soft tacos (stick with steak or chicken tacos and eat the insides only; hold the tortilla shell and any sauce that comes on it)
- Tuscan chicken (hold the farro and vinaigrette; ask for double vegetables instead)
Saturday and Sunday brunch:
- Eggs benedict (you might want to ask if the hollandaise sauce contains added sugar; if so, don’t eat it; hold the hash browns)
- Brunch combo (hold the buttermilk pancakes)
- Farm fresh eggs (hold the potatoes, toast, bagel, or English muffin and ask for a side of meat instead)
- Brioche breakfast sandwich (hold the bread and potatoes; ask for no mayo)
- Create your own omelet (choose from the following: bacon, ham, sausage, cheese, avocado, roasted peppers, mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers)
- California omelet
- Spinach, mushroom, bacon and cheese omelet
- Black coffee
- Unsweetened hot or cold tea
Foods To Avoid At The Cheesecake Factory
Some of the dishes that make it on the “do not eat” list could probably be customized to fit your low-carb needs, but it would take a lot of work and there are much better options for you anyway! Others are just too far gone to try to make low-carb.
Avoid the following dishes at the Cheesecake Factory.
Small plates, snacks, and appetizers:
- Korean fried cauliflower (this dish is covered in sweet and sour sauce and likely breaded; we recommend avoiding)
- Chicken taquitos
- Nashville hot chicken nuggets
- Loaded baked potato tots
- Cheeseburger spring rolls (you could eat the insides only out of these spring rolls, but it seems like a lot of work)
- Chicken samosas (again, you could eat around the crispy wrapper, or you could order something else off the menu!)
- Fried zucchini
- Crispy fried cheese (this might be OK to order as long as it’s not breaded, but we assume it is)
- Dynamite shrimp (you could order this grilled instead of breaded/fried, and without the dipping sauce)
- Crispy crab bites
- Fresh basil, tomato and cheese flatbread
- Roasted pear and blue cheese flatbread
- Chinese chicken salad (you could get this without the rice noodles, crisp wontons, bean sprouts, oranges, snow peas, and special Chinese plum dressing, or you could just order another salad!)
- Chipotle grilled shrimp salad (this comes with too many grains, corn, and beans to make low-carb)
- BBQ ranch chicken salad (you could order this without the corn, black beans, BBQ ranch dressing, and crispy fried onion rings, or you could order something easier!)
- Santa Fe salad (you could order this without the corn, black beans, tortilla strips and spicy peanut-cilantro vinaigrette, but you wouldn’t be left with much)
- Avocado toast
- Kale and quinoa salad
- Vegan cobb salad (there are too many grains, beans and legumes in this salad; order the regular cobb salad instead!)
Pizza, pasta, and soup:
Glamburgers and sandwiches:
- Macaroni and cheese burger (you could get this without the macaroni and cheese, bun, and cheddar cheese sauce, or you could get another burger instead)
- Spicy crispy chicken sandwich (you could order this with grilled chicken and hold the mayo and buffalo sauce, but there are so many other options on the menu that you don’t need to customize as much)
- Veggie burger
- Impossible burger
- Chicken salad sandwich
- Cuban sandwich (this sandwich comes grilled to a pressed roll, which makes it hard to eat without the bread)
- Chicken parmesan sandwich (this sandwich comes breaded and is not allowed on a low-carb diet)
Steak, chops, fish, and seafood:
- Fish and chips
- Fried shrimp platter
- Shrimp scampi
- Jamaican black pepper shrimp (this sounds like a tasty dish, but you would have to custom order everything in this meal to make it low-carb)
- Miso salmon (we recommend ordering the fresh grilled salmon instead)
- Thai-coconut lime chicken (you would need to customize everything in this dish to make it low-carb!)
- Crispy pineapple chicken and shrimp (this dish contains too many high-carb options to make it on our safe list)
- Chicken riesling
- Truffle-honey chicken (order grilled chicken and asparagus instead)
- Chicken parmesan pizza-style
- White chicken chili (this dish contains beans and rice, which makes it off limits for low-carb)
- Chicken enchiladas
- Cajun chicken littles
- Shepherd’s pie
- Factory burrito grande
- Famous factory meatloaf
- Chicken bellagio
- Chicken and biscuits
- Chicken crusted romano
- Orange chicken
- Parmesan herb crusted chicken (you could get this without the breadcrumbs and with asparagus or broccoli in place of mashed potatoes and green beans)
- Crispy chicken costoletta
- Chicken piccata
- Spicy cashew chicken
- Teriyaki chicken (order grilled chicken and sauteed vegetables instead)
- Chicken marsala and mushrooms (you could order this without the sauce and over a bed of vegetables instead of pasta)
- Bang-bang chicken and shrimp (order grilled chicken and shrimp over sauteed vegetables instead)
- French fries
- Green beans
- Sweet potato fries
- Corn succotash
- Mashed potatoes
- Macaroni and cheese
- Chicken pot stickers
- Asian chicken salad (we recommend going with a grilled chicken salad instead of trying to custom order this one!)
- Mexican tortilla salad (again, we recommend going with a grilled chicken salad instead of trying to custom order this one)
- Chicken pasta
- Chicken pot pie
- Lemon garlic shrimp (you could get this over veggies instead of pasta; hold the sauce)
Saturday and Sunday brunch:
- Giant belgian waffle
- Peanut butter and banana waffle
- All pancake dishes
- French toast
- Fried chicken and waffles
- Green chilaquiles with carnitas and eggs
- Monte cristo sandwich (you could get this without the French toast, jam, and powdered sugar, or you could just order an omelet)
- Jambalaya hash and eggs (you could get this without the potatoes, sauce and white rice, or just ask for an omelet with sausage in it)
- Factory huevos rancheros
- Breakfast tacos (the meat on these tacos appear to be flavored, so you’re better off ordering an omelet to avoid hidden sugars)
- Breakfast burrito
- Avoid all sweetened beverages, including juice, milk, sweet tea, and flavored coffee drinks
As you can see, the Cheesecake Factory offers much more than just cheesecake. The menu contains over 250 different dishes, and many of them are covered in sauces and paired with tricky starchy side dishes that can throw you out of ketosis if you’re not careful. We broke down every dish in this article to show you which ones are best to order and which ones you should avoid on a low-carb diet.
If you go to the Cheesecake Factory on the weekend, then order eggs. Their website says that they serve them all day and you can create your own omelet using bacon, meat, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and your choice of low-carb veggies.
Pay particular attention to our suggestions when eating off the regular menu as the Cheesecake Factory likes to enhance the flavor of their dishes, which is another way of saying that they contain lots of hidden sugars. Try a steak with steamed vegetables, but be careful to choose ones that aren’t too starchy.
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