Best appetizers at Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse is the place for perfectly cooked, tender steak, stuffed baked potatoes and—of course—freshly baked cinnamon honey butter buns. Aside from steaming hot buns, the chain’s selection of appetizers is your next enticing task. On it you will find everything from signature creations to well-known flavors.

If you’re a seasoned Texas Roadhouse diner you probably know exactly what you want, but if you’re new to the scene there’s plenty to choose from on the menu. You can opt for fried pickles or get a cactus flower for the table. The chain’s signature Rattlesnake Bites, small balls of cheddar cheese sprinkled with jalapeños, are also an option. Then there are some classics like cheddar and bacon stuffed potato skins, boneless buffalo wings, or jam-packed cheese fries. You can even try a small portion of the chain’s “killer” BBQ ribs.

To assess this plethora of options, I decided to eat my way through the entire appetizer menu, one option at a time. Here are Texas Roadhouse’s appetizers, ranked from my least favorite to the absolute best.

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Grilled Shrimp Appetizer at Texas Roadhouse
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Apiece: 350 calories, 19g fat (6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 1,530mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (1g fiber, 4g sugars), 18g protein

This simple dish is quite possibly the healthiest appetizer at the Texas Roadhouse. It’s essentially grilled shrimp on a split bun and a side of garlic-lemon-pepper butter sauce for topping or dipping.

The look: Everyone loves shrimp, right? While that may be the case, this appetizer is very lackluster. Five drab-looking prawns sat on a half-roasted bun with a hint of garlic. To the side is a dirty looking mug that may contain melted butter.

The taste: Maybe it was the tenderness of the starter compared to the other fried items, but that just wasn’t enough. It was completely lacking in flavor and the butter had no discernible garlic or lemon flavor. It was almost watery. There is a sprinkling of parsley in the image on the website which might have spiced up this image. The shrimp were cooked to perfection but that wasn’t worth the price.

Texas Roadhouse Cheese Fries
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Apiece: 1,240 calories, 65g fat (25g saturated fat, 2g trans fat), 5,400mg sodium, 126g carbohydrate (14g fiber, 2g sugars), 38g protein

For this appetizer, Texas Roadhouse’s famous steak fries are coated in cheddar cheese and topped with lots of crispy bacon.

The look: That looked difficult! It was completely covered in cheese that had curdled a bit and had an unreal amount of bacon on it. The bacon looked overdone too.

The taste: I never thought I would say there was too much bacon in a dish, but this one really had way too much bacon. Also, the bacon was too crispy. Also, the fries were very soggy under the weight of all the cheese. And if those saggy fries don’t put you off, looking at the calorie count and sodium content will do the trick. With 1,240 calories and a staggering 5,400 milligrams of sodium, this dish is dangerous to almost everyone. If you have a craving for potatoes and cheese, the next appetizer will satisfy that craving.

Texas Roadhouse Tater Skins for appetizers
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Apiece: 1,320 calories, 88g fat, 496g saturated fat, 2g trans fat), 2,470mg sodium, 63g carbohydrate (7g fiber, 5g sugars), 63g protein

There’s plenty of cheese and crispy bacon for this appetizer, along with huge potato wedges. You can enjoy a smaller portion of this along with two other options as part of the chain’s tasting platter. Note, however, that these are very high in calories and fat. So keep only one or two shells.

The look: The potato skins were well browned and completely covered in cheese. The bacon was sprinkled judiciously over the potato skins compared to the fries.

The taste: If you’re looking for a cheddar and bacon hit, look no further. However, keep in mind that you can also get a loaded baked potato with your meal, so you might end up getting too much of the good (starchy) dish. While these were a bit greasy, the crispy bacon worked if it wasn’t all slathered on top, like with the cheese fries.

Texas Roadhouse Boneless Buffalo Wings
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Per piece with dressing: 1,050 calories, 72g fat (16g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 2,530mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (12g fiber, 2g sugars), 62g protein

These small, crispy chicken bites can be served with hot or mild sauce and blue or ranch cheese. They are available as a whole appetizer or as part of the tasting platter.

The look: These little crispy chicken bites were smaller than I expected – bigger than popcorn chicken but nowhere near the size of a regular wing.

The taste: Although the chicken pieces looked heavy, they were actually surprisingly light and crispy. The breading was a little spicy and just heated my throat. Overall these were enjoyable chicken bites, but I wouldn’t trade this appetizer for some of the other dishes on this list.

Texas Roadhouse Twister mozzarella
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Apiece: 710 calories, 39g fat (15g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 2,610mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate (4g fiber, 6g sugars), 27g protein

The Texas Roadhouses take on mozzarella sticks, Mozzarella Twists are made with twisted cheese sticks and served with classic warm marinara sauce. These could be included in the sample plate, reducing the size and therefore the scary sodium content.

The look: Considering these fall apart easily, I think fried mozzarella probably shouldn’t have a convoluted shape. But they looked golden brown and delicious, and I’ve never met a stick of mozzarella I didn’t enjoy. The marinara sauce looked hot and thick.

The taste: Dipping these twisted sticks was hard, but the herb crust was crunchy and the marinara had a hint of sweetness that complemented the smooth cheese inside. If you have young children in your party, this makes a great appetizer for them or a dinner substitute with veggies on the side.

Cactus flower appetizer at Texas Roadhouse
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Per piece with dressing: 2,680 calories, 181g fat (32g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 5,520mg sodium, 241g carbohydrate (19g fiber, 37g sugars), 25g protein

If this dish looks familiar, that’s because it’s nearly identical to Outback’s popular Bloomin’ Onion. It consists of a sweet onion slice dipped in batter, deep fried and served with Cajun sauce or ranch dressing.

The look: This looks like the ultimate sharing dish, with its individual little onion feathers sticking out, waiting to be pulled and dipped.

The taste: That was good! The coated onions are crispy and sweet, and the Cajun sauce adds just the right amount of flavor. If you’re sharing this with ten people, it makes sense to order it, otherwise it’s a scary appetizer from a health standpoint. It has more calories than anyone should be consuming in a day and a lot of sodium that causes tummy ache. So try a bite or two and move on.

Texas Roadhouse Killer Ribs for starters
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Apiece: 910 calories, 53g fat, 18g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 2,830mg sodium, 59g carbohydrate (8g fiber, 5g sugars), 49g protein

If you want to try the chain’s great ribs but want to leave room for other things, this small portion with fries is a good idea.

The look: The glittery grilled ribs were draped over the fries. They looked meaty and tender and had just the right amount of sauce.

The taste: The Texas Roadhouse ribs won our rib taste test, so we already know this is a good option. They taste just as good as they did back then — spicy and meaty, with just enough of the chain’s signature smoky-sweet sauce. They even taste cold in case you want to save some for later. Share this dish with friends or get this as a substitute for a main course. They say you can substitute the fries for another side dish if you ask.

Fried pickles at the Texas Roadhouse
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Per item without dressing: 550 calories, 38g fat (7g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 2,580mg sodium, 48g carbohydrate (5g fiber, 1g sugars), 6g protein

This dish consists of simple crinkle-cut cucumbers, coated in crunchy batter and served with ranch or Cajun sauce.

The look: This is the ultimate sharing dish as there is enough for the whole table. The pickles were perfectly browned and can’t say enough about the chain serving their food nice and hot which really makes a difference.

The taste: These little medallions hit just the right note for an appetizer. They were flavorful, crunchy, creamy and slightly hot. A cold beer or a margarita is enough as a side dish. Be aware of sodium levels if you are sensitive as they are very high. Also, your sauce of choice will add 200 to 400 more calories to this dish, so omit it or dip it in lightly.

Rattlesnake bites at the Texas Roadhouse
Meaghan Cameron/Eat That, Not That!

Per item without dressing: 560 calories, 36g fat (19g saturated fat, 0g trans fat), 1,430mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (3g fiber, 3g sugars), 25g protein

What is a rattlesnake bite? It’s all the flavors of jalapeno poppers in an easy-to-burst ball of fried goodness. If you like creamy cheese and some spice, you have to try it at least once.

The look: These little brown balls don’t look all that appetizing, actually they look like donuts. But it depends on what’s inside.

The taste: The cheese mixture in these deep fried balls is so soft and silky. They melted in my mouth and the smooth, flavorful cheese coated my tongue. Be careful with these because they are so small and tasty you will forget they are fried cheese. If you skip the dressings and share this appetizer, it really isn’t the worst calorie wise. It even contains 1,000 milligrams less sodium compared to fried pickles. When you get the dressing, go for the Cajun because it has fewer calories and more flavor.

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