Calories in rolls: the most important questions and answers

Kalorien in Semmel: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

You know it: on the way to work you head for the bus stop where the train or bus will pick you up. But stop! Wasn't there a baker there? And unfortunately you didn't have time to have a proper breakfast again. You peer curiously at the counter in the bakery.

What wonderful treats lie there. You spot a roll, just the way you like it, with your favorite topping. You would love to buy a roll there if you didn't have a guilty conscience. Bread rolls are calorie bombs, aren't they?

We know this term very well. It is a term that is often used in everyday life. However, the actual meaning behind this word is not so well known, even if we use this term in our language without thinking too much about it.

Calories come up again and again, especially when it comes to a healthy diet. But what exactly is a calorie? Are rolls really that many calories? Which roll is the lowest in calories and what are good alternatives? You will find out this and more in this article.

the essentials in brief

  • A calorie is a unit of measure used to measure the amount of energy that the body can absorb from food.
  • The human body needs calories to function at all.
  • A wheat roll contains on average almost 172 kcal.
  • Potato rolls are particularly low in calories.

Calories in rolls: what you should know

The topic of nutrition is very broad. Since there are many misunderstandings and half-truths circulating around the world on this subject, we felt it appropriate to bring the subject closer to you in the form of an FAQ.

What is a roll or a bun?

A roll, or a roll, is a small unsweetened pastry. Often it is mainly made by bakers and then sold. A roll is considered a miniature version of a loaf of bread. But what exactly makes a roll?

Bun with meat and salad

The number of calories in a roll depends on several factors. (Image source: Mae Mu / unsplash)

Bread rolls are usually made from rye or wheat flour. Baking yeast or sourdough makes the pastry fluffy and fluffy. Water is usually used for the dough, but milk is also used for special types of bread. On average, a roll weighs up to approx. 65 grams.

What is a calorie?

A calorie (cal) is actually nothing more than a unit of measurement. This unit of measurement is intended to evaluate how much energy the human body can obtain from food (1). Strictly speaking, a calorie is a unit of heat.

A calorie represents the amount of heat it would take to raise one gram of water by one degree (6). In 1948 the unit of measurement "calorie" was abolished and replaced by the unit joule (kj) (8). One kilojoule equals 0.239 kcal (9).

Are Calories Unhealthy?

One of the misconceptions we have from everyday half-truths picked up somewhere is that calories are inherently bad and unhealthy. The word "calorie" is associated with a socially negative evaluation.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, the human body must also absorb calories through nutrition in order to function properly. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are particularly important here (2).

In everyday life, the body burns this energy. Only when there is an excess of calories, when the body can no longer burn this energy, does one gain weight as a result. This is why they are mistakenly labeled as unhealthy on the whole.

How many calories does a white bread roll have?

Now we come back to the topic. Finally, we want to find out what the calories in a roll are all about. The answer to the question of how many calories are in a single roll or roll depends on the size of the roll.

Eat healthy with rolls

Healthy dishes can also be conjured up with rolls. (Image source: Serghei Savchiuc / Unsplash)

A normal wheat roll with a weight of about 60 grams contains just over 170 kcal (3). Depending on the topping, the number of calories is increased. A slice of Gouda cheese brings about 76 kcal to the bread (10).

Which rolls are the lowest in calories?

As already mentioned, the number of calories in a roll depends on many other factors. Is it a single roll with no topping? How big is the bun? What dough was the bun made from?

We have created a clear table so that you can still get a good overview of the different types of rolls and the associated calories.

Bread type (in 100g) Calorie Percentage(7)
wheat roll 272 calories
Spelled roll 252 calories
Ciabatta roll 242 calories
Potato Bun 180 calories
Rye Bun 221 calories
Lye roll 282 calories
Wholemeal Bread 220 calories

How to make low-calorie and healthy food out of a roll?

It doesn't matter if you got a fright when you found out the number of calories in a roll and actually can't imagine your life without a roll. The fact is: you can always turn something there.

  • Different type of bread: First, you could switch to a type of bread that is a little lower in calories than, for example, a wheat bread. As we can see in the table from the previous question, a potato bun is the lowest calorie choice. If the calories in your roll are so important to you, then it would certainly be worth making the switch.
  • Bake it yourself: If you want to do even more to enjoy your bun as healthily as possible, then you could try baking your own bun. You can find lots of recipes online!
  • Healthy side dishes: Even if you choose a roll that contains a little more calories, you can quickly make your food healthier by eating healthy side dishes. A few carrots or fresh tomatoes liven up the meal!

What low-calorie alternatives are there to bread rolls?

If you are completely put off by all kinds of rolls in this article, then it can make sense to look for lower-calorie alternatives that you can also feel good about in your diet.

  • Crispbread: A slice of crispbread has about 42 calories (4).
  • Rice Cakes: A slice of rice cake has between 20 and 40 calories (5).

These alternatives give you something crunchy to bite into and you can fill them with whatever you choose. But are these alternatives healthy? We will tell you more about these alternatives!


As already mentioned, a slice of crispbread has a calorie content that is very different from half a bread roll. Nevertheless, the type and quantity of crispbread is also important here, so that it can be considered healthier.

Healthy eating with crispbread

Crispbread, for example, is a good and healthy alternative to a roll. (Image source: Anne-Sophie Benoit / unsplash)

Make sure that you use crispbread that really insists on whole grain (4). And voilà there you have a healthy alternative to a bread roll.

rice cake

Another well-known alternative to rolls are so-called rice cakes. Rice cakes are very light, white discs that are usually round in shape. They are particularly low in calories and can be wonderfully covered with anything. Nevertheless, rice cakes are a matter of taste, because not everyone can make friends with the popcorn-like food.


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you eat. One thing is certain: you will be consuming calories one way or the other. They don't necessarily mean anything negative or that a food is unhealthy. This measures the energy value that your body can obtain from food.

A white roll has about just over 170 kcal and is therefore not very low in calories. The lowest-calorie type of roll is the potato roll. Crispbread or rice cakes are low-calorie alternatives.


  1. Chemistry. de, Lexicon: Calorie. Source
  2. (2014), Macronutrients. Source
  3. Yazio, Wheat Bun Bread - Calories & Nutritional Values. Source
  4. Harberg, J. (2017) Is Crispbread Healthy?. Source
  5. Rau, L. (November 2019) Are rice cakes healthy? what you need to know Source
  6. James L Hargrove, History of the Calorie in Nutrition, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 136, Issue 12, December 2006, Pages 2957-2961, Source
  7., rolls, rolls calorie table. Source
  8. Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (1948). Resolution 3 of the 9th CGPM (1948) p. 55 Source
  9. Max Kleiber, Joules vs. Calories in Nutrition, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 102, Issue 3, March 1972, Pages 309-312, Source
  10. Editorial office Meine Gesundheit (2017) Calorie table cheese. Source
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