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21+ High Calorie Foods for Gaining Weight

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Finding enough high calorie foods is the most difficult part of gaining weight for a lot of people. This makes sense for a couple of different reasons:

As a skinny person you’ve likely been habitually under-eating for a long time. The idea of consuming a minimum amount of calories every day can be a little intimidating.

You also likely have a poor eating schedule thanks to the habit of under-eating. The reason many skinny people trick themselves into thinking they eat a lot is that they will skip breakfast, eat a small lunch, then out-eat their friends and family at dinner after they’ve starved themselves all day. If you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough.

Eating enough food to gain weight requires a lot of planning. Which are the best high calorie foods? How much do they cost? How should you cook them? How long will it take? This gets easier with experience.

Below you will find a monster list of the best high calorie foods you can use to make gaining weight easier. These are all fairly common household foods that should be made staples for your weight gain diet.

P.S… we’ve also included a couple tasty recipes alongside each high calorie food mentioned on the list below. Enjoy!

The Best High Calorie Foods

So many high calorie foods we had to create a table of contents…

Calorie Shortcut: Optimum Nutrition Mass Gainer

Serious Mass Weight Gainer

Check the price of ON Serious Mass by clicking here.

Serving size: 2 heaping scoops

  • Calories: 1,250
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbs: 253g
  • Protein: 50g

Serious Mass is a weight gainer protein powder that provides a shortcut to putting on pounds. Add 1,250 calories to any meal by adding 2 scoops of Serious Mass!

High calorie recipes with Serious Mass:

  • Throw it in the blender with milk, ice, and peanut butter for a high protein shake that comes close to 2,000 calories!
  • Mix it with your morning oatmeal for a high protein breakfast
  • Add milk and drink it straight – delicious flavors include Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana, Strawberry, and more!

Order your own tub of Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass right here.

Bananas

110 calorie banana

Serving size: 1 medium sized banana.

  • Calories: 105
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Carbs: 27g
  • Protein: 1.3g

The banana has been a grade A ingredient in all the best high calorie weight gainer shakes of mine over the years, but also serves as a good stand alone high calorie snack.

These macros are what you’re going to get from a medium sized banana (~7″) as well as 3.1 of fiber and 8% of your daily magnesium.

High calorie recipes with bananas:

  • Add it to your protein shake
  • Slice it up and put it in your oatmeal or cereal
  • Sliced banana, mixed berries, yogurt, granola, oats. Boom. High calorie yogurt parfait.

Dried Fruits

Dried Fruit

Serving size: 1/4 cup of dried cherries, because they’re extra delicious.

  • Calories: 136 calories
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 32g
  • Protein: 1g

Dried fruit is great for snacking on throughout the day. My favorites are dried cherries and dried apricots. In addition to the provided macros, you can also look forward to 1g of fiber and 30% of your daily intake of Vitamin A.

High calorie recipes with dried fruits:

  • Mix in with nuts for homemade trail mix
  • Mix in with granola and add milk for a high calorie breakfast cereal
  • 28 recipes to try out dried fruit with – the apple cider loaf and hazlenut rochers look the best to me!

Sweet Potatoes

112 calorie sweet potato

Serving size: 1 potato

  • Calories: 112
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbs: 26g
  • Protein: 2g

Sweet potatoes seem to be pretty hit and miss among my family and friends. They either love them or hate them. I love them. #teamsweetpotato

Sweet potatoes are a high calorie food packed with micronutrients. You can look forward to 368% of your daily recommended serving of vitamin A, 15% vitamin B-6, 5% vitamin C, 8% magnesium, and 3% calcium. Plus 3.9 of fiber.

High calorie recipes with sweet potatoes:

Peanut Butter

90 calories peanut butter

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

  • Calories: 90
  • Fat: 8g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Protein: 3g

Barring any nut allergies, peanut butter is one of those high calorie foods you can lean on. It tastes good and makes you want to drink milk. What more could a gainer ask for?

Peanut butter isn’t particularly vitamin dense, but it will provide a little bit of fiber (1g). There is also organic peanut butter if you want to cut back some of the added sugars, but be warned it is more expensive.

Honorable shout out to almond butter as an alternative to peanut butter. Almond butter is slightly more calorie dense at 101 calories per tbsp.

Check out these 19 almond butter recipes if you’d prefer to stay away from peanuts.

High calorie recipes with peanut butter:

Almonds (and other various nuts)

163 calories almonds

Serving size: 1oz of almonds (23 whole almonds)

  • Calories: 163 calories
  • Fats: 14g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Protein: 6g

Nuts are some of the most calorie dense foods you will find on your path to putting on pounds. I chose almonds here because I left them out of the butters above.

Don’t feel limited to almonds, though. 1oz of cashews, peanuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, and pistachios will each net you over 150 calories. If it’s a nut, it probably deserves a spot on this list of high calorie foods.

High calorie recipes with various nuts:

  • Buy all the aforementioned nuts in bulk, add dried fruit, voila! Enjoy your trail mix.
  • Mix things up with this simple candied almonds recipe
  • Banana + mixed nuts + ice cream = banana split

Granola

Granola

Serving size: 1 cup

  • Calories: 471
  • Fats: 20g
  • Carbs: 64g
  • Protein: 10g

Granola is a perfect part of a high calorie breakfast or late night snack. It’s simple to make your own by combining healthy seeds and grains of your choice.

Use it as a topping, eat it dry, add milk and eat it like cereal… lots of options with granola. 1 cup of granola earns you 5g fiber, 24% of your recommended magnesium, and 16% of iron.

High calorie granola recipes:

  • Previously mentioned: add milk and eat as cereal, add yogurt and fruit for a parfait.
  • No bake brownie granola bars
  • Add to morning oatmeal for crunchy texture

Milk


Serving size: 1 cup, 2% white milk

  • Calories: 122
  • Fats: 4.8g
  • Carbs: 12.3g
  • Protein: 8.1g

Milk is my personal #1 bulking tool. I drink 2% milk (hence the macro breakdown), but 1% and whole milk are fine too. If you’re looking for maximum calorie density, go with whole milk.

Start drinking milk with all of your meals and you’ll begin to realize reaching your daily calorie goal isn’t that difficult.

High calorie milk recipes:

  • Make your protein shakes with milk instead of water
  • Grab some chocolate milk (or chocolate syrup to DIY) to keep things fresh
  • Don’t feel like milk? Eat peanut butter and/or brownies. They’ll change your mind.

 Bread

french bread

Serving size: 1 large slice, white bread

  • Calories: 79
  • Fats: 1g
  • Carbs: 15g
  • Protein: 2.8g

I used white bread as the example only because that’s the flavor of bread you most likely have in your cupboard. Next time you are at the grocery store you experiment with a new kind of bread. Chances are it will be have more calories, and you may like the taste better.

French, multi-grain, rye, pumpernickel… there are many options for you to add a new flavor to your sandwiches. Occasionally I can be found working my way through a french baguette and a stick of butter all by myself…

English muffins and bagels also fall into this category. A large sesame seed bagel with 4tbsp of peanut butter and 2 cups of 2% milk comes in at almost 800 calories for a snack that takes less than 10 minutes to make.

High calorie bread recipes:

Olive Oil (and coconut oil)

119 calorie olive oil

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

  • Calories: 119
  • Fats: 14g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Olive oil adds calories like magic. I don’t really know what else to say about this sacred weight gain elixir. Don’t knock it until you try it. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to anything and suddenly it’s a high calorie food.

Honorable mention to coconut oil, which has nearly identical macros. I have personally never tried coconut oil yet, but will certainly do so soon. Here’s a list of 76 ways to use coconut oil if you’re curious.

High calorie olive oil recipes:

Baked Beans

baked beans

Serving size: 1 cup baked beans

  • Calories: 392
  • Fats: 13g
  • Carbs: 55g
  • Protein: 14g

Baked beans are the perfect winter bulking food packed with good stuff. It should be noted that baked beans tend to be high in sodium – this isn’t something I’m personally concerned about, but I know some of our readers may be.

14g of fiber, 27% of your daily recommended iron, 10% of vitamin B-6, 27% magnesium, and 15% calcium. Baked beans are a perfect high calorie food.

High calorie baked beans recipes:

  • Add a can of baked beans to a plate of rice, serve with milk
  • Beef chili with baked beans
  • Make/buy sweet potato fries, add beans on top of cooked fries, shred cheese… chili cheese fries.

Rice

Rice

Serving size: 1 cup, long-grain white rice, cooked

  • Calories: 206
  • Fats: 0.4g
  • Carbs: 45g
  • Protein: 4.2g

Rice is one of those foods you can add to your plate and eat with most things. Rice doesn’t really discriminate.

For the most part. There does seem to be a few exceptions to the rule as Reddit user DO_U_EVN_SPAGHETTI found out during his experimentation.

Brown rice is also great; offering a boost in micronutrients and overall calories. At the end of the day you need to eat the food to get the nutritional benefit, so I recommend you buy whichever you will enjoy eating more.

High calorie rice recipes:

Quinoa

quinoa

Service size: 1 cup cooked

  • Calories: 223
  • Fats: 3.6g
  • Carbs: 39g
  • Protein: 8g

Quinoa, according to Wikipedia, is “a species of goosefoot, is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seed”. It tastes like a more ‘seedy’ rice.

The micros: 5g fiber, 15% iron, 10 vitamin B-6, 29% magnesium – quinoa makes the list as another high calorie food loaded with a nice micro-nutrient profile as well.

High calorie quinoa recipes:

Pasta

pasta

Serving size: 1 cup spaghetti, cooked

  • Calories: 221
  • Fats: 1.3g
  • Carbs: 43g
  • Protein: 8g

Pasta is one of the more gourmet high calorie food options gainers can make in a relatively short amount of time.

There is no shortage of selection either: bow tie, angel hair, the many different styles of penne… the list goes on. Pair any of these kinds of pasta with olive oil, butter, or red sauce and top with parmesan cheese. Yum.

High calorie pasta recipes:

Eggs

Eggs

Serving size:  1 large fried egg

  • Calories: 90
  • Fats: 7g
  • Carbs: 0.4g
  • Protein: 6g

Another quick and easy source of calories with a good amount of protein. I recommend eating the entire egg – yolk included. If you have a valid reason for avoiding the yolk, like a doctors order, then do so.

Eggs are one of the easiest foods to buy organically. If you live reasonably close to a rural area look around for a local farmer’s market to get farm fresh eggs for cheap.

High calorie egg recipes:

  • Scramble/fry/poach/boil/etc 5-6 eggs. Add salt and pepper.
  • Make a homemade breakfast sandwich with an english muffin or bagel with 2 eggs and a sausage patty
  • Omelettes with meat and veggies. Load it up.

Meats

Steak

Serving size: 100g ground beef

  • Calories: 332 calories
  • Fats: 30g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 14g

Ground beef is the given example, whatever cut of beef or pork you prefer is fine. Chicken is a good source of protein, but tends to be lower on calories. John Berardi has mentioned ostrich meat is quite good.

Meat is one of the most satisfying high calorie protein sources you can consume. Peanut butter and protein powder are great, but there’s something about animal proteins that I find hit the spot.

High calorie meat recipes:

Greek Yogurt

greek yogurt

Serving size: 1 cup

  • Calories: 100
  • Fats: 0.7g
  • Carbs: 6g
  • Protein: 17g

Greek yogurt is a protein heavy food found in diets of anybody with any kind of fitness goal. Few foods are so dense in protein.

What is greek yogurt exactly? Agricultured.com answers this for us:

It turns out that both Greek and regular yogurts start out with the same ingredients – milk and bacterial cultures. In fact, both types of yogurt even use the same bacterial cultures (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, if you were wondering).

After fermentation, the liquid whey is strained off the solid yogurt. Regular yogurt is strained twice, so there is still some liquid left in the end product. Greek yogurt is strained three times, so most of the liquid is removed. This is what gives Greek yogurt its’ thicker consistency and stronger flavors compared to regular yogurt.

High calorie greek yogurt recipes:

  • Previously mentioned: Add fruit, granola, and/or mixed nuts to greek yogurt for a high calorie desert (or breakfast)
  • Add 1 cup greek yogurt to boost the protein in your weight gainer shake
  • Mix 1 scoop of protein powder into your greek yogurt

Oatmeal/Oats

oats

Serving size: 1oz dry oatmeal

  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 2.4g
  • Carbs: 21g
  • Protein: 4.2g

The secret to a satisfying breakfast – make it hot. It’s easy to make, it tastes great, and it’s good for you. What more can you ask from breakfast?

You can buy the pre-packaged flavored Quaker instant oatmeal if you want. It has more sugar than buying plain old oatmeal, but you were probably going to add some brown sugar and/or maple syrup anyway. I get whatever’s cheaper.

Side note: If you are consistently able to eat a bunch of high calorie foods at breakfast, putting a big dent in your daily calorie goal, you won’t find yourself stressing about eating a 2,000 calorie dinner anymore.

High calorie oatmeal recipe:

Cheese

Serving size: 1 slice of cheddar cheese

  • Calories: 113
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbs: 0.4g
  • Protein: 7g

Cheese is another major low-carb high-fat protein source dense in calories. Lots of flavor selection here too. I was able to use another old Canadian commercial so I’m happy.

Cheese is also relatively cheap when you consider cost per calorie. Add a couple slices to your sandwiches. Cottage cheese is a polarizing cheese that you will either love or hate. Try it once to find out, then probably never again because it’s disgusting.

High calorie cheese recipes: 

Avocados

avocado

Serving size: 1 cup of cubed avocados

  • Calories: 240
  • Fat: 22g
  • Carbs: 13g
  • Protein: 3g

Avocados are plenty healthy and equally calorie dense. They do have a weird texture that may not appeal to everyone, but avocados are at least a must-try.

If you do end up enjoying avocados, definitely make your way to an all-you-can-eat sushi joint. Avocado sushi is delicious, and calorie dense.

I don’t have anything else to say about avocados. Let’s move on.

High calorie avocado recipes:

Honey

honey

Serving size: 1 tablespoon

  • Calories: 64
  • Fats: 0g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Protein: 0.1g

Honey surprised me when I was researching high calorie foods for this mega-list. I had no idea there were 64 calories in a single tablespoon of honey.

I know a lot of people recommend choosing raw honey over the average grocery store brand. I’m not a honey expert, so I recommend you do some of your own research. This page seems to give a fairly comprehensive breakdown.

High calorie honey recipes:

  • Add a tablespoon to your protein shakes
  • Add a tablespoon or two to your PB&J sandwiches
  • Honey peanut granola

Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate

Serving size: 1oz

  • Calories: 155
  • Fats: 9g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Protein: 1.4g

This wouldn’t be a real high calorie foods list without dark chocolate. Treat yourself with 2oz of dark chocolate everyday to knock off 310 calories off of your daily requirements.

I’ll continue the trend and provide you with some recipes, but really, just down a couple squares every now and then.

High calorie dark chocolate recipes:

  • Throw some into your trail mix
  • Heat it up and drizzle it over your desert
  • Just eat it, c’mon man…

This list will be continually updated with new high calorie foods as we find them. Please share your own go-to high calorie staples in the comments below. Also check out our article on calorie hacks which reveals a number of unique high calorie creations perfect for getting in those last 1,000 calories.

4 comments

  • Jennifer

    Aug 10, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    You forgot about cheese !

    Reply

  • tsedi

    Dec 7, 2016 at 2:05 am

    how long it take to work and make me fat

    Reply

    • Chel

      Feb 7, 2017 at 1:33 am

      I would say around 6 to 9 months of sleeping good, eating at least 3900calories a day and working out 2-3 times a week to get some serious results like 30 to 40 maybe even 50 pounds. It all depends on how well will you execute your scheadule

      Reply

  • Chel

    Feb 7, 2017 at 1:35 am

    And avoid cardio training(everything that includes running, cycling etc. except 5 to 7 minutes of cardio at the beginning of every work out to warmup your muscles

    Reply

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