Ever wonder how many calories are in a chicken breast? Knowing the number of calories in chicken breast can help you stay healthy and keep this tender, juicy bird on your plate.
The breasts, thighs, wings, or legs (drumsticks) can be found in most grocery stores and restaurants and is easy to cook right at home. I am a HUGE fan of chicken breast. It’s such a versatile dinner ingredient and also high in protein. Keep reading to find out how many calories are in chicken breast, wings, thighs, and more.
There are several health benefits to eating chicken. This lean protein is an excellent choice for staying fit, and chicken is low in calories and the perfect option for weight loss plans. The best part about adding chicken to your diet is that it packs a double punch; it’s healthy and incredibly flavorful.
Let’s cover some nutrition facts about the calories, so you know exactly how to calculate your next meal.
Calories in Chicken Breast
- Calories in chicken breasts per ounce = 48 calories
- Skinless and boneless: 3.5 ounces = 168 calories
- Bone-in and skin-on: 3.5 ounces = 197 calories
- Calories in 4 ounces = 189 calories
Ever wonder how much protein is in chicken breast? It’s probably more than you think!
*Tip: Whether the chicken is cooked, raw, grilled, baked, or braised, the calories are all the same.
Calories in Chicken Thighs
- Calories in chicken thigh per ounce = 60 calories
- Boneless and skinless: 3.5 ounces = 209 calories
- Bone-in and skin-on: 3.5 ounces = 229 calories
- Calories in 4 ounces = 240 calories
Calories in Chicken Wings
- Calories in chicken wings per ounce = 58 calories
- Boneless and skinless: 3.5 ounces = 203 calories
- Bone-in and skin-on: 3.5 ounces = 290 calories
- Calories in 4 ounces: 232 calories
Calories in Chicken Legs (Drumsticks)
- Calories in chicken leg per ounce = 50 calories
- Boneless and skinless: 3.5 ounces = 175 calories
- Skin-on and bone-in: 3.5 ounces = 216 calories
- Calories in 4 ounces = 200 calories
*Note: There are 28.35 grams in an ounce
- 3.5 ounces = 99.23 grams
- 4 ounces = 113.4 grams
Adding sauces or marinades can add calories and throw you off your goal. However, using herbs and spices can make your chicken just as flavorful and keep it healthy.
Eating chicken the same way day after day, just so it can fit into your health plan, is boring. Let’s be honest, you’ll probably give up on your good intentions if you don’t make it interesting. When you’re thinking about new and different ways to eat more chicken, the best way to achieve this is to alternate the cooking method.
Dry Heat vs. Wet Heat
There are two main types of cooking methods. Dry heat is when you use oil or fat for cooking the chicken, and wet heat is when you use liquid for cooking the chicken. Both of these options have their advantages and bring new flavors and textures to each piece of chicken you cook.
Let’s break it down.
Grill: Grilling chicken uses very little fat (just enough so it won’t stick to the grates) and gives the chicken meat a wonderful texture and flavor without adding any extra calories to the chicken.
Saute: Sauteing chicken gives you a beautiful, golden brown piece of chicken, with a crispy exterior and juicy interior. This method uses slightly more oil than grilling.
Bake: Baking whole chicken or chicken pieces yields exceptionally tender and juicy chicken and requires little fat.
*Tip: Cooking the chicken with the skin on will allow you to use fat for cooking it. Then, you can remove the skin to eat a healthier piece of chicken.
Poach: To poach chicken, you’ll bring a pot of water or stock to a low simmer and slowly cook until it’s between 160° – 165°F. Pull the chicken out of the liquid and allow it to cool before shredding or chopping it. Poached chicken is perfect for making casseroles or adding to salads, and it requires no fat to cook.
Braise or slow cook: Slowly cooking chicken in liquid in the oven or a crockpot for hours will make your chicken so tender it will fall apart. This method doesn’t need fat to cook.
Fry: Fried chicken is delicious, but it’s cooked entirely with fat and is high in saturated fat and isn’t a great choice if you’re trying to stay healthy and keep the calories in chicken low.
Sous vide: A fun way to cook chicken is to use this method. You place a piece of chicken in an air-tight bag and put it in a tub of water to slowly cook. This method uses both dry heat and wet heat and yields tender chicken, and no fat is needed for this method.
*Note: Allow the chicken pieces to rest for five minutes before cutting into them to allow the juices to reabsorb. Let whole chicken rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
The calories in chicken breast, wings, thighs, and legs varies greatly depending on which cooking method you use, any fats added, and how you season it. Whether you use dry heat, wet heat, or a combination will determine the chicken’s flavor, texture, and calories. Try different methods with spices and herbs to develop an endless variety of options for dinner every week.