Grilled Chicken vs. Fried Chicken: Which One’s Best?

Let’s settle this. Grilled chicken vs. fried chicken: which one is healthier? Spoiler alert, it’s the grilled chicken. Better question. BUT, when comes to grilled chicken vs. fried chicken, which one is the best? Now, there’s a debate worth getting into, and the answer isn’t necessarily a clear cut one.

grilled vs. fried chicken

What is Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a popular dish prepared by cooking chicken pieces over an open flame or grill grate. This method of cooking at high temperatures imparts a distinct smoky flavor and can create a crispy outer layer. The variety in seasoning and marinades adds to the appeal of grilled chicken, making it a versatile option in many cuisines.

What is Fried Chicken

Fried chicken, a widely-loved dish, involves cooking chicken pieces in hot oil, typically through deep frying or pressure frying. This process endows the chicken with a juicy interior and a crispy skin. Often, the chicken is coated in seasoned flour or batter, enhancing its flavor and texture. Variations in frying methods, like using an air fryer, can alter the nutritional profile by reducing the amount of oil used.

Nutrition in Grilled vs. Fried Chicken


Both grilled and fried chicken are rich in protein, which is vital for muscle growth and repair. However, their calorie and fat content differ significantly.

  • Grilled Chicken: A standard 8-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast contains about 70 grams of protein, making it an excellent source for those seeking high protein content in their diet.
  • Fried Chicken: An 8-ounce serving of fried chicken also offers a high protein content, but it’s accompanied by additional calories and fat due to the frying process.
Breaded Fried Chicken. Foods fried in boiling oil in a Chinese wok. Cooking by frying in hot oil. Bubbles appear from frying


  • Grilled Chicken: For an 8-ounce portion, grilled chicken breast has approximately 360 calories. This lower calorie count makes it a preferable option for those monitoring their calorie intake.
  • Fried Chicken: The same amount of fried chicken can contain around 480 to 500 calories, depending on the frying method and coating used. The extra calories primarily come from the cooking oil absorbed during the frying process.
  • Chicken Skin: What about the skin? The calorie content in chicken skin can vary depending on the cooking method and the part of the chicken. Generally, a single ounce (about 28 grams) of chicken skin contains approximately 128 calories. This amount can be higher if the skin is cooked with additional oil or seasonings. It’s important to note that while chicken skin is high in calories, it also contains fats, some of which are saturated. With that said, eating (or not eating) the skin should be considered in the context of your overall diet and nutritional goals.


  • Grilled Chicken: In terms of fat, an 8-ounce grilled chicken breast contains about 8 grams of fat, making it a leaner option.
  • Fried Chicken: Conversely, fried chicken for the same serving size can contain up to 33 grams of fat, significantly higher due to the oil used in frying. Serious question. Why does fat have to taste so darn good?

Health Benefits of Grilled Chicken vs. Fried Chicken

Grilled chicken is often seen as the healthier choice because of its lower calorie and fat content. It is a suitable part of a healthy diet, aiding in maintaining lower cholesterol levels. The grilling method also helps avoid adding extra calories and fats, unlike frying.

Conversely, fried chicken, despite being delicious, is higher in unhealthy fats and calories. Regular consumption can lead to increased health risks, such as cardiovascular diseases. However, methods like air frying can mitigate some of these concerns.

Flavor Showdown

Personal preference largely dictates the choice between grilled and fried chicken. Grilled chicken offers a smoky flavor and serves as a healthier alternative, while fried chicken is celebrated for its crispy skin and juicy meat. Both have unique tastes, which can be enhanced by the right selection of spices and marinades.

Cooking Methods

Grilled chicken is cooked over direct heat at higher temperatures, quickly cooking the meat and providing a distinct smoky flavor. Olive or vegetable oil can prevent sticking to the grill.

Fried chicken involves cooking in hot oil, ensuring a crispy exterior and moist interior. Draining excess oil on paper towels post-frying is advisable.

How to Store

Proper storage in airtight containers in the refrigerator is crucial for both grilled and fried chicken. Allowing the chicken to cool before storing is essential to prevent bacterial growth.

Common Questions

Q: Which is a better choice for a healthy diet, grilled or fried chicken?A: Grilled chicken is generally a healthier option due to its lower calorie and fat content.

Q: Can fried chicken be made healthier?A:

Yes, fried chicken can be made healthier by using methods like air frying, which reduces the amount of oil used. Choosing leaner cuts of chicken, like chicken breast, and using healthier oils like olive oil can also help.

Q: Does grilled chicken always have fewer calories than fried chicken?A: Generally, grilled chicken has fewer calories than fried chicken, mainly because it is cooked without extra oil. However, the calorie content can vary based on the method of cooking and the ingredients used in marinades or coatings.

Q: Can the cooking process affect the nutritional value of chicken?A: Yes, the cooking process can significantly impact the nutritional value of chicken. Grilling can preserve more essential vitamins and nutrients compared to deep frying, which may lead to loss of some nutrients due to high heat and oil.

Q: Is there a significant difference in protein content between grilled and fried chicken?A: Both grilled and fried chicken are high in protein, but the main difference lies in their fat and calorie content. Grilled chicken is often preferred for those seeking a high protein content with lower fat and fewer calories.

Q: How can I make my grilled chicken more flavorful without adding extra calories?A: Using herbs and spices is a great way to add flavor to grilled chicken without adding extra calories. Marinating the chicken in a mixture of spices, lemon juice, and a small amount of olive oil can also enhance its flavor.

Q: Are there any carcinogenic concerns related to grilled or fried chicken?A: Grilling chicken at very high temperatures can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are potential carcinogens. Similarly, repeatedly using the same oil for frying can lead to the formation of harmful compounds. Moderation and proper cooking techniques can minimize these risks.

In the debate of grilled chicken vs. fried chicken, the better choice depends on various factors including personal taste, health considerations, and nutritional differences. While grilled chicken stands out as a healthier choice with lower fat and calorie content, fried chicken remains a popular dish for its unique taste and texture.

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your dietary preferences and health goals. Enjoying both types of chicken in moderation, along with a balanced diet, is key to a healthy lifestyle

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