Chicken is a popular option when it comes to lean protein, as it packs a considerable amount into a single serving without a lot of fat.
Plus, it’s easy to cook at home and available in most restaurants. Chicken dishes can be found on just about any menu, no matter what type of cuisine you’re eating.
But you may wonder exactly how many calories are in that chicken on your plate.
The chicken comes in many cuts, including breasts, thighs, wings, and drumsticks. Each cut contains a different number of calories and a different proportion of protein to fat.
Here are the calorie counts for the most popular cuts of chicken.
Chicken breast: 284 calories
Chicken breast is one of the most popular cuts of chicken. It’s high in protein and low in fat, making it an excellent choice for people trying to lose weight.
One skinless, boneless, cooked chicken breast (172 grams) has the following nutrition breakdown:
- Calories: 284
- Protein: 53.4 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 6.2 grams
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of chicken breast provides 165 calories, 31 grams of protein, and 3.6 grams of fat.
That means that approximately 80% of the calories in chicken breast come from protein, and 20% come from fat.
Keep in mind that these amounts refer to a plain chicken breast with no added ingredients. Once you start cooking it in oil or adding marinades or sauces, you increase the total calories, carbs, and fat.
Summary: Chicken breast is a low-fat source of protein that contains zero carbs. One chicken breast has 284 calories, or 165 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). About 80% of the calories come from protein while 20% come from fat.
Chicken thigh: 109 calories
Chicken thigh is slightly more tender and flavorful than chicken breast due to its higher fat content.
One skinless, boneless, cooked chicken thigh (52 grams) contains:
- Calories: 109
- Protein: 13.5 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 5.7 grams
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of chicken thigh provides 209 calories, 26 grams of protein, and 10.9 grams of fat.
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Thus, 53% of the calories come from protein, while 47% come from fat.
Chicken thighs are often cheaper than chicken breasts, making them a good choice for anyone on a budget.
Summary: One chicken thigh contains 109 calories, or 209 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). It’s 53% protein and 47% fat.
Chicken wing: 43 calories
When you think about healthy cuts of chicken, chicken wings probably don’t come to mind.
However, as long as they’re not covered in breading or sauce and deep-fried, they can easily fit into a healthy diet.
One skinless, boneless chicken wing (21 grams) contains:
- Calories: 43
- Protein: 6.4 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 1.7 grams
Per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), chicken wings provide 203 calories, 30.5 grams of protein, and 8.1 grams of fat.
This means that 64% of the calories come from protein and 36% from fat.
Summary: One chicken wing has 43 calories, or 203 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). It’s 64% protein and 36% fat.
Chicken drumstick: 76 calories
Chicken legs are made up of two parts — the thigh and the drumstick. The drumstick is the lower portion of the leg.
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One skinless, boneless chicken drumstick (44 grams) contains:
- Calories: 76
- Protein: 12.4 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fat: 2.5 grams
Per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), chicken drumsticks have 172 calories, 28.3 grams of protein, and 5.7 grams of fat.
When it comes to calorie count, about 70% come from protein while 30% come from fat.
Summary: One chicken drumstick has 76 calories, or 172 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). It’s 70% protein and 30% fat.
Other cuts of chicken
Though breast, thighs, wings, and drumsticks are the most popular cuts of chicken, there are several others to choose from.
Here are the calories in some other cuts of chicken:
- Chicken tenders: 263 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Back: 137 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Dark meat: 125 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Light meat: 114 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
Summary: The number of calories in various cuts of chicken varies. Light meat has the lowest number of calories while chicken tenders have the highest.
Chicken skin adds calories
While a skinless chicken breast is 284 calories with 80% protein and 20% fat, those numbers dramatically shift when you include the skin.
One boneless, cooked chicken breast with skin (196 grams) contains:
- Calories: 386
- Protein: 58.4 grams
- Fat: 15.2 grams
In a chicken breast with skin, 50% of the calories come from protein, while 50% come from fat. Additionally, eating the skin adds nearly 100 calories.
Similarly, one chicken wing with skin (34 grams) has 99 calories, compared to 42 calories in a skinless wing (21 grams). Thus, 60% of the calories in chicken wings with skin come from fat, compared to 36% in a wing without skin.
So if you’re watching your weight or your fat intake, eat your chicken without the skin to minimize calories and fat.
Summary: Eating chicken with the skin adds a significant amount of calories and fat. Take the skin off before eating to reduce calories.
How you cook your chicken matters
Chicken meat alone is relatively low in calories and fat compared to other meats. But once you start adding oil, sauce, batter, and breading, the calories can add up.
For example, a skinless, boneless, cooked chicken thigh (52 grams) contains 109 calories and 5.7 grams of fat.
But that same chicken thigh fried in batter packs 144 calories and 8.6 grams of fat. A chicken thigh fried in a flour coating contains even more — 162 calories and 9.3 grams of fat.
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Similarly, one boneless, skinless chicken wing (21 grams) has 43 calories and 1.7 grams of fat.
However, a chicken wing glazed in barbecue sauce provides 61 calories and 3.7 grams of fat. That’s comparable to a wing fried in a flour coating, which has 61 calories and 4.2 grams of fat.
Therefore, cooking methods that add little fat, such as poaching, roasting, grilling and steaming, are your best bet for keeping the calorie count low.
Summary: Cooking methods, such as frying in breading and coating the meat in sauce, can add more than a few calories to your healthy chicken. For a low-calorie option, stick with baked or grilled chicken.
Chicken is a popular meat, and most cuts are low in calories and fat while providing ample protein.
Here are the calorie counts of the most common cuts of boneless, skinless chicken per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving:
- Chicken breast: 165 calories
- Chicken thigh: 209 calories
- Chicken wing: 203 calories
- Chicken drumstick: 172 calories
Note that eating the skin or using unhealthy cooking methods adds calories.