How Many Calories in Chicken? Breast, Thigh, Wing and More

How many calories are there in chicken?

The answer to this question depends on what type of chicken you want to eat. There are different types of chicken, each with its own nutritional value. You can get all the nutrients from one type or you can get them from another type. For example, if you’re looking for lean protein, then you’ll probably want to choose a whole bird. If you’re looking for high amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium, then you might prefer a wing or drumstick.

If your goal is weight loss, then it’s best to stick with the same type of chicken over and over again. That way you don’t have to worry about switching up your diet too much.

So how many calories do chicken thighs contain?

Chicken thighs contain between 200-500 calories per pound. This means that a 4 lb chicken contains around 2200-3500 calories. A 6 lb chicken will contain around 5000+ calories! (Note: These numbers are based on USDA data)

What does this mean exactly?

If your goal is weight loss, then eating small amounts of chicken thighs (or some other part) throughout the day is a great way to do it. You won’t feel hungry and you’ll be able to stay full for most of the day. If you’re trying to gain weight or bulk up, then eating as much chicken as you can stomach will help you gain mass faster than if you were eating other foods like pizza or cookies.

What about chicken wings or chicken legs?

Chicken wings and drumsticks contain similar amounts of calories with drumsticks containing a bit more. It all depends on how big or small they are though. For example, 6 small wings will probably contain less than 200 calories, while 6 jumbo sized wings could easily contain more than 500 calories.

For every pound of chicken wings you’re looking at between 1000-1300 calories. For drumsticks it’s around 1100-1600 calories per pound. Compared to the leaner cuts of chicken these are slightly higher in calories, but still a great source of lean protein. (Note: These numbers are based on USDA data)

What about other types of chicken?

Other popular cuts of chicken include chicken tenderloins, chicken fillets, and chicken strips. These cuts tend to contain more fat than other types of meat and will often contain things like MSG or sodium. We don’t recommend eating these on a regular basis. If you’re going to eat them, make sure it’s just once per week and make sure you’re eating something healthier throughout the rest of the week.

How many calories are in chicken vs beef vs pork?

Beef contains more calories than either chicken or pork. So if you’re trying to gain weight, eating beef might be the way to go. However, most people prefer the taste of chicken and pork over beef. As far as chicken vs pork, it’s probably going to come down to personal preference. Some people might not like the taste of pork as much while others will prefer it over chicken.

The calories in chicken are lower than beef or pork, so if your goal is weight loss, then chicken is definitely the way to go.

Are skinless chicken nuggets & crispy chicken healthier than the regular brands?

Not really. A lot of people believe this and assume that they’re eating a healthy meal when they’re really not. Most “healthy” or “skinless” options are not significantly better for you than the original ones.

The only real way to know if something is healthy or not is by looking at the nutrition facts. If you don’t do that, then you’ll never really know if the food you’re eating is good for you or not.

How many calories are in your chicken recipes?

We list the approximate calories in each recipe in their nutrition information area. If you need exact numbers though, you’ll have to calculate the calories based on the ingredients that you use.

I don’t know how many calories I should be eating, help!

If you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, then we recommend using this calorie calculator. The following information is provided by the USDA and may help you learn more about how many calories you should eat.

In general, sedentary people (that means you!=) require about 12-13 calories per pound of body weight per day. This means if you weigh 150 pounds, you would need about 1800 calories each day to maintain your current weight.

If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories than your body needs, meaning you should cut back to about 1500 calories each day to lose about 1 pound per week (which is the recommended rate).

If you want to gain weight, do the opposite and consume more calories than you need, meaning you should eat about 1800 calories each day to gain 1 pound per week (again, the recommended rate).

Let’s do a little math…

1) Weigh yourself on a scale and write down your weight.

Let’s say you weigh 150 pounds.

2) Multiply your weight (150) by 12.

This will give you your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you burn each day just by being alive. In our example, this gives us 1800 calories.

3) Now, depending on how active you are, you’ll need to adjust your BMR.

If you’re only moderately active (you say you stroll on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day), multiply your BMR by 1.375. So in our example: 1800 x 1.375 = 2190 calories.

4) If you’re very active (you say you walk or jog for 60 minutes a day), multiply your BMR by 1.

755. In our example: 1800 x 1.755 = 3020 calories.

5) If you’re extremely active (you say you run or jog for 90 minutes a day), multiply your BMR by 2.

This will give you a grand total of 2190 calories for the sedentary person and 3020 calories for the very active person.

6) Now based on what you’ve eaten today, add or subtract calories to get your final number.

And don’t forget, the above numbers are just guidelines… everybody’s different. If you want to be absolutely sure of how many calories you burn, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional.

Who came up with your chicken recipes?

We have a large group of chefs and recipe developers who create our recipes. We get ideas from them, as well as our customers who give us feedback on what they like and don’t like.

A word of advice…

The recipes listed in this guide are just suggestions and guidelines. Feel free to substitute ingredients if you don’t like them or if you have allergies.

Don’t like onions and bell peppers?

No problem, leave them out.

Hate tomatoes?

Take them out too! The recipe will still turn out fine. We recommend that you stick with the same type of vegetable and just substitute one for another (for example: carrots for green peppers).

Due to the cooking process, the nutrition facts will be a bit off, but in most cases they should be close.

Flavor Tips

Did you know that there are certain times when your tastebuds are more receptive to certain flavors?

For example, sugar is best detected in things when your mouth is at its warmest (like right after you’ve eaten something sweet). Likewise, your tastebuds detect sour things best at the coldest point (so if you’re drinking something sour, like a lemonade, wait awhile before eating anything else).

For added flavor in sweet things, try adding a little salt. For added flavor in things like eggs and meats, add a touch of sugar.

The easiest way to add flavor to pretty much anything is to add a little bit of fat (like butter or vegetable oil).

For the most flavorful dishes, add fresh ingredients as opposed to dried (fresh basil vs dried, fresh mushrooms vs. canned, and so on).

The more you cook, the better you’ll get at discerning how much of each ingredient you need. Many chefs say their most successful dishes are those where they “eyeballed” the ingredients rather than measuring them out exactly (but we still recommend starting out with measuring first until you get the hang of it!

What are the best spices?

While there are literally hundreds of different spices out there, only a few really stand out as being the most useful to keep in your pantry:

Salt: Everyone knows that salt is necessary for life. In cooking, its role is to bring out the flavor in foods and is a key component in making things like soup or stew have that full blast of flavor. Most recipes will tell you to use table salt, but you can also use other kinds of salt, such as kosher salt (which has a flaky texture and is used to “seasons” meats) or sea salt (collected through the evaporation of sea water and has a more natural flavor to it).

Pepper: Another thing most people have in their pantry is black pepper. Pepper isn’t just for eating food, though. It also has its uses in the kitchen. White pepper is the same as black, except it hasn’t gone through the process of having the skin removed (which is what gives black pepper its color).

The two are interchangeable, but it’s considered more “high class” to use white pepper since it’s only slightly more expensive than the regular stuff.

Herbs: Herbs are plants that have special attributes to them. While most are just used for decoration, others are great additions to foods for their special flavor (like basil or oregano).

Spices: Spices are more concentrated (and some would say stronger) versions of certain herbs. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all examples of spices you can use in your dishes to give them a little extra kick.

There are other spices out there, but these are the ones you’re most likely to use on a regular basis.

What should I cook?

This is a question we can’t answer for you. Only you can decide what you want to cook. That being said, here are some suggestions:

Breakfast: Bacon and eggs are the classic breakfast items. For something different, how about trying biscuits and gravy (though this take some time to prepare). Homemade pancakes with blueberry syrup is always a winner with the whole family. French toast is another great (and simple) dish.

Lunch: Leftovers are great for lunch (just re-heat and you’re good to go). Sandwiches of all kinds are always winners (especially peanut butter and jelly). A good soup is a great way to warm up on a cold day. Chili is always a favorite meal, and incredibly easy to make.

Hot dogs are simple to make (and easy to eat!); just don’t choke on the toothpick!

Dinner: Many of the recipes on this site are dinner recipes (they’re the biggest category, in fact). Browse around and see if something catches your eye.

Snacks: While a full meal at mealtime is important, sometimes you need a little something to hold you over between meals. A bowl of ice cream or a bowl of fresh fruit will go a long way towards satisfying your hunger until dinner time. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more substantial, how about some nachos or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Sources & references used in this article:

High concentrations of the carcinogen 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo-[4, 5-b] pyridine (PhIP) occur in chicken but are dependent on the cooking method by R Sinha, N Rothman, ED Brown, CP Salmon, MG Knize… – Cancer Research, 1995 – AACR

Are healthy foods really more expensive? It depends on how you measure the price by A Carlson, E Frazão – … You Measure the Price (May 1, 2012). USDA …, 2012 –

Variations in chicken breast meat quality: implications of struggle and muscle glycogen content at death by C Berri, M Debut, V Santé-Lhoutellier… – British poultry …, 2005 – Taylor & Francis

Heterocyclic Amine Formation in Grilled Chicken Depending on Body Parts and Treatment Conditions by D Pleva, K Lányi, KD Monori, P Laczay – Molecules, 2020 –

Effects of breed, sex and diet and their interactions on carcass composition and tissue weight distribution of broiler chickens by KA Shahin, F Abd Elazeem – Archives Animal Breeding, 2005 –

Nutrient values for Australian and overseas chicken meat by Y Probst – Nutrition & Food Science, 2009 –

Effects of age, sex, and duration of postmortem aging on percentage yield of parts from broiler chicken carcasses by LL Young, JK Northcutt, RJ Buhr, CE Lyon, GO Ware – Poultry Science, 2001 – Elsevier

Assessing nutrient intake with an abbreviated dietary interview by TIM BYERS, J MARSHALL, R FIEDLER… – American journal of …, 1985 –