Chicken is one of the most popular meats in North America and for good reason. It is incredibly versatile, there are tons of different cuts of meat to enjoy that all have different flavors, and it’s guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
Many dietary guidelines recommend consuming about 3 ounces of chicken per serving. This is all well and good, but you might be wondering what does 3 ounces of chicken actually look like? How do you measure it properly?
If you want to be exact, you can use a kitchen scale, but most of us don’t have one of those on hand or don’t keep one on us when we’re eating out.
That’s why it is helpful to find some shortcuts to help you measure out 3 ounces of chicken with items you generally always have on hand.
So how much is 3oz of chicken? A general rule of thumb is that it measures out to about the size of a deck of playing cards or the palm of an average-sized hand. If you want to use a cup measure (it won’t be exact), it will be about half to 60% full.
Read on to discover the easiest ways to measure 3 ounces of chicken, how many calories are in different types of chicken, and how much meat is in your average chicken breast, thigh, or drumstick.
Easy Ways To Measure 3 Ounces Of Chicken
If you’re looking for easy ways to measure out 3 ounces of chicken then you have a couple of options. The easiest and most precise is to use a kitchen scale. You can weigh out your chicken and get an exact amount.
Just remember that if you are measuring raw chicken, it will shrink by about an ounce once cooked.
So if you want to eat 3 ounces, you should measure out 4 ounces of chicken to make sure you have enough once you finish the cooking process.
However, most of us probably don’t have a kitchen scale at home or with us when we’re on the go, so it’s helpful to have a few simple ways to measure out 3 ounces of chicken that don’t need a scale.
A couple of options you can use to measure 3 ounces of chicken include:
- Using the palm of your hand. This measurement won’t be super precise, but it is roughly close enough that it is a good measurement.
- If you have extremely large hands, then you will want to eat a piece of chicken that is slightly smaller than your hand.
- If you have really small hands, then don’t be afraid to measure up a little to ensure you are eating enough chicken.
- Visualize a deck of cards. This trick is really handy since a deck of cards is the same size across the board, unless you’re using a specialty deck.
- A 3-ounce piece of chicken will be roughly the size and thickness of a deck of cards once cooked.
- Use a measuring cup. While this trick isn’t super precise, it is close enough that you won’t have to worry too much about the difference in sizes. 3 ounces of chicken measures approximately half to 60% of a cup.
While none of these measurements will be unlikely to give you exactly 3 ounces of chicken, it is close enough that they are a useful trick to use when you’re on the go or portioning chicken out for your family.
What Does 3 Ounces Of Chicken Look Like?
While there isn’t an exact science that says 3 ounces of chicken looks exactly like anything (other than, perhaps, 3 ounces of chicken), there are a few things that do work as approximate visualizations of 3 ounces.
Some handy equivalents include:
- A deck of cards. 3 ounces of chicken will be roughly the same size and width as a deck of standard playing cards.
- The palm of your hand. 3 ounces of cooked chicken is about the same size as the average palm. This measurement doesn’t include your fingers or thumbs. If you have really big hands, then it will be slightly smaller than your palm and vice versa if you have super small hands.
- A little more than half a cup. 3 ounces of cooked chicken measures about 60% of a cup, so just over half a cup full. If you are shredding your chicken, it will likely be closer to one cup.
How Much Protein Is In 3 Ounces Of Chicken?
Chicken is a great source of lean and delicious protein that is often easier to digest than red meat. That makes chicken a perfect choice for folks who are looking to incorporate more protein into their diets.
Depending on the cut of chicken, the protein content can vary per 3 ounces. Some cuts are going to have more fat and less protein, such as a wing or thigh, while other cuts will be leaner and have more protein, like a chicken breast.
Below I have ranked the cuts of chicken in order of most protein to the least protein. I have also included the fat content for 3 ounces so that you can compare the fat to protein ratios.
|Cut of Chicken||Protein||Fat|
|Skinless Chicken Breast||26 grams||3 grams|
|Skin-On Chicken Breast||25 grams||6.6. grams|
|Skinless Chicken Drumsticks||23.7 grams||4.8 grams|
|Skin-On Chicken Drumsticks||22.8 grams||9.3 grams|
|Skin-On Chicken Wings||22.5 grams||16.2 grams|
|Skinless Chicken Thighs||21.9 grams||9 grams|
|Skin-On Chicken Thighs||21 grams||13 grams|
As you can see, each cut of chicken is going to be a great source of protein, though there is a range of about 5 grams per serving depending on whether you’re enjoying chicken breast or chicken thigh.
Whichever cut you choose, you can be sure you will meet your daily protein needs with just a couple of servings.
How Many Calories Are In 3 Ounces Of Chicken?
The calorie count on 3 ounces of chicken is going to vary depending on the type of meat you’re eating.
White breast meat is going to be leaner than meat found in the thighs, drumsticks, or wings so the caloric measurement will be different for each cut of chicken.
There is always a little leeway when it comes to calorie measurement, but some average calorie counts for 3 ounces of chicken is broken down below.
All these calorie counts are for roasted chicken, so if you are pan-frying or deep frying your chicken, the calories will be much higher.
Chicken Thighs: If you eat the skin, your calorie count will be slightly higher, around 205 calories per 3 ounces. Skinless chicken thighs clock in at around 175 for 3 ounces of meat.
Chicken Breast: A good rule of thumb to follow when you’re eating chicken is that the skin is going to add approximately 9-10 calories per ounce.
- Skinless chicken breast has about 138 calories per 3 ounces.
- Skin-on chicken breast has about 165 calories per 3 ounce serving.
You can see there isn’t much of a difference, calorically speaking, whether you eat your chicken breast skin on or off, so I always say to enjoy that skin since it makes it taste so much better.
Chicken Wings: Chicken wings are by far the most delicious part of the chicken, and they are also the most calorically dense. It is pretty difficult to eat chicken wings without the skin, so this measurement is for skin-on chicken wings.
- 3 ounces of chicken wings (remember this is a measurement of meat, not bones) comes in at about 245 calories.
Chicken Drumsticks: Another favorite part of the chicken is the drumstick. If you enjoy them with skin, the calorie count is about 182 per 3 ounces of meat. If you prefer them skinless, the calories measure about 145 for 3 ounces.
Depending on whether you enjoy a lean chicken breast or fatty and delicious chicken wings, it should always be about 100 calories per 3 ounce serving of chicken.
How Many Ounces Of Meat Are In An Average Chicken Breast?
Now that you know what an average 3-ounce measurement of chicken looks like, you might be wondering how many ounces are in average chicken breast.
While there is no hard and fast rule, most chicken breasts weigh in between 6-8 ounces when uncooked.
Commercially raised chickens have often been bred to grow larger breasts, since these are often what the consumer wants to eat, so you can sometimes even see chicken breasts weighing up to 12 ounces.
Generally speaking, however, you will get about 2 servings per chicken breast.
Remember that meat shrinks as it cooks so a cut that weighs 4 ounces raw will likely weigh closer to 3 ounces once it is cooked. The same goes for full-sized chicken breasts. They will shrink down once cooked.
To measure out your 3-ounce portions, use the deck of cards or palm measurement tricks mentioned above.
The average adult can likely enjoy an entire chicken breast as one serving, so if you are feeding a crew or a family, one breast per person is a good rule of thumb to follow.
How Many Ounces Of Meat Are In An Average Chicken Thigh?
Chicken thighs are quite a bit easier to measure out than chicken breasts since the average chicken thigh will weigh about 3 ounces once you remove the skin and bones.
If you want to enjoy your thigh with the skin-on, it doesn’t add much weight, so you don’t need to get too particular about picking off excess meat or anything to balance it out.
The average adult will likely consume roughly 2 chicken thighs as a portion size. So if you’re cooking for a crew, you will want to keep that in mind and cook two thighs per person.
How Many Ounces Of Meat Are In An Average Chicken Drumstick?
When measuring your chicken drumsticks, remember that the bone takes up a lot of the weight if you use a kitchen scale.
A good average measurement is that each drumstick has about 1.5 ounces of meat, so you would need 2 drumsticks to give you 3 ounces of chicken meat.
An adult can likely consume about 4 drumsticks, or 6 ounces, of chicken per portion.
If you’re cooking up a bunch of chicken drumsticks for a meal, then you will want to portion out 4 drumsticks per adult to make sure you have enough to serve your whole party.
How Many Ounces Of Meat Are In An Average Chicken Wing?
Being the smallest part of the chicken, the wings contain about 1 ounce of meat per wing.
This measurement can vary quite a bit since some wings are enormous while others are very small, but on average, estimate that each wing is about 1 ounce, so you need 3 wings for a 3-ounce serving.
Most adults will be able to comfortably eat about 6 ounces of chicken wings, for a total of about 6 wings each.
If you are planning a wing night with friends I would suggest cooking at least 6 wings per person, though you could up it to 8 or 10 if you know your friends are big wing fans.
Drumettes will likely have more meat than the wingette (the flat piece), which is why I recommend averaging it out to about 6 pieces per person for a serving.
I’ve also found that people generally have a preference for either the drumettes or wingettes, so it never hurts to cook some extras.
Make sure you have lots of napkins, wet naps, and a big bowl for bones on hand to keep your wing feast from getting too messy.
As you can see there are a few easy ways to find out how much is 3oz of chicken. You can use the palm of your hand to measure out a roughly 3-ounce serving.
Remember that if you have very large hands, the portion will likely be a little smaller and vice versa if you have very small hands.
You can also visualize a standard deck of playing cards. Your standard cooked piece of 3 ounce chicken will be roughly the size and thickness of your standard deck of cards.
This measurement is helpful since a deck of cards doesn’t change depending on your hand size.
Finally, if you have a measuring cup, 3 ounces of chicken will be just over half a cup (about 60% full). If you shredded your chicken, then 3 ounces may be closer to 1 full cup.
Don’t forget that bones don’t count when you are measuring your serving size and that raw meat will shrink in size when cooked.
With these handy tricks you will be able to measure out 3 ounces of chicken like a pro.
What are your favorite methods for measuring chicken? Let us know in the comments!
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