Chicken breast is one of the most popular proteins. It is easy to find and cook with. Plus, the neutral flavor profile makes it many people’s favorite chicken cut.
If you use chicken breast often, you have certainly needed to know at least once how much a chicken breast weighs.
So how much does a chicken breast weigh? On average, a boneless and skinless chicken breast weighs between 6-10 ounces. A bone-in chicken breast that still has the skin on weighs a few ounces more – from 11 to 16 ounces. Chicken breast shrinks and gets lighter when cooked.
This article is a complete guide to chicken breast sizes.
Continue reading to learn about the average size of chicken breast as well as why chicken breasts have been getting bigger in the past decades, how to measure a chicken breast, and much more.
Chicken Breast: Benefits And Uses
Chicken breast is one of the most versatile and easily accessible proteins. It is a lean cut of meat. Each chicken has one breast with two halves that are separated and then sold as two individual chicken breasts.
Chicken breast is also inexpensive compared to other proteins and a good ingredient to include in a healthy and balanced diet.
Chicken breast is a great source of protein. It is not high in calories and fat and contains no carbohydrates.
Chicken breast is also a good source of such vitamins and minerals as vitamin B6, vitamin B3 (niacin), selenium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and iron.
Chicken breast is very popular among people who work out as it helps to build muscle mass. It is also a great food to add to your diet if you are trying to lose weight.
Being a rich source of protein, it prevents overeating by keeping you feeling full longer.
Consuming chicken breast regularly can promote bone health and improved heart health. It is also said to reduce high cholesterol levels and boost metabolism.
Flavor-wise, chicken breast is a blank canvas. You can infuse it with different flavors and use a range of different cooking methods, including frying, grilling, roasting, boiling, etc. The key is keeping the meat juicy inside.
Pairing chicken breast with other foods is easy. From rice to veggies to cheese, chicken breast pairs nicely with many different flavors.
You can also enhance the flavor of the chicken breast by using such ingredients as garlic, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and basil.
But no matter how you cook chicken breast, it is always good to know how much it weighs, how many calories, and how much nutrients it adds to your meal.
How Much Does A Chicken Breast Weigh?
How much a chicken breast weighs on average is an important piece of information for people who want to count how many calories, how much protein, fat, and other nutrients they are getting from their meal.
But how do you know how much a single chicken breast weighs?
The weight of a chicken breast depends on many factors, such as whether it is skinless or not, boneless or bone-in, cooked or raw, frozen or thawed.
Chicken breast weight is also closely associated with the method of growing chicken, i.e., if the chicken is homegrown or commercially grown, with the latter being bigger.
Bone-In And Boneless
The key factor that affects the weight of the chicken breast is whether it still has the bones or is boneless.
While many people prefer buying the boneless type for the ease of use and the little time it takes to prep the protein for cooking, others buy bone-in chicken breast.
Bone-in chicken breast has two advantages. First, bone-in chicken breast retains moisture better and longer. And second, it is cheaper than the boneless variety.
With bone-in chicken breast, you are getting a better flavor for less money.
Thus, if you have the time and skills to remove the bones from chicken breast yourself or simply like cooking it with the bones, buying bone-in chicken breast is certainly a good idea.
Cooked Vs Uncooked Chicken Breast
Cooked chicken breast weighs less than uncooked chicken breast. In general, this is the case for any type of meat as the cooking process draws a lot of fat and liquid out of the meat.
Cooked chicken breast loses around 1/4 of its weight as a result of the cooking process. It also shrinks and becomes smaller in size too.
Experienced home cooks know this and this is why they never chop chicken breast too finely even for stir-fires.
If you are not cutting the chicken breast into smaller pieces, you may not always notice the difference in size. For example, a 4-ounce piece will shrink to 3 ounces.
A bigger 8-ounce chicken breast, on the other hand, will go down to 6 ounces. In fact, the bigger is the chicken breast the more it shrinks.
How much the cooking process causes the chicken breast to shrink also depends on the cooking method you use. Boiling, for example, causes the least shrinkage – around 5% of the initial weight of the chicken.
Sauteing chicken breast reduces its weight by around 20%. Deep-frying, on the other hand, draws out a lot more moisture from the meat and makes it weigh 30% lighter.
You may wonder if you should weigh chicken breast before or after cooking it. The general rule is to measure food before cooking it.
You might need to weigh the cooked chicken breast in the cases when the recipe states the amount of cooked chicken breast you need to use for the dish.
Frozen Vs Thawed Chicken Breast
There are no weight differences between frozen and thawed chicken breast so long as the chicken was properly sealed before going into the freezer.
The frozen chicken breast will weigh more than defrosted chicken breast only when there is frozen water in the bag with chicken breast accumulated as a result of condensation.
The chicken breast itself will still weigh the same as it did when it was not frozen.
But even when there is a little bit of frozen water in the bag with chicken breast, the weight differences are not major – only a matter of a few grams.
So, if you are cooking with frozen chicken breast, you can go out and weigh it before it thaws without having to worry about wrong measurements.
Average Size Of A Chicken Breast
An average chicken breast now weighs more than it did four decades ago. This is why your grandmother might be surprised at the sizes of chicken breasts sold at supermarkets nowadays.
As mentioned above, the weight of chicken breast depends on different factors. Here is a chart indicating the weight of an average size chicken breast depending on whether it is boneless or not and is skinless or still has the skin on.
|Skinless with bone||10-15 oz|
|Skinless and boneless||6-10 oz|
|Skin-on with bone||11-16 oz|
|Skin-on and boneless||7-12 oz|
How Much Does A Boneless Chicken Breast Weigh?
On average, boneless chicken breast that is also skinless weighs 6-10 ounces depending on the size of the breast. If the chicken breast is boneless but still has the skin on, it may weigh between 7-12 ounces.
How To Measure The Weight Of Chicken Breast
If you are counting calories and want to know what nutrients you are getting from your meal, you should weigh the chicken breast using a kitchen scale.
There are two types of kitchen scales – mechanical and electric. Both are easy to use and work well.
Here’s how to measure a chicken breast using a kitchen scale.
- Defrost the chicken breast. You can weigh the frozen chicken breast too. However, keep in mind that frozen poultry has a few more grams to it.
- Place a bowl on the scale.
- Record the weight of the bowl you are using. This step is essential in determining the exact weight of the meat.
- Put the chicken breast in the bowl using a pair of tongs or your hands.
- Record the weight of the chicken breast in the bowl.
- Subtract the 2 weights to get the weight of the chicken breast.
We recommend you read the manual that comes with your kitchen scale in order to get accurate results.
How To A Weigh A Chicken Breast Without A Scale
If you don’t have a scale and need to measure a chicken breast to evaluate the calories and nutrients in your meal, you can check the label on the package with chicken breasts.
The manufacturers state the general weight of the package. All you have to do is to divide the weight indicated on the package by the number of chicken breasts in it.
While this won’t give you the exact answer for each chicken breast, it will provide you with a close estimate.
For example, if the total weight of the package is 25 ounces and there are four chicken breasts in it, each will be approximately 6.25 ounces. If, of course, the chicken breasts appear to be of the same size.
In general, the total weight of chicken breast packs differs as the breasts don’t come in a single size. So, if you don’t have a scale, you may need to do these calculations each time you are opening a new pack of chicken breast.
After a few times of deciding the weight of chicken breast or weighing it using a kitchen scale, you will have enough expertise to eyeball it.
Why Are Chicken Breasts So Big Now?
In recent years, many people have raised the question of overly big chickens. Chickens today are nearly twice as big as they were half a century ago.
Chicken parts, including chicken breasts and thighs, are getting bigger too which concerns many people conscious about their health.
Luckily, there is an explanation for chicken breasts getting bigger. Chickens now grow bigger thanks to the improved breeding system and living conditions.
They get better daily care and nutrition plans to cover their needs at every stage of their lives.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has forbidden the use of steroid hormones for growth purposes in poultry.
This information will put many health-conscious people at ease as they think hormones are what make today’s chicken breasts so big.
In any case, do your research on the brand before you buy their chicken or various chicken cuts.
What Is The Serving Size For Chicken Breast?
While chicken breast is a healthy protein to include in your diet, you should know how much chicken breast makes a healthy serving size.
Restaurants usually serve more chicken breast than the USDA recommends a person to eat per day.
A healthy serving of chicken breast is 3 ounces. Considering that adults should eat 5-6.5 ounces of protein a day, a single chicken breast can supply half of the amount of protein you should eat per day.
If you don’t have a scale in your kitchen, imagine a serving size of chicken breast to be the size of a deck of cards. It might also be helpful to visualize a healthy plate where only a quarter of the plate should be protein.
A serving of chicken breast (85 grams) contains 140 calories.
How To Choose The Best Chicken Breast
When choosing chicken breast many people go for the boneless and skinless type.
Chicken breasts with no skin and bones are easy to prepare for cooking and they can be used in a number of ways too. Additionally, skinless chicken breasts are lower in fat.
We recommend picking bone-in chicken breast with skin if you want maximum flavor and don’t mind the extra fat.
The size of the chicken breast is not something to consider so long as the product checks all the boxes as far as the quality and freshness are concerned. Here’s what you should look for when buying chicken breast.
- Pinkish flesh. The pinkish hue of the chicken flesh is the first indicator of the chicken breast being fresh. Never buy chicken with grayish flesh as it is certainly stale.
- Springy texture. Fresh chicken breast is firm and springy to touch. Press on the chicken breast and if it comes back to its original shape, then it’s fresh.
- No odor. When possible, smell the chicken breast before buying it. Fresh chicken breast doesn’t have a distinct odor. Stale chicken breast, on the other hand, has an apparent bad smell.
- Little package liquid. Pay attention to the amount of liquid in the package with chicken breast.
How Many Chicken Breasts Are There In A Pound?
How many chicken breasts are in a pound depends on the size of chicken breasts and if they are boneless and skinless or not.
For example, there may be two 8-ounce chicken breasts in a pound (16 ounces). If the chicken breasts are smaller, you may find three of them in a pack.
As cooked chicken breast shrinks and gets lighter, you will need to cook more of them to make a pound of cooked chicken breast.
Chicken breasts are always packaged using a see-through plastic wrap. You can easily see how many pieces are there in one pack.
Additionally, the manufacturers give detailed information regarding the weight of the pack and how many pieces of chicken breast it contains.
If the cooking instructions you are following tell you to use a pound of cooked chicken breast, it might be a good idea to cook 4 chicken breasts. If they are on the smaller side, cook 5 chicken breasts to make up a pound of cooked chicken.
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