1 lb Chicken Breast Protein & Calories

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: April 10, 2023

Chicken breast is arguably the ultimate high-protein food. And it’s a staple in just about any fat loss or muscle gain meal plan.

But just how much protein is in one pound of chicken breast? The answer depends on how you purchase the chicken and when you weigh it.

So read on to find out how much protein is in every kind of chicken breast. Plus, see how that compares to other high-protein foods.

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein

First, it’s essential to realize that 1 pound (16 ounces) of chicken can have different nutritional values depending on whether you weigh it raw or cooked.

In addition, a chicken breast can come with or without skin and bones. And protein content can vary between brands due to other factors such as water content.

Factors That Affect Chicken Breast Protein Content:

  • Raw vs. Cooked
  • Bone-In vs. Bone-Out
  • Skin-On vs. Skinless
  • Retained Water %

Now let’s look at some different types of chicken breasts to see how much protein is in a 16 oz portion.

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1 lb Chicken Breast Protein (Raw)

The boneless and skinless variety is the most common form of chicken breast you’ll find in most supermarkets. And it’s the first choice of athletes and bodybuilders due to the high protein-to-calorie ratio.

According to various listings in a nutrition database, 16 ounces of raw boneless skinless chicken breast has 104 grams of protein. In addition, it has no carbs and just 6 grams of fat, which comes to about 480 calories.

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein Raw Boneless Skinless

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein (Cooked)

After cooking, a chicken breast loses about 25% of its weight. So if you start with 1 lb of chicken, it only weighs 0.75 lbs or 12 oz after cooking.

However, that 12 oz of cooked meat would still have the original 104g of protein since the weight lost is from water evaporation and not meat degradation.

With this in mind, we can also calculate the amount of protein in cooked chicken by taking the raw chicken protein and dividing it by 0.75. For example, 1 lb of cooked chicken breast has about 139g of protein (104g ÷ 0.75 = 139g).

Knowing the protein content of cooked chicken breast is beneficial when you meal prep large quantities of meat to divide up later. But remember that the exact protein amount can vary depending on the cooking method, temperature, and duration.

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein Cooked Boneless Skinless

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein (Skin-On)

Another factor to consider is whether the chicken breast has skin. The reason is that the skin contains more fat and less protein than the meat itself.

According to multiple database listings, 1 lb of chicken breast with skin has about 84 grams of protein. And, with upwards of 48 grams of fat, the skin-on breast has 760 calories.

Of course, you can reduce the amount of fat and calories by draining off the excess oil after cooking the chicken. But a chicken breast with skin will generally have more fat than a skinless breast.

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein Raw Boneless With Skin

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein (Bone-In)

Chicken breasts with skin often come with the bone still in them. And the bone displaces the amount of meat.

On average, the breastbone accounts for about half of the bone-in chicken breast weight. So a 16 oz chicken breast with the bone would only contain about 8 ounces of meat.

Therefore, 1 lb of bone-in, skin-on chicken breast has roughly 44 grams of protein.

1 lb Chicken Breast Protein Raw With Skin and Bone

In case you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to remove the skin from a bone-in chicken breast. And you can also weigh a skin-on chicken breast after cooking.

So here is a table showing all the different combinations of chicken breast types with their corresponding protein, fat, and calorie content.

This information makes it easy to see why the boneless, skinless chicken breast is the best option for getting the most protein with the fewest calories.

Table 1. 1 lb Chicken Breast Protein & Calories By Type

Chicken Breast Type Protein Fat Calories
Raw, Boneless, Skinless 104 g 6 g 480
Cooked, Boneless, Skinless 139 g 8 g 640
Raw, Bone-In, Skin-On 44 g 24 g 380
Raw, Bone-In, Skinless  52g 3 g 240
Raw, Skin-On, Bone Removed 84 g 48 g 760
Cooked, Skin-On, Bone Removed 112 g 64 g 1,000

Bear in mind these are numbers are approximations based on averages from a nutrition database. You should still check the label on your chicken breast to verify the macros and calories.

What Does 1 lb of Chicken Breast Look Like?

In general, an uncooked boneless chicken breast weighs between 6 and 10 oz. That means a 1 lb (16 oz) breast is unlikely, and it should take multiple breasts to equal that weight.

As a reference, an 8 oz chicken breast is about the size of an average person’s hand. So 16 ounces is equal to two of the chicken breasts pictured below.

8 oz Chicken Breast Compared to Fork

Here’s an 8 oz chicken breast next to a fork for size comparison. 1 lb of chicken breast would be two of these portions.

Is 1 lb Of Chicken Too Much for One Day?

The suggested serving size for chicken breast is 3 to 4 oz. So a 16 oz portion is 4-5 times more than most people consume in one meal.

Also, it would be pretty hard to eat that much in one sitting, especially when combined with other foods. And getting 104 grams of protein at once may cause stomach discomfort.

However, you could split 1 lb of chicken breast into 3 or 4 smaller meals throughout the day (4 to 5.33 oz per meal). And that would be a great way to hit your macros on a high-protein diet.

Additionally, bigger bodybuilders or active people with large appetites could eat two meals with 8 oz of chicken breast per meal. But how much chicken you should eat depends on your protein demands.

Easy Chicken Breast Recipe

When most people think of chicken breast, they picture a bland meal with white rice. But a bodybuilding meal plan doesn’t have to be so boring!

Click here to try my 20-minute chicken, broccoli, and rice recipe.

Chicken Broccoli and Rice Recipe scaled

How To Measure 1 lb of Chicken Breast

As you’ve seen, most chicken breasts don’t weigh 1 lb. So how do you measure 16 ounces of chicken? I have a few different ways to do it – with or without a scale.

With No Scale

First, you could try to buy packages of chicken breasts in 1 lb increments. While it’s unlikely you’ll hit it right on the head, look for packages close to 1.00, 2.00, 3.oo lbs, etc.

Then cook all the chicken and divide it into equal portions. For example, if you bought 4.07 lbs of chicken breasts, you would divide it into four equal portions after cooking (4 lbs / 4 servings = 1 lb per serving).

Of course, each serving could represent a day’s worth of meals. And don’t worry about being perfect. Like if you get 15 oz one day and another is 17 oz, that’s okay! Because, over a few days, it all evens out.

Chicken Breast Package

As you can see, with a bit of math, you never have to weigh anything!

With Scale

If math isn’t your thing, you can measure chicken with a kitchen scale. And you can do this before or after cooking.

First, you can weigh 1 lb of uncooked chicken breast on your scale. Or you can weigh multiples of 1 lb to divide up after cooking.

You can also wait until after cooking to weigh the chicken. That way, you don’t have to mess with raw meat. Remember that chicken loses about 25% of its weight during cooking.

In practical terms, you should weigh 12 oz portions after cooking to get the same protein content as 16 oz of raw chicken breast.

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1 lb Chicken Breast Protein Comparison

I realize you probably don’t want to eat 1 lb of chicken breast every day. So the table below shows how much protein is in 16 oz of other meats, including the fat and calories.

I’ve also added a column showing a ratio of how many calories come from protein. As you can see, it’s hard to compete with the protein-to-calorie ratio of the boneless skinless chicken breast!

Table 2. 1 lb Chicken Breast Protein & Calorie Comparison

Protein Source Protein Fat Calories Protein:Calorie
Chicken Breast (Skinless) 104 g 6 g 480 0.867
93% Ground Turkey 85 g 37 g 675 0.504
Pork Chop 93 g 43 g 755 0.495
Atlantic Salmon 92 g 61 g 915 0.402
Sirloin Steak 91 g 65 g 944 0.384
85% Ground Beef 85 g 68 g 950 0.360

How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day?

At this point, it’s clear that chicken breasts are easily the best whole-food protein source. But how much protein do you need in a day?

Well, your ideal daily protein intake depends on your body size, exercise habits, and fitness goals. Try my free Protein Intake Calculator to determine how much protein you need.

More High Protein Food Nutrition Facts

Now you know how much protein is in various types of chicken breast. And you’ve seen how it compares to other protein sources regarding calories and nutrition.

You also got a snapshot of the nutrition facts for some other high-protein foods. But like chicken breasts, protein content can vary depending on the type of meat you purchase and how you cook it.

So check out these related articles to learn more about the nutrition in your favorite foods.

Whole Cornish Hen Calories & Protein

Ground Turkey Protein in 85, 93, 99% Lean

Steak Protein by Cut of Meat

Salmon Protein by Species

Pork Chop Protein per Ounce

Chicken Thigh Protein Boneless vs Bone-In

Ground Beef Protein by Percentage

With this information, you’re on your way to being a meal prep master! But why stop learning now? Check out some of my other informative content below.

How To Calculate Net Carbs

Counting net carbs can be confusing. Learn how to calculate net carbs with an easy formula. And try the net carb calculator.

Share with your community and get the conversation started!

By |April 10, 2023|Nutrition|0 Comments
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