12 oz Chicken Breast Protein

Nutrition for Different Types of Chicken Breast Explained by Diet Coach

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: March 1, 2023

Chicken breasts could be the ultimate high protein food. As a result, it’s a staple in just about any fat loss or muscle gain meal plan.

But just how much protein is in a 12 oz chicken breast? The answer depends on the type of chicken breast 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.

Chicken Breast Protein Calories

12 Oz Chicken Breast Protein

First, it’s essential to realize that 12 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 12 oz portion.

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12 Oz 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, a 12 oz of raw skinless chicken breast has about 78 grams of protein. With no carbs and just 4 grams of fat, that comes to about 360 calories.

12 oz Chicken Breast Protein Boneless Skinless

12 Oz Chicken Breast Protein (Cooked)

After cooking, a chicken breast is only about 75% of its original weight. So if you start with 12 oz of chicken, it typically weighs about 9 oz after cooking.

However, that 9 oz of cooked meat would still have the original 78g 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 by 0.75. For example, 12 oz of cooked chicken has about 104g of protein (78g ÷ 0.75 = 104g).

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.

12 oz Chicken Breast Protein Cooked

12 Oz 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, a 12 oz chicken breast with skin has about 64 grams of protein. And, with upwards of 36 grams of fat, the skin-on breast has around 570 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.

12 oz Chicken Breast Protein Skin On

12 Oz 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 12 oz chicken breast with the bone would only contain about 6 ounces of meat.

Therefore, a 12 oz bone-in, skin-on chicken breast has roughly 32 grams of protein.

12 oz Chicken Breast Protein With Skin

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. 12 oz Chicken Breast Protein By Type

Chicken Breast Type Protein Fat Calories
Raw, Boneless, Skinless 78 g 4 g 360
Cooked, Boneless, Skinless 104 g 6 g 480
Raw, Bone-In, Skin-On 32 g 16 g 280
Raw, Bone-In, Skinless 40 g 2 g 180
Raw, Skin-On, Bone Removed 64 g 36 g 570
Cooked, Skin-On, Bone Removed 84 g 48 g 760

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.

How Big Is A 12 Oz Chicken Breast?

As a reference, an 8 oz chicken breast is about the size of a person’s hand. So a 12 oz chicken breast is about 50% larger than the size of your hand.

In general, an uncooked boneless chicken breast weighs between 6 and 10 oz. That means a 12 oz breast is pretty huge and not your typical serving.

8 oz Chicken Breast Compared to Fork

Here’s an 8 oz chicken breast beside a fork for size comparison. A 12 oz chicken breast is 1.5x the size of the one pictured here.

Is 12 oz Of Chicken Too Much?

The suggested serving size for chicken breast is 3 to 4 oz. So a 12 oz portion is 3-4 times more than most people consume in one meal.

Some people might find eating that much in one sitting difficult, especially when combined with other foods. And getting 78 grams of protein at once may cause stomach discomfort if you’re not accustomed to it.

However, you could split a 12 oz breast into 2 or 3 smaller meals throughout the day. And it is a great way to hit your macros on a high-protein diet.

Additionally, bigger bodybuilders or active people with large appetites could eat a 12 oz chicken breast as a single meal. But this isn’t necessary unless you have high 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 12 oz Chicken Breast

Of course, not many chicken breasts weigh precisely 12 oz. So how do you measure a 12 oz serving 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 12 oz increments such as 12, 24, 36, and so on. Most of the time, chicken is sold by the pound, which would be 0.75, 1.50, and 2.25 lbs, respectively.

Next, cook all the chicken and divide it into equal portions. For example, if you bought 1.50 lbs (24 oz) of chicken breasts, you would divide it into two equal portions after cooking (24oz / 12oz = 2 servings).

Don’t worry about being perfect. Like if one portion is 11 oz and another is 13 oz, that’s okay! Because it all averages out after a couple of days if you have your initial weight correct.

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 also measure chicken with a kitchen scale. And you can do this before or after cooking.

First, you can weigh 12 oz of uncooked chicken breast on your scale. Or you can weigh multiples of 12 oz to divide up after cooking (12, 24, 36, etc.)

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 8 oz portions after cooking to get the same protein content as 12 oz of raw chicken breast.

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12 Oz Chicken Breast Protein Comparison

I realize you probably don’t want to eat chicken breast for every meal day after day. So the table below shows how much protein is in 12 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. 12 oz Chicken Breast Protein & Calorie Comparison

Protein Source Protein Fat Calories Protein:Calorie
Chicken Breast (Skinless) 78g 4g 360 0.867
93% Ground Turkey 64g 28g 508 0.504
Pork Chop 70g 32g 566 0.495
Atlantic Salmon 69g 46g 686 0.402
Sirloin Steak 68g 49g 708 0.384
85% Ground Beef 64g 51g 712 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.

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.

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