How Much Protein In 6 oz Chicken Breast?

Answered by Certified Nutritionist

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: April 12, 2022

A 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 a 6 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.

6 oz Chicken Breast Protein

6 Oz Chicken Breast Protein

First, it’s essential to realize that 6 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 an 6 oz portion.

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6 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, an 6 oz of raw skinless chicken breast has about 39 grams of protein. With no carbs and just 2 grams of fat, that comes to about 180 calories.

6 oz Chicken Breast Protein Boneless Skinless

6 Oz Chicken Breast Protein (Cooked)

After cooking, a chicken breast loses about 25% of its weight. So if you start with 6 oz of chicken, it only weighs 4.5 oz after cooking.

In other words, cooked chicken breast contains about 25% more protein than the same weight of raw chicken breast. So, a 6 oz cooked chicken breast has roughly 53 grams of protein (39g*1.25).

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

6 oz Chicken Breast Protein Cooked Boneless Skinless

6 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, an 6 oz chicken breast with skin has about 32 grams of protein. And, with upwards of 18 grams of fat, the skin-on breast has 285 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.

6 oz Chicken Breast Protein Boneless Skin On

6 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 6 oz chicken breast with the bone would only contain about 3 ounces of meat.

Therefore, an 6 oz bone-in, skin-on chicken breast has roughly 16 grams of protein.

6 oz Chicken Breast Protein Bone In

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.

Table 1. 6 oz Chicken Breast Protein By Type

Chicken Breast Type Weight Protein Fat Calories
Raw, Boneless, Skinless 6 oz 39 g 2 g 180
Cooked, Boneless, Skinless 6 oz 53 g 3 g 240
Raw, Bone-In, Skin-On 6 oz 16 g 8 g 140
Raw, Bone-In, Skinless 6 oz 20 g 1 g 90
Raw, Skin-On, Bone Removed 6 oz 32 g 18 g 285
Cooked, Skin-On, Bone Removed 6 oz 42 g 24 g 380

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.

With this table, it’s easy to see why the boneless, skinless chicken breast is the best option for getting the most protein with the fewest calories.

How Big Is An 6 Oz Chicken Breast?

In general, an uncooked boneless chicken breast weighs between 6 and 10 oz. That means a 6 oz breast is on the small side, although still a pretty large chunk of meat.

The suggested serving size for chicken breast is 3 to 4 oz. So a 6 oz portion is like two small servings and more than most people consume in one sitting.

However, an 6 oz chicken breast is an easy meal for large bodybuilders or people with big appetites on a high protein diet. Personally, I eat 8 ounces of chicken twice per day with rice and vegetables.

As a reference, an 8 oz chicken breast is about the size of an average person’s hand. So a 6 oz chicken breast is more like a small hand.

8 oz Chicken Breast Compared to Fork

Here’s an 8 oz chicken breast next to a fork for size comparison. A 6 oz chicken breast is 75% the size of the one pictured here.

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 6 oz Chicken Breast

Of course, most chicken breasts don’t weigh precisely 6 oz. So how do you measure a 6 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 6 oz increments such as 12, 18, 24, 30, and so on. Most of the time, chicken is sold by the pound, so that would be 0.75, 1.13, 1.5, and 1.88 lbs.

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 four equal portions after cooking (24oz / 6oz = 4 servings).

Don’t worry about being perfect. Like if one portion is 5 oz and another is 7 oz, that’s okay! Because, over a few days, it all evens out.

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 6 oz of uncooked chicken breast on your scale. Or you can weigh multiples of 6 oz to divide up after cooking (12, 18, 24, 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 4.5 oz portions after cooking to get the same protein content as 6 oz of raw chicken breast.

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Protein Equivalents To 6 Oz Chicken Breast

While chicken breast is one of the best protein sources, you may not feel like eating it every day. So below are serving sizes of other high-protein foods that equal the same amount of protein in 6 oz of chicken breast.

Table 2. Food Amounts w/ Protein Equivalent of 6 oz Chicken Breast

Protein Source Weight Protein Fat Carbs Calories
Chicken Breast 6 oz 39 g 2 g 0 g 180
Lean Ground Turkey 7 oz 37 g 14 g 0 g 300
Salmon 7 oz 41 g 16 g 0 g 315
Sirloin Steak 7 oz 40 g 21 g 0 g 370
Tofu 17 oz 40 g 23 g 11 g 400

I’ve sorted the table from lowest to highest calories to show which foods are the most efficient sources of protein. As you can see, it’s hard to compete with the protein to calorie ratio of the boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Just for fun, I included tofu, one of the highest protein vegan foods. This example illustrates how hard it is to have a high protein plant-based diet without eating way too many calories.

Related: Protein and Calories in Pork Chops

How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day?

Now you know that a 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breast contains right around 40 grams of protein. 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 find out how much protein you need.

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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By |April 12, 2022|Nutrition|0 Comments
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