6 oz Salmon Protein & Nutrition

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: March 22, 2023

Doctors and health officials encourage people to eat a serving of fish at least twice a week. And salmon is packed with flavor, omega-3s, and protein, so it should be at the top of your seafood shopping list!

Now you might wonder what kind of salmon has the highest protein content and nutritional value. And the answer to that can vary depending on several factors, including the type of salmon you purchase.

So this article is your guide to buying the most nutritious salmon, including a comparison of the protein, fat, and calorie content of various types of salmon.

6 oz Salmon Protein

How Much Protein In Salmon

A 6 oz salmon fillet contains around 36 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat, 0 carbs, and 260 calories. However, you also need to know that 6 ounces of salmon can have different nutritional values depending on several factors.

First, protein can differ between salmon species due to meat and oil content variations. In addition, wild-caught vs farm-raised salmon have different amounts of fat and calories.

Finally, the exact nutrition amounts in salmon depend on whether you weigh it raw or cooked.

Factors That Affect Salmon Nutrition:

  • Type/Species
  • Wild-caught vs. Farm-raised
  • Raw vs. Cooked

Now let’s look at different types of salmon to see how much protein is in a 6 oz portion.

6 oz Salmon Protein By Variety

In the United States, six types of salmon are generally available at the grocery store; Atlantic, King/Chinook, Sockeye/Red, Coho/Silver, Pink/Humpback, and Chum/Keta/Dog. You’ll notice most species go by two or more names.

Nearly all Atlantic salmon available in the grocery store is farm raised. While the other five types come from the Pacific Ocean and could be either wild-caught or farm-raised.

Each species of salmon grows to different sizes and body compositions based on its habitat and diet. So the salmon nutrition values also differ between types.

Table 1. Protein In 6 oz Salmon by Type
Type Protein Fat Calories
Atlantic Salmon 35g 23g 354
King/Chinook Salmon 35g 20g 318
Coho/Silver Salmon 38g 11g 249
Sockeye/Red Salmon 38g 8g 224
Pink/Humpback Salmon 35g 8g 216
Chum/Keta/Dog Salmon 35g 6g 198
Average 36g 12g 260

As shown in the table above, the protein in 6 oz of salmon is fairly consistent, ranging from 35 to 38 grams. For the highest protein option, you should go for Coho/Silver or Sockeye/Red salmon.

However, the fat content can range from as low as 6 grams to as high as 23 grams per 6 oz. To reap the benefits of Omega-3 fish oils, you may want to select Atlantic or King/Chinook salmon.

Moreover, the variation in fat results in significantly different calories between the salmon types. So if you’re looking for a low-calorie option, you might opt for Pink or Chum salmon.

6 oz Salmon Protein Calories

Atlantic Salmon Protein in 6oz

A typical 6 oz Atlantic salmon fillet contains 35g of protein. In addition, a 6 oz portion comes in at a whopping 23g of fat, which adds up to about 354 calories.

Again, this is the only species of salmon originating from the Atlantic Ocean. And most of it comes from fish farms.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse for you than wild salmon. And there are trade-offs to consider with every type of fish.

6 oz Salmon Protein Atlantic

King/Chinook Salmon Protein in 6 oz

King/Chinook salmon fillets contain 35g of protein per 6 ounces. And it has about 20g of fat, for a total of 318 calories.

One interesting fact is that the king salmon gets its name for being the largest salmon in the Pacific, growing as large as 50 lbs. In addition, they have the highest fat content among wild-caught salmon, which adds flavor.

Moreover, king/chinook salmon is some of the most expensive on the market, making it a meal fit for a king.

6 oz Salmon Protein King Chinook

Coho/Silver Salmon Protein in 6 oz

Next on the list is Coho/silver salmon, coming in at 38g of protein per 6 ounces. With 11g of fat, it only contains around 250 calories.

Coho salmon are also called silver salmon due to their striking silver sides during their ocean phase of life. And they are a popular choice for cooking thanks to a balance of flavor, quality, and cost.

6 oz Salmon Protein Coho Silver

Sockeye/Red Salmon Protein in 6 oz

The sockeye or red salmon is another high-protein option with 38g per 6 oz serving. And it has just 8g of fat, making it a lean 224-calorie meal.

Sockeyes are often called red salmon because of the deep red coloration male fish take on during spawning. Like a defined muscle, sockeye salmon fillets have a dense, firm texture that lends itself well to sushi or grilling.

6 oz Salmon Protein Sockeye Red

Pink/Humpback Salmon Protein in 6 oz

Pink salmon is among the leanest varieties, with a little under 8g of fat and 35g of protein per 6 ounces. As a result, it has only 216 calories per serving.

Male pink salmon develop a distinctive hump on their backs during spawning migration, which is why they are sometimes called humpback salmon.

From a cooking standpoint, the lack of fish oil makes it dry out quickly. So it’s not typically one of the most sought-after salmon fillets, although it is often sold in canned form.

6 oz Salmon Protein Pink Humpback

Chum/Keta/Dog Salmon Protein in 6 oz

Chum salmon has the lowest fat content among all salmon types, with only 6g per 6 ounces. And with 35g of protein, it has under 200 calories.

This salmon species gets its name because it was historically used as feed (chum) for dog sled teams. However, chum salmon can be enjoyed by people as well. And it is best prepared by slow cooking methods like smoking.

6 oz Salmon Protein Chum Keta Dog

Wild-Caught vs Farm-Raised Salmon Nutrition

The biggest difference between wild-caught and farm-raised salmon is what they eat. And this, in turn, affects the nutritional profile and potential contaminants in the fish we eat.

In their natural habitat, salmon feed on shrimp and krill as they migrate from the ocean and swim up coastal streams. However, they also consume pollutants dumped in the water by humans, which seep into their meat.

On the other hand, farm-raised fish are fed pellets made from ground-up fish, chicken, and grains. Like people eating fast food, this calorie-dense diet increases the salmon’s body fat and makes them larger. But it takes away from their natural flavor and color.

In terms of protein content, there’s not much difference between wild and farmed salmon. The main nutritional difference is that farmed salmon generally has a higher fat and calorie content. 

Other factors affecting your salmon choice include environmental concerns, contaminants, and omega-3 fatty acid content. So look for a source of salmon that strikes the right balance for you.

Wild Caught vs Farm Raised Salmon Protein

Raw vs Cooked Salmon Nutrition

Another factor that affects the protein in 6 oz of salmon is whether you weigh it before or after cooking. The reason is that a salmon fillet loses about 25% of its weight during cooking (i.e. raw salmon weight x 0.75 = cooked salmon weight)

So if you start with 6 oz of salmon, it only weighs about 4.5 oz after cooking. Still, the cooked salmon will have the original 36g of protein since the weight lost is from water evaporation and not meat degradation.

Furthermore, you can divide by 0.75 to find the amount of protein in cooked salmon. For example, a 6 oz piece of cooked salmon would have 36g ÷ 0.75 = 48g of protein.

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

Protein In 6 oz Salmon Raw Cooked

How To Measure 6 oz Salmon

Of course, most salmon fillets don’t weigh precisely 6 oz. So how do you measure a serving of salmon? 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 salmon in 6 oz increments such as 6, 12, 18, 24 ounces, and so on. However, most of the time, salmon is sold by the pound, which would be 0.375, 0.75, 1.125, and 1.5 lbs, respectively.

Next, cook all the salmon and divide it into equal portions. For example, if you bought 1.5 lbs (24 oz) of salmon, you would divide it into four equal portions after cooking (24oz / 4 servings = 6oz per serving).

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 some math, you never have to weigh anything!

Salmon Package

With Scale

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

First, you can weigh 6 oz of uncooked salmon on your scale. Or you can weigh multiples of 6 oz to divide up after cooking (6, 12, 18, 24, etc.)

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

After cooking, you should weigh 8 oz portions to get the same protein content as 6 oz of raw salmon.

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Salmon Compared to Other Protein Sources

While salmon is an excellent source of protein, certain types are also relatively high in fat and calories. So it may not be a perfect fit for your diet.

In addition, it might not be a good idea to eat salmon every day due to the risk of contamination. Plus, you would probably get sick of eating the same meal over and over!

The table below compares macros and calories of popular protein sources. Notice how the leaner Sockeye salmon is comparable to chicken, while the fatty Atlantic salmon is more like a sirloin steak.

Table 2. Protein, Fat, & Calories In 6 oz of Salmon vs Other Meat
Protein Source Protein Fat Calories Protein:Calorie
Skinless Chicken Breast 38.1g 4.5g 422 0.790
Sockeye Salmon 38.0 8.0 224 0.679
Skinless Chicken Thigh 33.0g 12.0g 240 0.550
93% Ground Turkey 31.7g 14.1g 254 0.500
Atlantic Salmon 35.0g 23.0g 354 0.395
Sirloin Steak 33.8g 24.3g 354 0.382
85% Ground Beef 31.5g 25.5g 356 0.354

I’ve sorted the table by the protein-to-calorie ratio, so you can see which food gives you the most protein per calorie. Of these examples, sockeye/red salmon is the second-best low-calorie source of protein behind chicken breasts.

More High Protein Food Nutrition Facts

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

You also got a snapshot of the nutrition facts for some popular high-protein foods. But like salmon, the protein content of most foods varies by type and cut of meat.

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

Steak Protein by Cut of Meat

Ground Beef Protein by Percentage

Pork Chop Protein per Ounce

Chicken Thigh Protein Boneless vs Bone-In

Chicken Breast Protein With or Without Skin

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 |March 22, 2023|Nutrition|0 Comments
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