If you’re buying chicken breasts for your latest culinary caper, you probably want to know how much each one weighs.
But you might not have any food scales at home to measure accurately. And walking up and down the grocery aisles, staring dizzyingly at the products on offer that have clucked their last cluck, could leave you feeling pretty confused.
So, how do you actually know whata chicken breast weighs?
Surely, you gotta know how much your chicken breast weighs, right?
Well, the question’s not as simple as it first appears. The weight of a chicken breast depends on a few different factors, like whether it’s cooked, frozen, or still has the bone left in. Ugh, just be *easy*, chicken breast measurements! Goshdarnit!
Let’s take a look at the difference various preparations of chicken breast makes.
Bone-in chicken breasts are also known as split chicken breasts.
Many people prefer cuts of meat that are still on the bone. They help keep the meat super moist during cooking and pack an extra punch of flavor.
It might sound all fancy-schmancy, but they’re often actually cheaper than boneless varieties. Extra flavor for less cash? Yes, please.
The bones in split chicken breasts will make up around 20 percent of their total weight, but you’ll get a similar amount of meat as boneless chicken breasts once cooked.
These are your classic chicken breasts that will be suitable for most food-based fowl forays in the kitchen.
An average chicken breast weighs 174 g, or about 6 ounces (oz). But sizes vary from smaller cuts at around 4 oz, to larger ones at 8 to 10 oz.
There’s no right or wrong choice here. It really depends on what you’re cooking and how much chicken you want.
Raw vs. cooked
Chicken breasts will decrease in size when you cook them. That’s because you cook off a lot of the water and fat, which adds extra weight.
A raw chicken breast will lose roughly 25 percent of its weight and size when it’s cooked. So, it might be worth accounting for that in your cooking calculations.
For example, one 6-oz (174 g) raw chicken breast will weigh around 4.5 oz (130.5 g) once cooked.
Any type of cooking, including oven-roasting and grilling, will cause the chicken to shrink. (“Chicken Little,” anyone?) Boiling or braising will result in less shrinkage though, as those cooking methods rely more on moisture.
Thawed vs. frozen
If you’re buying your chicken breasts fresh and storing them in the freezer, they’ll weigh the same whether they’re fresh, frozen, or thawed.
But it’s a little different if you’re buying chicken breasts pre-frozen. Many of these products contain a special coating that stops them from sticking together. This adds to the weight of the chicken.
You’ll have to thaw the breasts first before you weigh them to get an accurate measurement.
If you’re buying packaged chicken breasts from the grocery store, this should be pretty simple. All you need to do is check the packaging.
Each package will have a slightly different weight and is usually priced per pound. Just divide the total weight by the number of chicken breasts and you’ll have a good estimate for each breast.
For example, imagine you have a pack of 4 chicken breasts weighing a total of 1.2 pounds (lbs). Just divide the total weight (1.2 lbs) by the number of chicken breasts (4). That gives you chicken breasts that weigh 0.3 lbs (4.8 oz) each.
Never before was there such motivation to listen in math class.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll get about 2 to 3 chicken breasts to the pound. But it really depends on how big they are.
One pound roughly equals 454 g. So, if we divide 454 g by the average weight of a chicken breast — 174 g, for those at the back — that gives us around 2.6 chicken breasts in a pound.
If they’re smaller chicken breasts, they might be closer to 4 oz, and if they’re larger, closer to 8 oz.
You don’t have to be a mathematician to work this stuff out though. You can always eyeball it once you’ve got to grips with the sizes. Most recipes won’t need you to be that specific. Just cook the damn things and eat them, if that’s your jam.
“Look out! It’s a giant killer chicken on a bloodthirsty quest for vengeance! God help us all!”
“Attack of the Killer Chickens” is absolutely a real movie. But you don’t need to be too concerned about the fact that, over the course of the last 50 years, farmers are breeding chickens one heck of a lot bigger than they used to be. They’re not coming for us — yet.
According to a 2014 study that compared the size of chickens of the same age in 1957, 1978, and 2008, modern-day chickens are more than 4 times heavier than their ancestral feathered friends. #ChonkyBirds
The National Chicken Council says that chicken is an extremely popular meat in the United States, with the average person eating more than 97 pounds of the stuff in 2019. Since the 50s, farmers have selectively bred chickens to turn more feed into meat. The bigger the chickens, the more meat they produce to feed all you hungry people.
Big means healthy, right? Well, not exactly. A comparative study from 2003 compared the health of chickens from 1957 with those in 2001. They found that some modern-day chicken breeds can experience problems with their immune systems.
There are also ethical issues surrounding battery farming. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, nearly all chickens produced for meat are raised indoors in large sheds with more than 20,000 chickens crowded tightly together.
If you’re concerned about what type of chicken you’re eating, then you can opt for a better-animal-welfare product, or consider jumping on that flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan flex. “Attack of the Killer Chickens” aside, and despite their growing size, it seems they’ve every reason to be more afraid of us than us of them.
Chicken breasts come in different shapes, sizes, and varieties. How much they weigh will depend on whether they are fresh, frozen, or still have the bone in.
It might take a quick bit of mental math in the grocery store, but you should be able to work out the weight of a chicken breast pretty easily.
And you can always buy yourselves a set of kitchen scales if you really need the accuracy.