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We all know that we should be making healthy food choices. But striking the perfect balance between a healthy, well-portioned meal and going hungry can be difficult to master.
One issue that many people face is dealing with raw chicken breast meat. You don’t really want all of that bacteria on your kitchen scales, do you?
Keep reading to find out how to know the weight of chicken breast meat, as well as the benefits that chicken meat can bring to the average person’s diet.
How Many Chicken Breasts In a Pound? The Short Answer
Generally speaking, a raw, room temperature chicken breast weighs about 8 ounces. Since a pound is 16 ounces, that means there are typically 2 chicken breasts in a pound.
This is just a rule of thumb, because not all chicken breasts are the same size! It’s quite possible that you could have 1.5 to 3 chicken breasts in a pound, depending on their size.
How to Estimate Chicken Breast Weight
Yes, using a kitchen scale can help you get started, but soon you want to be able to know how much meat to use in a chicken recipe, without getting food scales dirty.
One thing you can do is learn the average weight of an average chicken breast.
A larger chicken breast, for example, will weigh around 8 ounces. You can expect a chicken breast of this weight to be roughly the size of your two palms when held next to each other.
Learning how to eyeball measurements when cooking meat in this way is going to speed up your cooking time and make prep a little easier.
Sometimes recipes are awkward and use peculiar measurements. Who is actually going to take the trouble of folding up raw chicken to see if it fits in a cup measurement? Not us! Instead, remember that 8 ounces will be roughly 1 cup.
All of this means that a pound of chicken (16 ounces) will be two large chicken breasts. These are larger than the average size chicken breast so lookout when you are shopping – two average chicken breasts may not be enough!
Bone-In or Bone Out?
Keep in mind that the above weight guide is for boneless and skinless chicken breast. A chicken breast with the skin left on, and the bone left in – a type of chicken known as a côtelette de volaille or chicken cutlet – will weigh more.
The bone and skin can easily take a 6 ounce cut of chicken and push it over the 8-ounce mark. Remember this when you are preparing your meal, so you have enough boned chicken for everyone. Keep in mind that a bone can account for 20% of the overall weight.
If you are a little more squeamish and don’t think that you would be able to prepare a boned piece of meat, don’t worry! Boneless chicken breasts are certainly the standard in most supermarkets.
Thawed or Frozen?
If you are buying chicken fresh from the store and then freezing them at home, you don’t need to worry as the original weight will still apply. However, purchasing already frozen chicken may result in some differences in weight.
This is because pre-frozen chicken often has a coating added in the processing stage to prevent them from sticking together. This will add some weight to the chicken. Frozen water that has adhered to the meat fibers will also add a little weight.
With this in mind, we recommend that you thaw out your chicken and then weigh it on an electric scale.
This will give you a much more accurate weight as the average chicken breast weight, discussed above, will not apply.
Fortunately, you can just check the packaging if you are buying frozen chicken. The weights will be on the back and are usually sold at price per pound.
Simply divide the total weight of the packet by the number of chicken breasts, and you will have a fairly accurate idea of the average weight of each breast.
Raw or Cooked?
The chicken will decrease in size as it cooks. This is because water and fat are evaporated or melted out in the heat. Less fat and water mean that there will be a weight difference between the raw and cooked chicken.
You can expect a fully cooked chicken breast to lose around a quarter of its weight and size compared to its raw state. You may need to add extra chicken to your meal, depending on the quantities specified in your recipe.
This is especially true if you are cooking your own chicken for a recipe.
Keep in mind that boiling or braising your chicken will cause less moisture to be lost. They are nowhere near as tasty as grilling chicken, roasting, or frying though!
Why We Love Chicken
If working out the weight of chicken is a bit difficult, why is it so popular? It is because of its status as a healthy food choice. But what can the nutrition of chicken breast do for you?
Well, it is very low fat but still rich in protein content. Chicken can also be easily cooked in a wide variety of styles and cuisines without losing a lot of flavors. Keep in mind that chicken breasts are a healthier option than chicken thighs.
This is because thighs have a little bit more fat than pushes up the calorie content.
There are also precisely 0 ounces of carbohydrate in a chicken breast, making this meat a great option for those on a low-carb diet.
A single large chicken breast will weigh around 8 ounces. This means that you can expect two large chicken breasts to weigh a pound. If you don’t want to use your kitchen scale, aim for a chicken breast that is the size of two palms. This will be around 8 ounces.
As 8 ounces are equivalent to 1 cup, a pound of chicken will be the same as 2 cups. That said, remember that skin and bone will add weight, so you may need more white meat than you think.
Remember that pre-frozen chicken will weigh more than fresh or home-frozen chicken. This is due to the added ingredients at the processing stage and the additional frozen moisture present in the meat fibers.
Similarly, raw chicken weighs more than cooked because fat and moisture are lost due to the heat.
Breast meat is certainly the healthier option – there are far fewer calories in the chicken breast than in chicken thighs, for example. This means that you can eat more without going over your calorie limit, meaning you feel less hungry.
When working out how many chicken breasts there are in a pound, you need to remember that this is not an exact science. You are wholly reliant on the size of chickens being processed, meaning that chicken breast sizes can differ substantially.