How Many Calories in 3 Oz of Chicken Thigh: A Comprehensive Breakdown

Chicken thighs have long been a favorite among meat lovers for their succulent flavor and tender texture. However, some health-conscious individuals have shied away from this cut due to concerns about its calorie and fat content. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the nutritional value of chicken thighs and provide a detailed breakdown of how many calories are in a 3-ounce serving of this delicious poultry.

The Calorie Count: What the Numbers Say

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 3-ounce serving of boneless, cooked, and skinless chicken thigh contains:

  • 164 calories
  • 0 grams of total carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of dietary fiber
  • 20 grams of protein
  • 9 grams of total fat
  • 2.4 grams of saturated fat

Now, let’s compare this to the information provided by FatSecret, a leading online calorie counter and nutrition database:

  • 174 calories in 3 ounces of boneless, cooked, skinless chicken thigh

While there’s a slight discrepancy between the two sources, the calorie count falls within a reasonable range, indicating that a 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken thigh contains approximately 164-174 calories.

Breaking Down the Nutritional Value

Beyond the calorie count, chicken thighs offer a variety of essential nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being.

Protein Power

One of the standout nutrients in chicken thighs is protein. With 20-21.6 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving, chicken thighs are an excellent source of this macronutrient, which plays a vital role in building and repairing tissues, supporting muscle growth, and promoting a healthy metabolism.

Fat Facts

While chicken thighs are higher in fat than their leaner counterparts (chicken breasts), the fat content isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. The total fat in a 3-ounce serving ranges from 9-9.06 grams, with saturated fat making up only 2.4-2.524 grams. This means that the majority of the fat in chicken thighs is unsaturated, which can be beneficial for heart health when consumed in moderation.

Micronutrient Highlights

In addition to protein and fat, chicken thighs are a good source of several essential micronutrients:

  • Selenium: Chicken thighs provide 20 mcg of selenium per 3-ounce serving, which is approximately 36% of the recommended daily intake. Selenium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in thyroid function, immune system health, and antioxidant defense.

  • Potassium: With 223 mg of potassium per 3-ounce serving, chicken thighs can contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and support proper muscle and nerve function.

  • Zinc: A 3-ounce serving of chicken thigh provides 1.7 mg of zinc, which is essential for immune system function, wound healing, and proper growth and development.

  • Iron: Chicken thighs contain 0.9-1.09 mg of iron per 3-ounce serving, making them a good source of this essential mineral, which is vital for oxygen transport and energy production.

The Skinny on Skin

It’s important to note that the calorie and nutrient values provided above are for skinless chicken thighs. If you choose to consume chicken thighs with the skin on, the calorie and fat content will be significantly higher. According to the USDA, a 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken thigh with skin contains:

  • 278 calories
  • 18 grams of total fat
  • 5.5 grams of saturated fat

To keep your calorie and fat intake in check, it’s recommended to remove the skin before cooking or consuming chicken thighs.

Incorporating Chicken Thighs into a Balanced Diet

While chicken thighs are higher in calories and fat compared to leaner cuts like chicken breasts, they can still be enjoyed as part of a balanced and nutritious diet. Here are a few tips for incorporating chicken thighs into your meal plan:

  • Practice portion control: Stick to the recommended serving size of 3-4 ounces to manage your calorie and fat intake.
  • Choose healthy cooking methods: Opt for baking, grilling, or sautéing with minimal added oils or fats to keep the calorie and fat content in check.
  • Pair with nutrient-dense sides: Accompany your chicken thighs with a serving of whole grains, vegetables, or a fresh salad to boost the overall nutrient density of your meal.
  • Embrace moderation: While chicken thighs can be part of a healthy diet, it’s still essential to balance your intake with other lean protein sources, such as chicken breasts, fish, or plant-based options.


How Many Calories Are in Chicken Breast


What does a 3oz chicken thigh look like?

The general rule is that 3 ounces of chicken is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards or the palm of your average hand. If you decide to use a cup measurement (which isn’t exact), the cup will be about half to 60 percent full.

How many calories are in a 3.5 oz grilled chicken thigh?

A 3.5-oz. (100-g) serving of chicken thigh provides 179 calories, 24.8 g of protein, and 8.2 g of fat. Thus, 55% of the calories come from protein, while 45% come from fat.

How many calories are in 3 skinless chicken thighs?

There are 323 calories in 3 medium Chicken Thigh (Skin Not Eaten). * The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet.

Which is healthier chicken breast or thigh?

Chicken breasts do have a higher content of some B vitamins and minerals whereas chicken thighs have higher amounts of vitamin B12, she adds. Chicken thighs are typically less expensive by the pound. However, chicken breasts can be a challenge to cook because they can easily dry out and be overdone.

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