Which Are the Fatty Parts of a Chicken?

Barbecue Buffalo Chicken Wings
Barbecue chicken wings with the skins on. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Chicken, in general, can be considered a healthy protein that is relatively low in fat when compared to many other proteins. However, certain parts of the chicken contain substantially higher quantities of fat than others. The dark meat of a chicken is usually much higher in fat than the white meat. However, cooking methods can also make a big difference in fat content.

The Skin

The fattiest part of the chicken, ounce per ounce, is the skin, with 41 grams of fat per 100 grams. Therefore, to substantially lower the fat content of any part of a chicken, you can remove the skin either before or after cooking. However, according to Harvard School of Public Health, most of the fat in chicken skin is healthy, unsaturated fat.

Dark Meats

The lower leg of a chicken, commonly known as the drumstick, contains 5.7 grams of fat without the skin and 11.2 grams of fat with the skin on. One skinless chicken thigh contains 10.9 grams of fat without skin and 15.5 grams with the skin on. Finally, one chicken wing contains 8.1 grams of fat without the skin and 19.5 grams of fat with the skin on. Based on these figures, on average, you'll see a 47-percent decrease in fat by removing the skin.

Least-Fatty Part of a Chicken

Chicken in general is a high-quality source of protein that contains all eight essential amino acids. However, if you're looking for quality protein without the fat, choose chicken breasts. In contrast to the higher fat, dark-meat parts of a chicken, the breast of chicken is very low in fat. About 3 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breasts contains only 1 gram of saturated fat and fewer than 4 grams of total fat.

Low-Fat Cooking Options

In addition to removing the skin, you can lower the fat content of chicken by using a rack to drain the fat off after broiling, roasting or baking. The American Heart Association notes that chicken may become dried out if you remove the skin before cooking. To remedy this, baste your chicken with wine or use an oil-based marinade. Alternatively, wait until after cooking to remove the skin.

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