How many pounds of chicken thighs will you need to serve everyone on your guest list? It will be easier to estimate if you know how many chicken thighs there are in a pound. We’re here to help you figure that out.
How Many Chicken Thighs in a Pound?
The number of chicken thighs in a pound may vary. As a general rule, though, you can expect there to be about 3 bone-in chicken thighs in a one-pound package. When the meat is sold boneless, a single pound could consist of anywhere from 4 to 8 thighs.
About Chicken Thighs
The thigh portion is the top part of the chicken’s leg—the section that’s connected to the body. It’s typically square-shaped and may or may not include the bone segment. When chicken thighs are sold boneless, the skin is usually removed as well.
Because the thigh gets a decent amount of exercise during the chicken’s lifespan, the meat contains more myoglobin, the protein that supplies oxygen to the muscles. As such, the thighs are considered dark meat, as opposed to the breasts, which are white meat.
Although the thigh meat isn’t as lean and tender as the breast, it has a bolder chicken flavor. That’s true especially if the bones and skin are still included. Fat equals flavor, and the skin provides plenty of that.
How Many Chicken Thighs in a Pound?
The number of chicken thighs there are in a pound depends on whether the meat is sold boneless or bone-in. Obviously, the bone will contribute to the overall weight, so you’re getting less usable meat product when you purchase bone-in thighs.
A pack of 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs usually weighs about 1-1/2 pounds. Obviously, this is an estimate—every chicken is different, so the weight totals will vary. But in general, a single chicken thigh will weigh about 1/3 of a pound.
This means there are about 3 bone-in chicken thighs in a pound. Bear in mind, though, that you’ll only get 2-1/2 to 3 ounces of meat out of that thigh, as the remainder of the weight is taken up by skin and bone.
What if you’re buying boneless and skinless chicken thighs? In this case, expect a pound to consist of 4 to 8 thighs. Each one should weigh 2 to 3 ounces apiece once the bones and skin are removed, as we’ve just established.
How Many Chicken Thighs Will You Need?
No matter which type of chicken thigh is on the menu, try to plan on 2 pieces per person. That means that if you’re planning on serving 10 people, you should buy 6-1/2 to 7 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs, or 2-1/2 to 5 pounds of boneless thighs.
The boneless variety will yield more edible meat by volume, but bear in mind that the bone-in thighs should have roughly the same amount. It’s just that they weigh more to begin with, so it seems as though you’re getting less bang for your buck.
Remember, too, that bone-in thighs are typically sold at a lower price than the boneless ones. The butchers don’t have to put as much work into processing them, and that difference is reflected in the cost.
How Much Does a Whole Chicken Leg Weigh?
We should point out that these estimates are based on the thigh, not the whole leg. A whole chicken leg consists of the thigh portion and the drumstick, which makes up the lower part of the leg.
You’ve probably seen chicken drumsticks for sale on their own, but it’s less common to find whole chicken legs for sale. If you do come across them, they make for an impressive and delicious main course.
The whole leg weighs around 7 ounces with the skin and bones still attached. Once it’s cooked, you should get between 4 to 5 ounces of meat out of it. That’s a generous serving size, but fairly standard when you’re entertaining.
When buying whole chicken legs for a party, plan on 1 per person. Use your judgment when deciding whether to divide the thigh and drumstick or leave the cut in one piece. Either way is fine, but it’s easier on the chef to leave it whole.
Factors To Consider
Not everyone on your guest list will consume two entire chicken thighs. Some might help themselves to more than two. But a 2-per-person estimate is a good rule of thumb to follow.
Chicken thighs play by a different set of rules than shredded or sliced meat, such as pulled pork and beef brisket. In those instances, guests can adjust their portion sizes depending on taste.
Once you’ve helped yourself to a chicken thigh, however, it can’t be put back on the buffet table, even if you didn’t finish it all. So it’s better to stock up on more than you think you’ll need.
Here are a few other factors to bear in mind when deciding how many pounds of chicken thighs you’ll need to buy.
Age of Guests
If your guest list consists of fully grown adults, then it’s a good idea to plan on 2 chicken thighs per person. But if you’re expecting a lot of kids under the age of 10 to show up, you can scale back on that a bit.
Young children don’t eat as much as adults. If there are a lot of other kids around to distract them, they’re bound to consume even less. You should be able to get away with buying just one chicken thigh for each youngster on the list.
Type of Gathering
People will eat more at a formal sit-down dinner than at a casual barbecue. If you’re plating the food in advance, you’ll want to make sure that each plate looks impressively full. But at a buffet, people will often take small portions in an effort to be polite.
Time of Day
Similarly, most of us are conditioned to eat our largest meal of the day in the evening. So if that’s when your party is, your guests will expect generous portions to be available.
On the other hand, afternoon gatherings tend to yield plenty of leftovers (see section below). That’s not to say that people don’t eat, but they tend to graze rather than stuff themselves, likely based on the assumption that they’ll be eating again later on.
How many chicken thighs you serve per person should also depend on the preparation method you have in mind.
Are you baking a batch of boneless thighs in a casserole with a rich sauce? You might not need as many as 2 per person, owing to the complexity of the dish. But if you’re grilling a batch and slathering them with barbecue sauce, you’ll probably go through more of them.
What else are you serving besides chicken thighs? Are they the only meat product on offer, or will there be bratwurst or burgers alongside them? Obviously, if you have more than one option available for the main course, you won’t need as much chicken.
There’s also the matter of side dishes. You’ll need plenty of meat if you’re just putting out a few bowls of potato chips and a fruit salad. But if you’re serving potato salad, macaroni salad, biscuits or corn bread, and other starchy sides, feel free to round down.
Do you have big plans for the leftover chicken thighs? They reheat better than breasts do, thanks to their higher fat content. If you want to ensure that there’s plenty of meat for the next day, add an extra pound or two to your estimated total.
How many chicken thighs in a pound? That depends on the weight of the chicken, as well as the nature of the cut. But you should be able to make a decent estimate based on the numbers we’ve provided.
Best of luck, and happy grilling!
Hi there! I’m Darren Wayland, your BBQHost. My love of great barbecue inspired me to curate this site as a resource for all my like-minded fellow pitmasters out there. When I’m not researching and learning all I can about the latest tips and techniques, you can find me at the grill—that is, if you can spot me at all through the clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. And since you asked, yes, that probably is barbecue sauce on my face. Welcome to the party!