Just how much is 4 oz of chicken, and why do you need to know? Is this considered a generous portion size? When you’ve finished reading, you should know the answers to these questions, plus several others.
How Much is 4 Oz of Chicken?
4 ounces of chicken equals 1/2 cup, as there are 8 ounces in a 1-cup measure. This measurement also equates to 113 grams, in case you’re using a metric scale. If you don’t want to use a scale at all, know that 4 ounces of chicken will be about the size of your closed fist, or a deck of standard playing cards.
Why It Matters
Did you know that the standard portion size for lean protein—such as chicken—is 3 to 4 ounces? Based on yearly averages, Americans typically consume far more than this per serving. But that’s how much we’re supposed to eat.
How are we supposed to tell how much meat we’re getting unless we weigh it out before every meal? While that’s an option, it isn’t always practical. That’s part of what we’ve come here to discuss.
How Much is 4 Oz of Chicken?
4 ounces of chicken equals 113 grams, or about 1/2 cup. If you remember that 8 ounces is 1 cup, this should be easy enough to recall.
If you were to portion out 4 ounces of chicken, the amount should fill a 1/2 cup measure. Interestingly, though, you’ll get a more accurate measurement if you use a liquid measure versus a dry measure (for example, the type of cup you’d use for sugar or flour).
A Visual Guide to 4 Oz of Chicken
A 4-ounce serving of chicken will be about the same size as your closed fist. If you’re a very large or exceptionally petite person, this won’t be accurate. But for most people, it’s a good estimate.
You can also use the palm of your hand as a sort of yardstick against which to measure the portion sizes. This works out especially well with chicken breast cutlets or tenderloins, as these tend to be flat and not very plump.
Another good way to estimate whether your portion size is 4 ounces is to measure it against a deck of standard playing cards. A cut of meat that weighs 3 to 4 ounces should be about the same size.
How To Take Measurements
The most accurate way to measure 4 ounces of chicken is to use a kitchen scale. If you don’t have one, now is the time to seek one out. You can spend up to $50 easily, but basic models can be had for $10 to $15, especially if you shop at discount stores.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to weigh your meat prior to every meal, use one of the tricks we mentioned above. Your fist, the palm of your hand, or a deck of cards—you can measure the chicken against any one of these and get a decent weight estimate.
The Shrinkage Factor
4 ounces of raw chicken will shrink down after it’s fully cooked. That’s because chicken, like every other type of meat, contains a great deal of water. When the meat cooks, a lot of this moisture is expelled, leaving you with a product that weighs significantly less.
Poultry shrinks down by about 25 percent. That gives you a higher meat yield than you could expect from fattier cuts like pork butt or beef brisket. However, it still means that 4 ounces of raw chicken will only weigh 3 ounces once it’s cooked.
If you want to ensure that your piece of cooked chicken will weigh 4 ounces, start with a slightly larger portion. 5-1/3 to 5-1/2 pounds of raw chicken should yield the desired results.
Of course, the only way to be certain of the numbers is to weigh each portion again after they’re cooked. That’s time-consuming and impractical for most chefs. It’s better to just use a ballpark estimate and hope for the best.
How Much is 4 Ounces of Chicken Breast?
The average boneless and skinless chicken breast weighs between 3 and 8 ounces. That’s just an estimate—the size can vary based on the gender, breed, and age of the chicken.
For example, whole roasters, which are some of the largest chickens offered for sale, are slaughtered at around 5 months. Fryers, which are also called broilers, might not make it past the 8-week mark before they’re sent to the slaughterhouse.
Cornish game hens are even smaller. Typically about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds after processing, these specimens are slaughtered at around 5 weeks of age. Since they’re traditionally served whole, though, you probably won’t find the breast portions sold separately.
A bone-in and skin-on chicken breast might weigh between 12 and 16 ounces (or one pound). The bone contributes to the weight, though, so the total meat yield will be a bit lower than what you could expect from a boneless breast.
We would suggest planning on 1 boneless and skinless chicken breast per person, depending on their size. Obviously, if the breasts are larger, you might be able to divide them either before or after you cook them.
When smoking or roasting bone-in chicken breast, expect to get 2 servings out of each one. It’s best to either carve the meat into slices before serving it, or pull it from the bone to make shredded chicken. That way, it’s sure to stretch further.
How Much is 4 Ounces of Chicken Thigh?
Boneless and skinless chicken thighs weigh about 3 ounces each before they’re cooked. The bone-in and skin-on thighs weigh a bit more, but since you can’t eat the bones, the meat yield will be roughly the same.
This means you can expect to get 2-1/4 ounces of cooked meat from each chicken thigh. If you’re aiming for 4-ounce portions, you’ll need about 2 chicken thighs per person. The serving size will be a bit more generous than what you’d planned, but that’s usually a good thing.
How Much Meat is on a Chicken Drumstick?
Again, the answer depends on whether you’re taking your measurements from raw or cooked meat. Since the drumstick contains a lot of bone, we’ll go with the latter here.
A cooked chicken drumstick will consist of about 1-1/2 ounces of meat, while the rest will be bone. That means 2 drumsticks will yield 3 ounces, while 3 drumsticks should yield about 4-1/2 ounces.
Drumsticks are a party staple, and if they’re the only meat product on offer, you can expect people to eat more than their standard share. So we would plan on at least 3 to 4 drumsticks per person, unless you have other options on the table as well.
How Many Chicken Wings Will I Need To Make 4 Ounces?
When it comes to chicken wings, you’re dealing with a fairly high bone-to-meat ratio. While a single wing weighs more than 1 ounce—even after it’s cooked—that’s about how much meat you can expect to get out of each one.
This means that if you want to plan on a 4-ounce serving of wing meat for every guest, you should buy 4 wings per person. We would recommend doubling this number unless the wings are an appetizer or a side dish—they tend to go quickly!
How Much Does 4 Ounces of Chicken Cost?
To answer this question, we’ll need to research how much chicken costs per pound.
The average per-pound price for a whole chicken is $2.75 to $3.50. If you opt for an organic bird, the per-pound price goes up—usually to the tune of $4.50 to $7.
That means the chicken costs about 75 cents per 4-ounce serving for a non-organic chicken, and up to $1.75 per serving for organic chickens. Remember that whole chickens contain a lot of bone, so this isn’t a precise estimate.
When it comes to boneless chicken breast, the price for a 4-ounce serving goes up to about $1, as it’s priced at around $4 per pound. However, in this case, you’ll get much more bang for your buck.
You can save more money by opting for chicken thighs instead of breasts. While breasts are more popular, thighs are often cheaper as a result. Bone-in and skin-on thighs cost about $2.75 per pound, bringing the estimate for a 4-ounce serving to about 70 cents.
If the chicken breast is sold bone-in, you might be able to find it for $2.50 per pound. A 4-ounce serving would cost about 63 cents in this case. However, you’ll also have to contend with more bone than you would with the thigh.
4 ounces is considered a decent serving size, though it might appear small to some people who were raised on larger portions. For those of you who are trying to adhere to FDA recommendations, though, it helps to know how much chicken makes up a 4-ounce serving.