If you’re wondering what 6 ounces of chicken looks like, you’re certainly not alone. Many budding chefs have a hard time discerning portion sizes. It gets even more confusing when you’re working with bone-in cuts. Our guide is here to help you figure things out.
How Much is 6 Oz of Chicken?
6 ounces of chicken will typically resemble 2 decks of playing cards set side by side. When the meat is diced or cut into strips, it should fill a 3/4-cup measure, but 6 ounces of shredded chicken will usually fill a 1/2-cup measure because it’s more dense. Remember that chicken will lose about 25 percent of its weight when you cook it.
How Much Does a Portion of Chicken Weigh?
The standard portion size for chicken is 3 to 4 ounces. Therefore, a 6-ounce portion consists of about 2 servings—or a single generous serving, especially if you’re entertaining.
Experts say that a serving of chicken should be roughly the size of the palm of your hand. That’s not an exact measurement, obviously, since hands come in different shapes and sizes. But it’s a decent start.
A 3- to 4-ounce portion of chicken is also about the size of a deck of cards. That’s another visual aid you can use when determining how much your portions might weigh.
How Much is 6 Oz of Chicken?
6 ounces equates to 170 grams, or 0.375 pounds—a little over 1/3 pound—of meat. Most boneless and skinless chicken breasts weigh somewhere between 4 and 8 ounces, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a single breast that weighs in at 6 ounces.
Are you hoping to measure your chopped or shredded chicken in cups? If so, know that 1 cup contains 8 ounces. Therefore, a 6-ounce serving should equate to 3/4 cup.
Be aware that when you’re measuring meat this way, a liquid measuring cup will provide you with a more accurate measurement. A dry measure—say, a cup used for flour or sugar—will also work, but the liquid measure is preferable.
What Does 6 Ounces of Cooked Chicken Look Like?
The volume of cooked chicken may vary, depending on how it was prepared. For example, while a single chicken breast might resemble a deck of cards, chicken that’s been shredded or diced will look different than meat that was cut into strips.
Although 3/4 cup should hold 6 ounces of chicken, that’s not necessarily true when the meat is shredded. Shredded meat can be packed more densely than cubes or strips. So it’s not uncommon for 6 ounces of shredded chicken to fit into a 1/2 cup measure.
6 ounces of diced chicken, on the other hand, should fill a 3/4 cup measure. Ditto for strips of chicken.
If the meat is left whole, a single large chicken breast, or two smaller ones, should weigh about 6 ounces—especially when the meat is cooked (see section below). If you’re measuring the weight of chicken tenderloins, 3 to 4 cooked pieces should weigh in at 6 ounces.
A single boneless and skinless chicken thigh weighs 2-1/2 to 3 ounces after it’s cooked. A bone-in thigh yields about the same amount of cooked meat, although it will weigh more beforehand. So if you’re hoping for 6-ounce servings, plan on 2 thighs per person.
Since chicken drumsticks have a low meat-to-bone ratio, you’ll need several of them in order to yield 6 ounces of cooked meat. A single drumstick offers about 1-1/2 ounces of chicken, so it would take 4 of them to make 6 ounces.
What about chicken wings? Like drumsticks, these contain a lot of bone. Plan on 6 to 8 wings per person if you want to offer 6-ounce servings.
Do You Need a Kitchen Scale to Measure 6 Oz of Chicken?
A kitchen scale is a useful tool, but it’s not a necessity. You should be able to get a general idea of how much your chicken weighs by using the guidelines we’ve already discussed.
If you do want to invest in a kitchen scale, make sure to clean it well before and after you use it for chicken. This is a particular concern when the meat is raw, but it’s important for cooked chicken as well.
The good news is that kitchen scales are relatively inexpensive. They range in price from $10 to $50 or so, depending on the brand. You can splurge on a pricier one if you want to use it for baking as well as grilling, but a cheap one should work fine in a pinch.
Raw vs. Cooked Chicken
All meat weighs more when it’s raw than it does when it’s finished cooking. That’s because it loses moisture through exposure to the heat.
Fatty cuts like pork shoulder and beef brisket lose 40 to 50 percent of their weight during cooking. Since chicken is leaner, it doesn’t lose quite as much, but bone-in cuts—especially whole birds—still have a relatively low yield.
You can expect the chicken to lose about 25 percent of its starting weight by the time it comes off the heat. That means that if the chicken breast weighed 6 ounces when you started cooking, it will weigh roughly 4-1/2 ounces afterward.
If you want the chicken to weigh in at 6 ounces after cooking, start with 8 ounces of raw meat. The measurement might not be exact, but it should be close enough.
A 6-ounce serving of boneless and skinless chicken breast contains about 275 calories and 6 grams of fat. Chicken is an excellent source of protein, offering up 50 grams per 6-ounce serving.
If you prefer dark meat, a serving of chicken thigh meat that weighs in at 6 ounces offers the same amount of protein, but it’s slightly higher in calories and fat. However, it’s still a leaner alternative to beef and pork.
White Meat vs. Dark Meat
Have you ever wondered why chicken breasts are so much more expensive than the thighs? The answer boils down to a simple factor: popularity.
People are drawn to chicken breasts because the meat is lean and easy to cook. It’s also highly versatile, as the mild flavor pairs well with so many ingredients. Most importantly, it cooks quickly, making it a great option for weeknight meals.
There’s nothing wrong with chicken thighs. In fact, we find the meat to be richer in flavor, with a superior texture—at least when it’s done right. But they do take longer to reach the optimum temperature, and there’s more prep work involved to boot.
What’s behind the difference? In essence, the thighs get more exercise than the breast portion of the bird. When muscles get a good workout, they require more oxygen.
This means that the thighs contain higher levels of myoglobin, the protein that gives meat its red color. So the thighs turn dark pink and muscular, while the breast remains lighter in color, with a leaner texture and milder flavor.
Because of its lean nature, chicken breast will dry out if you cook it past 165 degrees. It’s best to take it off the heat when it’s cooked to just 160, then let it rest while the juices redistribute and the temperature rises slightly.
Chicken thighs, meanwhile, should cook to 180, then be allowed to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The extra time on the heat allows the fat to render and the meat to achieve the right degree of tenderness.
6 ounces of raw chicken will translate into about 4-1/2 ounces of cooked chicken. Keep that in mind when you’re making your plans. While 6 ounces might be considered a generous serving, it’s a good per-person estimate to use when cooking for a crowd.