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How many calories in fried chicken if you remove the skin?

Fried chicken is a popular dish that is loved by many for its crispy, juicy texture and delicious flavor. However, it is also high in calories and fat, especially from the skin. Removing the skin before eating fried chicken can significantly reduce the calories. But how many calories does fried chicken contain without the skin?

Calories in fried chicken with skin

The number of calories in fried chicken depend on a few factors:

  • Cut of chicken – Breast meat has the fewest calories, followed by drumstick, thigh, and wing.
  • Cooking method – Deep frying adds more calories from oil compared to pan frying or baking.
  • Breading – More calories are added from flour or batter coatings compared to plain fried chicken.
  • Skin – The skin contains most of the fat and therefore most of the calories.

On average, for a 3 oz (85g) serving, fried chicken contains:

Cut Calories with skin
Chicken breast 175
Chicken thigh 211
Chicken drumstick 188
Chicken wing 211

As you can see, fried chicken can range from 175-211 calories per 3 oz serving when consumed with the skin on, depending on the cut of chicken.

Calories removed when skin is removed

When the skin is removed from fried chicken before eating, a significant amount of fat and calories are reduced. Some key points:

  • Chicken skin contains a high amount of fat, mostly saturated and monounsaturated fat.
  • Skin accounts for about 43% of the total fat content in chicken.
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram, while protein and carbs provide 4 calories per gram.
  • By removing the high-fat skin, calories are decreased proportionally.

Chicken skin contains about 15 grams of fat per 3 oz serving compared to 7 grams of fat for a skinless chicken breast. Assuming around 80% of chicken skin calories come from fat, removing the skin reduces calories by:

15 grams fat x 9 calories/gram of fat = 135 calories

Therefore, removing the skin from a 3 oz fried chicken breast reduces calories from around 175 to only 40 calories! That’s a 77% decrease in calories. Similar reductions are seen with other cuts of chicken as well when the skin is removed.

Calories in skinless fried chicken by cut

Based on the average calorie reductions when skin is removed, here are the estimated calories per 3 oz serving of different cuts of fried chicken without the skin:

Cut Calories without skin
Chicken breast 40
Chicken thigh 76
Chicken drumstick 53
Chicken wing 76

As you can see, the calories in skinless fried chicken range from only 40-76 calories per serving compared to 175-211 calories with the skin on. That’s over a 60% decrease in calories by removing the skin prior to eating!

Other ways to reduce calories in fried chicken

Other than removing the skin, here are some other tips to reduce the calories when eating fried chicken:

  • Use leaner cuts like chicken breast or tenderloins which are lower in fat.
  • Opt for pan frying instead of deep frying to use less oil.
  • Use lighter breading like panko crumbs or flour instead of batter.
  • Try baking or air frying instead of frying to minimize oil and fat.
  • Portion control – stick to 1 small or medium chicken piece.
  • Pair it with lower calorie side dishes like veggies or salad.


Removing the skin from fried chicken can reduce the calories by over 60%. A skinless 3 oz serving of fried chicken breast contains only 40 calories compared to 175 calories with the skin on. Other cuts of chicken see similar calorie reductions when served skinless. Choosing leaner cuts of chicken, reducing oil, and portion control can further decrease the calories and fat to make fried chicken a more diet-friendly food option.