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How many leg quarters equals a whole chicken?

A whole chicken typically contains two leg quarters – one per side. So two leg quarters equal one whole chicken in terms of raw weight and portion size. However, there are some nuances around chicken cuts and portion sizes to consider:

Key Facts

  • A chicken leg quarter contains a thigh, drumstick, and portion of the back.
  • The typical raw weight of a whole chicken is 3 to 5 pounds.
  • Chicken leg quarters weigh approximately 1/2 pound each raw.
  • So a 3 pound chicken yields around 6 quarter leg pieces.
  • A 5 pound chicken yields around 10 quarter legs.

Below is a more detailed overview of how many leg quarters equal a whole chicken depending on the chicken’s size.

Breakdown by Chicken Size

The number of chicken leg quarters yielded from a whole chicken depends on the starting weight of the bird. Here is the approximate breakdown:

3 Pound Chicken

For a 3 pound broiler chicken:

  • Each leg quarter is approximately 0.5 pounds.
  • So a 3 pound chicken will yield around 6 leg quarters total.

4 Pound Chicken

For a 4 pound chicken:

  • Expect around 8 leg quarters, with each one approximately 0.5 pounds.

5 Pound Chicken

For a larger 5 pound chicken:

  • Each leg quarter weighs approximately 0.5 pounds.
  • So a 5 pound chicken will yield approximately 10 leg quarters.

Visual Representation

Here is a visual breakdown of how many leg quarters come from a whole chicken by weight:

Whole Chicken Weight Leg Quarters Yielded
3 pounds 6 quarters
4 pounds 8 quarters
5 pounds 10 quarters

As shown, the number of leg quarters yielded scales up by approximately 2 quarters for each additional pound of whole chicken.

Comparing Leg Quarters to Other Cuts

Chicken leg quarters yield more meat than some other popular chicken cuts:

Vs. Chicken Breasts

  • A chicken breast half weighs approximately 0.5 pounds.
  • So 2 chicken breasts equal just 1 leg quarter in terms of weight.

Vs. Chicken Wings

  • Chicken wings weigh about 0.25 to 0.5 pounds per pound.
  • So around 2-4 wings equal a single leg quarter.

Clearly, leg quarters offer more meat and value compared to these other leaner cuts.

Cooking Considerations

When substituting leg quarters for a whole cut-up chicken, keep in mind:

  • Leg quarters may need a longer cooking time than breast or wing cuts to become tender.
  • They can be roasted or braised, but won’t get as crispy as wings when fried.
  • Let leg quarters rest 5 minutes before carving to allow juices to redistribute.
  • Take the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh to ensure doneness.

Properly cooked chicken leg quarters should register 165°F internally.

Cost Savings

Chicken leg quarters are one of the most budget-friendly cuts. Prices average:

  • Whole chickens: $1 to $1.50 per pound
  • Chicken breasts: $3 to $4 per pound
  • Chicken leg quarters: $0.79 to $1.99 per pound

So leg quarters offer big savings compared to the cost of a whole chicken or breasts. Their hearty flavor and juicy dark meat also makes them a customer favorite.


Chicken leg quarters provide a good mix of nutrients:

Calories and Protein

A 6oz cooked chicken leg quarter offers approximately:

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 27g

This represents 45% of the Daily Value for protein.

Fat Content

The same 6oz portion provides about 9g of fat. However, over half comes from mono- and poly-unsaturated “healthy” fats. Leg quarters are higher in saturated fat than breasts, but still provide less than 15% DV.

Iron, Zinc, and B Vitamins

Chicken leg quarters also supply:

  • 15% DV iron
  • 25% DV zinc
  • Niacin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid.

So they make an excellent nutrient-dense protein source.

Uses for Leftover Quarters

Don’t let any uneaten leg quarters go to waste! Here are great ways to use up refrigerated cooked chicken:

  • Chicken salad or wraps
  • Thai chicken rice bowls
  • Quesadillas or tacos
  • Casseroles like chicken divan or pot pie
  • Soup

Strip off any remaining meat and refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


Each whole chicken yields approximately 2 leg quarters per pound. So a 3 pound chicken makes 6 quarters, a 4 pound chicken makes 8 quarters, and a 5 pound chicken produces 10 quarters.

Compared to chicken breasts and wings, quarters offer more meat for your money. They provide juicy texture and robust flavor with the nutritional benefits of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Leftovers also work great in an array of recipes.

When buying chicken leg quarters, allow approximately 0.5 pounds per person. Cook them low and slow until they reach 165°F internal temperature. Then enjoy their satisfying dark meat as a tasty main course or as an ingredient in other dishes. Either way, leg quarters make a budget and family-friendly alternative to cooking a whole chicken.