7 Chicken Parts That Are Best for Weight Gain

Chicken parts like breast, thighs, wings, legs, boneless, skinless, and fat offer various benefits for weight gain, muscle building, and overall health.

which chicken part is best for weight gain

Chicken, a global favorite for its taste and versatility, is also a nutritional treasure, loaded with protein, vitamins, and beneficial fats. However, each chicken part varies in nutritional value. This post explores the nutritional benefits of seven chicken parts, ideal for those aiming to gain weight, build muscle, or just put on a healthy weight. Keep reading to learn which parts can help you achieve your goals!

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1. Chicken Breast

Raw chicken breasts and spices on wooden cutting board, close up view

Let’s start with the chicken breast, a favorite among fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders. The reason? It’s lean and has the most protein by weight, making it ideal for those wanting to maintain muscle mass and improve recovery. A 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken breast (without skin or bone) contains about 140 calories, 26 grams of protein, and just 3 grams of fat.

Though lower in calories compared to other parts, combining it with high-calorie foods in your meal plan can contribute to weight gain while ensuring you’re getting ample protein for muscle growth.

2. Chicken Thighs

Top view of chicken thighs in plastic tray on wooden background

If you’re after a fattier cut of chicken, thighs are the way to go. With more calories than the breast, they’re better suited for individuals wanting to build muscle or gain weight. A 3-ounce roasted chicken thigh (without skin or bone) has approximately 152 calories, 21 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fat.

The higher fat content contributes to the higher caloric value, which can aid weight gain when consumed as part of a balanced diet. Additionally, many find chicken thighs more flavorful and tender, making them a delicious addition to your weight gain meal plan.

3. Chicken Wings

Raw chicken wings Poultry meat with spices, salt and pepper, on gray background. Close up.

Looking for a snack that can contribute to your weight gain goals? Look no further than chicken wings. A 3.5-ounce serving of chicken wings provides 203 calories, with 30.5 grams of protein and 8.1 grams of fat. This means that 64% of the calories come from protein and 36% from fat.

Given their higher fat content, wings are an excellent option for those seeking to increase their calorie intake for weight gain. Plus, who can resist the temptation of perfectly cooked, flavorful wings?

4. Chicken Leg

The chicken leg, encompassing the thigh, drumstick, and back, is another part loaded with calories and protein. One roasted chicken leg with skin (258g) packs a whopping 475 calories, 61.9 grams of protein, and 23.2 grams of fat. It’s also a great source of selenium and niacin, essential minerals for optimal health.

Given its high caloric and protein content, adding chicken legs to your diet can significantly boost your daily intake, promoting weight gain and muscle growth.

Raw chicken legs on white background isolated

5. Boneless Chicken

Lots of Chunks of Fresh Skinless boneless Chicken Thigh in a Plastic Supermarket Tray. Raw Skinless Chicken Thigh.Raw chicken thighs in packaging tray.

Boneless chicken, whether it be breast, thigh, or leg, is a convenient option for many recipes. It also has the advantage of being easier to eat, as you don’t have to navigate around bones. The exact nutritional value will depend on the specific cut, but boneless chicken generally provides a substantial amount of protein for muscle building and enough calories for weight gain.

For instance, boneless chicken should reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit when cooked properly, ensuring you get the most nutritional benefits.

6. Skinless Chicken

Raw chicken meat on wooden board. Healthy eating

While chicken skin does add to the calorie content, opting for skinless chicken can still aid in weight gain. It’s all about what you pair it with. A skinless chicken breast is 284 calories with 80% protein and 20% fat, which is a decent caloric intake.

Pair the chicken with high-calorie sides like mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta, and your meal can quickly become a weight-gain powerhouse. Plus, going skinless can be a healthier option if you’re looking to limit your intake of saturated fats.

7. Chicken Fat

Chicken fat, often overlooked, is actually a source of calories that can assist in weight gain. While it should be consumed in moderation due to its high saturated fat content, incorporating small amounts into your cooking can enhance the flavor and increase the caloric value of your meals. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re struggling to consume larger meal portions for weight gain.

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