How Much Meat Can I Get Off A Chicken?

chicken meat yield

Staring at your raw or cooked chicken, it might be hard for you to gauge how much meat you can get from one. If you have a party of 6 guests, will one chicken be enough to cover it? Chicken Meat Yield refers to the amount of usable meat obtained from a chicken, influenced by factors like cuts, skin, and cooking methods. The average supermarket chicken weighs between 3.5 to 5 pounds.

You’ll also have to figure out how much of the meat you’ll get after you have removed it from the bone. Roughly, you’ll get around 65% of the full weight of the chicken. So if your chicken weighs 4 pounds, you’ll get around 3 pounds of meat once it has been stripped.

But what kinds of chicken cuts can you get? Is there a difference between the amount of meat you get from a raw chicken to how much meat you get from a cooked chicken? Here we give you the complete lowdown.

How Much Meat Can I Get From A Raw Chicken?

The amount of meat you’ll get from an uncooked chicken will depend on certain factors. Obviously, if you are going to be leaving the skin on your chicken, then you’ll get more meat than if you decide to dispose of the skin.

Removing the skin will account for around 5% of the chicken. If you like the taste of the skin, which is often crunchy and smoky, then we would recommend leaving it on.

However, this will all depend on how the chicken has been raised. We tend to find that organic chickens are usually smaller, as they have not been modified or overfed at the farm.

Processed chicken is often bigger as the production of these chickens is done in large factories where they are fed high quantities of corn. Often the meat on this chicken will be of very poor quality.

How Much Meat Will I Get On Portions Of Chicken?

If you are buying portions of chicken, then obviously there will be a lot less meat than there would be if you were buying a whole chicken. But what are the common portions of chicken?

One of the most popular cuts of chicken is the breast. You’ll often find chicken breast in a packet, maybe 2 or even 4 at a time. This will give you a lot of meat without the bone. However, these cuts of chicken are probably the most pricey for this very reason.

You’ll usually get around 85% meat from a chicken breast if you have the bone removed and keep the skin on. Removing the skin will reduce the amount of meat as will leaving the bone in.

Chicken legs have less meat on them again, however, this is a much cheaper option and you will be able to buy more legs to make up for the loss.

If you are going to buy a chicken drumstick, then this is less meat than a chicken leg. This is because the drumstick only includes the lower portion of the leg, which has less fat on it than the upper portion.

Here is a better breakdown of the amount of meat you’ll get on each part of the chicken, whether you keep the bone in, the skin on, or the meat cooked.

Chicken Breast

  • Bone removed/skin on – 85% meat
  • Raw skin/boneless – 75% meat
  • Cooked bone removed/skin on – 65% meat
  • Cooked bone/skin removed – 55% meat

Whole Chicken Leg

  • Bone removed/skin on – 73% meat
  • Raw skin/boneless – 62% meat
  • Cooked bone removed/skin on – 48%
  • Cooked bone/skin removed – 40%


  • Bone removed/skin on – 79% meat
  • Raw skin/boneless – 66% meat
  • Cooked bone removed/skin on – 52% meat
  • Cooked bone/skin removed – 44% meat

Following these charts will give you a much better understanding of the amount of meat that you will get from a particular cut. Obviously, this will vary, but these are averages.

How Much Meat Can I Get From A Cooked Chicken?

How Much Meat Can I Get From A Cooked Chicken?

Cooked chicken will change the amount of meat that you’ll get from a chicken.

The general rule is that the chicken will shrink around 25% when you cook it. If you are going to be cooking around 16 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken, then you can be looking at 12 ounces of cooked meat.

If you want to cook 4-ounce burgers from raw chicken, then you’ll need to buy around 20 pounds of chicken to account for the shrinkage.

The reason that cooked chicken shrinks is that the raw chicken meat will let off moisture as it is cooked. This will also result in the chicken turning out dryer than originally cooked. But how can you retain as much moisture as possible?

Slow cooking your chicken will ensure as much of the moisture stays in your chicken as possible. This will result in your chicken coming out a lot juicier and more flavorsome.

If you cook your meat at a high temperature, this will also result in the chicken losing a lot more moisture. If you cook it on a lower heat, you will be able to retain a lot of the water within. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Method Of Cooking Chicken For The Least Meat Loss?

If you place chicken in the microwave in a bowl of water, then you stand the best chance of retaining a lot of the natural moisture. However, if you place it in the oven on low heat, then you also have a good chance of losing less moisture.

Does The Age Of The Chicken Determine The Amount Of Meat?

Yes. If your chicken is older, the chances are it will be larger than a young chicken. However, if your chicken gets to a ripe old age, then it will start to shrink in size. Ideally, you’ll want an adult chicken that is only a few years old.


We hope that this guide on chicken meat yield will help you to know how much meat you can get off a chicken has given you a better idea of what to look out for when you are buying a raw chicken and how much meat you might lose when you cook it.

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