Rounding Up: How Many Chicken Breasts in a Pound

March 27, 2023
Written by Kristy J. Norton

The answer to how many chicken breasts in a pound is 2 to 3.

I know that there are some chicken recipes that call for exact pieces or numbers instead of pounds. The following post will help you calculate how much you should buy and cook.

In this post I will give you a rough idea of how many breasts per pound, show you how to calculate the number yourself, and more!

How Many Chicken Breasts in a Pound

How Many Chicken Breasts Does It Take to Make a Pound?

The first thing that I have to warn you about is that no two chicken breasts are the same. This is especially true for size, weight, and shape. Therefore, all the figures that you will see quoted here today is based on an average estimate.

According to the USDA, the average chicken breast weight is 6 ounces or 174 grams. In general, though, chicken breasts can have a mass of between 3 to 8 ounces.

Now, there are 16 ounces in a pound. Therefore, based on this math, there are about 2.5 (or you can round it down to 2) chicken breasts in a pound.

So, if you were wondering:

How many pounds is 2 boneless chicken breasts?

The answer is roughly around one pound.

Grilled chicken breast

How Many Breasts is 2lbs Chicken?

Now that you are aware of how many chicken breasts in a pound, you can easily calculate the number for other weights.

According to the numbers above, two pounds of chicken will give you roughly five breasts.

Serving Size vs. Weight

I have noticed that on a lot of different sites, the average weight is often mentioned as 3 to 4 ounces. However, this isn’t necessarily the actual mass of a chicken breast, but rather the serving size.

Like most people, you probably eat chicken breasts – especially skinless chicken breasts – for the health benefits. Breast meat is often considered as the healthiest part of the chicken as white meat is lower in saturated fat, has tons of protein, and has fewer calories as well.

Despite all of these advantages, it is still important to stick to a particular serving size. Go over this and you may end up counteracting any benefits of breast meat.

Now, most experts agree that the right serving size for white meat, including chicken breasts, is 3 to 4 oz. This is about roughly the size of a deck of playing cards or your palm.

Calculating Individual Weights

One of the easiest ways to buy chicken breasts is to buy fresh or frozen packaged chicken. In this instance, you are only given the total mass of the package. You can typically see through the package to see how many chicken breasts are there.

To determine the individual weight of these breasts, reverse the above formula. Divide the total weight by the number of chicken breasts. This will show you the average weight of each chicken breast.

Factors That Can Impact Weight

Let’s take a look at why there may be so much discrepancy in how much a chicken breast can weigh:

Bone-In vs. Boneless

Chicken bones can make up between 14 and 20 percent of the chicken breast. Due to this, the boneless breasts can be lighter.

Does this mean that you get more bang for your buck considering you can’t eat the bones?

Well, not really. For one thing, chicken breasts without the bone in can actually cost more money. There is also the fact that bones can add moistur and flavor to the surrounding meat.

Frozen vs. Thawed

Now, in general, frozen and fresh chicken breasts can tip the scale with the same mass – there is no difference. Thus, if you were to weigh a breast before freezing it and then once again after it has thawed, the numbers would be identical.

If the chicken breast has been pre-frozen, though, there may be a minute difference. This is because some meats have a special coating that prevents them from sticking together once frozen. These can throw off the weight by a little bit.

Raw Chicken vs. Cooked Chicken

Did you know that cooked chicken can shrink by up to 25 percent? This is because when the meat is exposed to heat, the muscle fibers contract, squeezing out liquid. Some fat may be lost in the process as well.

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baked chicken breast

Therefore, if your chicken breast initially weighed 6 ounces, then it would weigh about 4.5 ounces once it is done cooking.

This is why if you are looking to make a pound of cooked chicken breasts, then you need to calculate the weight based on the breasts after they have been cooked.

Organic Chicken Breast

You will often find that organic chicken breasts are smaller and weigh less than non-organic chicken breasts. This is due to the fact that organic chickens have a different diet.

As a result, it is not uncommon to find 4 chicken breasts in a pound with such chickens.

Using a Kitchen Scale for Accuracy

Of course, if you want to be completely accurate about the mass of a chicken breast, then you are going to have to use a proper scale. The good news is that there are plenty of good ones for an affordable price. The digital ones are especially easy to use.

One of the benefits of using scales or any measuring device, really, is that it teaches you to be a better judge of mass. This is something that I learned in my years at culinary school.

See, if you keeping weighing individual chicken breasts of different shapes and sizes, you begin to develop the ability to judge how much each one weighs. With enough of practice, you will be able to eyeball a chicken breast and accurately judge how much it weighs.

Thus, at least at the beginning, I would consider using some type of device for measurement.

Chicken Thighs, Wings, and Tenders

Of course, I can’t talk about the mass of a chicken breast or how many chicken breasts in a pound before talking about chicken wings and thighs as well.

As far as measurements go, chicken thighs tend to have a lower mass than breast meat – each thigh is about 4.4 oz, which means that you can usually get up to four thighs in a pound.

Of course, a chicken breast is the healthier option – it has fewer calories and saturated fats.

As for raw chicken wings, these have a mass of about 3.2 oz. Of course, due to their dimunitize size, it is unusual to measure one wing at a time. In any case, you can get up to 5 wings per pound.

Last, but not least, there are chicken tenders. As the name suggests, this meat is far more tender than chicken breasts. However, these strips are smaller too – you can get about six to ten per pound.

At the same time, you should be aware that chicken tenders can cost a great deal more.

You finally know how many chicken breasts in a pound! Thus, if the recipe calls for breasts instead of pounds, you now know just how many to buy. And, with a little practice, you should be able to eye the mass of a chicken breast without any problem at all!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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