Are chicken skewers from Costco healthy?

Quick answers

Chicken skewers from Costco can be a healthy option, but it depends on the specific type of skewer. Grilled chicken skewers without added sauces or breading are generally a good source of lean protein. However, chicken skewers that are breaded or come with sugary sauces will be higher in calories, fat, and carbs. Overall, chicken is a versatile and nutritious meat that fits well into a balanced diet when prepared healthfully. Moderation is key, as large portion sizes can lead to excess calorie intake.

Nutrition information

The nutrition content of Costco’s chicken skewers can vary considerably based on the preparation. Here is the nutrition information for some common options:

Grilled chicken skewers

Serving size 1 skewer (85g)
Calories 110
Protein 24g
Fat 2g
Carbs 0g

Plain grilled chicken skewers are a lean source of protein without added fat, carbs, or sugars. The protein will help keep you full and support muscle growth.

Teriyaki chicken skewers

Serving size 1 skewer (85g)
Calories 150
Protein 24g
Fat 2.5g
Carbs 10g

Teriyaki skewers have slightly higher calories and carbs due to the teriyaki glaze, which usually contains soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and other ingredients. The sugar adds flavor but also extra calories.

Breaded chicken skewers

Serving size 1 skewer (85g)
Calories 220
Protein 15g
Fat 12g
Carbs 10g

Breaded skewers are higher in calories, fat, and carbs because of the breading. The breading also displaces some of the chicken, reducing the protein content. The added fat and refined carbs make breaded skewers a less healthy choice.


Costco does not publish full nutrition labels for their prepared foods. However, we can make reasonable estimates of the ingredients based on standard recipes:

Grilled chicken skewers

  • Chicken breast
  • Seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • Small amounts of oil for grilling

The simple ingredients ensure the nutrition stats are reasonable for plain grilled chicken.

Teriyaki chicken skewers

  • Chicken breast
  • Teriyaki marinade and glaze with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, vinegar, corn starch
  • Grilling oil

The teriyaki sauce adds flavor at the cost of extra calories and sugar.

Breaded chicken skewers

  • Chicken breast
  • Breading made from refined flour, corn starch, spices
  • Frying oil

The breaded coating significantly increases fat and refined carbs compared to plain grilled chicken.

Portion sizes

When evaluating the healthiness of any food, portion sizes matter just as much as nutrients. Chicken skewers from Costco come in packs of 6-8 skewers. Consuming multiple skewers in one sitting can add up quickly in calories.

Here are some tips for managing portions:
– Stick to 1-2 skewers per meal, depending on your calorie needs
– Split packs with friends or family to control portions
– Store extras properly for later meals
– Pair with non-starchy vegetables and whole grains
– Avoid excessive high-calorie sauces and sides

With proper portions, chicken skewers can be incorporated into a balanced diet. But overdoing portion sizes can counteract the potential health benefits. Moderation is key.

Cooking methods

Cooking method also affects the nutrition profile. Grilled skewers are typically the healthiest:

– Use minimal added oil or marinades
– Allows fat to drip away from chicken
– Provides flavor from char without added calories

– Cooks in oil, increasing fat content
– Oil gets absorbed into batter, boosting calories
– Higher in unhealthy trans and saturated fats

– Reduces fat content compared to frying
– Healthier than frying if minimal oil is used
– Some fat still absorbed into breaded coating

In general, grilled chicken skewers will be lowest in calories, fat, and carbs. Frying significantly increases the fat and calories compared to grilling or baking.

Health benefits of chicken

Chicken is considered one of the healthier meat options. Here are some of the health benefits it provides:

High in protein

Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. Protein supports muscle growth, wound healing, healthy bones, and feelings of fullness. The protein in chicken may also increase metabolism slightly.

Lower in saturated fat

Chicken contains less saturated fat than red meats like beef or pork. Saturated fats are linked to higher cholesterol levels and increased heart disease risk.

Source of vitamins and minerals

Chicken provides niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus, and other important vitamins and minerals. These support energy levels, immune function, muscle function, and aerobic metabolism.

Versatile ingredient

Chicken can be incorporated into stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, skewers, and many other dishes. This makes it easy to add to a healthy diet.

When prepared without too much added fat or sauces, chicken can be a nutritious component of a balanced diet. The vitamins, minerals, and protein it provides offer important health benefits.

Downsides of chicken skewers

While chicken skewers can be healthy in moderation, there are also some downsides to consider:

High in cholesterol

Chicken contains high amounts of dietary cholesterol, with about 90mg per 3-ounce serving. Too much cholesterol from all sources may increase heart disease risk. However, dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol levels compared to saturated fat.

May contain preservatives

Pre-packaged chicken skewers may contain preservatives like sodium phosphate or sodium erythorbate. These help maintain color but have been linked to potential health concerns with large, frequent consumption. Freshly prepared skewers avoid preservatives.

Risk of foodborne illness

Raw or undercooked chicken poses risk of bacterial contamination with salmonella or campylobacter. Safely cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165F kills any harmful bacteria present.


Some people are allergic to chicken protein. Chicken skewers also contain common allergens like soy or wheat from teriyaki sauce, breading, or marinades. People with food intolerances or allergies should check ingredients carefully.

While chicken is very healthy overall, it’s important to account for these downsides and enjoy in moderation as part of a varied diet. Proper handling and cooking methods also help reduce any risks.

Healthier alternatives

For those looking to reduce calories, fat, or cholesterol, here are some alternatives to chicken skewers:

Vegetable skewers

Skewers can be made using just vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and onions. These provide nutrients without extra fat or calories.

Shrimp skewers

Shrimp are very low in fat and calories while still offering protein. Brushing with oil and citrus juice gives great flavor.

Salmon skewers

Salmon is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon skewers can be seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and lemon.

Tofu skewers

Tofu is plant-based, low in fat, and high in protein. Marinated tofu skewers can be grilled or baked.

Lean turkey skewers

Ground turkey breast is lower in fat than fattier cuts. Turkey can be seasoned and grilled in a similar way to chicken.

Mixing up protein sources adds variety to your diet while allowing you to take advantage of different nutritional benefits.

Cost comparison

Chicken skewers from Costco provide a cost-effective way to enjoy this healthy protein. Here’s how they compare in price to some other options:

Item Price per pound
Costco chicken skewers $8.99/lb
Grocery store raw chicken breast $4.49/lb
Restaurant chicken skewers $12-15/lb
Shrimp skewers $16-20/lb

Costco skewers provide a middle ground in terms of cost. They are priced lower than restaurant skewers but higher than home-prepared. Overall, they offer a convenient and affordable way to work more chicken into your diet.

Nutrition tips

Here are some tips for getting the most nutrition from chicken skewers:

  • Choose grilled over fried/breaded for less fat and calories
  • Watch portion sizes to control calorie intake
  • Eat the skinless white meat rather than skin-on dark meat for less fat
  • Avoid heavy teriyaki sauces to limit added sugars
  • Pair with whole grains and vegetables for balanced nutrition
  • Enjoy as part of a varied diet with other healthy protein sources

Properly incorporating chicken skewers into your diet can provide a boost of protein, vitamins, and minerals without too many downsides. Moderation and smart preparation are key.

Storage and food safety

To safely enjoy Costco chicken skewers:


– Refrigerate skewers within 2 hours of purchasing
– Use within 3-4 days for peak freshness and quality
– Discard if there is any unpleasant odor or slime


– Reheat fully to an internal temp of 165F
– Reheat on stove, in oven, or microwave

Avoiding cross-contamination

– Use separate plates and utensils when handling raw and cooked chicken
– Wash hands, counters, and tools thoroughly after working with raw chicken
– Don’t reuse marinades used on raw chicken

Following basic food safety practices reduces any risks when preparing chicken at home. Make sure to fully cook through and promptly refrigerate leftovers.

Environmental impact

Meat production has a significant environmental impact in terms of land use, water use, and emissions. Chicken has less of an impact than red meats like beef and pork. Still, consumers should be mindful of the following:

  • Chicken farming utilizes land that could otherwise serve as wildlife habitat or carbon-absorbing forest
  • Processing chicken consumes large amounts of water
  • Chicken production generates greenhouse gas emissions from farm activities and transportation

Some ways to reduce your environmental footprint when consuming chicken include:

  • Eat chicken in moderation as part of a mostly plant-based diet
  • Make sustainable choices like free-range or organic chicken
  • Source chicken locally to reduce transportation emissions
  • Use parts like thighs and drumsticks to reduce waste

Being an environmentally conscious consumer and using moderation can help reduce chicken’s environmental impact.


Chicken skewers from Costco can be a healthy and affordable option when chosen mindfully. Grilled skewers are lower in fat and calories than breaded or fried options. Watch out for heavy teriyaki sauces that add extra sugar. Portion sizes also matter, so restrain consumption to 1-2 skewers per meal. Chicken provides beneficial protein, vitamins, and minerals when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Proper handling and cooking are important. Overall, Costco chicken skewers provide a nutritious and budget-friendly addition to many dining routines for most people. Just be conscientious about your consumption habits and preparation methods.

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