Are turkey wings high in calories?

Quick Answer

Turkey wings can be relatively high in calories compared to other cuts of turkey meat. A single turkey wing contains around 150-200 calories depending on the size. However, the exact calorie count depends on a few factors.

Calorie count of turkey wings

The calorie content of turkey wings can vary depending on a few factors:

  • Size of the wing – Larger wings contain more meat and fat, resulting in more calories. Smaller wings have fewer calories.
  • Cooking method – Deep frying turkey wings adds more calories from oil. Grilled or baked wings are lower in calories.
  • Skin on or off – The skin contains fat which increases the calorie content. Skinless wings are lower in calories.
  • With or without sauce – Sauces and glazes often add calories and fat.

On average, a single turkey wing with skin contains:

  • 150 calories (baked or grilled)
  • 180 calories (fried)

A 3-ounce serving of turkey wing meat without skin contains about:

  • 120 calories (baked or grilled)
  • 170 calories (fried)

So turkey wings are moderately high in calories compared to other cuts of turkey, such as turkey breast which provides around 110 calories in a 3-ounce serving. The skin and cooking method significantly increase the calories.

Protein and fat in turkey wings

Turkey wings consist of skin, fatty tissue, connective tissue and lean meat. Here is the nutrition breakdown for a typical raw turkey wing:

3 oz raw turkey wing with skin Calories Protein Fat
With skin 183 16.7g 12.7g
Without skin 128 16.7g 5.7g

Turkey wings provide a good amount of protein. However, the fat content is quite high compared to other turkey cuts when eaten with the skin on. Deep frying adds even more fat.

Micronutrients in turkey wings

Turkey wings are a good source of some micronutrients:

  • B vitamins – Wings are high in riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B6. These support energy levels and metabolism.
  • Zinc – Necessary for immune function and DNA synthesis. A wing provides around 15% of the RDI for zinc.
  • Selenium – Turkey wings provide around 30% of the RDI for this essential antioxidant mineral.
  • Iron – Important for oxygen transport in the blood. Wings provide around 10% of the RDI.

So while turkey wings are relatively high in calories and fat compared to other turkey cuts, they do provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Are turkey wings healthier than chicken wings?

Turkey wings are often claimed to be healthier than chicken wings. But it depends on a few factors:

Fat content – Turkey wings have slightly less fat than chicken wings if comparing skin-on. Both have around 12-13 grams of fat per 3-ounce raw wing.

Saturated fat – Turkey wings contain less saturated fat (around 2.5g vs 3.5g per wing), making them a slightly healthier choice.

Calories – Turkey and chicken wings have a similar calorie count, around 150-180 calories per wing depending on cooking method.

Sodium – Fresh turkey and chicken wings are low in sodium. Seasonings and sauces can add a large amount of sodium.

Other nutrients – Both turkey and chicken wings provide B vitamins, zinc, selenium and iron. Turkey wings contain slightly more of some micronutrients.

So while turkey wings may have a slight nutritional advantage over chicken wings, both should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Portion size and cooking method are important factors for either type of wing.

Are turkey wings healthier than chicken legs?

Comparing turkey wings to chicken legs:

Calories –Turkey wings and chicken legs have a similar calorie density at around 150-200 calories per 3oz serving.

Fat –Chicken legs are slightly lower in fat at around 7-9g vs 12-13g per 3oz for turkey wings.

Saturated fat –Chicken legs win again with around 2g vs 2.5g in turkey wings.

Protein – Turkey wings and chicken legs provide an almost equal protein content.

Micronutrients –Turkey wings contain more B vitamins, zinc, selenium and iron than chicken legs.

So chicken legs may be slightly lower in overall fat and saturated fat compared to turkey wings. However, turkey wings provide more micronutrients.

For healthiest option, remove skin from both turkey wings and chicken legs to reduce fat and calorie intake. But consumed in moderation as part of a varied diet, both turkey wings and chicken legs can be healthy options.

Healthiest ways to cook turkey wings

To make your turkey wings as healthy as possible:

  • Remove the skin to reduce the fat and calories.
  • Bake, grill or air fry instead of frying to lower fat content.
  • Avoid breading or battering to reduce carbs, calories and fat.
  • Use low-sodium seasoning or make your own salt-free spice rub.
  • Skip the dipping sauce or choose low-fat options like mustard, vinegar hot sauce or Greek yogurt.

Baking, grilling or air frying turkey wings helps reduce the fat so they can be part of a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation.

Healthiest turkey wing recipes

Here are some tasty and healthy recipes for turkey wings:

Baked Lemon Pepper Turkey Wings


  • Turkey wings
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • Chopped fresh parsley (garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pat turkey wings dry and coat evenly with lemon pepper seasoning.
  3. Place wings on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 45-60 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through and juices run clear.
  5. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Air Fried Garlic Parmesan Turkey Wings


  • Turkey wings
  • Salt and pepper
  • Minced garlic
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Chopped parsley (garnish)


  1. Pat turkey wings dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Air fry at 400°F for 20 minutes, flip, then air fry for 15 more minutes.
  3. Toss cooked wings in minced garlic, Parmesan and parsley before serving.

Grilled BBQ Turkey Wings


  • Turkey wings
  • BBQ seasoning
  • BBQ sauce


  1. Coat wings evenly with BBQ seasoning.
  2. Grill over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  3. Brush grilled wings with BBQ sauce last 5-10 minutes on the grill.

Healthy turkey wing meal ideas

Some healthy meal ideas with turkey wings:

  • Turkey wings with roasted vegetables – Toss wings and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts in olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 400°F until cooked through.
  • Wing salad – Top a bed of leafy greens with chopped grilled turkey wings, veggies, shredded cheese, avocado and homemade dressing.
  • Soup or chili – Add chopped, cooked turkey wings to soups and chilis for extra protein.
  • Tacos – Serve baked or grilled wings in warm corn tortillas with salsa, avocado, shredded lettuce, diced onion and queso fresco.

Focusing on nutritious sides and toppings can help make turkey wings a healthier meal.

Should you eat the turkey wing cartilage?

Turkey wings contain cartilage and connective tissue which softens when cooked. But is it safe and healthy to eat?

Here are some key points about eating turkey wing cartilage:

  • It is safe to eat – The cartilage and collagen is not harmful.
  • It may support joint health – Some studies suggest collagen can increase mobility and reduce joint pain.
  • It provides protein – Cartilage is a source of protein similar to the meat.
  • It adds flavor – Cooking breaks down cartilage, releasing gelatin and moisture that makes wings taste delicious.
  • Chew thoroughly – Cartilage takes longer to break down. Make sure to chew pieces well before swallowing.

Overall, the cartilage in turkey wings can safely be consumed and may provide health benefits. Chew it well before swallowing to improve digestibility.

Precautions when eating turkey wings

A few precautions to keep in mind with turkey wings:

  • Avoid raw or undercooked turkey to reduce risk of Salmonella and other foodborne illness.
  • Check internal temperature reaches 165°F when cooked.
  • Avoid giving turkey bones to pets as they can splinter and cause injury or obstruction.
  • Watch portion sizes since wings can be high in calories, especially if cooked with skin.
  • Limit intake if you have gout as wings are moderately high in purines.

As long as basic food safety precautions are followed and they are enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, turkey wings can be a nutritious addition to your meal plan.


Turkey wings are relatively high in calories, fat and sodium compared to other turkey cuts like breast meat. However, they still provide beneficial protein, vitamins like B6, minerals like zinc and selenium, and collagen. Consuming turkey wings baked, grilled or air fried rather than fried, trimming off the skin and watching portion sizes can help keep them as part of a healthy diet. Focus on nutritious sides and limit high-calorie dipping sauces for the healthiest turkey wing meal. In moderation and with some adjustments to preparation method, turkey wings can be a tasty and nutritious part of your diet.

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