How many calories are in 1 drumstick from KFC?

When it comes to fried chicken, KFC is one of the most popular fast food chains. Their signature fried chicken pieces like hot wings, thighs, drumsticks, and breasts are crowd favorites. But with fried foods, there is always the question of how many calories you are consuming. This is especially true for drumsticks, which are often seen as one of the fattier KFC menu items.

A Quick Answer

To give a quick answer before diving into the details – one KFC drumstick (Original Recipe) contains around 170 calories. This is based on the nutrition information provided on the KFC website. However, the exact calorie count can vary slightly depending on the drumstick size and whether or not the skin is eaten.

Calories in a KFC Drumstick Without Skin

When you remove the skin from a KFC drumstick, the calorie count decreases. This is because the chicken skin is where most of the fat and calories are contained. According to KFC nutrition data, a drumstick without skin has:

  • 120 calories
  • 3.5g fat
  • 0g carbs
  • 21g protein

As you can see, a skinless KFC drumstick clocks in at just 120 calories, compared to 170 calories with the skin on. Removing the skin cuts out about 50 calories and significantly reduces the fat content from 12g down to 3.5g.

Calories in a KFC Drumstick with Skin

Here are the nutrition facts for a KFC drumstick with the skin on:

  • 170 calories
  • 12g fat
  • 0g carbs
  • 16g protein

The skin adds 50 extra calories and 9g of fat. The protein amount also decreases slightly when eating a drumstick with skin. So if you are trying to reduce your calorie intake, removing the skin first will make a drumstick a bit lighter. However, some people might argue the skin is the tastiest part!

KFC Drumstick Calories Compared to Other Pieces

Compared to other pieces of KFC chicken, the drumstick is lower in calories than breasts but higher than wings. Here is a quick calorie comparison:

  • KFC breast (with skin): 230 calories
  • KFC drumstick (with skin): 170 calories
  • KFC wing (with skin): 150 calories

Both the breast and drumstick have more meat than the wing, which accounts for their higher calorie counts. So if you are looking for the lowest calorie KFC chicken piece, wings are the way to go. But drumsticks make a good mid-range option between wings and breasts.

Calories Can Vary Between Small, Medium, and Large Drumsticks

It’s important to note that the calorie counts listed above are averages for a standard drumstick. However, you might get a smaller or larger drumstick depending on the KFC location and batch of chicken cooked that day. The size of the drumstick can impact the calorie amount. Here are some calorie estimates based on drumstick size:

  • Small KFC drumstick: around 130 calories
  • Medium KFC drumstick: around 170 calories
  • Large KFC drumstick: around 210 calories

As you can see, a smaller 130g drumstick has about 40 fewer calories than a large 210g piece. When calculating calories, be sure to take the drumstick size into account for the most accurate estimate.

Extra Crispy vs Original Recipe Drumsticks

KFC drums come in two versions – Original Recipe and Extra Crispy. The Extra Crispy drums are coated in an additional layer of seasoning and flour before frying. This extra coating adds some extra calories:

  • Original Recipe drumstick: 170 calories
  • Extra Crispy drumstick: 180 calories

The Extra Crispy drum has about 10 more calories than the Original Recipe. So if you are trying to save calories, the Original Recipe is slightly better. However, both versions are still in the same ballpark for calorie amounts.

Calories If Eaten Without Skin vs Eaten With Skin

Here is another calorie comparison showing the difference between eating a KFC drum with and without the skin:

  • Drumstick without skin: 120 calories
  • Drumstick with skin: 170 calories

Eating the drumstick without skin cuts about 50 calories. If you are trying to watch your calorie intake, foregoing the skin is an easy way to reduce the drumstick’s calorie impact.

KFC Drumstick Nutrition Facts

Here is the full nutrition breakdown for a medium, Original Recipe KFC drumstick with skin:

Nutrition Facts Amount
Calories 170
Fat 12g
Carbs 0g
Protein 16g

As you can see, the drumstick contains 170 calories and 16g of protein, making it a high-protein food. It does contain 12g of fat, which is about 18% of the recommended daily value. Removing the skin would reduce the fat amount while retaining the protein.

Ways to Reduce Calories in a KFC Drumstick

Here are some simple tips for reducing the calories when eating a KFC drumstick:

  • Remove the skin – eliminates about 50 calories and 9g of fat
  • Choose Original Recipe over Extra Crispy – save around 10 calories
  • Opt for a small vs large drumstick – can save up to 80 calories
  • Avoid dipping in high-calorie sauces
  • Balance with lower calorie side items like KFC coleslaw

Using some of these simple swaps can help make your drumstick a bit lighter while still enjoying the crispy fried flavor.

Healthiest Ways to Eat KFC Drumsticks

While drumsticks are higher in fat and calories than lean protein and veggies, there are some healthy ways you can enjoy them in moderation:

  • Eat only one drumstick to control portions
  • Pair with a side salad instead of fries
  • Avoid adding sauces or opt for lighter options like barbecue sauce
  • Split a drumstick as part of a varied, balanced meal
  • Remove the skin to significantly reduce fat and calories

Enjoyed responsibly, a KFC drumstick can absolutely be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Moderation and customization are key!

Calories in Multiple KFC Drumsticks

Number of Drumsticks Total Calories
1 drumstick 170 calories
2 drumsticks 340 calories
3 drumsticks 510 calories
4 drumsticks 680 calories
5 drumsticks 850 calories

As shown in the table, the more drumsticks you eat, the more calories add up quickly. One drumstick makes a good single serving. But portions over 3-4 drumsticks can become excessive for a single meal.

Comparing KFC Drumstick Calories to Other Fast Food Chains

Calories can vary not just within KFC, but also at other popular fried chicken chains. Here’s how KFC drumsticks compare calorie-wise to similar menu items at other restaurants:

Restaurant Drumstick Calories
KFC 170 calories
Popeyes 140 calories
Chick-fil-A 190 calories
Church’s Chicken 180 calories

Popeyes comes in lowest with 140 calories per drumstick, while Chick-fil-A is highest at 190. KFC falls around the middle at 170 calories. When comparing fast food drumsticks, Popeyes is the lightest option.

Low Calorie KFC Swaps

If you want to lower the calorie amount at KFC, here are some swaps to try instead of a drumstick:

  • KFC wings (with sauce) = around 140-180 calories
  • KFC Famous Bowl (without cookie) = 160 calories
  • Corn on the cob = 90 calories
  • Mac & Cheese = 300 calories
  • Green Beans = 25 calories

Opting for sides like corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, or a Famous Bowl without the cookie can all shave off calories compared to a fried drumstick. Wings offer the lowest fried calorie option.

Should You Eat the Drumstick Skin?

The skin adds a significant amount of fat and calories to a KFC drumstick. Here’s a recap of the numbers:

  • Drumstick with skin: 170 calories, 12g fat
  • Drumstick without skin: 120 calories, 3.5g fat

It’s a trade off – the skin provides extra flavor and crispy texture, but costs you about 50 calories and 9 extra grams of fat per drumstick. It comes down to personal nutritional priorities and willpower! If calories are your main concern, skipping the skin is beneficial.

Tips for Ordering Low Calorie KFC

If you want to keep your KFC meal on the lighter side, here are some ordering tips:

  • Opt for grilled or roasted chicken instead of Original Recipe
  • Choose wings, breasts, or popcorn nuggets instead of drumsticks
  • Order a Famous Bowl without the cookie on top
  • Select green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, or coleslaw for sides
  • Ask for sauces on the side to control dipping
  • Avoid combo meals and limit extras like biscuits
  • Share a meal with someone instead of overordering

With some simple substitutions and smart sides, you can definitely satisfy your fried chicken craving at KFC without going overboard on calories.

Should You Eat KFC Drumsticks if Trying to Lose Weight?

KFC drumsticks can be worked into a weight loss diet in moderation and when prepared healthily. Some tips include:

  • Remove the skin to slash fat and calories
  • Opt for a roasted chicken drumstick when possible
  • Limit to 1 drumstick per meal at most
  • Pair with non-fried sides like corn, beans or coleslaw
  • Avoid dipping in high-calorie sauces
  • Balance drumstick with fruits, veggies, and lean protein

Enjoyed occasionally and in reasonable portions, drumsticks can fit into an overall healthy weight loss plan. But fried chicken shouldn’t be a daily habit when trying to slim down.


KFC drumsticks contain around 170 calories with the skin on, or 120 calories if skinless. The skin contributes significant fat and calories. Drumsticks are lower in calories than chicken breasts but higher than wings. Downsizing portions, removing skin, and pairing with lighter sides can help reduce drumstick calories. Overall, with mindful choices, KFC drumsticks can be incorporated into both a balanced diet and weight loss plan.

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