How many calories are in chicken breast sauteed in olive oil?

Quick Answer

The number of calories in chicken breast sauteed in olive oil depends on the size of the chicken breast and amount of olive oil used. On average, a 6 oz chicken breast contains around 180 calories. If sauteed in 1 tbsp of olive oil, this adds around 120 calories. So a 6 oz chicken breast sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil contains approximately 300 calories.

Calculating Calories in Chicken Breast

To determine the calories in sauteed chicken breast, we first need to know the calories in plain chicken breast. The calorie content varies based on the weight and size of the chicken breast:

Chicken Breast Weight Calories
3 oz 110
4 oz 140
6 oz 180
8 oz 240

As you can see, a 6 oz raw chicken breast contains around 180 calories. This portion is about the size of a deck of cards.

The calorie content comes mostly from the protein in chicken breast. A 6 oz portion contains around 43g of protein. Protein provides 4 calories per gram, so the protein accounts for 172 of the 180 calories (43 x 4). The remaining calories come from a small amount of fat.

Adding Calories from Olive Oil

When the chicken breast is sauteed in olive oil, this adds more calories. The amount added depends on how much olive oil is used.

Here are the calories for different amounts of olive oil:

Olive Oil Calories
1 tsp 40
1 tbsp 120
2 tbsp 240

As you can see, 1 tablespoon of olive oil contains around 120 calories.

So to determine the total calories in sauteed chicken breast, you would add the calories from the chicken plus the calories from the olive oil:

* Chicken breast (6 oz): 180 calories
* Olive oil (1 tbsp): 120 calories
* Total: 300 calories

Therefore, a typical 6 oz chicken breast sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil contains approximately 300 calories.

Factors That Increase or Decrease Calories

While the average is around 300 calories for a sauteed 6 oz chicken breast, several factors can alter the calorie content:

Chicken Breast Size

The bigger the chicken breast, the more calories it will provide. An 8 oz chicken breast would have around 240 calories before cooking. If sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil this would be 360 calories total.

A smaller 4 oz breast would have only 140 calories plus 120 calories from oil, totaling 260 calories.

Amount of Olive Oil

The more olive oil used in sauteing, the more calories added. Using 2 tbsp instead of 1 tbsp nearly doubles the oil calories to 240.

A lightly sprayed or brushed chicken breast will have minimal added calories from oil.

Cooking Method

Frying in oil adds more calories than sauteing. Deep frying chicken breast could add 200+ calories from the oil.

Healthier cooking methods like baking, grilling or air frying avoid adding lots of extra calories.

Skin and Bones

Chicken breast with the skin on contains more calories and fat than skinless. Leaving the bones in also slightly increases calories.

A skinless, boneless breast will be the lowest calorie option.

Nutrition Facts for Sauteed Chicken Breast

Here are the full nutrition facts for a typical 6 oz chicken breast sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 300 15%
Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Trans Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 70mg 3%
Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Fiber 0g 0%
Sugar 0g 0%
Protein 43g 86%

As you can see, sauteed chicken breast is high in protein, providing 43g or 86% DV. It has moderate fat content, mainly from the added olive oil. It is low in carbs and sugar.

Vitamins and Minerals

Chicken breast contains a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Selenium: 56% DV
  • Niacin: 92% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 32% DV
  • Phosphorus: 30% DV
  • Zinc: 15% DV
  • Iron: 10% DV

Sauteing the chicken breast has minimal impact on the vitamin and mineral content.

Health Benefits of Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is one of the most popular lean proteins. It has several health benefits:

High in Protein

Chicken breast is an excellent source of protein, providing around 43g per 6 oz portion. Protein is important for building and repairing muscles, supporting bone health, and keeping you feeling full.

Low in Fat

Chicken breast is much lower in fat compared to dark chicken meat and especially chicken skin. Removing the skin further reduces the fat content. Sauteing in olive oil adds some healthy unsaturated fat.

Rich in Nutrients

As seen in the nutrition facts, chicken breast contains a variety of beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in niacin, selenium, vitamin B6 and phosphorus.

Supports Weight Loss

With all the protein and minimal fat, chicken breast can be a staple food in any weight loss diet. Protein requires more calories for your body to digest it, so you burn slightly more calories eating chicken.

Heart Healthy

The combination of high protein, low saturated fat, and zero carbs makes chicken breast heart healthy. Replacing red meat with white meat chicken can lower cholesterol levels.

Buying and Storing Chicken Breast

When purchasing chicken breast for sauteing, keep the following tips in mind:

Check Packaging Date

Always check the sell-by or use-by date and select the freshest chicken possible. Saute chicken breast within 2 days of purchasing for best flavor and texture.

Determine Correct Amount

Estimate how many ounces you will need based on the number of servings desired. Allow for around 6 oz raw chicken per adult serving.

Select Skinless

Choose skinless chicken breasts to reduce fat and calories. Skinless is ideal for sauteing.

Look for Uniform Size

Pick chicken breasts that are similar in size to ensure even cooking. Avoid very thick or thin pieces.

Store Properly

Keep raw chicken breast refrigerated until ready to use. Freeze if not using within 2 days. Chicken can be safely frozen for up to 9 months.

Preparing Chicken Breast for Sauteing

Use these tips to get your chicken breast ready for sauteing:

Rinse and Pat Dry

Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Drying helps achieve a nice sear.

Trim Off Excess Fat

Use a sharp knife to remove any visible fat deposits. This reduces overall fat and calories.

Cut into Uniform Pieces

For even cooking, cut chicken into similarly sized pieces. Leave whole or halve if breasts are small.

Pound Thick Breasts

If the chicken breast is extra thick, gently pound it to a more uniform thickness using a meat mallet or pan bottom.

Season as Desired

For flavor, season the chicken with salt, pepper, herbs, spices, or a marinade before sauteing.

Let Marinate if Desired

For more flavor infusion, marinate the chicken for 30 minutes up to overnight in the fridge.

Pat Dry Again Before Cooking

Dry the chicken pieces again with paper towels right before sauteing to prevent excess moisture in the pan.

How to Saute Chicken Breast

These simple steps walk you through sauteing chicken breast:

Heat Oil in Pan

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil or canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Use a nonstick pan for easy release.

Add Chicken Pieces

Carefully add the chicken pieces in a single layer, keeping them spaced apart. Avoid overcrowding.

Cook Undisturbed

Let the chicken cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes until the bottom browns. Resist stirring initially.

Flip and Cook Other Side

Flip each chicken piece and cook for another 2-3 minutes without moving them around.

Remove from Heat

Once chicken is browned on both sides and nearly cooked through, remove it from the heat.

Rest 5 Minutes

Allow the chicken to sit for 5 minutes off heat. This finishes the cooking process for juicy, tender meat.

Check Internal Temperature

Use a food thermometer to confirm chicken reaches 165°F internally before serving.

Slice and Serve

Slice the sauteed chicken crosswise for bite-sized pieces. Pour any pan juices over the top. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Sauteed Chicken Breast

Use these helpful tips for delicious, perfectly sauteed chicken breast:

Pat Chicken Dry

Drying the chicken well before sauteing ensures it browns nicely without steaming. Wet chicken won’t brown correctly.

Preheat Pan

Give the pan several minutes to fully preheat before adding oil and chicken. Hot pan = better browning.

Use Suitable Oil

Choose an oil with a high smoke point like canola or light olive oil. Avoid butter or low-smoke point oil.

Don’t Overcrowd Pan

Cook chicken in a single layer without overcrowding for proper searing. Cook in batches if needed.

Resist Constant Flipping

Flipping too often prevents the chicken from browning. Cook each side for 2-3 minutes undisturbed.

Regulate Heat

Cook over medium-high heat. Adjust temperature as needed to avoid over-browning.

Use a Meat Thermometer

Test doneness by thermometer, not appearance. Chicken is safe to eat at 165°F.

Allow Resting Time

Letting the chicken rest 5 minutes after sauteing allows juices to redistribute evenly.

Serving Suggestions

Sauteed chicken breast pairs nicely with a variety of fresh vegetables and grains. Here are some serving ideas:

Over Greens

Serve sauteed chicken breast sliced over a bed of spinach, kale, broccoli rabe or other greens.

With Roasted Vegetables

Pair it with roasted broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots or sweet potatoes.

Over Rice

Serve over a bowl of cooked rice, quinoa, farro or other whole grain.

In a Salad

Toss chopped chicken breast with greens, tomatoes, avocado and vinaigrette.

In Tacos or Burritos

Chop sauteed chicken and add to soft tortillas or taco salad.

On Flatbread

Top naan, pita or other flatbread with chicken, veggies, hummus or tahini sauce.

In a Wrap/Sandwich

Fill tortillas, pitas, or sandwich bread with chicken breast and toppings.

Simple Recipe and Variations

This basic sauteed chicken breast recipe can be customized in endless ways. See some easy ideas below:

Basic Recipe


  • 2 skinless chicken breasts (6 oz each)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pat chicken dry and season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side until browned and 165°F.
  3. Let rest 5 minutes then slice and serve.

Lemon-Thyme Chicken

  • Add 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1 tsp thyme to chicken before cooking.

Balsamic Chicken

  • Whisk 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar with oil. Brush mixture on chicken during last 2 minutes of cooking.

Jerk Chicken

  • Rub chicken with Caribbean jerk seasoning before sauteing.

Chipotle Lime Chicken

  • Marinate chicken in chipotle lime dressing for 1 hour before cooking.

Italian Chicken

  • Sprinkle chicken with Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan after cooking.

Chicken Breast Nutrition Facts Summary

To summarize the key nutrients in a 6 oz chicken breast sauteed in 1 tbsp olive oil:

  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 43g
  • Sodium: 70mg

Sauteed chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein and important vitamins and minerals like niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6. It’s lower in calories than the same portion chicken cooked with the skin on.

Enjoy this versatile lean protein in salads, over greens and grains, in wraps, and more for a nutritious addition to any meal.

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