How many calories is a piece of breaded chicken breast?

Quick Answer

The number of calories in a piece of breaded chicken breast can vary depending on the size of the chicken breast, thickness of the breading, and method of cooking. However, on average, a 6 ounce piece of breaded, baked chicken breast contains approximately 340-400 calories. A breaded chicken breast from a restaurant or fast food chain may be higher in calories due to larger portion sizes and fattier breading or cooking methods like frying.

Calories in Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is considered a lean, low-fat source of protein. A 6 ounce raw, skinless chicken breast contains approximately:

  • Calories: 190
  • Protein: 43 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams

The number of calories in a chicken breast can vary slightly depending on whether it is boneless versus bone-in. However, in general, a 6 ounce serving of chicken breast contains under 200 calories before any cooking method is applied.

Calories Added from Breadings

Breadings add extra calories on top of the base chicken breast:

  • Standard breadcrumbs: About 50 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Panko breadcrumbs: About 55 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Flour coating: About 150 calories per 1/4 cup

Thicker breadings or coatings will add more calories than a light dusting. Frying the breaded chicken adds significantly more fat and calories compared to baking.

Calories in a Breaded, Baked Chicken Breast

For a 6 ounce chicken breast coated in 1/4 cup of standard breadcrumbs and baked, the approximate calories are:

  • Chicken breast (6 oz): 190 calories
  • Breadcrumbs (1/4 cup): 50 calories
  • Total: 240 calories

If the breast is on the smaller or larger side, or has a thinner or thicker breading, the calories could range from around 220-270 for a baked, breaded chicken breast.

Calories in Fried Breaded Chicken Breast

When the breaded chicken breast is fried instead of baked, the calorie count increases significantly:

  • Chicken breast (6 oz): 190 calories
  • Breadcrumbs (1/4 cup): 50 calories
  • Oil for frying (2 Tbsp): 240 calories
  • Total: About 480 calories

The extra oil used for frying adds a lot of calories. A fried, breaded chicken breast from a restaurant or fast food establishment likely contains 500-600+ calories due to larger portions and more oil used in cooking.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Breaded Chicken

There are a few simple ways to reduce the calorie count in a breaded chicken breast:

  • Use lighter breading like panko instead of flour coating
  • Bake instead of frying
  • Remove skin before breading to further reduce fat
  • Choose a thinner breading over thick coating
  • Opt for lighter dipping sauces on the side

Making some small tweaks to your breaded chicken can help turn it from an indulgent, high calorie dish into a lighter main course.

Nutrition Facts for Breaded Chicken Breast

Here is the nutrition facts breakdown for a typical 6 ounce breaded, baked chicken breast:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 340
Fat 12g
Carbohydrates 17g
Protein 43g

As you can see, breaded chicken still provides a high amount of protein. The majority of calories come from the breading itself rather than the chicken breast.

How Cooking Method Impacts Calories

The cooking method substantially impacts the calorie content in a breaded chicken breast:

Cooking Method Calories (6 oz breast)
Baked 340
Fried 480
Air Fried 380

Frying adds nearly 150 extra calories compared to baking. Newer air frying methods land in the middle calories-wise.

Calories in Breaded Chicken from Restaurants

When ordering breaded chicken from a restaurant, especially a fast food establishment, the calorie count will be higher than homemade. For example:

  • KFC – Extra Crispy Chicken Breast: 280 calories (4 oz)
  • Chick-Fil-A – Chicken Sandwich: 440 calories
  • McDonald’s – Chicken McNuggets (4 pieces): 190 calories

The portion sizes at restaurants are usually larger than 6 ounces. Additionally, restaurant chicken is often fried in more oil than you would use at home.

Breaded Chicken Calories Compared to Other Protein

Compared to other popular sources of protein, breaded chicken is mid-range in terms of calorie density:

Food Calories (6 oz cooked)
Skinless chicken breast 210
Breaded chicken breast 340
Salmon fillet 360
Lean beef 390
Pork chop 420

Chicken and fish tend to be lower in calories than red meats. And breaded chicken contains only moderately more calories than plain chicken breast.

How to Burn off Calories from Breaded Chicken

A 6 ounce breaded chicken breast contains approximately 340 calories. Here is how long it would take to burn those calories doing various exercises:

  • Walking (moderate pace): 68 minutes
  • Jogging (5 mph): 34 minutes
  • Hiking: 51 minutes
  • Biking (leisurely): 34 minutes
  • Swimming (moderate effort): 34 minutes

With 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise, you can easily burn off the calories from enjoying a breaded chicken breast. Combining it with vegetables and lighter sides makes it a well-balanced meal.

Should You Avoid Breaded Chicken Altogether If Watching Calories?

Breaded chicken can absolutely still fit into a healthy diet when trying to manage your calorie intake. Some tips:

  • Watch portion sizes – stick to a 6 oz chicken breast
  • Use lighter breading and minimal oil if cooking at home
  • Enjoy it only occasionally or on more active days
  • Pair it with lower calorie sides like salad
  • Split or share breaded chicken dishes when dining out

With some moderation and wise choices to control calories, you don’t have to avoid breaded chicken completely. It can be worked into most healthy eating plans.

Healthier Breaded Chicken Alternatives

If you want to lighten up your breaded chicken, these alternatives use fewer calories in the coating:

  • Almond meal or crust – About 50 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Coconut flakes – About 60 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Crushed corn flakes – About 60 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Whole wheat breadcrumbs – About 45 calories per 1/4 cup
  • Parmesan cheese – About 85 calories per 1/4 cup

Going with a thinner coating or smaller pieces like nuggets or tenders can also reduce the overall breading calories.


A 6 ounce breaded chicken breast contains approximately 340-400 calories, depending on thickness of the breading and cooking method. Frying adds the most calories, followed by baking/air frying then grilling with the least amount of added fat and calories.

Breaded chicken can fit into a healthy diet when enjoyed in moderation. Portion size and cooking method are key for controlling calories. Pairing it with lower calorie side dishes and getting regular exercise helps offset the calories. With some adjustments to preparation method and portion sizes, breaded chicken can still be a tasty, protein-packed meal option.

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