How many calories is a single chicken cutlet?

A chicken cutlet, also known as a chicken breast cutlet, is a thin, flattened, boneless, skinless piece of chicken breast. Chicken cutlets are a versatile and popular ingredient used in many dishes like chicken parmesan, chicken piccata, and chicken milanese.

Many people want to know how many calories are in a chicken cutlet in order to track their calorie intake. The number of calories in a chicken cutlet can vary depending on the size and preparation method. In general, a 3-4 ounce chicken cutlet contains around 120-170 calories.

Calories in Chicken Cutlets

The calorie content of chicken cutlets depends on a few key factors:

Cutlet Size

The bigger the cutlet, the more calories it will contain. A small 3 ounce chicken cutlet may have around 120 calories. A larger 4-5 ounce cutlet may contain 150-180 calories.

Cooking Method

How the chicken is cooked also impacts its calorie content. Chicken that is breaded and fried in oil will have more calories than chicken that is grilled or baked.

Here are the approximate calories for a 4 ounce chicken cutlet prepared different ways:

Cooking Method Calories
Grilled 140
Baked 160
Pan-fried (no breading) 180
Breaded and fried 210

As shown, a breaded and fried cutlet has about 70 more calories than a grilled or baked cutlet. The extra calories come from the oil or butter used to fry the breaded cutlet.

Lean vs Skin-on

Chicken cutlets are usually sliced from skinless, boneless chicken breasts. However, it’s possible to find skin-on chicken cutlets or ones with darker meat or fat left on. These types of cutlets will be higher in fat and calories. Go for the leanest option to get the fewest calories.

Calorie Range for a Chicken Cutlet

Taking into account the size and cooking method, here is the general calorie range for a single chicken cutlet:

  • Small (3 ounces), grilled or baked: 120-140 calories
  • Medium (4 ounces), grilled or baked: 140-170 calories
  • Large (5 ounces), grilled or baked: 170-200 calories
  • Breaded and fried: 190-260 calories

As a guideline, most standard chicken cutlets found at the grocery store or served at restaurants range from 4-6 ounces. Choosing a grilled or baked 4 ounce cutlet will provide around 150 calories, while a breaded and fried cutlet of the same size may have over 200 calories.

Nutrition Facts for Chicken Cutlets

In addition to calories, chicken cutlets contain a variety of nutrients:


Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein. A 4 ounce cutlet provides around 28 grams of protein, which is over half of the recommended daily value. Protein helps build muscle, repairs tissues, and keeps you feeling full.


Skinless chicken cutlets are very low in fat when grilled or baked, containing around 3 grams. Breading and frying adds about 5-8 grams of fat. Chicken is considered a low-fat protein source.


Plain chicken contains no carbs. Breaded cutlets add 15-20 grams of carbs from the breading.

Vitamins and Minerals

Chicken provides niacin, selenium, vitamin B6, and phosphorus. While it’s not a significant source, you get a small amount of these nutrients from a serving of chicken.

Health Benefits of Chicken Cutlets

Eating chicken cutlets and other lean proteins provide several benefits:

  • Builds and repairs muscle tissues
  • Helps you feel full and promotes weight loss
  • Provides nutrients like niacin and B vitamins
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol levels

Chicken is one of the most widely consumed meats because it’s versatile, budget-friendly, and packed with nutrition. Cutlets make it easy to enjoy chicken breasts in a variety of dishes.

Weight Loss Benefits of Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets can be a smart choice for weight loss for the following reasons:

  • Lean protein helps control hunger and cravings.
  • More filling than carbohydrate-heavy foods.
  • Lower in calories than high-fat meats like bacon or sausage.
  • Versatile ingredient for healthy recipes and meal prepping.
  • Nutrients like niacin support a healthy metabolism.

Choosing grilled or baked chicken cutlets and controlling portion sizes makes for an excellent low-calorie, high protein addition to a weight loss diet.

How to Cook Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets can be prepared many ways. Here are some healthy cooking tips:


Grilling cutlets over direct high heat helps create a juicy interior and crispy exterior. Use a gas or charcoal grill and cook for 4-6 minutes per side. Brush with oil to prevent sticking.


Baking at 375°F for 15-20 minutes ensures cutlets are cooked through without drying them out. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.


Cutlets can be sautéed in just 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. A nonstick skillet helps prevent sticking.

Air Fry

Air frying at 380°F for 10-12 minutes makes cutlets crispy outside and tender inside. Air frying cuts calories by using little to no oil compared to frying.

Bread and Pan Fry

Dredging cutlets in flour, egg wash, then breadcrumbs before pan frying in oil makes a crispy, flavorful chicken milanese. Use just enough oil to coat the pan.

Healthy Ways to Use Chicken Cutlets

Chicken cutlets are extremely versatile. Here are some healthy recipe ideas:

Chicken Salad

Chop cutlets and mix with celery, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, avocado, and Greek yogurt for a fresh, protein-packed salad. Serve over greens or as a sandwich.

Lettuce Wrap Tacos

Chop cutlets and combine with reduced-fat cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, black beans, salsa, and Greek yogurt sauce. Wrap in lettuce leaves for low-carb tacos.

Chicken Parmesan

Top baked cutlets with marinara sauce and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Serve over zucchini noodles instead of pasta to lighten it up.

Stir Fry

Slice cutlets and stir fry with broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, ginger, and reduced sodium soy sauce. Serve over brown rice.

Soups & Stews

Add diced cutlets to vegetable soup, chili, or chicken stew for extra protein. Simmer in broth mixtures to absorb flavors.

Tips for Buying Chicken Cutlets

Follow these tips when purchasing chicken cutlets:

  • Inspect packaging date and only buy fresh cutlets.
  • Avoid cutlets with excess liquid or off odors.
  • Select cutlets of uniform size and thickness.
  • For peak freshness, use cutlets within 2 days of purchasing.
  • Make sure cutlets feel firm to the touch.

Buying high quality, fresh chicken ensures tender and flavorful cutlets. Store cutlets sealed in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Are Chicken Cutlets Healthy?

Chicken cutlets can be a very healthy meat choice when prepared properly. Here’s why:

  • Excellent source of lean protein to build muscle and strength.
  • Much lower in fat and calories compared to red meat options like beef.
  • Contain important nutrients like B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus.
  • Very versatile to incorporate into healthy recipes and meals.
  • Skinless cutlets are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

The healthiest ways to cook cutlets are baking, grilling, or pan searing with minimal added fat. Avoid deep frying or breading to limit calories, carbs, and fat. Portion control is also key to keep calories in check. Overall, chicken cutlets can be enjoyed as part of a balanced, nutritious diet.

Common Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about chicken cutlets:

Are chicken cutlets and chicken breasts the same thing?

Chicken cutlets are sliced from chicken breast meat. Cutlets are usually pounded thin and are smaller in size than a whole chicken breast.

Can you use chicken tenders instead of cutlets?

Yes, chicken tenders are very similar to cutlets in nutrition profile and can be used interchangeably in recipes. Tenders may need slightly less cooking time than thicker cutlets.

Should you trim the fat off chicken cutlets?

Chicken cutlets should not contain much visible fat since they come from lean chicken breast meat. But if your cutlet does have fat or skin that can be easily removed, trimming it will lower the calories and fat content.

How long do chicken cutlets last in the fridge?

Raw chicken cutlets will last 1-2 days in the fridge before cooking. Cooked cutlets will keep 3-4 days refrigerated. Check for signs of spoilage and discard if they have an off smell or appearance.

Can you freeze chicken cutlets?

Yes, raw chicken cutlets can be frozen for 2-3 months if well wrapped. Thaw cutlets overnight in the fridge before using. Cooked cutlets can also be frozen but won’t have the same texture once reheated.

The Bottom Line

Chicken cutlets are a versatile, lean protein choice that can be incorporated into many healthy recipes. A 4 ounce grilled chicken cutlet will provide around 150 calories and 28 grams of protein. Breading and frying will increase the calories. Buying fresh, high quality cutlets and using healthy cooking methods makes chicken cutlets a nutritious addition to a balanced diet. Portion control is key to managing calories.

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