How much calories is chicken over rice?

Chicken and rice is a classic meal combination that has stood the test of time. The simplicity of chicken and rice makes it a versatile base for endless recipes across many cultures. When it comes to calories, the exact amount can vary greatly depending on the preparation method, ingredients used, and portion sizes. By exploring the calorie counts of common chicken and rice dishes, we can get an estimate of how many calories this tasty duo packs.

Calories in Basic Chicken and Rice

At its most basic, a serving of chicken and rice contains the following calorie estimates:

  • 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast without skin: 140 calories
  • 1/2 cup of cooked white rice: 110 calories

So a basic 3 ounce chicken breast and 1/2 cup serving of rice totals approximately 250 calories. When going beyond the bare bones chicken and rice, calories will increase with any added oils, sauces, or ingredients.

Calories in Common Chicken and Rice Dishes

Here are the typical calorie counts for some of the most popular chicken and rice dishes:

Dish Calories
Chicken biryani 330 calories per 1 cup serving
Chicken fried rice 360 calories per 1 cup serving
Chicken and rice soup 175 calories per 1 cup serving
Jambalaya with chicken and rice 430 calories per 1 cup serving
Cilantro lime chicken and rice 350 calories per serving
Chicken tikka masala with rice 450 calories per serving
Chicken curry and rice 320 calories per serving
Cashew chicken and rice 490 calories per serving
Chicken and rice pilaf 215 calories per 1 cup serving
Chicken and rice soup 175 calories per 1 cup serving

As shown above, calorie counts for common chicken and rice recipes range from 175 to 490 calories per serving. The preparation method, use of oil, and any sauces or mix-ins will influence the calories. Plain roasted chicken and steamed rice on the lower end, while fried rice or curry on the higher end.

Factors Affecting Calories in Chicken and Rice

Many factors account for the wide calorie range in chicken and rice dishes:

Chicken Preparation

The cooking method for chicken significantly impacts its calorie count:

  • Roasted/baked: 140 calories in 3 oz cooked chicken breast without skin
  • Fried: 228 calories in 3 oz of fried chicken breast with skin
  • Rotisserie: 165 calories in 3 oz rotisserie chicken with skin
  • Grilled: 180 calories in 3 oz grilled chicken thigh with skin

Frying or preparing chicken with the skin on increases calories compared to roasted, grilled or baked skinless chicken breast.

Rice Preparation

Like chicken, cooking method impacts the calories in rice:

  • Steamed white rice: 110 calories per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Fried rice: 175 calories per 1/2 cup
  • Brown rice: 108 calories per 1/2 cup cooked
  • Rice pilaf: 160 calories per 1/2 cup

Any fried rice or rice pilaf with oil and add-ins will be higher in calories than steamed plain white or brown rice.

Added Ingredients

Ingredients beyond chicken and rice add flavor but drive up calorie counts:

  • Oils, butter, or other fats used in cooking
  • Nuts like cashews, peanuts, or almonds
  • Coconut milk, cream, or shredded coconut
  • Cheese, sour cream, or other dairy
  • Sauces like curry, gravy, or creamy sauces

The more oil is used in preparation, the more calories are added. Nuts, coconut, cheese, cream, and oil-based sauces also pile on the calories.

Portion Size

Finally, portion size dramatically impacts total calorie intake when eating chicken and rice. Eating a larger portion means taking in more calories. Here are some common portion sizes to illustrate:

Portion Calories
1 cup chicken fried rice 360 calories
2 cups chicken fried rice 720 calories
3 ounces grilled chicken breast 165 calories
6 ounces grilled chicken breast 330 calories
1/2 cup rice pilaf 160 calories
1 cup rice pilaf 320 calories

Doubling a portion will essentially double the calories. Portion control is key for monitoring calorie intake in any chicken and rice meal.

How to Make Chicken and Rice Lower in Calories

There are many easy ways to lighten up chicken and rice to reduce the calorie count while keeping it tasty. Simply follow these healthy preparation tips:

Use Lean Chicken Cuts

Choosing lean cuts of chicken helps minimize calories. The leanest parts are chicken breast without skin and chicken tenderloins. Thighs and legs with the skin on are higher in fat and calories. Boneless, skinless breasts or tenders are ideal for light chicken and rice meals.

Stick to Healthy Cooking Methods

Healthy cooking methods for chicken include boiling, roasting, baking, grilling, or poaching instead of frying. For rice, stick to boiling, steaming or microwaving plain rice without added fat. Limit oil to 1 teaspoon or less.

Season with Herbs and Spices

For flavor, season chicken and rice with fresh or dried herbs, spices, garlic, citrus, vinegars, mustards, or other low-calorie flavor boosters instead of high-fat, high-calorie sauces.

Use Lean Proteins and Veggies

Bulk up chicken and rice with extra vegetables, beans, lentils, or other lean proteins like seafood. These healthy additions enhance nutrition without spiking calories.

Control Portions

Be mindful of portion sizes, as a larger portion means more calories. Measure out 1 cup of rice and 3-4 ounces of chicken per serving to keep calories in check.

Choose Low-Calorie Side Dishes

Fill up on non-starchy veggies like broccoli, carrots, salad greens, and other fiber-rich sides to help control hunger and calories.

Limit High-Calorie Add-Ons

Skip the nuts, coconut, creamy sauces, cheese, and fried onions or skip lightly. Use just a tablespoon or two for a touch of flavor and crunch without excess calories.

Low-Calorie Chicken and Rice Recipe Ideas

Here are some delicious and nutritious lower calorie chicken and rice recipes to try:

1. Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup

175 calories per serving

Simmer chopped chicken breast with rice, lemon, herbs, garlic, onion, carrots, and celery for a hearty, low-calorie soup.

2. Cajun Chicken and Rice

350 calories per serving

Prepare chicken with Cajun seasoning and serve with steamed brown rice and bell pepper slices for a simple, spicy meal.

3. Chicken and Rice Stuffed Peppers

295 calories per pepper

Fill bell peppers with a mixture of shredded chicken, brown rice, tomatoes, and reduced-fat cheese for a meal with vitamin C.

4. Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Rice

285 calories per serving

Stir fry chicken strips with broccoli, carrots, onions, and reduced sodium soy sauce. Serve with a side of steamed brown rice.

Recipe Calories per Serving
Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup 175 calories
Cajun Chicken and Rice 350 calories
Chicken and Rice Stuffed Peppers 295 calories
Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry with Rice 285 calories

How to Balance Chicken and Rice into a Healthy Diet

Chicken and rice can be part of a balanced, low-calorie diet when eaten in moderation alongside other healthy foods. Here are some tips for healthy eating with chicken and rice:

Watch Portions

Be mindful of portion control. Stick to a palm-sized, 3-4 ounce serving of chicken and a half to one cup portion of rice to keep calories in check.

Eat More Veggies

Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, kale, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and leafy greens to balance calories and increase nutrients.

Enjoy Fruit

Add fruit like berries, apples, citrus, melons, etc. to your meals for fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.

Include Whole Grains

Alternate white rice with whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, or farro for more fiber and nutrients.

Drink Water

Stay hydrated with water instead of high-calorie beverages like juice or soda.

Limit Fatty Sides

Go easy on spreads, oils, creamy sauces and high-fat fried side dishes.

Swap in Lean Proteins

Rotate in lean proteins like seafood, beans, tofu or egg whites to add variety from chicken.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Healthfully

Indulge your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or small portions of lowfat yogurt, pudding, or dark chocolate to keep calories down.

The Bottom Line

Chicken and rice can range widely in calories depending on preparation, portion size, and additions. Plain roasted chicken breast and steamed rice offers around 250 calories per serving, while fried chicken or pilaf style rice can run over 400 calories. Keeping chicken and rice light by using lean chicken, limiting fat, bulking up with veggies and controlling portions allows you to enjoy this versatile combination while maintaining a healthy calorie intake.

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