How much protein in 4 oz of skinless boneless Chicken Thigh?

Quick Answer

There are approximately 26 grams of protein in 4 ounces of skinless, boneless chicken thigh. Chicken thigh is considered a high protein food, providing a significant amount of protein per serving.

Detailed Answer

Chicken thigh is prized as one of the most flavorful chicken cuts, and also provides an excellent source of protein. Skinless, boneless chicken thigh is a versatile and healthy protein option. But exactly how much protein does 4 ounces of chicken thigh contain?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central database, 4 ounces or 114 grams of skinless, boneless chicken thigh (cooked) contains:

  • Calories: 185
  • Protein: 26.01 grams
  • Fat: 8.19 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams

So 4 ounces of cooked, skinless, boneless chicken thigh contains about 26 grams of protein.

To put this amount into perspective, here is how much protein some other common protein foods contain in a 4 ounce cooked serving, according to USDA data:

Food Protein (grams)
Skinless chicken thigh 26
Sirloin steak 32
Pork tenderloin 29
Salmon 23
Ground turkey 24
Tofu 12

As you can see, chicken thigh provides an excellent amount of protein compared to other protein-rich foods. It has more protein per 4 ounce serving than salmon, and nearly as much as pork tenderloin and ground turkey.

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for adults. This equates to about 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. Athletes or more active individuals may need more.

So 4 ounces of chicken thigh provides close to half the daily protein needs for most adults. Adding another serving would provide a majority of the protein required in a day.

Here are some key points about the protein content in 4 ounces of skinless, boneless chicken thigh:

Key Points

  • There are approximately 26 grams of protein in 4 ounces of cooked, skinless, boneless chicken thigh.
  • Chicken thigh provides an excellent source of high-quality protein compared to other protein-rich foods like steak, pork, fish and plant proteins.
  • 4 ounces of chicken thigh supplies close to half the daily protein needs for most adults.
  • Chicken thigh is a versatile, flavorful, and nutritious source of protein to include as part of a healthy diet.

Benefits of Chicken Thigh Protein

So why is chicken thigh such a prized source of protein? Here are some of the key benefits this cut of chicken provides:

Highly Bioavailable

The protein found in chicken thigh, like all animal proteins, is highly bioavailable to humans. This means our bodies can digest and absorb chicken protein efficiently, enabling it to fully support muscle synthesis and maintenance.

Contains All Essential Amino Acids

Chicken protein provides all 9 essential amino acids our bodies cannot make on their own and need to obtain from food. Consuming these essential amino acids, especially leucine, allows our bodies to optimally build and maintain muscle tissue.

Supports Muscle Building

Because it contains those muscle-building amino acids, chicken protein can support muscle growth and strength gains when combined with resistance training. The protein in chicken helps repair and rebuild muscle fibers broken down by intense exercise.

Promotes Satiety

Protein is known to be the most filling macronutrient. Eating protein-rich foods like chicken thigh can promote satiety and help manage hunger levels.

Helps Retain Muscle Mass

Consuming sufficient protein from foods like chicken can help slow muscle breakdown during weight loss. Keeping protein high when cutting calories helps retain hard-earned muscle while losing fat.

Versatile Protein Source

Chicken thigh is endlessly versatile. It can be baked, grilled, sautéed, slow-cooked in stews and chilis, shredded for salads, and more. This makes it easy to regularly incorporate chicken thigh protein into your eating plan.

Complete vs Incomplete Proteins

When discussing the quality of different protein foods, you may have heard the terms “complete” and “incomplete” protein. What do these labels mean?

Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids required by humans. Foods like chicken thigh, beef, pork, fish, eggs, dairy products and soy are complete proteins.

Incomplete proteins are missing one or more of the essential amino acids. Common incomplete protein sources are beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and most grains.

Can vegetarians and vegans consume complete proteins? Yes, by pairing certain incomplete plant proteins together like rice and beans, you can consume all essential amino acids in one meal. The variety of amino acids from different plant foods complements each other.

While it is possible to form complete proteins from plant foods, in general animal proteins like chicken thigh offer higher quality, more bioavailable protein per serving. This makes them an efficient protein source, especially for athletes, bodybuilders and highly active individuals trying to build/maintain muscle mass.

Complete vs Incomplete Protein Summary

  • Complete proteins contain all essential amino acids – found in animal foods like chicken, beef, fish.
  • Incomplete proteins lack one or more amino acid – found in many plant foods.
  • Pairing certain plant proteins can provide all essential amino acids.
  • Animal proteins offer more bioavailable, higher quality protein per serving.

Chicken Thigh Protein Needs

How much chicken thigh protein should you aim to eat per day? Here are some general protein intake recommendations based on your goals and activity levels:

Sedentary Adults

0.8 grams protein per kg body weight or 0.36 grams per pound.

For a 150 lb sedentary person, that equals about 54 grams of protein daily.

Moderately Active Adults

1.0 – 1.2 grams protein per kg body weight or 0.45 – 0.54 grams per pound.

A 150 lb moderately active person would aim for about 68 – 82 grams of protein per day.

Athletes & Bodybuilders

1.2 – 2.0 grams protein per kg body weight or 0.54 – 0.90 grams per pound.

A 170 lb athlete may need 94 – 153 grams protein daily.

As you can see, your needs can vary significantly based on your activity levels and goals. A serving of chicken thigh protein provides around 26 grams, making it easy to incorporate into any daily protein target.

High Protein Chicken Thigh Recipes

Here are some delicious, high protein chicken thigh recipes to increase your daily protein intake:

Thai Peanut Chicken Thighs


  • 1 1⁄2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  2. Place chicken thighs in slow cooker and pour peanut sauce over top.
  3. Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours.
  4. Serve over brown rice with sliced scallions.

This peanut chicken thigh recipe provides around 52 grams of protein per serving.

Chicken Thigh and Vegetable Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes until browned.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Add broth, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish bowls with parsley.

This soup provides around 19 grams of protein per generous bowl.

Baked Chicken Parmesan Thighs


  • 1⁄4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1⁄4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon dried italian herbs
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1⁄2 cup marinara sauce
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a shallow dish, mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan and italian herbs.
  3. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
  4. Dredge thighs in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to coat completely. Place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top chicken with marinara sauce and provolone slices. Bake 5 more minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

These chicken parmesan thighs offer around 37 grams of protein.


In summary, 4 ounces of cooked, skinless, boneless chicken thigh contains about 26 grams of high-quality, muscle-building protein.

Chicken thigh is an excellent source of complete protein that is highly bioavailable compared to plant-based proteins.

Consuming chicken thigh protein provides benefits like improved satiety, increased muscle synthesis when combined with resistance training, and helps retain muscle mass when cutting calories.

Adults should aim to eat 0.36-0.54 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily based on activity levels. Chicken thigh is a versatile, nutritious protein source that is easy to include as part of a healthy diet to meet your needs.

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