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Chicken breast vs. Ground chicken — Which One Is Healthier?

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on February 15, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Chicken breast
vs
Ground chicken

Summary

Chicken breast is higher in choline, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, calcium, manganese, protein, carbs, and vitamins A, E, K, B3, B6, and folate. On the other hand, ground chicken has more potassium, zinc, copper, fats, and vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B12. In addition, chicken breast has less cholesterol, calories, and saturated fats, whereas ground chicken has less sodium content. 

Introduction

The chicken breast is a lean meat obtained from the chicken's pectoral muscle. Ground chicken is made from chicken components such as thigh meat, breast meat, or a mixture of the two.

One complete chicken has two parts, or chicken breasts, which are usually divided and sold as separate breasts.

First, you should select the chicken portions and take off any bones. Next, use a food processor or meat grinder to grind the meat.

While chicken breast and ground chicken are derived from the same source, their variances in texture, fat content, and preparation methods distinguish them as distinct in their own right, catering to various culinary demands and tastes.

Appearance, Taste, and Use

Chicken breast has a firm and smooth feel, but ground chicken has a grainy and loose texture. Chicken breast has a mild, subtle flavor, whereas ground chicken is juicier and more flavorful. The color of chicken breast is pale, whereas ground chicken is pale pink.

Chicken breast and ground chicken can be used in many different ways when cooking. How you cook them and your seasonings can significantly affect their taste.

You can use chicken breast in a cooked, grilled, or roasted. In contrast, you can use ground chicken in various dishes such as meatballs, burgers, casseroles, and stir-fries. Ground chicken is ideal for blending with other ingredients, shaping into patties, or integrating into sauces.

Cooking Time 

The cooking time for ground chicken and chicken breast can change depending on some factors. 

Depending on their thickness, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are usually best cooked for 20 to 30 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Thinner cuts will cook more quickly, while thicker ones can take longer.

Depending on the recipe and the size of the pieces, ground chicken is usually cooked for 15 to 20 minutes in an oven or skillet when used in dishes like meatballs, burgers, or casseroles.

Nutrition

In this part of the article, we will compare the nutritional values of chicken breast and ground chicken, concentrating on differences.

Macronutrients and Calories

Chicken breast and ground chicken have similar nutritional densities, the breast being a little denser. Breast contains 60% water, whereas ground chicken contains 65% water.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +43.6%
Contains more Carbs +∞%
Contains more Other +28.4%
Contains more Fats +131.8%
Equal in Water - 64.92
33% 5% 60%
Protein: 33.44 g
Fats: 4.71 g
Carbs: 0.51 g
Water: 60.21 g
Other: 1.13 g
23% 11% 65%
Protein: 23.28 g
Fats: 10.92 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 64.92 g
Other: 0.88 g
Contains more Protein +43.6%
Contains more Carbs +∞%
Contains more Other +28.4%
Contains more Fats +131.8%
Equal in Water - 64.92

Calories

Chicken breast and ground chicken have similar calorie counts, with ground chicken containing only two more calories in a 100g serving. The breast has 187 calories, whereas ground chicken provides 189 calories. Serving sizes for breast and ground chicken are 0.5 breast (bone and skin removed) and 3oz (crumbled). One serving of breast has 161 kcal and weighs 86g. The weight of one serving of ground chicken is 85g, which provides 161 kcal.

Protein

Chicken breast and ground chicken are good sources of protein. 

The breast has a higher protein content than ground chicken. In a 100g serving, chicken breast has 33.44 grams of protein, whereas ground chicken contains 23.28g

Fats

A hundred grams of ground chicken provides 10.92 grams of fat, whereas the breast has 4.71 grams. Ground chicken has over 2.8 times more monounsaturated fat and 1.9 times more polyunsaturated fat.

 In comparison, chicken breast provides over 2.5 times less saturated fat. In a 100g serving, chicken breast and ground chicken have 1.29g and 3.11g of saturated fat, respectively. Chicken breast has 1.72g of monounsaturated fat, whereas ground chicken contains 4.879g. Ground chicken has 0.087g of trans fat.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -58.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +183.7%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +94.4%
32% 42% 26%
Saturated Fat: 1.29 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.72 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.07 g
31% 48% 21%
Saturated Fat: 3.11 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.879 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.08 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -58.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +183.7%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +94.4%

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Both contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Chicken breast has 0.06g of omega-3, whereas ground chicken provides 0.1g. Ground chicken has more omega-3 DHA and ALA, whereas breast is higher in EPA and DPA.

Carbohydrates

Ground chicken does not contain carbohydrates, while chicken breast has only 0.51g.

Cholesterol

Ground chicken has more cholesterol compared to chicken breast. A hundred grams of the breast provides 91mg, whereas ground chicken has 107mg

Vitamins

Chicken breast contains two times more vitamin B3 and folate. In a 100g serving, chicken breast and ground chicken have 14.8g and 7g of vitamin B3 (niacin), respectively. Chicken breast is higher in vitamins B6, K, and E, whereas ground chicken has more vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B12. In addition, chicken breast has 23IU of vitamin A, while ground chicken does not contain it.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +108%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +19%
Contains more Folate +100%
Contains more Choline +62.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +14.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +53.2%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +141.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +27.6%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +37.8%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.39
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2% 9% 3% 0% 20% 29% 278% 63% 148% 3% 47% 53% 6%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 8% 0% 0% 31% 70% 134% 80% 125% 2% 64% 33% 6%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +108%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +19%
Contains more Folate +100%
Contains more Choline +62.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +14.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +53.2%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +141.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +27.6%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +37.8%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.39

Minerals

Chicken breast has over two times more selenium, calcium, and 1.5 times more choline. Chicken breast is high in phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron, and manganese.

On the other hand, ground chicken has 2.5 times more potassium. A  hundred grams of ground chicken has 677mg of potassium, whereas the breast has 276mg. Moreover, ground chicken contains slightly more zinc and copper.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +100%
Contains more Iron +22.6%
Contains more Magnesium +10.7%
Contains more Manganese +31.3%
Contains more Selenium +83.2%
Contains more Potassium +145.3%
Contains more Zinc +77.8%
Contains more Copper +14.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 28
Equal in Phosphorus - 234
Equal in Sodium - 75
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 43% 23% 106% 25% 11% 30% 18% 3% 143%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 3% 35% 20% 101% 60% 10% 53% 21% 3% 78%
Contains more Calcium +100%
Contains more Iron +22.6%
Contains more Magnesium +10.7%
Contains more Manganese +31.3%
Contains more Selenium +83.2%
Contains more Potassium +145.3%
Contains more Zinc +77.8%
Contains more Copper +14.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 28
Equal in Phosphorus - 234
Equal in Sodium - 75

Glycemic Index

Foods with no carbs naturally do not promote glucose absorption and, as a result, do not have a glycemic index. The glycemic index of chicken breast and ground chicken is 0

Acidity

The PRAL value shows the ability of the food to break down into bases or acids inside the body. Chicken breast has a PRAL level of 18.7. The PRAL level of ground chicken is 5. That shows that the breast is significantly more acid-producing than ground chicken.

Health Impact

Muscle Building

Chicken breast is a low-fat, high-protein food with little carbs. It contains high-quality protein, notably leucine, which is known for stimulating muscle protein synthesis (1, 2). 

The lean composition of chicken breast makes it suitable for people who want to increase lean muscle mass while limiting their fat consumption. Because of its high protein content and few additional additives, it is a favorite of many bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness fanatics. Like chicken breast, ground chicken provides the necessary amino acids and can help muscle growth and repair. Choosing lean slices of ground chicken is crucial to prevent excessive fat content if the objective is to develop lean muscle mass.

Chicken breast and ground chicken can be part of a well-balanced muscle-building diet. However, when combining these meals into a muscle-building nutrition plan, it is critical to consider the total macronutrient balance, individual dietary preferences, and specific fitness goals.

Foodborne Infections

Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens bacteria can be found in raw and undercooked chicken (3, 4).

Ground meat is more likely to have harmful germs compared to breast because it is made from mixed meats. Chicken breasts usually only have bacteria on the surface, while bacteria in ground meat are prevalent.

Moreover, ground meat is touched more often than whole pieces of meat, so there's a better chance for bacteria to spread from hands to kitchen surfaces and other foods (5). 

Cancer

Eating poultry may lower the risk of lung cancer and esophageal cancer (6). 

According to the meta-analysis, eating poultry may be somewhat linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer (7). 

Ground chicken can include white, dark meats, and some chicken skin. According to the USDA, ground poultry can only comprise muscle meat and skin with associated fat in their typical proportions, with no extra ingredients such as giblets (8). According to the study, chicken consumption with the skin on may increase the risk of prostate cancer (9, 10).  

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Studies suggest that chicken breast and boneless chicken leg meat may inhibit ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme), which is similar to the effect of antihypertensive medications such as Captopril, Lisinopril, Perindopril, and others. Incorporating these tasty and nutritious meats into your diet may provide a natural way to improve cardiovascular health (11,12,13).

Choosing lean white meat may reduce the risk of cardiometabolic disease. Studies suggest that this particular dietary choice may have potentially beneficial effects on your health (14).

It should be noted that chicken meat is an exceptional source of nutrition and should be a part of your healthy diet. Its low cholesterol, high protein, and PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acid) content make it a valuable and beneficial food that can improve overall health (15).

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: February 15, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Chicken breast vs Ground chicken infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Chicken breast Ground chicken
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal
Lower in price Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Chicken breast Ground chicken Opinion
Net carbs 0.51g 0g Chicken breast
Protein 33.44g 23.28g Chicken breast
Fats 4.71g 10.92g Ground chicken
Carbs 0.51g 0g Chicken breast
Calories 187kcal 189kcal Ground chicken
Calcium 16mg 8mg Chicken breast
Iron 1.14mg 0.93mg Chicken breast
Magnesium 31mg 28mg Chicken breast
Phosphorus 246mg 234mg Chicken breast
Potassium 276mg 677mg Ground chicken
Sodium 79mg 75mg Ground chicken
Zinc 1.08mg 1.92mg Ground chicken
Copper 0.054mg 0.062mg Ground chicken
Manganese 0.021mg 0.016mg Chicken breast
Selenium 26.2µg 14.3µg Chicken breast
Vitamin A 23IU 0IU Chicken breast
Vitamin A RAE 7µg 0µg Chicken breast
Vitamin E 0.42mg 0.39mg Chicken breast
Vitamin D 5IU Chicken breast
Vitamin D 0.1µg Chicken breast
Vitamin B1 0.079mg 0.121mg Ground chicken
Vitamin B2 0.125mg 0.302mg Ground chicken
Vitamin B3 14.782mg 7.107mg Chicken breast
Vitamin B5 1.04mg 1.327mg Ground chicken
Vitamin B6 0.64mg 0.538mg Chicken breast
Folate 4µg 2µg Chicken breast
Vitamin B12 0.37µg 0.51µg Ground chicken
Choline 95.9mg 59mg Chicken breast
Vitamin K 2.4µg 2.1µg Chicken breast
Tryptophan 0.39mg 0.196mg Chicken breast
Threonine 1.412mg 0.97mg Chicken breast
Isoleucine 1.765mg 1.06mg Chicken breast
Leucine 2.509mg 1.816mg Chicken breast
Lysine 2.836mg 2.014mg Chicken breast
Methionine 0.925mg 0.596mg Chicken breast
Phenylalanine 1.328mg 0.912mg Chicken breast
Valine 1.659mg 1.102mg Chicken breast
Histidine 1.037mg 0.706mg Chicken breast
Cholesterol 91mg 107mg Chicken breast
Trans Fat 0.087g Chicken breast
Saturated Fat 1.29g 3.11g Chicken breast
Omega-3 - DHA 0.03g 0.031g Ground chicken
Omega-3 - EPA 0.01g 0.008g Chicken breast
Omega-3 - DPA 0.02g 0.016g Chicken breast
Monounsaturated Fat 1.72g 4.879g Ground chicken
Polyunsaturated fat 1.07g 2.08g Ground chicken
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.015g Ground chicken
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 1.787g Ground chicken
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.02g Ground chicken
Omega-3 - ALA 0.081g Ground chicken

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Chicken breast Ground chicken
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
50%
Chicken breast
42%
Ground chicken
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
40%
Chicken breast
38%
Ground chicken

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Ground chicken
Ground chicken contains less Sodium (difference - 4mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Chicken breast
Chicken breast is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 16mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Chicken breast
Chicken breast is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.82g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Chicken breast
Chicken breast is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Chicken breast
Chicken breast is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Chicken breast - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171078/nutrients
  2. Ground chicken - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171117/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.