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How Many Cups are in a Pound of Chicken?

So, I bet you are wondering, “How many cups of chicken are in a pound?” The question perhaps doesn’t come up every day, but when it does, then best be darn sure you know the answer. Because sometimes it just isn’t like you have a digital scale handy to weigh it out. Sometimes your hands are full, or you have to get something on or off the hot stove before it burns.

casserole dish with chicken and vegetables and a wood spoon with text "how many cups of chicken in a pound?"

Sometimes, you just have a burning need to know… In those moments, knowing at least with some degree of certainty how many cups of chicken in a pound might be, maybe not a lifesaver, but a meal saver for sure!

How Much Will a Pound of Chicken Serve Approximately?

Depending on the recipe, and whether you measure the chicken cooked or uncooked, with skin and fat intact or removed, most recipes use about 1/2 lb per serving of chicken. Pre-weighing chicken, cooked or uncooked typically leaves out the chicken skin and bones.

Put those chicken skin, bones, and fats aside to use in making a chicken stock. (You can freeze them for a few weeks until you are ready to simmer the stock.)

Cups of Shredded Chicken, Diced Chicken, and Uncooked Deboned Chicken Breast

With pre-measuring chicken into pound sized portions with a measuring in cup instead of an actual scale, prep matters most. For example, shredded chicken, properly drained, packs a cup more densely, but it retains less water too next to cooked cubed chicken breast.

Remember, a pound of raw skinless deboned chicken loses about 30% of the weight, so keep that in mind when determining portion size as well.

  • 1/3 pound raw skinless boneless chicken = 1 cup cubed/diced chicken
  • 1 pound whole chicken = 1 cup cooked deboned chicken
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts (raw) = 5 – 6 cups shredded chicken

How Many Cups of Cooked Chicken in a Pound?

Do you know off the top of your head how many cups of chicken are in a pound?

Well, it is sort of a trick question. Because truth be told, there is a huge difference between a cup of cooked chicken and a cup of uncooked chicken. Uncooked chicken, especially packaged uncooked chicken breast meat, is full of water. And when you cook it, then that water evaporates along with all that water’s weight.

So, an average pound of uncooked chicken is a cup, but that same cup of cooked chicken will weigh about 3 quarters of a pound. Provided you separated the cooked chicken from any standing liquid in the cooking pan of course.

So 6 cups is 2 lbs. That’s enough to feed 8 people or really stretch it in a casserole!

How Much Meat is on a Cooked Rotisserie Chicken?

A cooked rotisserie chicken typically weighs between two and three pounds. If you remove the skin and bones, then shred the meat, you will get about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded chicken meat depending on the size of the cooked chicken to start.

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how much chicken do you need infographic for showing how many cups of chicken are in a pount

Click here to download this printable cheat sheet.

Boned Chicken vs Chicken Without Bones

Keep in mind also, that there is no need to include bones in the cup, just the meat. This isn’t just for the fact that the bones weigh differently, but also because you don’t want to eat chicken bones. Not even dogs should eat chicken bones, cooked or uncooked. Save the bones for the stock pot.

Tips for Chopped Cooked Chicken

If you need a pound of chopped cooked chicken for a cup measure, then here are a few handy tips:

  • Make sure the chicken cooks thoroughly. Food safety standards are higher these days, but better safe than sorry. Overcooked chicken is still edible. Under-cooked chicken is a risk you just don’t want to take. If you can measure the temp, then chicken cooks to done at 165-175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut your pieces of chicken breast into a equal as possible chunks so that they cook evenly. If you first cut the lengthwise strips, then you can easy cut across the strips to make reasonably similar cubes, perfect for adding to a cup measure when you need a pound for your recipes.
  • Separate and remove the cooked chicken from any liquids that evaporated (water) or extracted (fats). Drain the meat thoroughly. This is good not only for getting a good measure in the cup, but also reduces the calories, and makes it much easier to store in the fridge or in the freezer.
  • What are you using the chicken for? Bite size cubes work perfectly for salads and soups, but you can make much smaller pieces if you intend to use it for things like tacos and burritos.

Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!

bowl of shredded chicken and peppers

Pre-Seasoning Cups of Chicken in a Pound for Recipes

If you are cooking chicken for a cup of meat, then you may wonder if it is best to season the chicken when you cook it, or season it afterwards. It all depends on how much you need for the recipe and what you might have left over after getting however many cups of chicken in a pound or more per your recipe. In this case, season the meat in the recipe because then you have the flexibility to use the extra chicken in any other recipe.

If you season beforehand then you limit yourself to recipes that have the same basic ingredients.

Is a Cup of Beef also a Pound?

Oddly enough, two cups of cooked ground beef equal approximately one pound cooked and drained. It might seem weird that a chicken only requires one cup of cooked meat to make a pound, while for beef it is two, but the two meats have much different densities and different levels of moisture and fats.

For a pound of ground cooked beef, drained, measure out two cups.

How much Cooked Pork in a Cup makes a Pound?

One cup of cooked and drained chicken in a pound, two cups of cooked and drained ground beef in a pound. So, how many cups of ground pork in a pound? Turns out pork is similar to beef and requires about two cups of ground pork to make a pound.

Try it with this pork marinade and cook it in advance and store it for later use in recipes.

spoon drizzling salad dressing on eggs

What is a Typical Serving Size?

Most adults eat about 1/3 to 1/2 of a pound per serving. Plenty of wiggle room though depending on what else serves with it of course. One pound of chicken equals how many cups? I would say about 4 cups.

Storing Pre-measured Cups of Chicken, Beef, and Pork

Cooked ground beef, pork, and chicken both keep well in the fridge or freezer, so cook a few pounds at a time. Take the cooked drained meat and measure with a measuring cup, then pour it into a regular plastic cup.

Pop those in the freezer. Once they freeze, remove them and pop out your frozen cube of meat. Store them in a gallon zip locking bag for later.

Just remember that one chicken “ice cube” equals one pound, and two beef or pork cubes make a pound.

How much Water Weight will I lose when I Cook Beef, Pork, and Chicken?

Depending on the type of meat you cook, expect to love about 30% to 40% of the uncooked weight. This seems like a lot, but keep in mind, plenty of moisture retains. Otherwise, that chicken, beef, or pork would taste so dry it would be hard to even chew without cracking a tooth.

Easy Recipes to Try

Now that you know how many cups in a pound for cooked chicken, beef, and pork, try some of these recipes out.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

rotisserie chicken with text "how many cups of chicken in a pound"

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