Is Grilled Chicken Healthier Than Fried?


When planning to cook dinner, chicken often tops the list of proteins. There are several reasons for this.

Chicken is easier and faster to cook compared to beef or lamb, is a good source of protein, and can be cooked in a myriad of different ways. Chicken can be poached, braised, roasted, grilled, or fried to make endless alternative recipes in all kinds of cuisine. 

Some cooking methods are healthier than others but you may have to compromise on the taste. From the moist and juicy rotisserie chicken from a grocery store to a healthier alternative like boiled and shredded chicken, there are different ways to enjoy your protein. 

Is grilled food bad for you in general?

Grilling is probably one of the healthiest ways to cook chicken and other meats

Are your taste buds fond of spicy curried chicken from fast food restaurants, crispy fried chicken, or delicious chicken grilled at high temperatures but you are worried about weight gain? It may be time to compare what kind of chicken preparations make healthier meals.

The white meat consisting of breast and wings of a chicken is considered a healthier option than the dark meat consisting of chicken thigh and drumstick. Including white meat in your meals offers you a healthy diet as it is high in protein and contains low amounts of saturated fat.

There are endless alternatives to how chicken can be cooked. Knowing some basic facts about them allows you to choose a healthy option.

You can also tweak things slightly to serve chicken in healthy ways. If you are wondering whether grilling chicken is a healthier option with fewer calories than fried chicken, read along to discover all you need to know. 

Is grilled chicken healthy?

Grilled chicken is a popular option worldwide when it comes to cooking chicken. There are some reasons for it.

  • It’s a good source of protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc
  • Grilled chicken can fit a healthy diet plan
  • Grilled chicken can be served in different ways including wraps, and chicken sandwiches, as an entrée.
  • Grilled chicken is easy to prepare
  • The grilling process gives the meat a great smoky flavor

However, the health benefits of grilled chicken completely depend on the grilling process. The key to preserving the nutritional value of grilled chicken is to ensure the meat is not exposed to extremely high temperatures.

Overcooking and charring the meat can do more harm than help. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and other chemicals form when meat is cooked on high heat directly over an open flame for a long time, especially over 300ºF.

According to the National Cancer Institute, high levels of HCA exposure from cooked meat may increase the risk of cancer.

Is grilled chicken healthy for heart?

Other studies have found HCAs, PAHs, and other chemicals are connected to type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and increased risk of heart diseases. and 

The best way to ensure the safe cooking of grilled chicken is to follow these rules.

  • Ensure, the chicken is cooked on high enough heat to destroy food-borne bacteria 
  • Use a food thermometer to avoid over-charring
  • Keep monitoring the chicken at regular intervals when exposed to heat
  • Flip the chicken to ensure even cooking
  • Let the chicken get nice and brown but don’t let it char
  • Make sure the chicken is neither undercooked nor is it overcooked

Compared to grilling a turkey breast, chicken breasts contain fewer calories and low saturated fats. That makes grilled chicken a healthier option for preventing higher levels of cholesterol in the body.

High cholesterol can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments. 

Grilled chicken without batter or coating is best for health
It’s often the sauce or coating on grilled chicken that is bad for your health


Is grilled healthier than fried chicken?

The names say it all! One preparation is grilled and the other fried in hot oil. Frying food is never the healthiest way to cook meat.

No matter what types of chickens are being prepared in your kitchen, extra fat is always a culprit for health problems! 

Although not the best option, grilling chicken does not involve as much oil as frying it. The grilling process permits to avoid excess fat and reduce the calorie load.

Fried chicken may taste better with a crunchy coating and a juicy, tender meat but that comes at a cost! Some studies suggest, the kind of oil used for frying also has an important role to play in taste and health.

Oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, and avocado oil have a higher snake point and are safer for frying foods compared to other oils. 

Grilled vs fried chicken calories

Light-tasting, healthier grilled chicken may not score as high in taste but it can always be made mouth-smacking in different ways. Aromatic and tenderizing marinade, sprinkling spices, squeezing some lemon juice, sauces, and salads can amp up the taste of grilled chicken while serving.

Many people wonder if chicken skin comes into the list of fats to be avoided. Surprisingly, as opposed to old beliefs, new studies suggest chicken skin may be beneficial for your heart.

It is a good source of saturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, proteins, and other vitamins. Additionally, leaving some skin on the chicken prevents the meat from drying out.

Grilling a chicken on dry heat with skin will be more flavorful, moist, and healthy. However, excessive skin or fatty parts on the grilled chicken can make it unhealthy.

Check the nutrition label on your chicken before grilling to ensure you are eating grilled chicken that’s way healthier than fried chicken.

Grilled chicken vs fried chicken calories

Counting calories is not always easy.

3 ounces of grilled chicken breast contains 2 grams of fat and 110 calories. The calories almost double when it comes to deep fried, breaded fried chicken. 3 ounces of fried chicken breast contains 11 grams of fat and 220 calories. Both have their flip sides.

Meat cooked on extremely high heat produces heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are harmful to health. 

What’s the difference between grilled chicken vs fried chicken protein?

Wondering how many grams of protein does 4-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast have? It has about 35 grams of protein.

That means one such serving may meet three-quarters requirements of the daily protein needs of an adult. 

Fried chicken is not losing the race! A 4-ounce serving of fried chicken has 34 grams of protein. Chicken loses some protein while frying but gains about 2.5 grams of starch in the process.

Grilled chicken vs fried chicken nutrition facts

A major benefit of grilled chicken over fried chicken is the less fat intake. Additionally, some nutrients are lost when the chicken is fried. 

Due to the presence of excessive oil, fried chicken is difficult to digest. Excessive intake of fried foods may lead to digestive diseases like ulcers and gallstones.

Grilled or fried chicken is not the best option for cooking a healthy chicken meal. However, grilled chicken contains fewer calories and more protein, making it a healthier option of the two. 

Cooked, either way, chicken contains calcium, phosphorus, and selenium (a rich antioxidant) that are beneficial for health.

What types of chicken you choose also makes a considerable difference. Go for organic, grass-fed, fresh chicken that does not contain preservatives or additives.

Is grilled chicken heart healthy?

Watching what you eat can significantly contribute to a healthy heart. If you are fond of including a portion of grilled chicken to a hearty meal, a lightly grilled chicken is the best option.

Chicken is a low-fat protein choice and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 19% compared to red meats. 

Which is better for health: grilled vs fried chicken sandwich

Fried chicken is cooked in oil making it big on calories. A 152gram sandwich has 420 calories.

A 230gram grilled version of the same has 419 calories. That makes the fried chicken sandwich massive in calories. 

Consuming more calories means an increased risk of heart disease and obesity. Grilling chicken has lower fat content as the fat drips off the meat as the chicken cooks over the flame. That makes grilled chicken sandwiches a healthier option.

Which is healthier: grilled chicken vs fried chicken chick-fil-a

Fried chicken Chic-fil-A breaded chicken sandwich from the popular fast food restaurants has a unique taste that comes from the secret recipe.

The boneless chicken breasts are seasoned, hand-breaded, and pressure cooked in refined peanut oil. The fried chicken is served on a toasted, buttered bun. 

One Chick-fil-A sandwich contains 435 calories. A 230gram grilled chicken sandwich contains 419 calories. Considering the calorie load, a grilled chicken sandwich is a healthier option. 

Grilled chicken is healthier than fried
Leave out the fries and any bread: this way grilled chicken is very good for you


FAQ relating to is grilled chicken healthier than fried

What is better grilled or fried chicken?

The most notable difference between grilled chicken and fried chicken is their cooking methods. The taste also differs considerably as one is fried in hot oil with a coating of flour, bread crumb, or batter and the other is cooked directly on an open flame.

Fried chicken is more fattening without doubt due to the excess use of oil for frying. 

Why is grilled chicken healthier?

Grilling chicken allows the meat to retain more protein compared to fried chicken. Frying chicken in oils with low smoke points releases carcinogenic substances that are added to the food.

Additionally, it has lower fat content and calories. That makes grilled chicken a healthier option compared to deep-fried chicken. 

What is healthiest way to cook chicken?

It’s clear that frying chicken in oil is the least healthy way to cook chicken. The healthiest way to cook chicken is to steam, poach, pressure cook, sous vide, microwave, or grill chicken. 

What are the disadvantages of grilling?

Grilled chicken sounds good but the process is time-consuming. It involves hard work, preparation, and patience.

Grilling chicken may steal moisture and make the meat dry, hard, and chewy. 

Not monitoring the meat and turning it often can give a crispy top but leave the meat uncooked inside.

Overcooking and charring grilled chicken can be harmful to health due to the formation of heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

We love chicken