Ultimate Guide to Cuts of Chicken

Chicken is one of the most versatile meats you can cook with. Mild in flavor and tender in texture, chicken works well in just about any recipe you can think of.

Chicken is one of the most versatile meats you can cook with. Mild in flavor and tender in texture, chicken works well in just about any recipe you can think of. Although chicken breasts are arguably the most popular cut, there are so many ways to use all of the amazing cuts of chicken once you know what to do with them.


Whole Bird

The most economical way to use chicken is to cook up the whole bird and enjoy it over a few days or a week. Once cooked, chicken meat can be added to sandwiches, salads, soups, stews or reheated in just about any way you like. Plus, the bones and carcass are easily used to make a delicious and healthy stock that you can use it many more meals to come. If you need some inspiration, check out our favourite recipes for chicken broth.


Breasts, Boneless Skinless

Lean and versatile, the boneless and skinless chicken breast is the most popular cut of chicken, however it also has the opportunity to be the driest. Cook them whole or in strips, slow cooked, poached, baked, grilled or fried, but be sure to add lots of flavor and moisture to ensure they don’t become tough and rubbery.


Breasts, Bone-in Skin-on 

Bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts provide much more flavour than the boneless and skinless version, however they do take longer to cook. The bone can add up to 50% of the cooking time, but it’s well worth the wait for added flavour. To keep them extra juicy, add some cooking fat or oil between the skin and the breast and allow it to seep into the meat as it cooks.


Thighs, Boneless Skinless

Arguably the tastiest cut of the chicken, thighs have a combination of darker and lighter meat that provides a depth of flavor. Due to their size, boneless chicken thighs cook incredibly fast on the grill or roasted in the oven for a quick and easy meal.


Thighs, Bone-In Skin-On

Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs provide even more flavor then their boneless counterparts, but much like bone-in breasts, they do take longer to cook. The best way to cook bone-in skin-on chicken thighs is to roast them in the oven, and finish them off under the broiler to help crisp up the skin.



If you love ¼ chicken dinner, this is the cut for you! Legs are the combination of thighs and drumsticks that have not been separated, providing a larger portion and more cooking area. Not only do they look great served whole, but cook well on the BBQ, grill or roasted low and slow in the oven.



Drumsticks are the shins of the chicken, or the smaller part of the leg cut. Similar to wings, they come with a bone and skin, and work well on the grill or oven. Marinated in a rich sauce, they are an inexpensive cut that can feed a crowd.



Chicken wings are a pub classic or perfect game-day dish. They have a richer and darker meat, similar to drumsticks and thighs, and work well roasted, grilled, barbecued or fried. If you are looking for a lighter way to serve them, they also cook very well roasted in the oven until their skin is golden and crisp.

Article By: 

Stephanie Kay Nutrition

Posted on January 29th, 2024