Is Turkey Better At Building Muscle Than Chicken?

2 min read

We find out if this classic Christmas bird is healthier and better at building muscle than chicken

We all know the benefits of chicken and how it helps to build muscle due to it’s high protein levels, but what about turkey? Our favourite festive bird to chow down on, with most of us tucking into turkey as part of our Christmas dinner, we thought we’d find out is turkey healthier than chicken?

Turkey vs chicken : which has more protein?

Although protein can be consumed from a wide variety of foods such as Greek yoghurt, eggs and oats, chicken and turkey are the most popular high protein meats and are also lean, perfect for gym goers and those looking to get into shape. Foods that are rich in protein, such as turkey and chicken, release energy slowly, making you feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on fatty and sugary snacks.

Lemon Chicken
Photo by Mark DeYoung / Unsplash

If we were to compare 28g of cooked breast meat, chicken has just 1g more than turkey:

  • Chicken breast: 9 grams
  • Turkey breast: 8 grams

Although chicken technically has more protein than turkey in it's breast meat, either would be a great choice as part of a well-balanced meal as 1g of protein wouldn’t make a dramatic difference. The protein content in wing meat is also around the same in both birds compared to breast meat, about 9g.

When we compare 28g of thigh meat however, turkey provides an extra 1g of protein compared to chicken.

  • Chicken thigh: 7 grams
  • Turkey thigh: 8 grams

As mentioned above, the 1g of protein disparity between the two is unlikely to make a dramatic difference and both would still be a great choice as part of a healthy, well-balanced meal.

What is healthier : Turkey or chicken?

Generally, the dark meat in chicken and turkey contains more fat than the white meat, however the dark meat in chicken contains slightly more fat and calories than dark meat cuts of turkey. When it comes to white meat, turkey is slightly leaner and contains fewer calories than chicken. It’s important to note also that tucking into these two types of poultry with the skin on means you’ll be consuming considerably more calories as the skin is quite fatty.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, both chicken and turkey contain a wealth of nutrients so it would be un-fair to say one is better than the other in that respect, although there may be some variations in which types of vitamins and minerals are present in white and dark meat.

For example, chicken breast contains more niacin and vitamin B6 than a chicken leg, but a chicken leg contains a higher amount of zinc than a chicken breast.

As well as being an excellent source of protein and low in fat, (even lower with the skin removed), turkey is also rich in vitamins B3 and B6 which are crucial to brain health and producing energy. On top of that, this festive bird is also high in magnesium, selenium and zinc, which help to boost the immune system and keep skin looking fresh.

To conclude, both turkey and chicken provide a high level of protein, with a slight 1g difference depending on the cut. Both work just as well for building muscle, and to decide if one was more healthier than the other depends on your health goals.


Jenny Shaw

A content and copywriter who loves the written word in all it's forms, Jenny is passionate about writing informative and factual blog posts, helping you achieve your goals.