Roundups

October 6, 2022

50 Easy + Healthy High Protein Chicken Recipes

Whether your goal is weight loss, building muscle, or just enjoying your meals, these high protein chicken recipes are easy, healthy, and just plain delicious. Each recipe is kid friendly, well balanced, and made with simple, nourishing ingredients.

When I tell people I share healthy recipes on my blog, I often hear comments like "I hope it's more than chicken and broccoli" or "do they actually taste good?"

Yes and yes!

Contrary to popular belief, there is more to "eating healthy" than plain chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice. (That's actually why I started my blog in the first place!)

So that's what today's blog post is all about: I'm sharing 50 mouth-watering chicken recipes that are easy to make, high in protein, and outrageously delicious.

Just to put that in perspective, that's one new chicken recipe per week for the next year, only skipping the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas (because turkey has claimed those holidays).

There's something here for every season, every palate, every diet, and every age, including kids!

Leave a star rating and comment below if this post was helpful and let me know which recipe(s) you want to try!

A chicken burger with a bite out of it

All about protein

What is a high protein meal?

In my professional opinion, high-protein meals have at least 20 grams of protein per serving OR at least 25% of the calories from the whole meal come from protein.

My definition of "high protein" looks different for snacks and desserts, though.

Instead of just comparing the amount of protein to the other macronutrients in the recipe, I also compare the amount of protein to the "regular" amount of protein you might find in a traditional recipe.

For example, this Protein Banana Bread has 8 grams of protein per slice. It doesn't meet the criteria above, but compared to every other banana bread recipe out there, that's a lot of protein per serving! So I consider this recipe to be a "high protein" recipe.

For the most accurate information, I recommend reading the nutrition facts of recipes or dishes to know about how much protein is in each serving.

Why is protein important?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients our bodies need each day.

It helps build muscle, strengthen connective tissue, boost metabolism, curb sugar cravings, and so much more.

To learn more about the benefits of protein, check out the beginning of this article!

BBQ chicken tostadas with fresh slaw on top


Is it a good idea to eat chicken every day?

While chicken is a great source of protein, too much of anything can be harmful.

My rule of thumb is moderation in all things, and to achieve, that, I focus on using a variety of ways to create a high-protein diet.

In fact, combining other high protein foods with chicken is one of the best ways to hit your fitness goals or weight loss goals because you'll stay fuller longer, which means less snacking (aka consuming fewer calories) throughout the entire day.

It also creates a more healthy meal overall and boosts the flavor of the dish.

Here is a simple list of high protein foods:

  • Animal products like beef, chicken, poultry, fish, or eggs.
  • Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
  • Nuts like almonds, cashews, or pecans, and nut butters like peanut butter and almond butter.
  • Seeds like pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, or hemp seeds
  • Low-fat cheeses like feta cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or cottage cheese
  • Low fat milk or fortified milk
  • Greek yogurt (any type)
  • Plant based sources like tofu and dark leafy greens
  • Supplements like protein powder or nutritional yeast


All about chicken

Which part of the chicken has the most protein?

  • Skinless chicken breast: 31 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces
  • Chicken thighs: 26 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces
  • Chicken wings: 30 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces
  • Chicken drumstick: 28 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces

Chicken enchiladas served with beans, guacamole, and chips


Is chicken a good source of protein?

Chicken is a lean protein that is easy to prepare and quite affordable, too. One skinless chicken breast only has 2 grams of carbs per serving with 23 grams of protein.

It's a great way to get enough protein with your meal, and it's an easy way to make a complete meal.

While chicken doesn't have the fastest cooking time of all the meats, it's quite versatile in how you can cook it.

How do you know when chicken is done cooking?

The best way to know when chicken is done is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The display should read 165°F.

Different ways to cook chicken

  • In a skillet on the stovetop
  • On a sheet pan in the oven
  • Pressure cooked in the Instant pot
  • "Fried" in the air fryer
  • Steamed in a slow cooker
  • Seared or charred on the grill
  • Slow roasted in a smoker
  • Over a fire wrapped in aluminum foil

A bowl of chicken alfredo with broccoli


High protein chicken recipes

I've rounded up some of my best chicken recipes, as well as some of my favorite recipes that you can add to or substitute with chicken.

Each of these recipes is easy to make and has at least 15 grams of protein per serving.

For the full recipes, click on the links and find the recipe card at the bottom of each blog post.

If you love this blog post, leave a comment below and click the "heart" icon on the right corner of your screen to save it to your favorites list!

Main dishes

1) Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Alfredo: one of my all time favorite recipes. It's creamy, it has 43 grams of protein per serving, and it's so easy to make. This alfredo is my family's go-to recipe for busy weeknights!

2) Sheet Pan Chicken Cordon Bleu: a reader favorite that's served with roasted root vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. I promise it's way easier to make than you think! This recipe doesn't call for the traditional creamy sauce, so you can focus on the protein as the star of the show.

3) Healthy Pepperoni Pizza Chicken Parmesan: like the classic parmesan chicken but with pizza sauce (or pasta sauce), pepperoni, and fresh basil on top. Yum. Each serving of this pepperoni chicken parmesan has 35 grams of protein.

A bowl of white chicken chili with cheese, tortilla chips, and jalapenos on top

4) Instant Pot White Chicken Chili: easily our family's favorite recipe of all time. It's a creamy chili with shredded chicken, corn, pinto beans, turkey bacon, and diced green chilis. It's literally heaven in a bowl with 34 grams of protein per serving. The best part? The Instant Pot does all the work! Grab the recipe here.

5) Healthy BLT Ranch Chicken Casserole: the iconic sandwich made into a warm, cozy casserole. All you have to do is toss all the ingredients in a large bowl, add to a baking dish, and cook in the oven. This chicken casserole is SO easy and the depth of flavor is absolutely incredible.

6) Baked Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Crema: a delicious dinner the whole family will love! Each taquito has shredded chicken, corn, cream cheese, and some taco seasoning wrapped inside. The avocado crema is made with greek yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream and really takes these homemade taquitos to the next level.

7) Chicken Caprese Grilled Cheese Melts: the perfect pair to a creamy tomato soup. It's the perfect end-of-summer recipe to use up all the tomatoes and basil. Each grilled cheese has over 50 grams of protein!

8) BLT Chicken Burgers with a Pretzel Bun: all the delicious flavors from the iconic sandwich but with avocado, pepper jack cheese, honey mustard, and a pretzel bun, too. Your taste buds will love you! Grab this amazing burger recipe here.

9) Baked Buffalo Chicken Nuggets: a healthier twist on a game day favorite. They can be made in the oven or the air fryer, and they can easily be gluten free and dairy free, too. Enjoy your buffalo nuggets as a fun party food or an easy chicken dinner for the whole family.

Arugula salad with grilled chicken, almonds, feta, and raspberries

10) Raspberry Almond Arugula Salad with Lemon Pepper Chicken: one of those "I'm-full-but-only-halfway-done" salads (yes, those exist!) with SO MUCH FLAVOR. I love this salad. All you need is a splash of lemon juice, lemon zest, a little bit of oil, and black pepper for the chicken marinade!

11) Baked Hawaiian BBQ Chicken with Jalapeno Pineapple Salsa: another reader favorite that's naturally gluten free and dairy free. The tangy BBQ sauce with the savory bacon, the sweetness of the coconut milk rice, and the acidic pineapple salsa is unbeatable. If you're sick of chicken, this recipe is for you!

12) Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole: a low carb recipe inspired by the game day appetizer. All you need is shredded chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheddar, turkey bacon, chili powder, and jalapenos. My healthy jalapeno popper casserole is one of the highest rated recipes on my blog for a good reason!

13) Easy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Bowls: I kind of wrote this recipe during a freezer clean-out week and thought it was so good it deserved a permanent spot on the blog. All you need is chicken, frozen veggies, quinoa, and parmesan cheese!

14) 5 Minute Buffalo Chicken Wraps: nothing fancy here, just some shredded chicken, hot sauce, broccoli slaw, bleu cheese dressing, and your wrap of choice. These wraps are a quick lunch you'll come back to over and over again.

Lemon chicken stir fry in a large skillet

15) Easy Lemon Chicken Stir Fry: an easy skillet meal ready in 30 minutes. Each bite of this delicious stir fry has juicy chicken, snap peas, and toasted cashews tossed in a lemon ginger soy sauce reduction and served over brown rice.

16) Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos: an easy recipe you could practically make in your sleep. The Instant Pot does all the work and you get an amazing Taco Tuesday dinner with a high protein content and incredible flavor. I like serving these tacos with a side of black beans and all the toppings.

17) Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Nuggets: a fun variation of chicken nuggets the kids will love. I love homemade chicken nuggets with a good dipping sauce, and these pretzel chicken nuggets are dunked in honey mustard. YUM.

18) 30 Minute BBQ Chicken Pizza: my husband's absolute favorite. It's a nearly perfect macro friendly recipe with 20 grams of protein PER SLICE of pizza and the dough is only two ingredients. You need this pizza recipe in your weekly rotation!

Crispy buffalo chicken tacos with cilantro lime slaw on top

19) Crispy Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw: the crispy shells, the spicy chicken, the melty cheese, the refreshing slaw. You can't go wrong! These tacos are one of those quick meals you'll come back to for sure.

20) Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs: a foolproof homemade meatball method and a 3 ingredient sauce makes these meatballs a must for all your holiday festivities. If you want to spice things up, try adding a dash of cayenne pepper to the sauce!

21) Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash: this recipe is originally made with ground turkey but could easily use ground chicken instead. Each stuffed yellow squash has seasoned meat, fresh thyme, celery, apples, cranberries, and a drizzle of maple syrup. It's all the best fall flavors in one easy dish!

22) Summer Breakfast Skillet with Squash: one of the oldest recipes on my blog but still yummy. Swap the turkey for chicken and you've got an easy meal prep recipe in less than 20 minutes! Click here to make this breakfast skillet.

23) The BEST Sheet Pan Sausage and Veggies: the number one recipe on my blog had to be on the list! I think a couple chicken apple sausages would be out-of-this-world delicious in this recipe. You have to try it!

24) Healthy Homemade Shepherd's Pie: although it's traditionally made with ground beef (or in this case, ground turkey) I think ground chicken would still taste great in this shepherd's pie, especially with the savory tomato sauce, the soft vegetables, and the mashed potatoes.

25) The Ultimate Breakfast Burritos: swap the ground turkey for ground chicken and you've got a winning breakfast burrito! These freezer-friendly meal prep burritos have sauteed onions and bell peppers, crispy hash browns, scrambled egg whites, shredded cheese, and fresh salsa mixed in. They're one of my favorites!

A juicy burger with fries

26) Spicy Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Sweet Mango Sauce: a little sweet, a little spicy, and a lot of flavor. You will not be disappointed with these burgers! Serve with some homemade fries for a quick, high protein dinner.

27) Egg Roll in a Bowl: one of my favorite recipes on the blog, this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes with just a few ingredients. It's also low carb thanks to cauliflower rice and has 28 grams of protein per serving.

28) 30 Minute Hawaiian Sloppy Joes: these Healthy Hawaiian Sloppy Joe Sliders are easy to make and perfect for feeding a large crowd. Each Hawaiian Roll is stuffed with ground turkey, homemade BBQ tomato sauce, fresh pineapple, and shredded cheese. They're addictingly delicious!

29) Sheet Pan Quesadillas: although the original recipe is made with ground beef, I think these quesadillas would still taste amazing with ground chicken. In fact, because chicken is leaner than beef, you could add more cheese if you wanted to match the macros! Don't forget all the yummy toppings too, like guacamole, salsa, plain greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro.

30) The BEST Homemade Spaghetti Sauce: everybody loves this best ever homemade spaghetti sauce, including the picky eaters! It is made with thick tomato sauce, lean ground beef, and lots of hidden vegetables. This spaghetti sauce recipe is gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free.

Fish tacos with mango salsa on a cutting board

31) Air Fryer Tacos with Mango Salsa: my all time favorite recipe. These tacos are originally made with tilapia, but you could easily use grilled marinated chicken instead. The mango salsa is to die for!

32) Healthy Cacio e Pepe: a timeless pasta recipe made with healthier swaps like olive oil butter, nutritional yeast, and lots of pepper. Just swap the shrimp for grilled chicken, serve with some fresh veggies, and you're set! Grab the recipe here.

33) Better-than-takeout Orange Chicken: no breading, no frying, and no gluten. Just an amazing copycat recipe for the classic Chinese takeout dish you can make in 30 minutes right at home!

34) Sloppy Joes with Brussels Slaw: another turkey recipe that can be swapped for ground chicken. This recipe is truly one of my favorites!

35) Easy Chili con Carne: an easy dinner made in one pot with easy clean up, too. If you've got a busy night ahead, just let this chili simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker and you're golden.

36) Sweet Chili Lime Tacos with Peach Mango Salsa: just use equal amounts of chicken breasts by weight and follow the recipe instructions. The flavor is incredible and the salsa is the best part! Grab the recipe for these tacos here.

Roasted broccoli with feta and bacon

Side dishes to serve with chicken

38) Roasted Broccoli Salad: make some grilled chicken (like this 10 minute lemon pepper chicken) to go with this roasted broccoli salad! It's my favorite salad I've ever made and it's just begging for juicy chicken to share the spotlight.

39) Stuffed sweet potatoes: this blog post shares three variations of stuffed sweet potatoes, as well as tips on how to perfectly roast them every time. The best part? Season your chicken with the same flavors of your sweet potato and you've got yourself a five star meal.

40) Oven Baked Mac and Cheese: an award winning side dish that will elevate any chicken you prepare. My personal favorite? A good barbecue chicken with sauteed green beans. You need this mac and cheese recipe!

41) The BEST Sugar-free Baked Beans: there's a reason they're ranked # 1 on Google! These no sugar baked beans would go perfectly with BBQ chicken, a whole roasted chicken, or even chicken wings.

A large plate of cobb salad

42) Southwestern Cobb Salad: you know the salad almost every major sit-down restaurant has with black beans, corn, and avocado? This classic tex-mex salad is a perfect pair with some juicy grilled cilantro lime chicken.

43) Healthy Potato Salad (no mayo!): an iconic summer BBQ side dish made with better-for-you ingredients. Fire up the grill, char up some chicken, and dig in to this healthy potato salad!

44) White Cheddar Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes: the ultimate comfort food (made healthy of course!) to serve with your chicken of choice. I love serving roast chicken or breaded chicken with these scalloped potatoes.

45) Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls: a classic dish packed with veggies and all the delicious Italian flavors. Just serve with a grilled chicken breast on the side and you've got over 40 grams of protein in one serving of these high protein lasagna rolls.

46) Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad: don't knock til you try it. This salad is extremely underrated yet surprisingly delicious. Pair it with a whole roast chicken and you've got a winning holiday meal.

Butternut squash carbonara with brussels sprouts and turkey bacon

47) Creamy Butternut Squash Carbonara: a cozy fall recipe that would pair beautifully with a grilled chicken breast seasoned with some black pepper and fresh thyme. This butternut squash carbonara is rich, creamy, and so easy to make.

48) Roasted Tomato Basil Soup: since this tomato soup recipe is pretty low calorie (it's just roasted vegetables!) adding 4 ounces of chicken will help keep you fuller longer and bring everything together.

49) Roasted Cinnamon Maple Brussels Sprouts: I truly love this side dish any time of the year, but if you're looking for an amazing vegetable to pair with a roast chicken, this is it!

50) Homemade Basil Pesto: serve this delicious homemade pesto on top of some grilled chicken with mozzarella, tomatoes, and a balsamic glaze, or use in this grilled cheese recipe. It's magic.

Bonus

I have even more high protein recipes with chicken in my cookbook "Nutritious and Delicious!" Some of these include Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Chorizo Chicken, Greek Chicken Fajitas with tzatziki sauce, and Healthy Chicken Salad (no mayo).

Click here to grab your copy of my first cookbook!

I also have a delicious healthy sesame chicken ginger meatballs recipe in my second cookbook. Click here to shop my cookbook!

A bowl of cauliflower rice topped with sesame chicken meatballs


Conclusion

Whether you're building a meal plan, planning your weekly meal prep, or just searching for healthy dinner inspiration, each of these healthy chicken recipes is a great choice for a protein-rich meal. You can't go wrong!

If you're excited about these dishes, click here to subscribe to my email list so you are the first to hear about all my new recipes!

50 Easy + Healthy High Protein Chicken Recipes

Whether your goal is weight loss, building muscle, or just enjoying your meals, these high protein chicken recipes are easy, healthy, and just plain delicious. Each recipe is kid friendly, well balanced, and made with simple, nourishing ingredients.

Author:

Brooke Harmer

Prep:

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