Food Guide

The Debate Is On: Which Is Better, Chicken Legs or Thighs?

Nothing is more satisfying than cooking a nice, juicy chicken leg or thigh.

The problem is that there’s no easy way to tell which one you’re getting when you go to the grocery store.

Sure, you can ask your grocer, but they probably won’t know what you’re talking about, and they certainly won’t have any idea which one is better for dinner.

Luckily for both of us (I’m assuming), I’ve done some serious digging into the difference between these two delicious cuts of poultry and am sharing my findings here today!

Similarities:Both chicken legs and thighs are cuts of meat from the lower half of the chicken.
They are both considered darker meat, with a higher fat content than the breast.
Both are popular for various cooking methods, including roasting, grilling, and braising.
Differences:A chicken leg includes both the drumstick and the thigh, while a thigh is the upper part of the leg.
The meat on a chicken thigh is generally more tender and flavorful than on a drumstick.
Chicken thighs are typically more expensive than chicken legs because they are a more desirable meat-cut.
Chicken legs are typically cooked in fried chicken, while thighs are typically cooked in dishes such as coq au vin or chicken curry.


The terms “leg” and “thigh” are often confused and sometimes used interchangeably.

Let’s look at their origins to clarify and answer the age-old question of whether it’s better to eat chicken legs or thighs.

In parts of the world where they raise chickens for meat production, three different cuts are made from each animal: drumsticks (the lower part of the leg), thighs (the upper part of the leg), and breast meat (from between the wings).

In America, however, we harvest just two parts: drumsticks/thighs—which includes both pieces—and breasts. So what’s the difference between thighs and legs?

The leg comprises two distinct sections: the thigh, which includes the meatiest part of the bird, and the drumstick.

Thighs are bigger than legs, making them more suitable for roasting or barbecuing.


The chicken leg is made of two parts: the thigh and drumstick—you guessed it, right? Chicken thighs are just the upper part of your average chicken leg, so if you’re looking for more succulent meat on your plate without paying extra for skinless, boneless breasts, this will be your best friend.

In general, both types have high-fat content (about 25%).

Still, because they come from different parts of the body (thighs are considered “leg meat” while drumsticks are known as “wings”), they offer different flavors: Thighs can be considered fattier while drums tend to be leaner.

They also each have their unique textures: Thighs tend to be tougher and chewier compared with drumsticks which are tender and bouncy in texture. But that’s not all!

Chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks also vary in size.

A typical thigh is about 1.5 times bigger than a drumstick, which means if you’re looking for more meat to go around on your plate, thighs might be the way to go—but if you’re trying to save money or just want something smaller, then you should opt for drums instead.

Main ingredients

Chicken thigh is chicken meat from the upper portion of the bird’s leg.

The chicken leg is a type of chicken meat that comes from the upper portion of its leg.

The difference between these two cuts is not in whether they are made up of only chicken meat—they both are.

Instead, their difference lies in where the bird they come from and how much work goes into preparing them for consumption.

Chicken thigh is one of the most popular cuts of chicken meat.

It comes from the upper portion of a chicken’s leg and contains a lot of connective tissue, which makes it ideal for slow-cooking methods like braising.

The chicken leg is also a popular cut; this time, however, the lower portion of the bird’s leg gets taken off for consumption.

Taste and flavor       

So what does all this mean for your taste buds? Chicken legs are delicious and tender, but they lack some of the complexity of flavor you’ll find in chicken thighs.

If you want to make chicken leg vs chicken thigh taste better, try marinating them in a sauce before cooking or adding additional spices to enhance their natural flavors.

If you want to make chicken leg vs chicken thigh taste worse than before, feel free to dry-heat them without any liquid or seasoning—just like those sad specimens from our experiment! But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about cooking over time, nothing beats an excellent ol’ fashion brine for making meat delicious (and moist).

So dive into this classic technique as often as possible for guaranteed success every time without fail.

Whether you choose to cook chicken leg vs chicken thigh is a matter of personal preference, but we hope this article has given you some insight into the differences between these two cuts.

If nothing else, now you know that the words “leg” and “thigh” have very different meanings in our daily lives!


You know what they say: a leg is a leg, but a thigh is a thigh.

And as far as nutrition goes, this saying rings true.

Chicken thighs have more protein than chicken legs (about 19 grams per 3 oz serving compared to 17 grams).

They also have significantly more iron—about 1 milligram per serving compared to 0.7 milligrams in a 3 oz chicken breast or drumstick serving.

Both the thigh and drumstick contain just about one-fifth of the daily recommended intake for iron (18 mg) while providing 15 percent of calcium needed per 100 g serving (about 4 oz).

But even if you’re not concerned with your macronutrient ratios or micronutrients such as calcium and potassium—which should be everyone because everyone needs those things—chicken thighs still win out over their peers with their vitamin B6 content: 0.15 mg compared to just under 0 g for chicken breasts and legs/drumsticks.

Cooking time and method

When it comes to cooking, not all chicken parts are created equal.

The chicken leg is often considered the juiciest part of the bird because it contains more fat than other parts of the chicken.

This makes sense since it’s used primarily for walking and standing upright, meaning there’s no need to be as lean as other muscle groups.

The thigh is also a good choice for tenderness in your meat dish.

A thigh can be incredibly juicy and flavorful when cooked properly while still being moist (unlike dry breast meat).

But if you don’t like dark meat or want something lower in fat content, then go with boneless skinless chicken breast instead!.

The chicken breast is often considered the most versatile part of the bird because it cooks quickly, has a mild flavor, and is relatively lean.

It’s also cheaper than other parts of the chicken, so if you’re on a budget, this is definitely your best bet.

But even though it’s lower in fat than other pieces of meat, it still contains some—so don’t go overboard with overeating!.

Side dishes to pair with

It’s essential to know how to pair chicken with side dishes.

While it may seem as if a chicken thigh and a chicken leg are interchangeable, they each have their unique attributes.

If you want to pair them with potatoes or vegetables, go for the thigh! If you want something that can stand up to rice, pasta or salad (or all three), go for the leg!.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • Potato: Tossed salads make excellent complements for either cut of meat.
  • Try pairing your favorite potato salad with either cut and see which one shines brighter in contrast
  • Rice: It seems like an obvious pairing, but our research has found that nearly half of the people don’t know how best to cook rice, so we wanted to make sure everyone knows how easy it is: Put some water in a pot and bring it up until boiling then add some salt – just kidding!
  • Just put your rice there like ordinary people and let it boil on low heat until done (about 15 minutes).
  • Then fluff it up with a fork, so every grain doesn’t stick together when eaten right away like clumps sometimes do…but only if eating right away is essential enough cause otherwise, ignore this tip entirely because who cares about eating right away anyway?

Chicken legs and thighs are always a good choice for Sunday dinner or a family meal.

They are easy to cook, tasty, and nutritious.

Pair them with side dishes such as mashed potatoes and green beans; you won’t regret it!.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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