Cooking Guide

Tilapia Vs Chicken: Which Is The Healthier Protein?

Tilapia and chicken are great ways to get protein while keeping your grocery bill and your weight in line.

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Have you ever wondered what kind of food is better for your health?

Let’s accompany us and find the answer in this article.

What is tilapia?

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Tilapia is the name of different species of fish in the cichlid family.

It is mostly found in tropical regions, in freshwater habitats like rivers or lakes from many Asian countries like China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Mediterranean, or Africa.

Tilapia is a lean freshwater fish that has a very low fat content.

Therefore, it has a mild taste and is perfect for those who want to lose some pounds.

Tilapia is often served fried with lemon and pepper seasoning or lightly coated with a light olive oil and herb marinade for an extra flavorful taste.

In general, wild tilapia is healthier than its factory-farmed counterpart, which is raised with industrial feed and antibiotics.

Tilapia is basically less nutritious than other saltwater fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna because it is lower in omega-3 fatty acids and iron.

That’s why tilapia is much cheaper and more affordable for people from any class.

What is chicken?

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Chicken is a popular kind of poultry meat that can be found in any cuisine in the world.

It is even a staple in countries such as India, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka that have religious diet restrictions on red meat like pork and beef.

There are plenty of chicken breeds in the world with different characteristics in their temperament, purposes, texture, and taste of their meat, or egg sizes.

In general, chicken meat has a mildly sweet flavor and is tender in texture.

Chicken can be sold in the whole bird or in primal cuts like chicken breast, chicken wings, chicken drumsticks, and chicken thighs.

Chicken is favored by many people of all ages because it is a versatile meat option that can be cooked in numerous ways, including grilling, broiling, roasting, baking, boiling, deep-frying, or braising.

Chicken breast, or known as white meat chicken, is the leanest part of chicken with very little fat.

It is also the most sought-after cut and sold at a higher price compared to other dark meat parts like chicken wings or legs.

What are the differences between tilapia and chicken?

Tilapia and chicken differ in many ways, from their textures, tastes, cooking methods, nutrient values, or prices.

All these differences are broken into pieces in the comparison table below so that you can easily see what separates chicken and tilapia:

TypeFreshwater fishPoultry meat
Condition when soldTilapia is often sold while still swimming in the waterMostly sold on the market after being slaughtered Can be sold in the whole bird or individual cuts
TextureSoft flesh, crispy skin when cookedMeaty, tender but firm, crispy skin when fried, roasted, or baked
TasteMild, even tastelessWhite meat chicken is mild Dark meat chicken is more flavorful
Nutritional contentLower in protein, fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol Higher in vitamin B12Higher in protein, fat, phosphorus, folate, selenium, niacin, fatty acids
Common useDeep-fried or baked (the whole fish or just the fillet)The whole chicken is often baked, roasted, boiled Cut-up chicken is deep-fried, grilled, baked, broiled, roasted, stewed
PopularityLess popular, mainly in Asia (China, Taiwan, Vietnam), and AfricaMore popular, can be found in any cuisine Chicken is a staple in countries that Muslims and Hindus live because these religions don’t eat pork and beef

What are the similarities between tilapia vs chicken?

Despite many differences between tilapia fish and chicken, there are also several similarities between these two ingredients, as listed below:

1. Tilapia and chicken are low in fat and cholesterol, making them ideal for weight loss

As already mentioned, tilapia and chicken are both low in saturated fat.

That’s why poultry and fish are always considered healthier alternatives for red meat like pork and beef.

This makes them ideal for your heart health, as well as provides you with sufficient protein without adding more weight to your body.

2. Tilapia and chicken are milder in taste compared to other kinds of fish or meat

Another similarity between tilapia and chicken is that tilapia and chicken have a milder taste than other kinds of fish and poultry meat.

Some people even say tilapia and chicken, especially chicken breast, are tasteless.

Therefore, tilapia and chicken are often well-marinated before cooking so that all the flavors from the spices and herbs can penetrate into the flesh.

3. Tilapia and chicken can be cooked in different ways

The last thing in common between chicken and tilapia is their versatility.

They can be cooked in different ways, like frying or baking in the oven to achieve crispy skin and juicy meat.

There are more ways to cook chicken, but in general, you can create numerous dishes with these cooking ingredients.

Which one is better?

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In the end, tilapia and chicken are both great sources of lean protein and they are perfect ingredients to add to your diet.

Each has its own unique features and similarities, so choosing one over the other all comes down to your personal preference.

Hopefully, with the information in this article, you have a better understanding of tilapia and chicken and it is great to try them both before deciding what your taste buds want more.

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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