Highest Protein Cuts of Beef

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Everyone knows lean protein is important for making muscle gains and increasing strength. Chicken tends to be the go-to among lean protein meats due to its low price tag, high versatility and ease of preparation, but it’s easy to get bored eating chicken every day. Luckily, there are many high protein beef options that may make it your new favorite meat for muscle gains. And if you're looking to turn that meal into a surf and turf, also make sure to check out our article on the fish and seafood that are highest in protein.

1. Eye of Round Steak

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 23 grams
Calories: 131
Saturated Fat: 1 gram

The “round” found in this and various other cuts of beef refers to the backside of the animal, with the “eye” in its title indicating that it is found in the center of the round. Because of its importance in keeping the cow moving, the round area is a lean one. It also means that eye of round is a tougher cut and works best when it is cut into smaller bits and used in a stew or stir-fry or sliced thinly for sandwiches.

2. Top Round

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 27 grams
Calories: 131
Saturated Fat: 1 gram

Above the eye of round is the cut called the top round. As a strong but lean part of the cow, similar to the eye of round, the top round is a lean and tough cut. It benefits from being broken up into smaller chunks or slices and slow cooking over time. Its savory flavor works well with other bold ingredients such as garlic and red wine.

3. Top Sirloin

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 25 grams
Calories: 144
Saturated Fat: 1 gram

Most often sold in steak form, this cut is found in the top of the cow, like the top round. Similar to the other cuts from that hard-working part of the cow, there is little fat to be found in top sirloin. This can translate into a chewier steak experience than other cuts, but it does well when sliced into strips to help to tenderize it. Top sirloin is also a popular choice for kabobs and stir-fry.

4. Ground Beef (97/3)

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 25 grams
Calories: 137
Saturated Fat: 2 grams

When shopping for ground beef, you’ll notice it is labeled with percentages, with the most popular form coming in or around the 80/20 range, meaning the meat is 80% muscle and 20% fat. For a leaner protein, pick 97/3 ground beef. Burgers won’t be quite as juicy with this percentage of fat, but there are many other ways to incorporate lean ground beef into tasty meals. Enchiladas, tacos and lettuce wraps are just a few excellent options.

5. Liver

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 23 grams
Calories: 153
Saturated Fat: 1 gram

It turns out there was a reason liver was so popular as a healthy option way back when. While the flavor can be off-putting to some, it pairs well with other robust flavors that minimize its mineral taste. Caramelized onions are a classic option, while gravy and other strong sauces can make it much more palatable. You can even chop liver to be processed into meatloaf or meatballs.

6. Brisket

Stats for 4 oz.  (113g)

Protein: 24 grams
Calories: 140
Saturated Fat: 2 grams

Brisket makes for everyone’s favorite barbecue, but it’s more than just a tender, tasty meal. Brisket is also an excellent source of lean protein. Found around the cow’s front legs, brisket is low in fat and high in flavor when cooked low and slow for a number of hours. Add your favorite rub and sauce and enjoy.  

7. Stew Meat (Chuck)

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 25 grams
Calories: 140
Saturated Fat: 2 grams

Located in the cow’s shoulder area, “chuck” meat has more fat than many of the other cuts listed here, but it packs a punch when it comes to protein. Already chunked into cube-like bits, it’s most commonly used in stew but can also be a prime choice when paired with rice or in meat-based pasta dishes.

8. Tenderloin

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 24 grams
Calories: 153
Saturated Fat: 2 grams

Found in stores both as a whole-muscle cut or in steak form, the tenderloin earns its name, as it combines a lean cut with little fat for surprising tenderness. Most often grilled when in steak form, tenderloin can also make a scrumptious roast. Dress it with lemon-pepper and olive oil and cook it until medium rare for a delicious meal the whole house can enjoy.

9. Shoulder

Stats for 4 oz. (113g)

Protein: 24 grams
Calories: 141
Saturated Fat: 2 grams

Another cut that's excellent for roasting, shoulder meat can be found in the same area of the cow that stew meat is from. It’s hearty in flavor and pairs well with garlic, potatoes and root vegetables for a succulent pot roast.


Don't limit yourself to chicken when trying to up your lean protein game. Incorporate high protein beef into your meal prep rotations, using Prospre, the macro meal planning app, to count your macros. Your taste buds and your muscles will be thanking you later.

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