Which Meats are Highest in Protein?

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A diet rich in protein is the first step towards muscle gains, and there are few foods that pack quite as much protein per serving as meats. Protein rich meats are savory, filling, and downright delicious when prepared well. They're also incredibly beneficial if you want to stay fit and build muscle strength and mass.

The Top Protein Rich Meats for Building Muscle

Not all protein rich meats are created equal. There are plenty of other factors you'll want to keep in mind, including saturated fat. Also, the cut of meat affects how much protein it offers per serving. For example, ounce-for-ounce, chicken leg meat will not provide the same amount of protein as chicken breast meat. If you want the absolute most protein per three-ounce serving, these cuts of protein rich meats always come out on top.

Chicken Breast

Protein per 200 Calories: 37.5g
It may not be the most exotic choice on this list, but it's a tried and true option for every taste. Chicken breast is one of the most commonly consumed low fat meats in the US, providing about 25 grams of protein in every three-ounce serving. It's versatile and budget-friendly, so keep your fridge and freezer stocked with it.


Protein per 200 Calories: 32.2g
Practically every list of healthy, high-protein foods includes salmon. That's because this super-food contains around 22 grams of protein per three-ounce serving and offers a multitude of other health benefits. It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, so it's a heart-healthy choice that can help reduce inflammation as well. Eating fish at least once a week can be a great way to improve your health.

Ground Pork

Protein per 200 Calories: 34.2g
Pork is another protein-packed meat that's full of flavor. While you might think a lean cut, such as tenderloin, would be the best choice, ground pork actually has a little more protein per ounce, providing 22 grams for every three ounces consumed. While it's not one of the leanest meats, it is a flavorful swap for ground beef.


Protein per 200 Calories: 41.7g
Although it's not considered the healthiest fish option out there, there's no denying that tilapia is a protein powerhouse. One three-ounce serving contains a little over 22 grams of protein. However, the fish may have inflammatory properties so should be enjoyed in moderation.

Bison Steak

Protein per 200 Calories: 39.9g
This cut of meat is making quite a statement, gradually popping up in more and more restaurants and grocery stores across the country. Bison is becoming a popular beef substitute because it provides about the same amount of protein (around 21 grams for every 3 ounces) with a lot less fat.


Protein per 200 Calories: 41.4g
While elk may not be the first thing you think of when you're planning your meals for the week, you could benefit from adding this nutritious option to your list of protein rich meats. Similar to bison, elk also contains about 21 grams of protein in a three-ounce portion. It's also one of the low fat meats that's a great alternative to beef, with fewer calories and nearly half the fat. Look for it online or in specialty food stores.

Beef Steak

Protein per 200 Calories: 31.6g
Beef is a flavorful and easy-to-find ingredient that makes everyday meals feel just a little more special. A beef steak can contain as much as 20 grams of protein in just 3 ounces, so it's a great choice if you want to build more muscle. Like many other protein rich meats, it can be high in fat depending on the cut, so opt for a leaner selection. Check out this list of the leanest cuts of beef for more options.

Turkey Breast

Protein per 200 Calories: 41.0g
Turkey is a common lunch meat choice, but eating whole turkey breast is an even better way to get your daily dose of protein, with around 20 grams in a three-ounce serving. Turkey is an excellent option all around because it's mild and easy to find. It's also one of the best low fat meats out there.


Protein per 200 Calories: 36.0g
Another heart-healthy fish that's also rich in protein is tuna. Even the canned stuff can be great for building muscle, offering about 20 grams of protein in three ounces. Fresh or frozen can yield even more nutrients and protein per serving. Tuna is one of the highest protein fish there is.

Beef Jerky

Protein per 200 Calories: 16.2g
If you're looking for a snack food that is rich in protein, beef jerky is a great option. Three ounces of this popular snack item offer an impressive 27 grams of protein, making it one of the top protein rich meats by weight. However, a serving size of jerky is usually only one ounce because it's so high in sodium. Jerky is so high in protein by weight mainly because the curing process removes most of the water weight. 

Enjoying Protein Rich Meats With Ease

Keep in mind that the amount of protein per serving for each type of meat may vary depending on where you look. This can be due to a variety of factors, including whether or not the meat was weighed before or after preparation and what specific cut was used. If you want to make adding a variety of protein rich meats to your diet easier than ever, Prospre can help. Try our macro meal planning app to personalize your nutrition today.

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