Kentucky Fried Chicken Calories: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Truth

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Kentucky Fried Chicken, also known as KFC, is a popular chain restaurant serving up fried chicken with all the fixings. The company operates locations across the globe including the USA, Canada and Japan. The history of the company dates to 1930 when Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant in a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Kentucky Fried Chicken calories and fat content present some of the worst fast food options in America but enough alternatives exist on the menu to prevent a diet nightmare.


What is now known as the “original recipe” chicken of KFC was created by Sanders in 1940. It is a signature blend of herbs and spices coated on each piece of savory chicken before it is fried. Original recipe chicken is available in whole wing, breast with or without skin and breading, thigh and drumstick. One piece of original recipe runs between 120 to 250 calories and contains from 3.5 to 17 grams of fat.

Kentucky Fried Chicken also offers extra crispy, spicy and the newest addition, grilled chicken. Each variation is available in the traditional whole wing, breast, thigh or drumstick. The extra crispy chicken serves up the most calories of all ranging from 150 to 510 and 10 to 33 grams of fat per piece. Spicy chicken contains approximately 160 to 420 calories and 10 to 27 grams of fat per piece. The grilled chicken provides the least of all with only 80 to 210 calories and 4 to 11 grams of fat per piece.


The Kentucky Fried Chicken menu offers various side items from salads, mashed potatoes, vegetables, biscuits and more. Keep an eye out for deceptively healthy appearing items, which are really calorie laden like the salads and dressings. A chicken Caesar salad with two packets of Caesar dressing and one packet of croutons can average between 810 to 900 calories and 62 to 73 grams of fat depending on whether you choose grilled or crispy chicken.

The potato salad, baked beans, and cornbread muffin each contains 210 calories; however, the potato salad also contains 11 grams of fat in comparison to the cornbread muffin at 9 grams of fat and the beans at only 1.5 grams of fat. All the other side items on the menu average between 20 and 190 calories and 0 to 10 grams of fat, including the green beans, corn, biscuit, macaroni salad, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. The side item with the highest calorie count is the potato wedges at 310 calories and 18 grams of fat.

Healthy Options

While KFC is one of the last places you may decide to go for a healthy meal, you can certainly eat a decent meal but remain calorie conscious. Steer clear of the crispy and overly breaded menu options like extra crispy, spicy, snacker sandwiches, and especially the infamous double down, which is a sandwich sans the bun with cheese and bacon slapped between two greasy pieces of chicken.

Try a grilled chicken salad with light dressing like light Italian with just 15 calories and 0.5 grams of fat or fat free ranch with 35 calories and zero grams of fat. If you can’t resist the mouth-watering chicken, opt for the grilled version in drumstick or whole wing for the least amount of calories at only 80 each. Enjoy two pieces and add a side order of a small corn on the cob, mashed potatoes without gravy, and a diet soda for a full meal at just 320 calories and 6.5 grams of fat.


Kentucky Fried Chicken calories and fat content are less than desirable for their popular menu options. However, with a bit of compromising, you can still enjoy a tasty meal under 500 calories.


KFC History:

KFC Nutrition Guide: