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Chicken - Description of Parts


When shopping for chicken there are several details that you should pay close attention to so you are assured of purchasing fresh chicken in the correct quantity, quality and type to satisfy your needs. It is important to be familiar with the terms used to describe the chicken, how much to buy, know what to look for on the labels, and know what to look for when visually checking the meat. For more information on making a purchase suited to your needs, select one of the topics above.

Description of Parts

Whole Chicken:

The chicken with all parts intact, generally including the giblets stuffed in the cavity. Consists of white and dark meat.

Poultry Half:

The chicken is split in half lengthwise through the breast and back, leaving fairly equal halves consisting of the same parts. Both halves consist of white and dark meat.


The entire breast portion of the chicken. It is available bone-in, boneless, skin-on and skinless. Consists of white meat only.

Breast Quarter:

Generally includes a little more than one quarter of the meat on the chicken. The cut includes half a breast, a wing, and part of the back.

Breast Halves:

Also referred to as split breast. The breast portion of the chicken that has been split lengthwise, producing two halves. They are available bone-in, boneless, skin-on and skinless. Larger breast halves are sometimes cut in half to provide smaller portion sizes. Consists of white meat only.


The muscle of the breast, which runs along both sides of the breastbone, located on the upper portion of the breast. Consists of white meat only.


The wing of the chicken consists of three sections, the wing tip, the wingette (or flat wing tip), and the drummettes.


The section of the wing that is connected to the body of the bird and contains most of the wings meat. It resembles a very small drumstick.


Also referred to as the flat wing tip. The middle section of the wing, which does not contain much meat, but is generally moister than the drummette.

Wing Tip:

The third and outer most section of the wing. Does not contain much meat and is many times discarded. It can be used when making stock to help add flavor to the broth.

Leg Quarters:

Generally includes a little less than a quarter of the meat on the chicken. The cut includes a thigh, drumstick, and a part of the back.


The leg of the chicken consists of two parts, which are the thigh and the drumstick. Consist of dark meat only.


The top portion of the leg above the knee joint that is connected to the body of the chicken. Consists of all dark meat.


The bottom portion of the leg below the knee joint. Consists of all dark meat.


Consists of the neck, liver, heart, and gizzard.

More Chicken Shopping Guide >>

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Chicken - Description of Parts - Kitchen Tips -