How to Trim Fat Off the Chicken

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Remove excess fat from chicken before cooking.
Remove excess fat from chicken before cooking. (Image: Macro shot of raw chicken breast on brown wooden board image by Olga Sapegina from Fotolia.com)

When you prepare raw chicken for cooking, remove as much of the fat as possible to make your entree healthier. Although a small amount of fat might help impart flavor to the cooked chicken, removing the visible fat will reduce calories. Take a few extra moments to trim the skin off the chicken. Remove the chicken skin at the same time and further reduce calories and fats.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole chicken
  • Plastic cutting board
  • Sharp chef's knife
  • Chef’s scissors
  • Paring knife

Rinse the chicken under cool water and place it onto the cutting board with the breast facing up.

Cut both legs off by inserting the tip of the chef’s knife between the leg and the body. Cut down forcefully to separate the legs. Separate the legs from the thighs by twisting the joint with your hands to break it, then cutting through the joints with the knife.

Pull the skin off the thighs with your hands and trim away the fat where it clings to the meat. You will usually find visible fat at joints and hiding beneath the skin. Pull the skin off the legs by grasping it at the large end and pulling in a downward motion to the small end. Cut away fat hiding at the large leg joint with the paring knife.

Cut the two wings off with the knife. Remove the backbone by cutting through the ribs with the chef’s scissors. Set both the wings and the backbone aside to discard or use for soup.

Place the whole breast onto the cutting board with the skin facing down. Cut through the breast immediately to the left or right of the breastbone. Remove the skin from the breast halves and use the paring knife to trim away tiny globules of fat. Keep working until you remove all traces of fat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wash your hands and workspace thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling chicken.

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