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Wings: Dark Meat or White?

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2016

Are chicken wings considered white meat, dark meat, or something in between?

We recently polled our test cooks, asking whether they thought chicken wings were white or dark meat. The majority said dark meat. A small but vocal minority claimed they are white meat. 

When asked to compare samples of breast, wing, and thigh meat cooked to 170 degrees (a temperature at which dark meat is still juicy but white meat is dried out), the dark meat camp changed its tune: Tasters unanimously said the wings were closer to the dried-out white meat. Lab analysis backed this up: With an average fat content of 1.1 percent, wings are more similar to breast meat, which registered 0.7 percent fat compared with the 2.5 percent fat of thigh meat. This makes sense since fat lends richness and helps retain juices. The wings’ dry texture also indicated a lack of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin and helps lubricate the protein fibers in dark meat.

Take a Bite of White
Chicken wings are closer in fat content to breasts than thighs, making them more like white meat than dark.