Salmon vs. Chicken: Which is Healthier & How to Cook Each

Delicious fried salmon fillet, seasonings on blue rustic concrete table. Cooked salmon steak with pepper, herbs, lemon, garlic, olive oil, spoon. Grilled fresh fish. Fish for healthy dinner. Close-up

Salmon vs. Chicken: Which is Healthier & How to Cook Each

Trying to decide between salmon vs. chicken? Both of these proteins are great sources for nutritional and delicious meal planning. However, they do have some differences that are worth knowing before you make your choice. Chicken is a poultry meat that consists of both white meat and dark meat. The color depends on if the meat is fatty or if it has more muscle. Salmon is a type of fish that is recognizable for its lovely inside coloring and silvery scales. Both these types of meats can be cooked in a variety of ways. This is part of why they are such popular proteins to cook with. Whether you’re roasting your chicken or panfrying your salmon filet, you can’t really go wrong with the right ingredients. Keep on reading to learn more about the significant differences between salmon vs. chicken.

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In this post, we’ll discuss the history of salmon catching as well as the chicken processing industry. You’ll learn about some of the popular ways to cook these kinds of meats. We'll also talk about the nutritional profile and health benefits of each. Your next meal plan will include a protein choice that you’re confident in cooking. When it comes to the choice between salmon vs. chicken, you’ll be prepared!

Salmon vs Chicken Differences

Salmon vs. Chicken: How Are They Different?

The primary difference between salmon and chicken is their taste. Salmon tastes like a fish but with a rich and slightly sweet flavor whereas chicken is more mild. Salmon is also flaky and tender whereas chicken is firmer.

Nutritionally, salmon is renowned for its Omega-3 fatty acids which contribute greatly to brain and heart health while chicken is prized for its lower-fat content compared to other protein alternatives. Both chicken and salmon can be difficult to cook, with chicken becoming dry compared to salmon becoming too flaky when cooked too long.  

Let's now examine salmon and chicken individually in this fish vs. poultry showdown.

What is Salmon?

Sock eyed salmon with green beans and lemon
Sockeye salmon on a platter.

©Miro Vrlik Photography/Shutterstock.com

Salmon is a very popular dinner option. It is affordable and delicious and there are a number of ways to cook it. The term “salmon” typically refers to six different species that are included in the Oncorhynchus genus. These salmon types are known as Chinook salmon, coho salmon, sockeye salmon, pink salmon, and steelhead salmon (via Oregon Encyclopedia).

Where Does Salmon Come From?

Salmon has been around for thousands of years, dating back to well before the 1800s. These fish were present in the North Atlantic rim and the Arctic Ocean areas above Western Europe, as well as in the Arctic North. Of Eastern Asia and in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Salmon spawn in freshwater but mature out at sea, which means certain breeds of salmon have migratory patterns depending on the season. Salmon was a staple for many indigenous groups, cooked, eaten fresh, and also dried into forms like salmon jerky. It was a big part of the trade routes in the 1830s before being really picked up by the fishing industry. The boom in fishing caused disruptions in the salmon population, enough to put regulations and restrictions to allow salmon to continue spawning without immediately being caught and processed. Modern-day salmon is still a balancing act of allowing for these fish to properly mature and have enough of a population to keep being a part of the natural ecosystem.

Delicious Salmon with Crust of Herbs-4
Herb-crusted salmon is a fantastic dinner option. Pair it with some veggies and it'll be a delight!


How to Cook Salmon

Salmon is easy to prepare and not hard to cook if you know what you’re doing. Allrecipes recommends the following methods depending on your vision:

  • Salmon be pan-fried to produce a crispy exterior and a creamy, well-cooked interior. 
  • Cooking salmon in the oven is equally as easy, simply be sure to add some form of olive oil or butter combination so that the fish doesn’t get burned.
  • Broiling your salmon is a quick option, but be sure to stick around because it’ll cook really fast and need to be checked with a meat thermometer to be sure that the middle is done. 
  • Grilling salmon is a classic summer activity, just throw your salmon cut into some tinfoil to reduce charring, or grill it directly on the flames for that smoky, crispy taste. You can also cook veggies at the same time for this method!
  • Poaching salmon involves simmering the fish in water, broth, or a wine mixture. It uses less seasoning but creates a light and creamy dish once finished.

Popular Variations 

Salmon can be garnished beautifully with lemons, garlic, and butter, or marinated in a savory, salty, or spicy sauce before being cooked. It’s great when served with cooked veggies, in chowders, as hamburger patties, and cooked into casseroles. Check out some of these great salmon recipes to include in your next meal plan:

What is Chicken?

Chicken is a type of landfowl. Chickens have been around for thousands and thousands of years, in varying forms. Chicken meat comes in light and dark forms, depending on the cut. The most popular cuts of chicken meat include wings, drumsticks, thighs, legs, and breasts. Chicken can be fried, poached, cooked, grilled, and made into broths, soups, and stews.

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Where Does It Come From? 

A recently proven ancestor to the modern-day chicken is the red jungle fowl, which lived in areas of Southeast Asia. There is fossil evidence of these wild chickens from 5400 B.C. Genetic testing from 2004 shows that chickens were the first bird to be direct descendants of the dinosaurs. Factory farming and the popularity of meat and chicken eggs spiked around the middle of the 20th century. And by the 1990s, chicken surpassed beef production in the U.S. due to its extreme popularity. Today's chickens are raised all over the world and used in numerous types of cooking. Who knew one ancient bird could continue to be such an important staple of the food industry?

How to Cook Chicken

Chicken francese - fried chicken breast with lemon slices and delicious sauce on a white plate close-up, top view
Whether you roast, fry, or grill your chicken breast, adding garnishes and sauces will make it delicious.

©Ostranitsa Stanislav/Shutterstock.com

Chicken is a versatile food and can be both seasoned and cooked in a variety of ways. Roasted chicken is a classic, as is the braised variety. You can poach it, fry it, grill it, bake it in the oven, pan fry it, smoke it, and air fry it! Check out some of these healthy chicken-based recipes:

Chicken vs. Salmon: What's Healthier (Calories, Fat, Protein)

Salmon vs Chicken: What's Healthier
A nutritional comparison of salmon and chicken

When cooking salmon vs. chicken, it's good to know that both of these meat options are high in protein. However, salmon has less cholesterol and fat content than chicken. Let’s look closer at these nutritional differences. According to Healthline, Salmon is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. A 3.5-ounce serving of farm Salmon contains around 206 calories, 22 grams of protein, and 12 grams of fat. It is full of vitamins and minerals like niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, phosphorous, selenium, and B vitamins. The wild salmon variety is lower in all of these categories except it is higher in protein and in B vitamins. Salmon is a heart-healthy food that supports DNA synthesis, metabolism, and central nervous system regulation. 

A 3.5-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast has about 165 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, and 31 grams of protein. It contains vitamins and minerals like niacin, selenium, phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin, zinc, thiamine, potassium, and copper, as well as B vitamins. Eating chicken can help promote weight loss because it is a filling food with lots of protein, and it is also good for bone density via calcium absorption.

Keep in mind that the nutritional value of both these meats will be impacted by the added ingredients, the type of salmon (wild or farmed), and the other aspects of your meal. But overall, both types of meat are really quite healthy for you.

Possible Alternatives to Salmon and Chicken

If salmon or chicken is not your meat of choice, you can get protein content from other meats or types of fish. Eggs have protein as do tofu and other non-meat alternatives. There are also vegetables that can be cooked in the same ways as these proteins with similar seasonings. This is a good option if you’re looking for flavoring and similar texture quality without eating any meat.

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Are Salmon and Chicken the Same Thing?

Infographic comparing salmon and chicken.
It may surprise some to learn that chicken is actually lower in fat and calories compared to salmon.
  • Salmon is rich and slightly sweet in flavor, while chicken is fairly mild. Both salmon and chicken should be well-seasoned to get adequate flavor out of both.
  • Chicken has a firmer texture than salmon, but both can be tender when cooked properly.
  • Perhaps surprisingly, salmon is higher in calories and fat than chicken. Both options are still great choices for those looking to eat healthy.

When considering salmon vs. chicken, they are not the same thing. Salmon is a delicate and delicious fish that is usually tender when cooked. The chicken comes from the domesticated land fowl species. The many cuts vary in toughness and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Chicken is a bit of heartier meat, but both salmon and chicken pack the protein punch that everyone could use in their diet.

Still looking for a great chicken recipe to try? Give this cheesy chicken and mushrooms recipe a look:

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Oven baked boneless chicken breast made with paprika and parsley, green beans. Healthy eating concept.

Cheesy Chicken and Mushrooms

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
½ teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced fat plain yogurt
½ cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
½ cup canned mushroom stems and pieces
1 Tablespoon diced pimientos
1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon minced chives


1 Tablespoon reduced fat plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon dry bread crumbs
⅛ teaspoon paprika


1. Flatten chicken to ⅛ inch thickness; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and yogurt until smooth.

3. Stir in the cheese, mushrooms, pimientos, parsley, and chives.

4. Spread cheese mixture down the center of each piece of chicken. Roll up and tuck in ends; secure with toothpicks. Place seam side down in an 11 in. x 7 in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. Brush yogurt over chicken. Combine bread crumbs and paprika; sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Discard toothpicks before serving.


  • Serving Size: 1 chicken breast half
  • Calories: 222
  • Sodium: 544mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Protein: 39g
  • Cholesterol: 92mg
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