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Ground chicken is a healthier alternative to ground beef. It’s leaner and has fewer calories, and it doesn’t contain as much fat or cholesterol.

And, like ground beef, it’s very versatile, and it can be used in a number of different ways for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ground chicken recipes abound, so it’s all about finding one that you like that’s also nutritious and satisfying.

Before cooking ground chicken, first compare its nutrition content to that of ground beef, and then discover safety tips about cooking it so you don’t get sick afterwards. All meat and poultry require more safety precautions than other types of foods, after all.

Ground Chicken Nutrition

While ground beef is 73 to 90 percent lean and contains 200 to 248 calories per 4-ounce serving, ground chicken is 95 percent lean and contains 150 calories per serving. It only has 6 grams of total fat and 2 grams of saturated fat along with 80 milligrams of cholesterol. Ground beef, on the other hand, ranges from 17 to 23 grams in total fat, 4.5 to 9 grams of saturated fat, and 75 to 86 milligrams of cholesterol. Though a beef burger or meatball may be delicious, it’s not as good for you as ground chicken.

Safety Tips When Cooking Ground Chicken

For food safety, ground chicken must have reached a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit while cooking. After you cook it, put it in the refrigerator within two hours. When it’s properly stored in a refrigerator, it will last for three to four days. If it begins to get slimy, change color or smell funky, discard it immediately.

If you decide to freeze your ground chicken, it will still taste good after two to three months. After it’s thaws, you can use it up to four days after it’s completely defrosted. If you buy it fresh from the store, cook it within three to four days.

As always, make sure you’re avoiding cross contamination. Use one cutting board for your ground chicken and a separate one for your vegetables. If you need to use the same one, make sure you wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water between uses. Do the same for any knives or utensils you’re utilizing as well.

Preparation Tips When Cooking Ground Chicken

Ground chicken may not be as flavorful as ground beef, so you can add in full fat yogurt or even a little bit of ground beef or lamb to liven it up a bit. Make sure you’re adding plenty of spices to give your ground chicken some flair, or use panko if you’re making ground chicken meatballs to add texture and help them hold together.

Ground Chicken Recipes

There are so many ground chicken recipes. For example, you can make ground chicken tacos by adding some taco seasoning to the skillet when you’re cooking the chicken. Grab some tortillas, sour cream, cheese, taco salsa, pico de gallo and guacamole, and you’ll be ready for a fiesta.

You can also make ground chicken meatballs complete with spices like oregano, basil and garlic powder, or an easy ground chicken casserole that will be sure to satisfy the whole family. Add some BBQ sauce to your ground chicken recipe, and you’ll have a BBQ chicken burger in no time. You can make your ground chicken super healthy by mixing it with quinoa and putting it into stuffed peppers, or by sauteing it with vegetables like onions and spinach and adding it to a salad.

About the Author

Kylie Ora Lobell

Kylie Ora Lobell is a lifestyle, food and beverage writer for the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles.