If you've noticed that people can get very passionate about which pieces make up their chicken dinner, you may have wondered why it's a big deal. The strong preference for one type over another usually comes down to the differences between white and dark meat. If you’re unsure what makes these two types of chicken unique, the following brief overview explains.  

What Is White Meat?

Chicken wings, tenders, and breasts all fall into the category of white meat. Because these muscles are used less by the bird, they get less exercise and blood flow, resulting in a lighter color and lower fat content.    

What Is Dark Meat?

chicken dinner

Two cuts of chicken are referred to as dark meat—the thighs and the drumsticks. Because the animals spend the majority of their time standing, these are their most developed muscles. This results in high blood flow to the areas, which leaves behind a red-colored pigment. Known as myoglobin, this protein turns brown when cooked, giving the meat its darker coloring. It also means the legs contain more iron and niacin than cuts of white meat. 

What Are the Differences in Flavor & Texture?

Most people praise white meat for its mild flavor and overall versatility. It’s easy to season these cuts to fit any cuisine or meal. The downside to their lack of fat is that it's easier for them to dry out during cooking. White meat is popular fried or coated in a flavorful sauce because these methods add a bit of fat and lock in the moisture. 

Dark meat is known for being more tender and juicy. It also has bolder flavors that can stand up to strong seasonings. Well-known chefs such as Julia Child and Jacques Pepin have expressed a strong preference for its taste and texture. In the end, anyone who enjoys rich, nutrient-dense chicken dinners can appreciate dark meat’s qualities.


If you’re hungry for a chicken dinner, visit Lee’s Chicken Restaurant in Lincoln, NE. This home-style establishment offers juicy fried chicken, burgers, and seafood. They’ve been feeding people in Lincoln and Lancaster counties since 1945 and are proud of their history in the community. With carry-out, dine-in, and catering services, they make it easy for you to enjoy a delicious chicken dinner for any occasion. Call (402) 477-4339 to place an order, or view their menu online.