The 10 Best Foods Highest in Protein

The 10 Best Foods Highest in Protein

Protein is a macronutrient necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impaired functioning of the human body in general.

Athletes and those looking to build muscle might benefit from increased protein intake, but they should be aware of the risks. Excess protein is typically processed by the body, but may cause a strain on the liver and kidneys, and may also increase cancer risk particularly for protein from animal sources.

How much protein do you need?

The recommended daily intake for protein is between 46-56 grams for most adults, with pregnant and lactating women needing up to 72 grams of protein per day. Athletes or other people looking to build muscle mass may also want to consume more protein. The Daily Value (%DV) for protein is set at 50 grams per day, this number is meant to help compare foods and is a general number that works for most people.

Foods high in protein per calorie include lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs. Below is a list of common foods high in protein by common serving size, for more information, see the sections on protein dense foods, other protein-rich foods, and protein isolates.

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Top 10 Protein Food List

A roast chicken 1 Lean Chicken Breast
  • 109% DV (54.5g) protein in a 6oz breast
  • 82% DV (40.8g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 64% DV (32.1g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Poultry High in Protein (%DV)

3oz (85g) of lean ground turkey (53% DV)
6oz turkey breast (102% DV)
1 chicken thigh (33% DV)
1 chicken drumstick (24% DV)
1 whole chicken leg (thigh and drumstick) (53% DV)


Nutrition Facts for Lean Chicken Breast (Cooked).
A pork chop 2 Pork Chops
  • 105% DV (52.7g) protein in a 6oz chop
  • 64% DV (31.8g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 62% DV (31g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Pork Products High in Protein (%DV)

3oz of lean ground pork (54% DV)
3oz of sirloin roast (53% DV)
3oz of ham (50% DV)


Nutrition Facts for Pork Chops (Lean).
Tuna Fillet 3 Tuna
  • 102% DV (50.8g) protein in a 6oz fillet
  • 65% DV (32.5g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 60% DV (29.9g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Fish High in Protein %DV per 6oz (170g) fillet

Canned Tuna (100% DV), Salmon (94%), Talapia (92%), Trout (90%), Snapper (90%), Mackerel (88%), Pollock (84%), Mahimahi (80%), Swordfish (80%), and Cod (78%).

Nutrition Facts for Bluefin Tuna (Cooked).
A steak on a plate 4 Beef (Skirt Steak)
  • 100% DV (50.1g) protein per 6oz steak
  • 43% DV (21.4g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 57% DV (28.7g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Lean Red Meat High in Protein (%DV)

A 13oz (368g) T-bone steak (209% DV)
1oz of beef jerky (19% DV)
3oz of lamb stew meat (57% DV)


Nutrition Facts for Skirt Steak.
A block of tofu 5 Tofu
  • 87% DV (43.5g) protein per cup
  • 48% DV (24g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 35% DV (17.3g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Medium soft tofu provides 40% DV per cup.
Soft tofu provides 36% DV per cup
1 cup of tempeh provides 67% DV.
See more plant based vegan protein foods.

Nutrition Facts for Firm Tofu (Raw).
Lentils 6 Lentils
  • 36% DV (17.9g) protein per cup
  • 31% DV (15.6g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 18% DV (9g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

More Beans High in Protein (%DV per cup)

White Beans (35% DV), Split Peas (33%), Pinto (31%), Kidney Beans (31%), Black Beans (30%), Navy Beans (30%), Chickpeas (Garbanzo) (29%), and Lima beans (29%).
See more beans and legumes high in protein.

Nutrition Facts for Lentils (Cooked).
Plain yogurt with raspberries 7 Low-Fat Yogurt
  • 28% DV (14g) protein per cup
  • 41% DV (20.5g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 11% DV (5.7g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Low-Fat Milk and Unsweetened Soymilk provide 30% DV per 16oz glass.
See more vegetarian sources of protein.

Nutrition Facts for Non-Fat Yogurt.
Cheddar cheese slices 8 Non-Fat Cheddar
  • 18% DV (9g) protein per oz
  • 82% DV (40.9g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 64% DV (32.1g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

Other Cheese High in Protein %DV per oz (28g)

Romano (18% DV), Parmesan (16%), Swiss (15%), Mozarella (15%), Provolone (15%), Gouda (14%). Cottage Cheese provides 28% DV per 1/4 cup.
See more vegetarian protein foods.

Nutrition Facts for Cheddar Cheese (Non-fat or Fat Free).
Squash and Pumpkin Seeds 9 Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)
  • 17% DV (8.5g) protein per 1oz handful
  • 21% DV (10.4g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 60% DV (29.8g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)

Other Nuts and Seeds High in Protein %DV per oz

Peanuts (14% DV), Almonds (12%), Pistachios (12%), Sunflower Seeds (11%), Flax Seeds (10%), Chia Seeds (9%), and Cahsews (9%).
See more high protein nuts.

Nutrition Facts for Roasted Squash and Pumpkin Seeds (Unsalted).
Eggs 10 Eggs
  • 13% DV (6.3g) protein in 1 large egg
  • 32% DV (16.2g) per 200 calorie serving
  • 25% DV (12.6g) per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
1 egg white provides 7% DV
1 cup of hard boiled eggs provides 34% DV


Nutrition Facts for Hard Boiled Eggs.

See All 200 Foods High in Protein

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Printable One Page Sheet

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A printable list for the top 10 foods highest in protein including lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, nuts, and eggs.

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Click each heading below for more information from MyFoodData.com

#1 Spirulina 115% DV (57.5g) in 100grams 115% DV (57.5g) in 1 tblsp
#2 Dry Roasted Soybeans 87% DV (43.3g) in 100grams 87% DV (43.3g) in 1 cup
#3 Grated Parmesan Cheese 83% DV (41.6g) in 100grams 83% DV (41.6g) in 1 tblsp
#4 Lean Veal Top Round 73% DV (36.7g) in 100grams 73% DV (36.7g) in 3oz
#5 Lamb Shoulder Roast 71% DV (35.5g) in 100grams 71% DV (35.5g) in 3oz
#6 Lean Chicken 64% DV (32.1g) in 100grams 64% DV (32.1g) in 3oz
#7 Non-fat mozzarella 63% DV (31.7g) in 100grams 63% DV (31.7g) in 1 cup
#8 Pork Chops 62% DV (31g) in 100grams 62% DV (31g) in 3oz
#9 Tuna 60% DV (29.9g) in 100grams 60% DV (29.9g) in 3oz
#10 Squash and Pumpkin Seeds 60% DV (29.8g) in 100grams 60% DV (29.8g) in 1oz handful

#1 Vital Wheat Gluten 150% DV (75.2g) in 100 grams
#2 Octopus 51% DV (25.3g) in 3oz
#3 Crab 40% DV (20.2g) in 3oz
#4 Abalone 33% DV (16.7g) in 3oz
#5 Lobster 32% DV (16.2g) in 3oz
#6 Kamut (Hard Wheat) 20% DV (9.8g) in 1 cup
#7 Wheat Germ 17% DV (8.3g) in 1oz
#8 Quinoa 16% DV (8.1g) in 1 cup
#9 Fish Roe (Eggs) 16% DV (8.1g) in 1oz
#10 Oatmeal 12% DV (5.9g) in 1 cup
#11 Soba (Buckwheat) Noodles 12% DV (5.8g) in 1 cup
#12 Zweiback 6% DV (2.9g) in 1oz
#13 Yeast Extract Spread 3% DV (1.4g) in 1 tsp
#14 Cocoa Powder 2% DV (1.1g) in 1 tblsp
#15 Dry Sweet Whey 2% DV (1g) in 1 tblsp

#1 Soy Protein Isolate 12% DV (6.2g) in 1 tblsp
#2 Gelatin 12% DV (6g) in 1 tblsp
#3 Egg White Powder 12% DV (5.9g) in 1 tblsp
#4 Spirulina (Dried Seaweed) 8% DV (4g) in 1 tblsp
#5 Non-fat Milk Powder 5% DV (2.7g) in 1 tblsp
#6 Dried Whey Powder 2% DV (1g) in 1 tblsp

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.