The Protein Content of 230 Common Foods

Last Updated on May 31, 2019 by Michael Joseph

We all have different protein needs, but it can be difficult knowing precisely how much protein common foods contain.

For this reason, this guide provides a simple overview of the protein content of 230 common foods.

The source of the data is the USDA’s food composite database, and all foods are per 100 grams raw (1).

Cereal Grains

Raw Oats In a Glass Bowl.

Cereal grains are moderately high in protein.

However, they are not a complete source of protein, which means they do not contain sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Amaranth 13.6 g
Barley 12 g
Bread (brown) 11 g
Bread (white) 9 g
Buckwheat 13.3 g
Corn flour 8.8 g
Corn grains 9.4 g
Couscous 12.7 g
Oats 16.9 g
Pasta (dry) 13 g
Quinoa 14.1 g
Rice (brown) 7.5 g
Rice (white) 7.5 g
Rye flour 10.9 g
Semolina 12.7 g
Spelt 14.6 g
Wheat flour 12.0 g
Wheat (whole grain) 13.2 g
Wild rice 14.7 g

Dairy Foods and Eggs

Fresh Dairy Foods and Whole Eggs On a Wooden Board.

Dairy products are rich sources of complete protein, and cheese is particularly high in the nutrient.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Brie cheese 20.7 g
Buttermilk 3.2 g
Camembert cheese 19.8 g
Cheddar cheese 24.9 g
Condensed milk 7.9 g
Brie cheese 20.7 g
Buttermilk 3.2 g
Camembert cheese 19.8 g
Cheddar cheese 24.9 g
Condensed milk 7.9 g
Cottage cheese 11 g
Cottage cheese (low-fat) 12.4 g
Cream 2.1 g
Cream cheese 6.2 g
Edam cheese 25 g
Eggs 12.6 g
Feta cheese 14.2 g
Gouda cheese 24.9 g
Gruyere cheese 29.8 g
Milk (1% fat) 3.3 g
Milk (whole) 3.3 g
Mozzarella cheese 22.2 g
Parmesan cheese 35.7 g
Provolone cheese 25.6 g
Quail eggs 13.1 g
Quark 12 g
Romano cheese 31.8 g
Sour cream 2.4 g
Swiss cheese 27 g
Whey protein concentrate (Now Foods) 72.7 g
Whey protein isolate (Now Foods) 89.3 g
Yogurt 3.5 g

Fruit

Red Cherries With Green Stems.

Generally speaking, fruit is a poor source of protein.

However, some fruits do still contain small amounts, with dried goji berries being the most notable.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Apple 0.3 g
Apricot 1.4 g
Apricot (dried) 3.4 g
Avocado 2 g
Banana 1.1 g
Blackberries 1.4 g
Blueberries 0.7 g
Cherries 1.1 g
Dates 2.5 g
Durian 1.3 g
Goji berries (dried) 14.3 g
Grapes 0.8 g
Grapefruit 0.8 g
Guava 2.6 g
Kiwi 1.1 g
Kumquat 1.9 g
Lemon 1.1 g
Lime 0.7 g
Loganberries 1.5 g
Mango 0.8 g
Olives 1.0 g
Orange 1.0 g
Passion fruit 2.2 g
Peach 0.9 g
Persimmon 0.8 g
Pineapple 0.6 g
Pomegranate 1.7 g
Prune 3.7 g
Raisins 2.3 g
Raspberries 1.2 g
Star fruit 1.0 g
Strawberry 0.7 g
Tamarind 2.8 g
Tangerine 0.8 g

Legumes

Legumes are the highest plant-based source of protein.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Black beans 21.6 g
Chickpeas 20.3 g
Green split peas 23.1 g
Kidney beans 22.5 g
Lentils 24.6 g
Lima beans 21.5 g
Miso 12.8 g
Mung beans 23.9 g
Natto 19.4 g
Peanuts 25.8 g
Pinto beans 21.4 g
Soybeans 28.6 g
Tempeh 20.3 g
Tofu 17.3 g

Meat

Various Cuts of Meat.

Meat products are a complete source of protein, but the protein density of different meats can significantly vary.

For anyone looking to maximize protein content, leaner meat offers the best protein to calorie ratio.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Bacon 13 g
Beef kidney 17.4 g
Beef liver 20.4 g
Beef spleen 18.3 g
Bottom sirloin 20.6 g
Cervelat 17.5 g
Chicken breast 23.1 g
Chicken liver 16.9 g
Chorizo 24.1 g
Chuck eye steak 19 g
Duck meat 18.3 g
Flank steak 21.2 g
Ground beef 17.2 g
Ground chicken 17.4 g
Ground lamb 16.6 g
Ground pork 16.9 g
Ground turkey 17.5 g
Lamb chop 18.3 g
Lamb heart 16.5 g
Lamb kidney 15.7 g
Lamb liver 20.4 g
Liverwurst 14.1 g
Pancetta 9.3 g
Pepperoni 23 g
Pork chop 20.7 g
Pork kidney 16.5 g
Prosciutto 24.1 g
Ribeye steak 17.3 g
Round steak 22.2 g
Skirt steak 23.1 g
Soppressata 25 g
Strip steak 23.1 g
Sweetbread 20.4 g
Tenderloin steak 20 g
Top sirloin steak 20 g
T-bone steak 20.3 g

Nuts and Seeds

Various Nuts in Wooden Dishes.

Nuts are another plant source of protein, but the amount of protein varies substantially from nut to nut.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Acorn 8.1 g
Almonds 21.2 g
Brazil nuts 14.3 g
Cashew nuts 18.2 g
Chestnuts 5 g
Chia seeds 15.6 g
Coconut meat 3.7 g
Flaxseeds 18.3 g
Gingko nuts 10.4 g
Hazelnuts 15 g
Hummus 8 g
Macadamia nuts 7.9 g
Pecans 9.5 g
Pine nuts 13.7 g
Pistachio nuts 21.1 g
Pumpkin seeds 18.6 g
Sesame seeds 17 g
Sunflower seeds 20.8 g
Tahini 17 g
Walnuts 18 g

Seafood

Various Different Fish and Shellfish.

In addition to offering lots of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals, seafood is also an excellent source of protein.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Abalone 17.1 g
Anchovy 20 g
Bass 18.4 g
Bream 24 g
Catfish 16.4 g
Caviar 25 g
Crab 19 g
Cod 19 g
Cuttlefish 16.2 g
Eel 18.4 g
Flounder 12 g
Halibut 20.8 g
Herring 18 g
Lobster 18.8 g
Mackerel 19 g
Monkfish 14.5 g
Mussels 11.9 g
Octopus 15 g
Oyster 9 g
Salmon 20 g
Salmon Roe 21 g
Sardine 25 g
Shark 21 g
Squid 16 g
Swordfish 17g

Vegetables

Numerous Vegetables of Many Colors.

Vegetables are generally low in protein and they are not complete sources. However, their amino acids (protein content) are still beneficial.

Food  Protein Content (Per 100 g)
Artichoke 3.3 g
Arugula 2.6 g
Asparagus 2.2 g
Bell pepper 1.0 g
Beet greens 2.2 g
Bok choy 1.5 g
Broccoli 2.8 g
Brussels Sprouts 3.4 g
Butternut squash 0.9 g
Cabbage (green) 1.3 g
Cabbage (red) 1.4 g
Carrots 0.9 g
Cauliflower 2.0 g
Celery 0.7 g
Chives 3.3 g
Collard greens 2.5 g
Dandelion greens 2.7 g
Eggplant 1.0 g
Endive 1.3 g
Garlic 6.4 g
Green onion 1.8 g
Jicama 0.7 g
Kale 3.3 g
Kohlrabi 1.7 g
Leeks 1.5 g
Lettuce 1.4 g
Mushrooms 2.5 g
Mustard greens 2.7 g
Okra 2.0 g
Onions 1.1 g
Parsnips 1.2 g
Potatoes 2.0 g
Pumpkin 1.0 g
Purple sweet potato 1.3 g
Radicchio 1.4 g
Radish 0.7 g
Rutabaga (Swede) 1.2 g
Seaweed 3.0 g
Shallots 2.5 g
Spaghetti squash 0.6 g
Spinach 2.9 g
Sweet potato 1.6 g
Swiss Chard 1.8 g
Tomatillo 1.0 g
Tomatoes 0.9 g
Turnips 0.9 g
Watercress 2.3 g
Water chestnut 1.4 g
Zucchini 1.2 g

Final Thoughts

Almost every food provides dietary protein, but some options offer a lot more than others.

For example, see this article on how bioavailability rates differ between animal and plant sources of protein.

While dairy, meat, and seafood are the most complete sources, other foods can also contribute.

Focusing on the higher protein choices in this list could help anyone seeking to increase their intake

For more information on the importance of protein, see this guide to the potential harms of protein deficiency.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
4 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Algy Goosen
Algy Goosen
2 years ago

Great references thank you Michael. It would be nice to see some mention of bio-availability and digestibility of the different sources of protein, since plant based proteins can often be somewhat problematic in terms of available proteins

Sandy De Leo
2 years ago

Thank you for the great at a glance reference lists