​​15 Red Meat With The Most Protein (Complete List)

Red meat can be a great source of dietary protein. There are several types of red meat to choose from, but they all have different protein contents and unique tastes and flavors.

Which red meat has the most protein? The red meat with the highest amount of protein is rabbit, with 28 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. The next best options are venison, which has 26 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving, and top sirloin steak, which has 24 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

Because the amount of protein in red meat varies based on the type of meat, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck if you’re trying to increase your protein intake. But consuming too much red meat can negatively affect your health, so you want to be mindful of how much you eat.

In this article, I’ll discuss:

  • Why red meat is a good source of protein
  • How much protein you can get from red meat
  • The 15 types of red meat with the highest amount of protein

Want to learn more about high protein foods? Check out our article Bodybuilding Foods For Bulking.

Why is Red Meat a Good Source of Protein? 

Red meat is a great source of amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and it contains a range of vitamins and minerals. It’s particularly high in iron and zinc and is higher in vitamin B12 than plant-based protein sources

The protein in red meat is also more easily digested and used by the body than plant-based protein, and it is much higher in an amino acid called lysine. This amino acid helps the body absorb calcium and plays an important role in hormone production.

How Much Protein Should You Get From Red Meat?  

If you enjoy consuming red meat, limit your intake to a maximum of three servings per week. This is equivalent to 9 ounces (250 grams) of red meat per week, as one serving of red meat is 3 ounces (85 grams). Depending on which type of red meat you consume, this would provide anywhere from 57-84 grams of protein.

However, I wouldn’t recommend relying solely on red meat for your daily protein. Some studies have linked high red meat consumption to a range of chronic diseases, especially when the red meat is highly processed, such as chorizo, sausages, beef jerky, and corned beef

Red meat is relatively high in saturated fat compared to white meat (such as chicken) or vegan meat alternatives. Overconsumption of saturated fat in your diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Protein in Red Meat Compared With Alternatives? 

The list below contains the protein contents of foods that are not red meat. You can use this information to compare the protein in red meat (which I provide in the following section) to a range of other high-protein foods to keep your diet varied.

On average, red meat contains between 19 and 28 grams of protein in every 3-ounce serving. As you can see, there are lots of alternative protein sources that contain the same amount of protein as red meat per 3-ounce serving, if not slightly less.

  • Chicken breast – 26 grams
  • Tuna – 24 grams
  • Turkey breast – 24 grams
  • Peanuts – 21 grams
  • Pollock – 20 grams
  • Kidney beans – 20 grams
  • Tempeh – 16 grams
  • Eggs – 11 grams

Learn more Whey Protein vs Meat

15 Red Meat With the Most Protein 

Below, I have summarized the red meat with the highest protein: 

Type of Red MeatProtein Per 3 oz Serving
Top Sirlon Steak24
Bottom Sirloin22
Ribeye Steak21
Ground Beef16

1. Rabbit (28 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)  

Rabbit meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 147 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 28 grams  
  • Fats – 3 grams 

Rabbit contains the highest amount of protein of any red meat, with 28 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. While the taste of rabbit is often compared to chicken, it has a gamier flavor and tends to be drier.

Cooking rabbit is very similar to cooking chicken breast or chicken thighs. You can bake it in the oven, grill it, or pan-fry it. It tastes the best in paella, polenta, alfredo, and pasta dishes.

Great British Chefs has a great rabbit stew recipe if you want to give it a go. 

2. Venison (26 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)  

Venison meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 128 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 26 grams  
  • Fats – 2 grams 

Venison is the meat of deer. It resembles beef in color and texture. It contains 26 grams of high-quality protein in a 3-ounce serving and just 2 grams of fat. 

Venison combines well with creamed spinach, leafy greens, and cauliflower. It’s also great to add to stews and casseroles. Delicious Magazine has lots of delicious venison recipes, including pies, burgers, and casseroles. 

3. Top Sirloin Steak (24 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Top Sirloin Steak

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 180 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 24 grams  
  • Fats – 8 grams 

Top sirloin steak contains 23 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving.

Some of the best sauces to pair with top sirloin steaks include those with a tomato base, peppercorn sauce, and mushroom sauce. Top sirloin steak is best cooked in the oven and can be eaten tender or well done.

Dinner at the Zoo has a great garlic butter sirloin steak recipe to try out if you want a high-protein meal. 

4. Pork (23 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)


Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 202 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 23 grams  
  • Fats – 12 grams 

Pork is one of the most popular forms of red meat. It contains 23 grams of protein and 202 calories in every serving.

Pork is a versatile meat that can be used in a range of dishes, such as pulled pork sandwiches, casseroles, and meatballs. It pairs nicely with a wide range of foods, including pasta, potatoes, and most vegetables. You can fry, grill, bake, or broil it.

If you’re looking for some easy and delicious pork recipes, check out the Love Pork recipe page

5. Bison (22 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Bison meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 152 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 22 grams  
  • Fats – 7 grams 

Although bison is higher in fat than other types of red meat, it is also very high in protein. It contains lots of selenium, iron, and vitamin B12. 

Bison is best cooked medium-rare. Overcooking it can cause the meat to dry out and lose its flavor. You can grind the meat up to form burgers or to add to pasta dishes. Sweet sauces, such as those that contain cranberries and currents, combine nicely with bison.

Check out Insanely Good Recipes for 10 great ground bison recipes.

6. Bottom Sirloin (22 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Bottom Sirloin meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 179 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams 
  • Protein – 22 grams  
  • Fats – 9 grams 

Bottom sirloin is taken from the back part of the cow. Although relatively high in fat, it is high in protein and relatively low in calories. 

When you’re making bottom sirloin steak at home, consider pairing it with marsala, mushrooms, peppercorn, or blue cheese sauce. It also tastes great with red wine jus.

You can cook bottom sirloin rare to well-done, depending on your preferences. It’s best grilled in a pan or in the oven. For more information on how to cook a bottom sirloin steak, head to Wholesome Yum

7. Veal (21 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Veal meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 150 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 21 grams  
  • Fats – 6 grams 

Veal is a high-protein meat that contains no carbohydrates. Even though it comes from cows, it is more tender than beef and has a milder flavor. 

You can eat veal as steaks, chops, and roasts. One of the best ways to consume veal is in a stew with lots of vegetables and broth. There’s a great Veal Piccata recipe at Leite’s Culinaria that is quick and simple for those of you who are beginner cooks or advanced chefs. 

8. Lamb (21 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Lamb meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 250 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 21 grams  
  • Fats – 18 grams 

Lamb is a higher fat red meat than many others and it also contains a higher number of calories. However, it is high in protein, with 21 grams in a 3-ounce serving. 

Lamb tastes great when combined with a number of vegetables, including carrots, parsnips, and sprouts. It’s a popular choice for casseroles, shoes, and kebabs.

Many people prefer to eat their lamb medium rather than rare or well-done. However, it can be cooked in a range of ways, depending on your preferences. You can cook it as a whole or in smaller pieces. Here’s a delicious recipe for lamb kleftiko at Happy Foodie. 

9. Liver (21 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 


Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 142 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 1 gram 
  • Protein – 21 grams  
  • Fats – 4 grams 

Liver is one of the most nutritious red meats out there. It’s extremely nutrient-dense and provides very high amounts of a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as lots of high-quality protein. 

You can use liver in burgers, pasta dishes, or on sandwiches as a pate. It’s easy to cook and is great to combine with other forms of red meat. The Hairy Bikers website has a great liver and bacon with onion gravy recipe if you want to create a nutritious and meaty dish. 

10. Ribeye Steak (21 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)

Ribeye Steak

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 230 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams 
  • Protein – 21 grams  
  • Fats – 16 grams 

Although relatively high in calories and fat, ribeye steak is a suitable type of red meat to include in your diet when you want to increase your protein intake. I would recommend sticking to no more than one to two servings every few weeks, as it is relatively high in saturated fats, consumption of which is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Ribeye steak is commonly paired with fries and vegetables. However, it’s great when served with mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, coleslaw, breaded mushrooms, or grilled honey-glazed vegetables.

To cook ribeye steak, you can use an oven or a frying pan. It’s relatively easy to cook but you need to make sure the meat doesn’t dry out during the cooking process. This BBC Good Food pan-fried rib eye steak recipe is easy to follow for beginners or intermediate cooks. 

11. Buffalo (20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving) 

Buffalo meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 202 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 20 grams  
  • Fats – 13 grams 

Buffalo isn’t as high in protein as rabbit or steak but it still contains 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

Buffalo meat can be combined with a range of different sauces and seasonings. Depending on your taste preferences, you might want to pair your buffalo with hot sauce, Dijon mustard, tomato sauce, or a mixture of spices. If you want to cook buffalo at home, there’s a great slow-braised buffalo recipe at sbs.com. 

12. Ham (19 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)


Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 118 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 1 gram 
  • Protein – 19 grams  
  • Fats – 4 grams 

Arguably one of the most popular red meats on this list, ham is obtained from a pig’s hind leg. It’s a versatile meat that people enjoy both hot and cold. Ham is low in carbs and fat and contains 19 grams of protein per serving.

You can buy packets of pre-cooked sliced ham at the grocery store which is great for sandwiches. You can also buy large ham steaks to cook in the oven with sauce and seasoning. Try this tasty maple-glazed ham recipe at Recipe Tim Eats.

If you’re eating ham in a sandwich, consider pairing it with cheese, tomatoes, and cucumber. When you’re eating a ham steak for your dinner, try pairing it with pineapple or serve it with some roasted potatoes and green vegetables on the side. 

13. Elk (18 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)  

Elk meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 144 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 18 grams  
  • Fats – 7.5 grams 

Another great high-protein red meat is elk, with 26 grams of protein and 124 calories in every 3-ounce serving.

Elk shouldn’t be cooked at too high temperatures as it can dry out quickly. Ideally, the meat should be cooked to an internal temperature no higher than 140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent dryness.

Elk is a popular red meat for burgers. You can mince the meat in a similar fashion to beef and shape it into patties. The patties can then be grilled on a BBQ or baked in the oven. To make your own elk burgers at home, follow this recipe on Aubrey’s Kitchen.  

14. Goat (18 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)  

Goat meat

Macronutrient Breakdown  

  • Calories – 93 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 18 grams  
  • Fats – 2 grams 

Goat might not be the first red meat that you think to eat but it’s a nutritious option nonetheless. It’s high in protein but low in calories and fat.

Goat is better cooked at low temperatures (around 325 degrees Fahrenheit) in the oven to prevent excessive moisture loss. You should also cook it to a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71.1 degrees Celsius) to keep it tender.

Try out this Jamaican curry goat recipe at African Bites if you want a flavorsome meal with goat meat. 

15. Ground Beef (16 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)  

ground beef

Macronutrient Breakdown (for 85% lean ground beef)

  • Calories – 180 calories  
  • Carbohydrates – 0 grams  
  • Protein – 16 grams  
  • Fats – 13 grams 

Most of you have probably eaten a beef burger before. Or maybe you’ve had spaghetti Bolognese with minced beef. There is a wide range of dishes that use beef and it’s a great form of red meat to eat when you want to maximize your protein intake. 

You can get beef of varying leanness. The protein content of different cuts of beef is similar but the fat content can vary significantly. A higher fat cut of beef will contain more calories and fat than a leaner cut.

For example, 3 servings of 90% lean ground beef only has 150 calories, 9 g of fat, and 17 g of protein. It’s important to pay attention to which leanness you buy when you’re trying to watch your calorie intake.

You can cook it using a number of methods, including grilling, stewing, braising, broiling, and stir frying. Olive Magazine has a beginner-friendly recipe to try out if you’re new to cooking beef.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Beef Has The Most Protein? 

The beef with the highest protein is top sirloin steak with 24 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving.

What To Read Next

If you’re looking for other foods that are high in protein or ideal for building muscle, check out the following resources:


Watanabe F. Vitamin B12 sources and bioavailability. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2007 Nov;232(10):1266-74. doi: 10.3181/0703-MR-67. PMID: 17959839.

Wolk A. Potential health hazards of eating red meat. J Intern Med. 2017 Feb;281(2):106-122. doi: 10.1111/joim.12543. Epub 2016 Sep 6. PMID: 27597529.

Briggs, M. A., Petersen, K. S., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). Saturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Replacements for Saturated Fat to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 5(2), 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare5020029

About The Author

Athina Crilley

Athina Crilley is a Biochemistry graduate, a qualified personal trainer, and nutrition coach. She is passionate about helping women to balance their hormones and cycle. She is the host and producer of Finding Flo podcast, which covers all things women’s health and nutrition.

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