I'm planning on marinating my chicken legs with Tabasco sauce. I have read that a marinade should be one part lemon juice and 3 parts olive oil.

I'm going to be using two skinned chicken legs, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and Tabasco sauce

The reason I want to marinate the chicken legs is because I will be eating them on the go and wont have time to add the Tabasco sauce to them yet I still want them spicy.

So basically I'm wondering how many extra calories could I be talking for each chicken leg.

Thank you.

  • Whats the best way to marinade without adding calories? Thank you Nov 1, 2016 at 20:05
  • 1
    We need more specific details. Otherwise we can't give you an answer. Based on your last comment, if you don't want to add calories, none of the ingredients in the marinade should have calories. That is, of course, unless you plan to rinse all of the marinade off.
    – Cindy
    Nov 1, 2016 at 21:34
  • 2
    Why do you think oil is necessary for marinades?
    – Catija
    Nov 1, 2016 at 21:35
  • 1
    You're really sort of asking the wrong question... what you really want to do is add flavor without adding calories... the solution to that is to use flavoring elements that don't have calories... use a dry rub... use the Tabasco sauce itself... use an oil free marinade... there are many solutions. And wherever you read that a marinade "should be one part lemon juice and three parts oil"... they're utterly wrong. Neither oil nor lemon juice are necessary.
    – Catija
    Nov 1, 2016 at 21:43
  • I tried rubbing Tabasco on turkey breasts today and left it for a few hours before cooking but they were not spicy. so I thought a marinade would be the solution Nov 1, 2016 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


Oil which ends up being eaten, no matter if it comes from deep frying, marinating or just adding it, clocks in at 7-9 calories per gram of oil. If you add any sugar or thick syrup, calculate around 4 calories per gram. Tabasco sauce, being mostly vegetables and vinegar, is truly trivial in calories.

If you weigh the oil (and sugar if using) going into your marinade, and also weigh all your finished marinade, you can roughly calculate the calories per g of finished marinade: (("grams oil"*8)+("grams sugar"*4))/"total weight".

Now divide the total weight of marinade (minus the weight of marinade wasted -weigh it!) by the number of portions, and multiply with the calories per gram factor you calculated above.

Chances are that oil will penetrate less than other marinade ingredients, which could end up with there being a bit less calories in the finished food than calculated.

  • 1
    Neither oil nor other ingredients will penetrate. The marinade being eaten is the marinade which sticks to the surface, which is unlikely to have a different composition than the full marinade.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 2, 2016 at 11:48
  • On the kind of food the OP refers to, probably true. Do you think this can be applied to all cases of marination (especially when food is poked, or dehydrated, or very salty marinade is used to force water out and other stuff in)? Nov 2, 2016 at 12:41
  • There may be some edge cases, but the typical rule is that nothing, or almost nothing goes in, even in those situations where the average cooks assumes that the marinade is going in. "Poked" doesn't really create much space for something to flow in, and it will be very difficult for liquid to actually go into such a narrow hole. Dehydrated food is likely to soak up water via osmosis, but a lot of the stuff dissolved in the water will stay on the outside, especially fat and carbohydrates. Similarly with the very salty marinade, you are not forcing stuff in.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 2, 2016 at 16:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.