Prepared rotisserie chicken, or "roaster chicken" as we call it in my family, is a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to eat healthfully and tastefully. It comes pre-cooked at the grocery store and is juicy, savory, tender, and delicious. Not to mention the crunchy, golden, totally-not-good-for-your-body-but-good-for-your-soul chicken skin (obviously the best part). And I've got 7 reasons why it's the perfect item to put on your grocery list if you're a millennial, post-grad, college student, working professional, or busy parent!
7 Reasons You Should Always Have Rotisserie Chicken In Your Fridge
1. It costs less than cooking a whole raw chicken from scratch yourself. How is that even possible, you ask? A rotisserie chicken is a loss leader for grocery stores - it brings you into the store and entices you to make the purchase in the hope that you'll buy other things while you're there (the grocery store hopes that this is most likely a tub of potato salad and a liter of soda to go with dinner, conveniently placed right next to the chicken display. Don't fall for this! Stay in budget and choose healthier, real-food options).
2. It's versatile. Dinner possibilities are endless - from to my Middle Eastern Grain Bowls to endless varieties of salads, tacos, soups, quesadillas, chicken pot pie, flatbreads, curry, pizzas, burritos, sandwiches, casseroles. Hey, even if you're at the most beginner level of home cook - get a little gourmet and simply add it to your mac & cheese or Ramen. Or just enjoy a rotisserie chicken plain with some roasted vegetables and a glass of wine. BuzzFeed has 24 Easy Meals You Can Make with Rotisserie Chicken if you're looking for more inspiration.
3. It's cheap. A whole rotisserie chicken is only $4.99 at Costco, and Costco loses $40 million a year to keep it that way. Note: it's also sometimes $4.99 at my local Stop & Shop, and I've seen chickens at this price at many other stores in different states, from CT to MA to CA. I would say the average price is about $6 or $7 for a non-organic rotisserie chicken. Remember, this way is cheaper than buying one raw and cooking it yourself.
4. You can buy it organic! An organic rotisserie chicken costs about $8.99 at Whole Foods (sometimes they're even on sale for $6.99).
5. You can make homemade chicken broth which is super simple and tastier, healthier, and cheaper than buying it already made in a can, box or cube. Learn how: throw it on the stovetop to simmer for a few hours, pop it in the crockpot and forget about it, or go the most flavorful and quickest route with the pressure cooker (using your Instant Pot, if you have one!). Freeze the broth in muffin tins and pop out to put in a plastic bag (or, even better, vacuum seal them with your FoodSaver!) and you'll have 1 cup servings of delicious, homemade chicken broth on hand any time you need.
6. You'll have leftovers. If you're cooking for 1 (or even 2), you'll have leftovers that you can use throughout the week and it definitely won't feel like you're eating the same old boring thing every night. To use up leftovers, I love using shredded rotisserie chicken for homemade chicken salad to bring for lunch, adding in either curry powder, celery, and raisins for a curry chicken salad or grapes, apples, and craisins for a fruity chicken salad.
7. You can freeze it. The perfect reason to snag a few while they're on sale or when you're at Costco - that $4.99 price is unreal. I break down the chicken and shred mine and pack them up in little freezer packs with my FoodSaver vacuum sealer. It tastes like it's fresh out of the oven even when I'm enjoying the chicken weeks later.
How to Buy a Rotisserie Chicken
Rotisserie chickens can be found in the deli section of your grocery store, usually near where the hot food is prepared (the pizza counter, the prepared potato/macaroni salads, and near the deli meat counter). They're often under a warmer, so look for a stand-alone display or a display along the counter. Some stores sell different flavor varieties, like Barbecue, Lemon Pepper, or spicy versions, but I always stick with the Original Recipe because it's the most versatile, meaning I can incorporate it into any type of recipe I want.
How to Break Down a Rotisserie Chicken
This process is pretty easy, especially if you just decide to shred the chicken like I do rather than break it down into thighs, breasts, etc. You're going to want to get every delicious piece of chicken off the bone, which is easiest to do while the chicken is still warm from the deli counter where you picked it up. Do it right when you get home as you're putting away groceries anyways. Start by pulling off the skin. From there, I usually just use my hands to shred the chicken off the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. There are plenty of videos on the internet about how to properly break down a chicken if you'd like to keep the breasts, thighs, drumsticks, etc. intact. Good luck!
How to Store Rotisserie Chicken
Like I said in #7 above, I love storing single-serving shredded chicken in the freezer for quick meals using my FoodSaver vacuum sealer. It's just so convenient to pop one of these in the fridge the night before to defrost and come home with endless healthy and tasty possibilities for dinner. If you're going to eat your shredded chicken within 4-5 days, simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge.
It's that simple.
I spend $5-6 a week to have easy lunch and dinners on hand, plus, homemade chicken stock anytime I want. A rotisserie chicken is truly the ultimate Millennial Fridge (& Freezer) Staple!
To see all of my recipes with rotisserie chicken, head on over to the Recipe Index of Rotisserie Chicken Recipes. I'll be posting many more recipes featuring rotisserie chicken in the coming weeks & months on the blog, so be sure to subscribe to be the first to get these recipes in your inbox!