Do you ever walk by the rotisserie chickens at the grocery store and think to yourself, “Gosh, it would be so nice to just pick one of those up and have dinner DONE for the night.”
Yeah, me too. But what if that single rotisserie chicken made MORE than just dinner tonight. What if it also made dinner tomorrow night?
And better yet – what if it made dinner the night after THAT too?
Why You Should Cook Chicken over Buy Rotisserie Chicken
I’m going to explain how you can stretch that one rotisserie chicken into several meals in just a moment. First, I want to encourage you to make your own rotisserie chicken instead.
Yes, it requires just a smidgen more work, but it’s SO worth it for three main reasons:
1. You get more meat.
The average rotisserie chicken weighs just 2 – 2.5 lbs. Compare that to the average whole raw chicken that weights 5-6 pounds. Just by buying a whole chicken raw, versus a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, means you’re getting twice as much meat.
2. You get more bang for your buck.
According to this article, homemade chickens cost an average of $1/lb less than a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. At some stores, the difference was nearly $3 per pound!
3. You control the ingredients.
You might not have noticed that rotisserie chickens have an ingredient label. You’d think they wouldn’t need one, but think again!
Here’s the list of ingredients from a Costco rotisserie chicken:
Whole chicken, water, seasoning [salt, sodium phosphate, modified food starch (potato, tapioca) and potato dextrin, carrageenan, sugar, dextrose, spice extractives].
Of these ingredients, 3 are listed on my top 5 ingredients to avoid in food. Quite a bit more than just chicken, right?
Psst…speaking of toxins, did you know that many salts contain MICROPLASTICS? It’s a sneaky toxin that may be in your everyday salt, and thus your everyday food (um, gross). I love Ava Jane’s Kitchen because their salt is FREE of microplastics, and it tastes delicious! (PLUS you can get your own penny bag of salt on this page!)
4. You control the quality of the chicken.
If you’re concerned about chickens without antibiotics or GMO’s or seek pasture-raised chickens, you won’t find them in the rotisserie bin.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken
Ok, I’ve told you WHY you should make your own rotisserie chicken. Now let’s talk about how you can pull it off, and you have 5 main options:
1. Cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker.
Slow cooker chicken is by far the easiest way to cook a whole chicken. Cook it while you’re at work and come home to a cooked chicken.
I have this 6 quart slow cooker and can get two birds in at the same time. Doesn’t the idea of having dinner done for over a week sound good to you? Yeah, me too.
2. Roast a whole chicken in the oven.
It’s hard to beat the crispy skin of a traditional oven-roasted chicken, but I admit that it’s more time-consuming that than the slow cooker method. Still, of all the methods, this one is my favorite.
3. Spatchcock a whole chicken.
When you spatchcock a chicken before you cook it, you cut the cooking time down to less than an hour. You get crispy skin too, so this is a good compromise if you’re short on time and can’t pull off the traditional oven-roasted chicken.
4. Make a whole chicken in the Instant Pot.
A whole chicken in the Instant Pot is a extremely delicious. It comes out tender like a roasted chicken in the oven (sans the crispy skin). It’s easy to cook and all set up for Instant Pot chicken stock when dinner is done.
5. Rotisserie a whole chicken.
We used to have this rotisserie attachment for our grill in California, and we LOVED having homemade rotisserie chicken. If you have the attachment and aren’t in a rush, definitely try this method. You can also “set it and forget it” with this rotisserie gadget, if you have the slush funds.
Anyone else remember those commercials?
Making the Most of your Rotisserie Chicken
So you know WHY you should cook your own chicken and HOW to cook your own chicken. Let’s talk about getting the most you can out of that rotisserie chicken!
First off, one of the easiest ways to save money is to treat meat like a part of the meal, and not make it the main star of the meal at all. That means we’re NOT sticking that freshly roasted chicken on the table and telling the family to knock themselves out.
We’re going to pick off all the meat from the chicken, and when you do, you’ll end up with about 6 cups worth of shredded chicken. Most recipes will use about 2 cups of shredded chicken each, but some use as little as 1 cup. Depending on what you make, you can get anywhere from 3 to 6 different meals out of that meat. And that doesn’t even include making homemade chicken stock with the bones!
My default recipe for using the meat from a rotisserie chicken is tacos, but even the greatest taco fan needs a break now and then, right?
I’ve put together a list of 38 meals you can make with a rotisserie chicken. That way you can stretch that single chicken as far as you possibly can, and stretch your grocery dollars along with it!
Also, shredded chicken freezes wonderfully, so don’t let “it makes too much for me” get in the way of saving some money!
(By the way, if you’re more of a step-by-step person for stretching meals, check out how to get 31 meals out of one chicken, and also 7 meals to make with one pork loin! I go more in depth on stretching meat and making the most of your meals in Grocery Budget Bootcamp, too. Be sure to check it out if you really want to make the most of your budget!)
38 Meals You Can Make with a Rotisserie Chicken
- Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
- Savory Pasta with Onions, Bacon, and Greens
- Pasta Primavera
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Jalapeno Popper Casserole
- Easy Creamy Squash Pasta Bake
- Baked Ziti
- Spinach Artichoke Chicken
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
- Kung Pao Chicken
- 30 Minute Cashew Chicken
- Simple Autumn Rice Pilaf
- Faux Risotto
- Shrimp, Sausage, and Chicken Creole
- Stuffed Peppers
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Mediterranean Grilled Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- Homemade Hot Pockets
- One Pan Buffalo Chicken Potatoes
- California Chicken Wraps
- BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Pizza
Soups, Stews & Chili’s
- Garlic & Kale White Bean Soup
- White Chicken Chili
- Kung Fu Panda Soup
- Mexican Corn and Potato Chowder
- Tortilla Soup
- Hearty Minestrone Soup
- Chicken Vegetable Soup
- Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut
- Caesar Salad
- Asian Mason Jar Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
- Southwestern Salad
- Chicken Bacon & Avocado Salad