Kitchn Love Letters

This $7 Rotisserie Chicken Is the Only One I’ll Buy

published Apr 27, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

For most people, when they think of picking up a rotisserie chicken, they default to a certain five-dollar loss leader from one of the country’s most beloved warehouse stores. And for good reason! They’re huge, they’re juicy, and they’re nearly always in stock and ready to go. 

I used to pick them up myself from time to time. Then, I tried the herb-seasoned roasted chicken from Sprouts Farmers Market. And my bird of choice was forever changed.

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I stumbled upon this bird when I was doing a comparative taste test and happened to learn that Sprouts sells a roasted chicken. It says roasted, not rotisserie, but that’s just semantics, people: It came off a rotating spit, same as every other store.

I didn’t expect too much at first glance; it comes packed in the same generic black plastic tray and clear lid as many others, and the options on offer didn’t look as delectably caramelized. They were all on a lighter shade of toasty gold, as opposed to the deep browns and char markings of other store brands. The options also looked maybe kind of dry. But you know how we’re told not to judge a book by its cover? Well, I learned within minutes not to judge a chicken by its color.

Find it in stores: Herb-Seasoned Roasted Chicken, $6.99 for 25 ounces at Sprouts Farmers Market

Credit: Su-Jit Lin

I bought one and took it home. As soon as I took off the lid, my nose was greeted with the scent of slightly charred, perfectly roasted meat. The aromas of dried herbs — parsley, onion, garlic — wafted through the air. And as I sliced into the bird, the resistance of the meaty, surprisingly juicy first cut against the knife was full and satisfying — a feeling that carried through into my first bite. 

It was absolutely shocking how flavorful it was. Salty and deep, the seasonings went through the crisp skin, past the tender meat, down to the bone. I could clearly taste the smoky, but light char in every single bite. And the texture! The texture of the Sprouts rotisserie chicken was just exceptional. Not a single bite of it was gummy, as some tend to get. There were no oddly silky pieces like you might find in lower-quality chicken, or spongy pieces like you might find in certain birds injected with filler.

While the skin was slightly soggier around the thigh as the chicken rested on its haunches, the dark meat here was full-flavored, moist, and juicy, but not greasy, wet, or gamey. The tenderloin was sweet with its distinctive “tenders” taste, pulling free of the thick breast as easily and cleanly as the meat from the drumstick off the bones. Regardless of what part of the chicken I bit into, the richness of every succulent morsel lingered. After this first trial run, I have to say, it’s the only rotisserie chicken I’ll buy from now on.

Do you have a favorite grocery store rotisserie chicken? Tell us in the comments below.