5 Reasons You Should Always Buy a Rotisserie Chicken

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Have you ever wondered why the readymade, warm-and-waiting-for-you rotisserie chicken at grocery stores is so cheap? At Whole Foods, for example, a rotisserie chicken costs $7.99 and an organic one is just $9.99. And Costco sells them for $4.99

Here’s another fun fact: Costco alone sells something like 70 million a year — and they do so at a financial loss.

So, what gives?

An exhaustive story in Priceonomics explained that the reason the rotisserie chickens seems so cheap is that they are usually smaller than the similarly priced cold ones in your grocery store’s refrigerator section. Even still, we’d argue rotisserie chicken is always a good deal. Here are five reasons why.

5 Reasons You Should Always Buy a Rotisserie Chicken

Besides the fact that the rotisserie chicken at your grocery store is cooked and waiting for you, there are five additional reasons this is always a good buy.

1. It keeps your kitchen cool (and saves you money on utilities).

Roasting a chicken at home means your oven is on for at least an hour, probably longer. By buying a rotisserie chicken, you are saving both yourself and your utility bill. Even if you cook a simple side to go with your rotisserie chicken (say, stir-fried greens), it won’t generate nearly the same amount of heat as roasting a whole chicken. Better yet, though, serve it with something cool like this tangy cucumber salad.

2. You will not have to clean your oven.

No explanation necessary.

3. It is the easiest dinner anchor ever.

A hot roast chicken is an easy centerpiece to a meal. So, what else should you throw in your cart? My favorite I-can’t-cook-tonight dinner is a rotisserie chicken, whole microwaved sweet potatoes, and some salad greens. If you like chutney or hot sauce, put some on the side. It’s quick and delicious.

5 Easy Sides for Your Rotisserie Chicken

  • Microwaved Russet potatoes.
  • Green beans stir-fried with just a little bit of oil and one or two minced garlic cloves.
  • Grilled asparagus and some rice.
  • A quick caprese salad of fresh tomatoes with mozzarella and basil.
  • A small-ish pasta like orzo tossed with butter, Parmesan, and frozen peas.

4. It makes a great add-on.

You know how restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen ask you if you want to add chicken to salads and pastas for an extra charge? A rotisserie chicken lets you do it at home. Shred your chicken and add it to salads, pastas, or instant noodles. You can also stir it together with chicken broth, spinach or kale, and noodles for a quick soup. And it’s a great way to make leftovers more interesting.

3 Meals Made Better with Chicken

  • Salad: Wouldn’t some chicken be good added to this Fattoush Bread Salad?
  • Quesadillas: If you want to get fancy, sprinkle a pinch of taco seasoning or chili powder and cumin into the juices that accumulate in the bottom of the dish the chicken came in and toss with the chicken.
  • Pasta: Toss the chicken with some bowtie pasta, butter, a squeeze of lemon, and red pepper flakes.

5. It’s a shortcut.

Many, many, many recipes start with parboiling, grilling, or sautéing chicken. Why not skip a step and substitute the meat from a rotisserie chicken?

5 Recipes That Call for Cooked Chicken

  • Here’s a taco recipe.
  • This Greek pasta would be ideal.
  • The combination of chicken, broccoli, and pasta never fails to make me happy. I would use the chicken breasts from my rotisserie chicken for this and save the dark meat for later.
  • Chicken pot pie is always a treat.
  • With a little improvising, this stir-fry would come together very quickly. Just toss the chicken with the sauce before adding the greens.

What do you do with your grocery store rotisserie chicken?