6 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Rotisserie Chicken

A good bird will get through even the busiest week.

7 minutos de lectura

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I am the type of cook who likes to make everything from scratch — I enjoy soaking beans, simmering stock, and folding dumplings. That said, I make an exception for roast chicken. I love a good grocery store rotisserie chicken. When life is busy or rough, it’s the food that gets me through the week (the USDA recommends consuming cooked chicken within three or four days, FYI!).

Over the past year, I’ve perfected my strategy for sourcing and using up the whole bird, and I am here to impart my wisdom. Step 1: Look for rotisserie chickens from a nicer grocery store that are seasoned simply with salt and pepper — you’re looking for quality and versatility here. Step 2: Use every single bit you can. Whether you’re adding substance to a bowl of soup or whipping up a great chicken salad, here are six ways to make the most of a rotisserie chicken. 

1. Eat It Hot 


While excellent as leftovers, rotisserie chicken is best when it’s still hot and its skin is taut. Try buying one after work so you can serve some of it for dinner. Let the rest of the bird cool before transferring it to an airtight container or large zip-top bag and popping it into the fridge for the week ahead.

There’s no need for complicated accompaniments here; a big green salad and some bread with a nice crust is best. And, if you feel the need for a dipping sauce, mix mayo with either Calabrian chili paste, chutney, or pesto.   

2. Make a Light Chicken Salad


When chicken salad is loaded up with mayo, it can often be too rich for a midday meal when you need to get back to your desk. Instead, mix roughly equal parts mayo and Greek yogurt in a medium-sized bowl, add a couple of mashed anchovies, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a small glug of olive oil, and several cracks of black pepper. Taste and adjust from there, using a tiny bit of water if you need to thin it out. 

Since rotisserie chicken is often on the salty side, you may not need to add much salt. If you want some heat, add a dollop of Calabrian chili paste or red pepper flakes. Portion out your chicken, remove any skin, and add pieces directly into the bowl. I like a mix of white and dark meat, but use what you prefer. Toss well, so each piece of meat is coated with the sauce. Serve atop slices of toasted sourdough or endive leaves. If you have parsley on hand, give some a rough chop and sprinkle it over the chicken salad.

3. Top a Bowl of Soup


No matter whether your soup comes from a can, a carton from the deli down the street, or from your own kitchen (perhaps this lemon chickpea soup), your leftover chunks of rotisserie chicken will typically improve it and transform a bowl into a heartier dish. Ditto brothy beans: Make sure to remove the skin, tear the chicken into bite-size pieces, and add them to the pot at the very last moment — you want to warm the meat through without overcooking it.

4. Bulk Up a Green Salad


The soup principle above applies here too: Rotisserie chicken can turn most salads into meals. Try one with baby arugula, hunks of avocado, thin slices of fennel, roasted pepitas for crunch, halved grape tomatoes, and some Parmesan. Top it with a lemon-shallot dressing that’s three parts olive oil, one part fresh lemon juice, and as much minced shallot, salt, and pepper as you like. Add a dribble of water before mixing the dressing, which helps everything emulsify. 

5. Stack a Chicken BLT 


Sometimes it’s nice to have a bit more meat in a BLT — particularly when tomatoes aren’t at their peak. If your chicken has been hanging out in the refrigerator for a day or two, remove the breast meat and let it come to room temperature on the counter as you prep the rest of your sandwich ingredients. If your sandwiches have a habit of falling apart, add a slice of avocado to help hold everything together. 

6. Make Chicken Stock


At the end of the week (or whenever you’ve eaten all the meat), add the carcass to a pot of cold water along with a carrot and an onion, both cut in half with the skin left on. Bring everything to a boil and then immediately lower to a simmer. I’ve never quite understood celery, but if she speaks to you, toss in a roughly chopped stalk or two.

Add salt, pepper, and a few sprigs of parsley if you have them on hand. For a clear stock, make sure to skim off any scum that rises to the top. Simmer for at least two hours and taste. If you like a stronger stock, continue to simmer until it reaches the intensity you like.  


  • Photography: Paul Quitoriano

  • Food Styling: Lena Abraham

  • Prop Styling: Gerri Williams

  • Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros Gomez