15 Ways I Use a Rotisserie Chicken: A Cheap and Easy Way to Meal Prep

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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love a good rotisserie chicken. The fact that it comes from the store ready to go only makes it that much better. The chicken, often cooked to perfection, is extremely versatile and, for one person, can easily supply me with enough protein for a week or two (especially when using other sources like vegetables, beans, and lentils.)

With most premade items you get at the grocery store, you’re often better off buying the whole ingredients and cooking it from scratch yourself (if time allows.) These tasty chickens are one of the few exceptions to the “convenience tax.” For years, the price of a whole, uncooked chicken, usually the same size or smaller, is $15 or more. However, when you go with the precooked whole chickens, they’re almost always under $10, at least where I live, and even cheaper when shopping at Costcoshopping at Costco. Between the time, money, and hydro saved from not having to cook it myself, it just makes sense to buy them!

Quick and Easy Ways I Eat My Chicken

One of my favorite things about rotisserie chickens is how versatile they can be when adding in your on flavor or to different meals. Here are 8 of my favorite ways to make them into tasty meals:

  1. Chicken Sandwiches and Wraps – when I’m making chicken sandwiches, I like to shred the meat extra thin so that it spreads a lot further and add in as many tasty extras as I can.
  2. Chicken Salad (Style 1) – dice or shred your chicken into small pieces, and add a dollop of mayo and some spices or seasonings of your choice. I usually add garlic salt, pepper, and onions (especially green onions) if I have them, and if I want it light and fresh, I’ll even add a pinch of dill! This makes a great filling for sandwiches and wraps.
  3. Chicken Salad (on lettuce) – Shred a little up and add it to your salad of choice to give some extra protein and make it a little more satisfying.
  4. Pasta – Whatever pasta you’re making, if it’s one you like to eat with chicken, the rotisserie chicken will be a great and flavorful add, from tomato-based to mac and cheese to creamy pastas like alfredo.
  5. Chicken Tacos – This makes for some of the easiest taco nights! If you want it to have a little more flavor, you can also give it a quick pan fry with a little oil and your go-to taco seasoning.
  6. Buffalo Chicken Dip – While I haven’t made this myself, I know a lot of people who love a good buffalo chicken dip.
  7. Crispy Chicken – On occasion, I’ll take the chicken, with the pieces of skin, and pan-fry it in a little bit of olive oil or butter with a touch of garlic salt to give me some nice crispy chicken. after I pull the chicken out, I’ll throw some veggies in the pan to sautee and serve with it.
  8. BBQ Chicken – For this, I slice the chicken fairly thin (I leave on the skin for this, but it’s totally optional) and add a good layer of my favorite BBQ sauce. Then I put it in the air fryer (my preferred method) or the oven at 450°F for about 5 minutes. I like to do a high temp for a short time because it helps the BBQ sauce to get nice and caramelized without drying out the chicken. Sometimes, I’ll even add a minute on broil to get that extra little crispiness.

When I can’t Eat it All

As much as I love these chickens, some weeks, I know I won’t eat it all before it’ll go bad. In these cases, I’ll shred it small, mix in just a small amount of water (or broth if I’ve already made it), before freezing it. he reason I like to add just a little liquid is to keep the chicken from drying out in the freezer.

Once it’s ready to go in the freezer, I try to freeze it as flat as possible and in small sections that are great for single servings that I can then add to other meals in the near future.

  1. Ramen – Sometimes, I like just a quick easy meal. Ramen is a great option for this, but the noodles alone aren’t quite enough. I add in some of the chicken and some veggies (like corn, bean sprouts, or other frozen veggies, or those that will cook in a few minutes). I add it all to the pot, with the seasoning pack, the noodles, and 1-2 cups of water, and eat it as a much more satisfying soup.
  2. Omelets – Now, I know some people who don’t like to mix chicken with eggs in this way, but give me an omelet with some chicken, broccoli, tomato, and feta any day of the week!
  3. Soup – Whether you’re making a full pot, or a single serving, this makes for a quick and easy protein to add in, that you don’t have to worry about cooking.

Wasting as Little as Possible

Like all good Frugalites, I like to waste as little as possible and use as much of the chicken as I can. Once I reach the end of the meat, I still get a lot more from my chicken. From here, everything else goes into my homemade broth.

If I have time, or if it’s a little chilly at home, I’ll throw the bones in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes. This helps to add a little extra flavor to my bone broth. While the bones are roasting, I take any skin or pieces of meat that weren’t the best for eating and toss them into a pot with some of my veggies scraps, and a bit of salt. The plastic dish the chicken has been sitting in usually has some cooled fat that has an almost jelly consistency. I run a little bit of hot water into it, swish it around, and pour it into my pot. I usually do this a couple of times, getting as much of the fat and flavor as possible.

Once that’s done and the bones are roasted, I add those in and fill it up with water. I like to bring my broth to a boil then let it simmer and reduce on medium-low temperature for a couple hours. Now, the water will start to evaporate and get thicker. At the beginning of the process, I may add a little bit more so that everything can simmer a little bit longer. This helps to get as much nutrients as possible from the bones.

Once I know I’m getting close to the time, I’ll take it off the eat; I let the water reduce until there’s not much left. Usually, I only have enough liquid left to fit in a smaller mason jar. Before straining, I let the broth cool down until it’s just warm. Don’t forget to put a bowl under your strainer! (I’ve almost made that mistake a time or two.) I’ll let the liquid sit and strain slowly. Once it’s out on its own, I’ll actually get in there and gently squeeze or press on the scraps to get that little extra liquid out.

Once the broth cools and I’ve put it in the fridge, it will become pretty thick, but that’s not a bad thing! It’s actually how I like it!

What I Do with the Broth

The broth, now full of tons of nutrients, is great to use the following week. I pull out just a tablespoon here or there as needed. Because I let it simmer down and get thick, a tablespoon at this consistency is closer to a cup or two of actual broth if you add water.

  1. Gravy Base – This makes for a great gravy base. I use a scoop of broth, a much smaller amount of butter, and then cook in my standard gravy fashion.
  2. Cooking Flavor – When it comes to cooking my rice, pasta, beans, or grains of any sort. I always like to add in a bit of broth for extra flavor and nutrients.
  3. Homemade Sauces – If you’re making a homemade sauce, especially a bechamel based sauce, this makes for a great starter.
  4. A cup of Bone Broth – Bone broth is well known to have many health benefits. Not only is it pretty gentle on an uneasy stomach, but it also provides lots of nutrients. Some mornings, when I’m not feeling hungry but know I should eat, I’ll take a spoonful of the thickened broth and some boiling water, stir, and I’m good to go.

Do You Buy Rotisserie Chickens?

While they’ve been a staple in my home for years, I know not everyone buys them. Do you? If you don’t, will you start soon? What kinds of meals do you like to cook with your rotisserie chicken? Do you plan to try any of these? Let’s talk chicken in the comments!

About Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s, all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college-age students on their own for the first time with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her dog, Rhea. 

Check out her Simple Debt & Budget Trackers, and her other work on TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com where she writes about food, frugality, finances, and self-reliance, or her work on Medium, where she writes about lifestyle, mental health, and writing.

Picture of Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan

Chloe Morgan grew up living with a tight budget. In her late teens and early 20’s all the lessons she’d learned started to slip, like it does for many college age students on their own for the first time, and with their first credit card. As she’s gotten older, she’s started to deal with the repercussions and has taken on a frugal way of living, keeping her costs low, as she pays off debt and saves for her future. Chloe lives in Northern Ontario, Canada, with her cute dog, Rhea.

7 thoughts on “15 Ways I Use a Rotisserie Chicken: A Cheap and Easy Way to Meal Prep”

  1. I love the costco roto chicken.( the one i picked up at local store was sad by comparison) I get it home and strip the meat off the carcass. i usually put half in a zip lock in the freezer. i will try adding a little water but the only dry parts are the two big chunks of meat on either side of the midline. Then I add the chicken to everything im making, rice , sandwhiches , chicken salad, everything. i will try the broth thing. I’ve thought about it before but never got around to it

  2. Excellent article! I also like to make a chicken pot pie with the meat. I buy two frozen pie crusts, frozen carrots n peas, fresh mushrooms and 1 medium sized onion. I sauté the onion, mushrooms and peas n carrots in the pan with a little olive oil and garlic powder for 4 minutes. I then stir in a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. I bake the bottom of the empty pie crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and then fill it with the chicken mixture. I cover it with the second pie crust n poke holes with a fork. I bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes. If the crust browns too quickly, just cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. Enjoy!

  3. I don’t buy rotisserie chicken, mostly because the amount of meat I actually get has never impressed me. I can fairly regularly find chicken breast for $2-3 a pound, and less than that if I want thigh meat. If I want bone-in, it’s generally less. Since I cook chicken weekly anyway, it doesn’t save me any time. I oven bake my chicken, usually with an herbal rub, and drain the fat off before putting it in the fridge for the week.

    That said, I re-use the broth and drippings, and sometimes make soup if the chicken was bone-in. Another thing you could do with rotisserie scraps is cook a nice pot of barley using the scraps for flavor. 1 cup of dry barley can expand into about six cups of cooked so that’s one heck of a stretch!

    1. Jayne Campbell

      Barley has a lot more fiber than brown rice which helps keep me full for a longer time. It also helps regulate blood sugar. I often use it in place of rice or pasta in a recipe. Beans with barley and maybe even with fresh mushrooms added is one of my favorite dishes. Barley is also good as a burrito filling.

    1. I agree with a chicken pot pie since you can throw in leftover rice and veggies into it using some of that bone broth as well.

      You can also throw some into chili, on top of pizza (that could be the BBQ flavor or Buffalo).

      Mix with some leftover rice and cream of mushroom soup (you can make a mock one as well). Some people might add peas to this.

      My husband would make a stir fry with it.

      Debbie in MA

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