Thrifty Thursday: Rotisserie Chickens from the Grocery Store

Trim your grocery budget and save time with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or warehouse club.

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Heyo! It’s Thursday again, and time for another thrifty tip. If you have even a passing interest in being frugal, I’m sure you’ve read hundreds of times about buying rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. They’re an amazing bargain, and frequently cost less than buying a raw chicken to roast yourself! Here are some tips that I hope will help you save even more by making the most of your rotisserie chicken. Also, if you’re a busy mom, they save time – I always, always pick one up when I’m doing a big grocery shop so I don’t have to cook dinner that night!

Trim your grocery budget and save time with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or warehouse club.

Buy from Costco or Sam’s Club.

If you already have a membership, this is easy. If you don’t, and you have one nearby, the chickens alone might make membership worth its cost for your family! These stores have the biggest chickens; I can usually get an extra lunch out of them due to the bigger size. Costco (and Sam’s) actually take a loss to sell the chickens for roughly $5 each. Personally, I also find them moister and more flavorful than some other local grocery stores. I hate to admit this, because I am a dyed-in-the-wool Costco fan, but I think I kind of prefer the flavor at Sam’s. They use Lawry’s Seasoning Salt and anyone who knows anything about chicken can tell you that is a guaranteed winning flavor combination.

If neither of the warehouse clubs is an option, compare your local grocery stores. For us, there are a couple of stores that sell puny things that may as well be Cornish game hens as rotisserie chickens, and a couple that have decent chickens that aren’t as good as Costco or Sam’s Club. They also tend to cost $6-7 instead of $5. Of course, gas prices, distance, and whether you walk out with a flat of mangos and 300 bottles of seltzer may also affect your buying decisions and how frugal your purchase really is!

Use the gelled stock on the bottom of the tray.

Seriously. I don’t know how many chickens I bought before I realized it was even there. I weep for all the delicious stock I discarded unknowingly. If you pick up a packaged rotisserie chicken and look underneath you’ll see what looks like (I’m sorry) chicken jello. If you are planning a chicken and gravy meal, you can use it right away; just heat it up to turn it back into a liquid and pour into your roux accordingly. (I really need to talk to you all about gravy making, hm?) If you’re not, you can freeze it in Ziploc freezer bags and pull it out when you need some roasted poultry flavor.

It’s quite salty, so you probably won’t need to add salt to a gravy or soup made with this. But it can save you needing to buy canned or boxed broth, or bouillon.

Make even more stock from what’s left when you’re done.

After you’ve eaten all the chicken, don’t toss the bones… unless it’s into a stock pot. I actually use my Instant Pot for this, because I find it trivially easy that way. No skimming, which is great, and it extracts a ton of flavor and gelatin. (The gelatin gives the stock a smooth mouth feel, which is one of the differences between amazing chicken soup and just kind of OK chicken soup.) Just chuck the whole thing in with some water to cover, a few onions (don’t peel them), a stalk of celery, and a carrot, if you have them. I cook under high pressure for 2 hours, at which point the bones start to disintegrate and I think maybe it’s the very much au courant “bone broth,” but I’m not 100% sure. I am sure that it’s really, really good.

Make sure to pour it through a metal mesh strainer to get any odd bits out. If I don’t have an immediate use for it, I tend to further reduce it by simmering with the lid off. Not boiling – simmering, so it’s bubbling gently. Again, you can do this in the Instant Pot, or you can transfer to a stock pot on the stove. I haven’t compared energy efficiency for this, to be honest, but I’m sure I will someday because I Love Spreadsheets. At any rate, you can reduce it quite a lot; I go for at least half if not three quarters. Then you can pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze; just pull out a cube and heat in water when you need chicken stock.

That’s cool but I don’t know how much roasted chicken I actually want to eat.

Aha! You can do many things with a rotissierie chicken, such as

  • chicken salad
  • shred and combine with BBQ sauce for sandwiches
  • shred and use to make fantastic nachos
  • put chicken and noodles in the aforementioned stock for soup
  • mix with taco seasoning and make tacos
  • use it to top a salad
  • mix it with a flavored rice, couscous, or quinoa dish
  • use it to fill quesadillas
  • make chicken noodle casserole
  • etc.

What do you think?

When did you last pick up a rotisserie chicken? Are they a staple on your menu? Talk about it in our Facebook group!

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Trim your grocery budget and save time with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or warehouse club.

Trim your grocery budget and save time with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or warehouse club.

Trim your grocery budget and save time with rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or warehouse club.

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