6 Facts You Need to Know About Costco’s Rotisserie Chicken

It’s a shopper favorite for a reason.


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Even if you’ve never set foot in a Costco store, you’re likely familiar with the chain’s famous rotisserie chicken. The roasted bird has been featured in everything from Broad City to thousands of TikTok videos, and even made headlines earlier this year when celebrity chef David Chang called it “inedible and disgusting”—drawing ire from Costco shoppers across the globe.

Perhaps the most famous fact about Costco’s crown jewel is that it only costs $4.99, and has sported that exact same price tag for well over a decade, defying rising food costs and inflation. What’s more? According to Costco insiders, the big-box chain has no intention of raising the price anytime soon, despite actually losing money on the popular product. Curious to learn more about what might just be the world’s most famous rotisserie chicken? Keep reading for additional details.

The price isn’t changing 

As we noted, Costco’s rotisserie chickens are priced at $4.99, and have been since way back in 2009, when everyone was still rocking skinny scarves and listening to Miley Cyrus belt out “Party in the U.S.A.” 

According to Costco’s Chief Financial Officer, Richard Galanti, there are no plans to raise the price by even one dollar. “I can only tell you what history has shown us: When others were raising their chicken prices from $4.99 to $5.99, we were willing to eat, if you will, $30 to $40 million a year in gross margin by keeping it at $4.99,” Galanti told The Seattle Times in 2015. “That’s what we do for a living.”

It’s one of the best-priced rotisserie chickens around

Whether you like it or not, Costco’s rotisserie chickens are a great deal. At (about) 3 pounds for $4.99, you’re looking at a cost of approximately $1.66 per pound. In contrast, similar products from Whole Foods and Safeway clock in at $7.14 and $4.80 per pound, respectively—significantly more than a Costco bird.

The chickens are placed in a strategic location

Costco knows it’s not the type of store that attracts the same shoppers on a weekly basis, but with reasonably priced items such as the rotisserie chicken, it hopes that customers return more frequently. If you’ve ever run in just to grab a chicken, you likely had to walk all the way to the back of the store—passing everything from massive flatscreen TVs to a 24-pack of toilet paper on your way. That’s by design, as The Powers That Be at Costco are betting that during your trek to the back of the store, you’ll pick up a few more things in addition to an easy, inexpensive meal.

Costco has its own plant just for chickens

In an effort to cut costs, Costco opened its own 400,000-square-foot poultry processing plant in Nebraska in 2019. With this plant, the company can manage the chickens from farm to production, and ensure that the birds are grown to the correct size, as Costco chickens typically weigh around 3 pounds. 

However, this plant has also given Costco quite a few headaches, and because of it, the company has been accused of subjecting chickens to inhumane conditions. The treatment of the livestock has resulted in a lawsuit brought by two of Costco's own shareholders, which has yet to be decided. Additionally, Costco was forced to euthanize about 500,000 birds at the Nebraska plant in 2022, following an avian influenza outbreak.

Costco’s rotisserie chicken sales aren’t slowing down

In spite of all that, Costco continues to sell millions of rotisserie chickens to its customers year after year. Even with the avian influenza outbreak, Costo execs confirmed during the company’s 2023 annual shareholders meeting that it sold a whopping 117 million rotisserie chickens in 2022—about 11 million more than the prior year, and an increase of approximately 10 percent. No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of chickens.

There are plenty of ways to use a Costco chicken 

While a Costco rotisserie chicken can easily feed a family, if you’re buying one solo, you might not want to eat the exact same thing several nights in a row. Luckily, as is the case with any rotisserie chicken, you can transform your Costco buy into a completely different meal. For example, you can shred some of the leftover meat to make tacos, or use it to add protein to a hearty bowl of soup. Basically, there’s no shortage of meals you can make with leftover rotisserie chicken.

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