How to Choose the Best Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken

Despite those off-putting orange heating lamps, rotisserie chickens can be flavorful and juicy, and make getting dinner on the table easy.

Rotisserie chicken is a reliable and versatile go-to for dinner on the busiest of nights. Serve as-is with a few sides, or shred it and add to an array of recipes.

To maximize this weeknight dinner staple, here are tips for choosing the best rotisserie chicken— followed by advice for using, storing, and reusing—to get the most out of every morsel.

What do you look for when buying rotisserie chicken?

  • Size and plumpness: Larger birds are older and more muscular (and flavorful). A round, plump chicken is usually a juicy one. If the skin is shriveled and looks dry, the meat probably is, too.
  • High turnover: Ask the person behind the counter if the chickens are prepared fresh daily.
  • Color: A well-roasted chicken is golden brown. If too dark―more mahogany than birch―it may have been in the oven too long and is probably dry. Avoid chickens with wingtips that are scorched or burned.
  • Clean packaging: Look over the other store-prepared foods for cleanliness. If everything else looks clean, it's a good indication the store adheres to sound sanitary practices.
  • Heat: Check that the rotisserie is providing steady heat, which guards against spoilage.
  • Organic or free range: Organic, free-range chicken always tastes more like homemade.
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How long is rotisserie chicken good for?

Heat lamps guard against spoilage at the grocery store, but if you're not serving your rotisserie chicken right away, chill it in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Can you freeze rotisserie chicken?

Yes. If you can't finish the whole rotisserie chicken in a few days, freeze what's left for up to five months.

How do I reheat rotisserie chicken?

One option is to shred cold chicken to use as an ingredient in a recipe, such as Southwestern chicken soup.

To reheat a whole rotisserie chicken: Microwave it for 5 minutes, or cover with foil and heat in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Before serving, use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken's internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.

What can I make with rotisserie chicken?

Anything you can make with chicken—from tacos to tagine—can be made even faster and easier with rotisserie chicken. To begin, check out three easy recipes that start with store-bought rotisserie chicken.

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