An Easy Meal Saver for Busy Parents
A well-stocked freezer will save you time and money. Have you ever thought about freezing a cooked, rotisserie chicken? Can you freeze rotisserie chicken?
Yes! You can freeze rotisserie chicken.
This is great news for busy, budget-minded parents. Busy families need to find ways to get a healthy, tasty meal on the table fast.
But, why should you freeze rotisserie chicken?
Did you know that the price of a cooked chicken versus a raw one is comparable? Why not buy a rotisserie chicken that’s already cooked and seasoned? You’re not only saving time, but possibly money as well.
Being short on time and money are things that parents know all too well. Having a quick meal option will help in times of parental burnout. So, buy a chicken, or two and freeze them to enjoy later!
Here’s everything you need to know.
Related Article: Time Management for Single Moms
Steps to Freeze Rotisserie Chicken
On the bone or off, whole or cut-up, raw or cooked, freezing a rotisserie chicken is easy to do and a time saver for busy parents.
Outside of the taste, one of the best things about rotisserie chickens is that they freeze so well. You really will not be able to tell the difference.
When it comes to how you freeze a rotisserie chicken, there are a few options.
No matter what freezing method you choose, make sure the chicken has fully cooled before freezing. Proper handling will ensure you avoid any icky bacterial growth.
Base your storage method on how you plan on using the chicken later.
1. How to Freeze a Whole Rotisserie Chicken
This is a great method for a nice sit-down dinner with the family.
If you have the space for it, this is also the easiest and quickest method.
- Wrap the chicken in a freezer safe bag
- Remove air from the bag to prevent freezer burn
- Place in the freezer
That’s really all there is to it.
Rotisserie Chickens are a favorite of mine. Aren’t they so good? Depending on how much space I have at home, I buy a few.
It helps that I don’t enjoy cooking chicken from scratch. It’s a smell and texture thing for me.
Keeping one of these in the freezer will save you from a last minute run, through the drive-thru.
2. Freezing Rotisserie Chicken Parts On the Bone
Carve the chicken as you would a turkey. If you’re unfamiliar with how to carve a chicken, this video from Bon Appetit will show you how.
- Put on a pair of gloves
- Use a knife to remove the meat from the chicken
- Wrap each piece of chicken individually with plastic wrap
- Get a freezer safe Ziploc bag
- Write the date on the bag
- Place the chicken in the Ziploc bag
- Remove the air from the bag to prevent freezer burn
- Put in the freezer
3. Freezing Rotisserie Chicken Off the Bone
This method gives you so many options for future use!
When cool enough to handle safely:
- Put on a pair of gloves
- Use a knife to carve the chicken (see above)
- Cut the meat as needed (dice, strips, etc.)
- Use 2 forks to easily shred the meat
- Make little bundles of meat, wrap in plastic wrap
- You could also use a Food Saver Storage system
- Place bundles in freezer safe Ziploc bag
- Squeeze all of the air out of the bag
- Write date & cut on the outside of the bag
- Place in freezer
Save time by cutting and packaging the meat based on intended use (ex. soup, chicken salad, etc.). Keep diced chicken together, shredded chicken together and so on.
Also, make smaller bundles of chicken. For example, for single serve lunches, package diced chicken in small, 4- 5oz. bundles. It will make it easier to grab what you need. Just grab several bundles to feed more people.
It’s easier to grab more of the smaller ones than to break down a larger bundle, potentially wasting the chicken that doesn’t get used.
I also recommend placing the bundles or parts of chicken into a freezer safe container. Not only is it an additional layer of protection from freezer burn, it will also make for easier stacking and prevent frozen bones from piercing the plastic wrap.
There you have it. That’s how you can freeze a rotisserie chicken to save your family time and money. If you’d like to know how to defrost and reheat your delicious chicken, please read on.
Related Article: Well-Stocked Kitchen for Busy Families
Shelf Life of Frozen Rotisserie Chicken
To get the most out of your cooked chicken, freeze it as soon as possible.
Once frozen, it will be good for 4 months. It might be fine in the freezer beyond 4 months, but the taste and texture may be affected.
After thawing and once in the refrigerator, you have up to 5 days to enjoy it.
Please do not thaw, then re-freeze the chicken. It is unsafe and may cause bacterial growth.
Related Article: 24 Easy Ways to Help New Moms
How Do You Defrost a Frozen Rotisserie Chicken
There are 2 safe methods of defrosting that you can use. This method works for raw or cooked meat.
Note: The microwave is not recommended as it will not defrost evenly.
Slow and Steady
This method takes some time, so it’s not a good choice for last minute meals.
- Place the frozen chicken in a pan or bowl on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
- Leave the chicken in the refrigerator until defrosted
- Time to defrost depends on the cut of the chicken
- Chicken off-the bone will defrost faster than bone-in or whole chickens
- A whole chicken will take about 24 hours
If using cut-up/ shredded chicken for lunch the following day, you will be safe placing it in the refrigerator to defrost the night before.
Use this method if you forgot to put the chicken in the refrigerator last night. Your chicken should be ready to reheat in just a few hours.
- Get a large bowl or plug the sink
- Fill with COLD water
- Place the water-tight, wrapped chicken in the water
- Keep the entire chicken fully submerged in the water
- Keep the water COLD
- Replace the water every 30 minutes
- Allowing the water to warm up will introduce bacteria
- Remove from water
- Reheat as planned (see below)
How to Reheat a Rotisserie Chicken
Do you have a preferred method for reheating? I prefer the oven, but you can also use an air fryer or microwave.
The oven and air fryer are best for crispy skin.
Consider adding some additional spice to the chicken before reheating to give it new life. (Cajun, Italian, Garlic-Lemon, etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Coat an oven-safe pan with non-stick cooking spray
- Remove chicken from all packaging
- Place the chicken in the pan
- Place 1 Cup of water or broth in the bottom of the pan
- Broth is a better choice to add moisture and flavor
- Cover the chicken to heat through
- Heat the chicken for 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees
- Remove the cover
- Heat for an additional 5 minutes to crisp the skin
An air fryer is the ideal appliance for heating up pieces of chicken on the bone! Given the widely varying sizes of air fryers, the amount of chicken you can heat at a time will differ. Basic heating instructions are as follows:
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees
- Remove rotisserie chicken from all packaging
- Place the chicken in the air fryer
- Heat for 3-5 minutes for pieces and up to 8 minutes for a whole chicken
Using your air fryer will be the fastest method of reheating. It will retain moisture while also providing that crispy, delicious skin everyone loves.
Cut-up or shredded chicken will reheat nicely in the microwave.
The power (watts) of microwave ovens vary so much. The time needed to reheat your chicken will depend on the amount you’re reheating as well as the power of your model. Start low and add 30 seconds at a time as needed.
I recommend adding a little water (1-2tbsp.) of stock or water to prevent the chicken from drying out.
- Place the chicken in a microwave safe plate/ bowl
- Add a little water or broth (2tbsp.) to prevent the chicken from drying out
- Broth is a better choice to add moisture and flavor
- Set timer for 1 – 1 1/2min.
- Reheat time will vary depending on the amount of meat being reheated & the power of your oven
A Few Quick Meal Ideas
You can find quick, easy uses for your rotisserie chicken on your busiest days. Just substitute the cooked chicken for the chicken in your favorite recipes. Like the Chicken & Pork Pie from The Grumpy Olive.
- Sunday Dinner
- Dinner Party
Cut-up Chicken on the Bone
- BBQ Chicken
Diced/ Sliced Chicken
- Soup (Chicken Noodle, Chicken Corn Chowder, White Chicken Chili, Chicken Tortilla)
- Salad Topper
- Chicken Salad
- Stir Fry
- Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Torta
- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Rotisserie Chicken is quick meal powerhouse and a time saver for busy parents! Not only is the chicken moist and delicious, it’s so versatile.
Cooked rotisserie chickens are available at most grocery stores, but my favorite for cost and taste is Costco. Wherever you choose to buy, do yourself a favor and get more than one.
It’s so nice to have something available when you get home late from work, school or soccer practice.
Serve one with a salad and some rice for dinner tonight and freeze the rest for another time. Keep them on-hand for your famous chicken corn chowder or buffalo chicken dip for your next get together.
Going back to where we started… can you freeze rotisserie chicken? Yes. The challenge will be not eating it all before you can. Enjoy!
What do you think about freezing cooked rotisserie chickens? What’s your favorite way to use cooked chicken for a fast meal? Let me know in the comments.