Rotisserie chicken is near perfect with its pleasant flavor profile that is tender, juicy, and seasoned just right. Rotisserie chicken is cooked on a rotisserie, which rotates the chicken in a hot oven to get all the sides crisped and fully cooked. This is an easy, quick, inexpensive, and readily available mealtime favorite that is fully cooked and ready to eat.
Weeknight reality is often getting dinner on the table as soon as possible. With a rotisserie chicken, your prep work is cut in half. Many people use rotisserie chicken in recipes that call for cooked chicken, like soups, casseroles, and chicken salad. If you have some leftover rotisserie chicken in your fridge, you can make dinner in 30 minutes or less! It is an excellent ingredient for fast, easy dinners because it is nutritious, delicious, and easy. Whether it is last night’s roast chicken or a pre-cooked chicken from the market, there are all kinds of ways to use leftover chicken. Spicy chicken quesadillas, chicken tetrazzini, and chicken pot pie are some of the many recipes I like to make with my rotisserie chicken!
If you think that buying pre-cooked chicken is “cheating,” I am here to tell you it is not. While it is true that you did not lovingly prepare and roast a whole chicken for one and a half hours as soon as you got home from work, it is also true that using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken is smart, easy, and a super-fast way to get dinner on the table for your family. So, think of rotisserie chicken as convenience food.
Rotisserie chicken is a great healthy option for people looking for a lean source of protein and who either do not have time, skill, or interest in cooking. Chicken cooked this way is a low-fat option that can be used in various ways. Removing the skin can also help you cut down on the amount of saturated fat in the meal. If eating the breast without the skin, the saturated fat is cut in half, and by a third if you eat dark meat. If you decide to keep the skin on the chicken, you will want to make sure to account for it in the total amount of saturated fat intake for the day. According to the American Heart Association, your saturated fat intake should be kept below 5 to 6 percent of calories, which is about 13 grams per day for someone eating 2,000 calories.
Another thing to pay attention to when buying a rotisserie chicken is the sodium content. The sodium content can vary depending on how the chicken is prepared. Sometimes the chicken is brined or soaked in a saline (salt) solution before it is cooked, so it is juicier. Other chickens may be coated in a rub or seasoning that contains a high amount of salt. Unless the store provides a nutrition label, it is tough to know how much sodium is in the chicken. If there is no nutrition label, it is good to watch for words like saline solution or brined on the label.
Rotisserie chicken is high in protein and a significant source of many important nutrients. When picking out which piece of chicken you want to eat, it is good to remember that the thigh with skin has the most calories and fat, and the breast with no skin has the fewest calories and is the leanest with the most protein. Chicken is a great source of vitamins and minerals, like niacin, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and zinc. It also contains small amounts of many other nutrients.
Even though nutrients are a great reason to eat more chicken, there are many other benefits of eating chicken. Rotisserie chicken is oven-roasted, so it has much fewer calories and fat than equally convenient options like fast-food or restaurant fried chicken.
Even though store-bought rotisserie chicken is extremely convenient, you can also use leftover chicken pieces or leftover baked chicken. If you decide to use leftovers, just make sure you shred or chop your chicken as directed in the recipe.
The many perks of cooking with rotisserie chicken include the full potential for healthy, fantastic, and simple recipes for weeknight dinners. Cooking at home allows you to control which ingredients go into your dishes. These rotisserie chicken spice rub recipes are perfect for making a whole chicken, chicken pieces, chicken wings, or boneless chicken breasts and thighs.
Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 -3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all spices in a bowl and mix well.
Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon sweet paprika
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Whisk together all the ingredients. Pour into an airtight container or jar. Rub on chicken or other meat before cooking.
Note: Omit or reduce salt for a low sodium blend.
Written by Vicki Hayman, MS, University of Wyoming Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Educator