rotisserie chicken on a plate with lemon wedges and fresh herbs

How long is rotisserie chicken good for? Answer:

Before we discuss anything further in this post, I’m going to answer the question that everyone is here for: How long is rotisserie chicken good for?

The USDA guidelines clearly state that rotisserie chicken is good for 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator. Additionally, rotisserie chicken can be stored in the freezer where it will be good for a longer period of time. If frozen it will keep best, maintaining its optimal flavor and texture, for 4 months.

Whether you decide to store your pre-cooked rotisserie chicken in the fridge or the freezer, proper storage and handling techniques must be used in order for it it to keep its maximum freshness and safety. The rest of this blog post will discuss those techniques as well as additional tips surrounding rotisserie chicken that you may find useful!

Such as How To Know If Rotisserie Chicken Has Gone Bad, How To Use Rotisserie Chicken, Purchasing Rotisserie Chicken Tips, and More.

What is rotisserie chicken?

Rotisserie chicken is simply a chicken named after the way in which it is cooked. The chicken is cooked on a rotisserie! A rotisserie is a cooking device with a rotating spit, or long solid rod, which various food items can be speared on. This includes poultry, meat, and vegetables.

Then the food is slowly and continuously rotated over heat. The method is typically used for large cuts of meat or whole animals, like chicken! It results in juicy, fully cooked meat on the inside with crispy skin on the outside.

Rotisserie chicken is a delicious option for quick and easy family meals that can be found at most grocery stores. The fresh ready-to-eat chicken is seasoned wonderfully and can be enjoyed straight away as is! Or it works as a fabulous blank canvas to spruce up or add to countless dishes. Read on for all of my tasty ideas for How To Use Rotisserie Chicken below.

Not only can they be the convenient center of a weeknight dinner, but rotisserie chickens are also super affordable! Most grocery stores sell them at a very fair price, which is sometimes even lower than what a raw chicken would cost. Whole Foods, Costco, and Publix are just a few of the many grocers known to have great options.

Why I Love Rotisserie Chicken

I absolutely love rotisserie chicken! I use it in countless recipes here on my website. From chicken soup and easy shredded chicken enchiladas, to low carb zucchini boats and flavorful chicken salad … the yummy roasted chicken is a fabulous addition to all.

Even if I’m not using rotisserie chicken in a recipe for the week, I love to have it on hand. I pick one up at the grocery store and enjoy throughout the next couple of days as a protein source in my lunches and dinners. At 30-40 grams of protein per serving, we all know that chicken can’t be beat in that category! Especially if it is already cooked for me. Besides being a protein-packed no brainer, rotisserie chicken is:

  • Convenient: A rotisserie chicken is pretty much the most quick, easy, and convenient meal I can think of. Serve with a carb source and vegetable side for a well rounded, healthy meal perfect for a busy night.
  • Delicious: When you buy a rotisserie chicken they are already seasoned perfectly. Which means they are dang delicious as is! Some stores even sell flavored rotisserie chicken like Garlic Herb or Cajun.
  • Versatile: Like I said above … rotisserie chicken meat can be used in pretty much any recipe under the sun. Soups, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, tacos, chili, pizzas! I could go on and on. Check out the full post for more scrumptious ways to use up leftover rotisserie chicken. You can even make sure that nothing goes to waste and use the chicken carcass to make homemade stock.
buffalo chicken flatbread pizza

Purchasing Rotisserie Chicken Tips

Your portion of maintaining the shelf life of rotisserie chicken, aka the length of time in which it is usable and fit for consumption, starts at the grocery store. In order for your delicious rotisserie chicken to last the 3-4 days that it should once purchased, you want to make sure you are buying the best option you can get your hands on. Here are my tips and tricks on how to do so:

  • First and foremost, buy rotisserie chicken from a trusted and reliable source.
  • Next, when browsing the hot foods section of your local store make sure to grab the chicken with the latest expiration date. This will mean your chicken is as fresh as possible!
  • You will also want to make sure that the rotisserie chicken you select has a beautiful golden brown color and delicious smell. These will indicate the best quality.
  • Lastly, it is recommended that you pick up your chicken last during your grocery trip. This way it won’t be sitting in your cart at room temperature while you finish the rest of your shopping.

Another thing I like to do is ask my local grocery store when they put out their rotisserie chickens or when they will be the most fresh. This could be day of the week or more likely time of day!

There have been a time or two in my life when I’ve wanted a hot and fresh rotisserie chicken and my store was all sold out or there were only old ones left. This information will help prevent that issue from every happening again! It will help you acquire the freshest chicken possible, but it will also ensure that the store is always stocked and rotisserie chicken is readily available when you go.

How To Properly Store Rotisserie Chicken in The Fridge

The first step, and maybe the most important step, in safely storing rotisserie chicken in the fridge is to make sure you refrigerate it within 2 hours of purchasing. If your rotisserie chicken is left at room temperature for longer than this time period, bacterial growth could reach harmful levels and cause foodborne illnesses or food poisoning. Therefore, the chicken should be discarded.

Room temperature falls into the danger zone for food safety, which is 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria growth increases rapidly under these temperatures which is why the Meat and Poultry Hotline says to “never leave food out of refrigeration over 2 hours.” This includes cooked chicken such as rotisserie chicken. If it is a super hot day, this time decreases further to only 1 hour, so you’ll have to refrigerate your store-bought rotisserie chicken even sooner after purchase.

You can store rotisserie chicken in two ways in the refrigerator: as a whole chicken or in smaller pieces. Both storage methods will keep the chicken good for the same amount of time, 3-4 days, so it is simply up to you and how you intend to use the rotisserie chicken.

Storing Whole Rotisserie Chicken

  • Even if you are keeping the whole bird as is, you’ll want to remove the rotisserie chicken from the plastic bag that it comes in from the store. This bag can store moisture and lead to faster spoiling.
  • Next wrap the chicken in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing in an airtight container. This keeps the chicken hydrated and limits exposure to air, which can lead to deterioration.
  • Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Storing Carved Rotisserie Chicken

  • I recommend carving your rotisserie chicken as soon as possible. It will be easier to do so when warm! You can cut with a knife or even use your fingers if you don’t need clean pieces.
  • Next place the chicken pieces in an airtight, well-sealed container. Make sure to remove any excess air!
  • Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

For both storage methods, place the chicken on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator. This is the coolest part of the fridge and will help prolong the shelf life of your rotisserie chicken! I also like to add the date of storage to the containers, so I know if the chicken is safe to eat.

Looking for how to properly store other foods? Check out my detailed post regarding the shelf life of tuna salad.

a rotisserie chicken beign carved

Freezing Rotisserie Chicken

If you plan on storing your rotisserie chicken for later use, as in more than 3-4 days down the line, freezing it is a wonderful option. Freezer storage will keep the cooked chicken good for an extended period of time, 4 months to be exact! Here’s how do it:

How To Freeze A Whole Rotisserie Chicken

For freezing the whole chicken, I recommend doing so on the same day you buy it. This will help maintain that delicious flavor! First, allow the chicken to cool … you can even refrigerate for a little beforehand. This is best practice as placing hot foods straight into the freezer can cause freezer burn.

I also recommend adding an extra layer of protection from freezer burn by wrapping the bird in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or wax paper. Then place the wrapped chicken in a freezer-safe airtight container. Vacuum sealed freezer bags or containers will work the best! The chicken will keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.

How To Freeze Rotisserie Chicken Off The Bone

For freezing the chicken off the bone, I recommend doing so in individual, pre-portioned sealable freezer-safe bags. This will make dinner time so much easier down the road! Simply store the shredded or cut up chicken in the bags, seal tightly, remove any excess air, and pop in the freezer. The chicken will again last for 4 months.

Reheating Frozen Rotisserie Chicken

To reheat rotisserie chicken, first let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you could use a cold water bath for quicker thawing. This works for both a whole chicken and chicken off the bone.

The best way to cook a whole rotisserie chicken that has been frozen then thawed is in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees F until warmed throughout and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. You can also add some chicken broth to the baking dish to help the chicken stay juicy and flavorful!

For shredded or chopped chicken that has been frozen then thawed, you can pretty much cook in any way you see fit. You can pop it in the air fryer, oven, or microwave to warm up! Or you can add straight to whatever recipe you are using it in is, such as a pasta dish or cozy soup.

However, I would not recommend using this chicken in cold purposes like a chopped salad or chicken salad. I just don’t think it work as well!

shredded rotisserie chicken on a cutting board

How To Know if Rotisserie Chicken Has Gone Bad

It will be pretty easy to tell if your rotisserie chicken has gone bad! The most common signs of spoilage will all be clear to your senses: sight, smell, and touch. I would not recommend using taste though, as biting into spoiled chicken could lead to potential health risks. Here is what to look out for:

  • Color: Cooked chicken could turn a grayish, green color once spoiled.
  • Smell: You may also notice a foul or unpleasant odor.
  • Texture: The feel of spoiled chicken is usually what I notice first. It will typically develop a slimy, sticky, and soft feel.

If your chicken is really past its prime, it may even have moldy spots. Which will be a clear sign to toss away any leftovers!

If you do not notice any of the signs of spoilage above on your rotisserie chicken, but it has been more than 3-4 days since purchase, it is best practice to still discard of the chicken. You simply do not want to run the risk of foodborne illness!

How to Use Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie chicken is a lazy, but health focused person’s dream come true! You know what, not even lazy. Just smart and resourceful! Some people may see buying a pre-cooked protein source from the grocery store as lazy, but I see it as being smarter than the problem.

The problem in this case is getting a nutritious, delicious, and satisfying meal on the table for yourself or your family, but not having heaps and heaps of time or energy to do so. We have all been there right!?! Well I promise you, rotisserie chicken is the answer to your prayers.

Now let me enlighten you about the dinnertime powers of a good old store-bought rotisserie chicken!

I like to use rotisserie chicken in two main ways. The first is to buy for a dedicated dinner recipe or meal prep lunch option. The second is to buy to store in the fridge for a few days and throw into my meals here and there for extra protein. Heck, sometimes I do both in one week!

Rotisserie Chicken Recipes

My favorite way to use rotisserie chicken in dedicated recipes is chicken salad. It shreds up nicely and just works perfectly! But I’ve got a few more yummy dinners I like to make too.

Check out this extensive list or this one for even more amazing ideas of how to use leftover rotisserie chicken!

Other Ways To Use Rotisserie Chicken

Here’s some ways you can use that shredded rotisserie chicken you have stored in the fridge that isn’t a whole dedicated recipe. It can be such an easy addition to any plate!

  • Lunch or Dinner Plate: The simplest, and one of the most delicious ways, to enjoy rotisserie chicken in my opinion is just as is on a plate. The chicken is flavorful and juicy, like if you roasted at home, and when paired with broccoli or green beans and roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes you have a satisfying, tasty meal ready in no time. You can also add sauces to the chicken for a bit of extra flavor! My personal favorites are an Asian inspired sauce like Teriyaki or barbecue sauce.
  • Sandwiches or Wraps: I have recently learned that there is strong evidence that suggests processed meats cause cancer. I may have alway known this and just pushed it to the back of my brain, but regardless it has been brought forward. Therefore, I’m trying to limit my lunch meats and deli meats. Which is very unfortunate because I am a sandwich girl through and through. The only thing that is keeping me from despair is the fact that I can use rotisserie chicken in its place. Layer on the cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, and any other sandwich accoutrements you’d like. You’ll be left with an epic sandwich!
  • Pasta: Toss shredded chicken into pasta with some steamed veggies and jarred sauce. Talk about tasty 20 minute meal! Or add the chicken to a more developed pasta recipe that you think needs a protein boost … like Burrata Pasta or Hidden Veggie Pasta.
  • Stir Fry: Grab a stir fry sauce and mixed vegetables from the store and mix with chopped rotisserie chicken. Easy peasy meal.
  • Breakfast: Now chicken is not typically enjoyed for breakfast. But why not throw it onto a plate with some scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and a slice of toast. Sounds delicious to me! Plus, it is definitely better for you than some classic breakfast meats like sausage and bacon.
  • Snack Plate: If you’re hungry for a little afternoon snack an assorted plate is always a good option. Pair some shredded chicken with fresh veggies, fruit, crackers, cheese, or mixed nuts. You’ll have a fabulous mix of nutrients, textures, and flavors!
chicken bacon ranch chicken salad

Rotisserie Chicken FAQs

Can you eat rotisserie chicken after 5 days?

It is not recommended to eat rotisserie chicken 5 days after purchase! The USDA guidelines state that cooked chicken is only good for 3-4 days when refrigerated.

Can you eat rotisserie chicken after a week?

It is not recommended to eat rotisserie chicken a week after purchase! The USDA guidelines state that cooked chicken is only good for 3-4 days when refrigerated.

Can you eat rotisserie chicken cold?

Yes, absolutely! Since rotisserie chicken is fully cooked and seasoned already, it can be eaten cold in many ways. I love to shred it up and add to salads and sandwiches.

How can you make rotisserie chicken last longer?

To make rotisserie chicken last longer it is important to follow the proper storage techniques. Those techniques and helpful tips are detailed above in this blog post for both fridge and freezer storage.

Additionally, to make your rotisserie chicken last longer after purchase it is key that you buy the freshest one available at the store. Look for the latest sell-by date you can find!

Do you have to eat rotisserie chicken right away?

Nope! Rotisserie chicken is good for 3-4 days if stored properly in the fridge and 4 months if stored properly in the freezer.

Is rotisserie chicken good for you? Is rotisserie chicken healthy?

I am not a dietician or nutritionist, but yes! In my opinion rotisserie chicken is a healthy option that is very good for you.

Rotisserie chicken, or any chicken, is a fantastic lean protein source. It is a low calorie, low fat option, that is loaded with the filling, muscle building macronutrient – protein. Rotisserie chicken also has tons of vitamins and minerals that can benefit skin health, nervous system function, and energy production.

On the other hand, rotisserie chicken can have high sodium content and some additives to extend shelf life and reduce the growth of bacteria. This is good information to know, but I personally don’t believe that it takes away from rotisserie chicken being a healthy food overall. But of course, make your own judgement!

overhead shot of a rotisserie chicken on a plate on a wooden table