Proper storage methods will ensure you can enjoy every piece of the bird.
Ah, rotisserie chicken, the savior of weeknight home cooks and meal preppers everywhere. Whether you prefer to simply serve one up with a few side dishes, use it to make cozy casseroles, or make it the star of a favorite soup recipe for on-the-go lunches, rotisserie chicken is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can save you both time and money (the ultimate gift!). However, there are some important things to know when it comes to the shelf life of rotisserie chicken and proper storage methods to ensure you get the most bang for your buck and can safely streamline cooking time in the kitchen when you need it most.
How Long is Rotisserie Chicken Good for in the Fridge?
You’ll want to time your grocery run right, as the USDA advises consuming or refrigerating ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens within two hours of purchase. Those who aren’t serving it within that time frame for a quick weeknight dinner should cut up the chicken into several large pieces that will fit into shallow, covered containers and place them in the fridge to be used within three to four days. The chicken can be served cold or heated back up to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for meals throughout the week. Check out our guide to reheating rotisserie chicken for our favorite methods and time-saving tricks.
How Long is Rotisserie Chicken Good for in the Freezer?
Rotisserie chicken can also be stored in the freezer if you want to take advantage of a discount or are looking to have some protein on hand before a busy holiday season, giving birth, or just to streamline dinnertime whenever a day has gotten the best of you. The USDA says that rotisserie chicken can be stored frozen for up to four months, but you won’t want to go any longer and risk lower quality, flavor, and texture. It is also advised to divvy up the chicken into several pieces to take less time to thaw and so you’re only having to serve up as much as you need at once.
How To Safely Thaw Rotisserie Chicken
It’s important to practice safe thawing methods if you’re going to take advantage of your freezer’s magic capabilities to store your rotisserie chicken for months at a time. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends three different thawing methods for meat and poultry, depending on the amount of time you have.
Those who are planning ahead can start thawing rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator up to two days in advance for an easy, hands-off approach. Those with less time can use the cold water thawing method, where the chicken is stored in a leak-proof plastic bag or package and submerged in cold tap water that is changed every 30 minutes. If you cut up the chicken prior to freezing, this should only take an hour or so before cooking time, but whole rotisserie chickens may take 3-5 hours, depending on weight. You can also simply cook the chicken from frozen if using a stove or oven, so long as you’re prepared for it to take longer than a fully thawed rotisserie. However, the USDA does note that frozen chicken headed for the microwave or slow cooker should be properly thawed first using one of the aforementioned methods.
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