Here's Why Rotisserie Chicken Makes for a Cheap, Convenient and Protein-Packed Meal | (2023)

Here's Why Rotisserie Chicken Makes for a Cheap, Convenient and Protein-Packed Meal | (1)

While rotisserie chicken packs protein, vitamins and minerals, it can also be high in sodium and saturated fat.

Image Credit: tasha_lyubina/iStock/GettyImages

Few things are more tempting than a whiff of rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. This grocery staple is an affordable and easy way to get dinner on the table, and can be eaten right off the bones or as part of various other recipes like soup or tacos.


While rotisserie chicken is a good source of protein and several vitamins and minerals, it can also be high in sodium and contributes to your daily saturated fat intake (especially if you opt for chicken wings or thighs).

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Here are the nutritional benefits and risks to keep in mind before you start carving.

Rotisserie Chicken Nutrition Facts

One serving of rotisserie chicken is 3 ounces. Although various cuts of the chicken vary in nutrition (for instance, the breast meat contains fewer calories and fat than thigh meat), three ounces of rotisserie chicken generally contains:


  • Calories: 155
  • Total fat: 10.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 50.2 mg
  • Sodium: 518.8 mg
  • Total carbs: 2.7 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 11.8 g

Rotisserie Chicken Macros

  • Total fat: Three ounces of rotisserie chicken has 10.9 grams of total fat, which includes 3.2 grams of saturated fat and 0 grams of trans fat.
  • Carbohydrates: Three ounces of rotisserie chicken contains 2.7 grams of carbs, which includes 1.8 grams of sugars and no fiber.
  • Protein: Three ounces of rotisserie chicken has 11.8 grams of protein.


Vitamins, Minerals and Other Micronutrients

  • Niacin (B3): 35% of your Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin (B2): 15% DV
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 15% DV
  • Phosphorus: 15% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 10% DV
  • Potassium: 6% DV
  • Zinc: 6% DV
  • Vitamin B12: 4% DV
  • Vitamin C: 4% DV
  • Magnesium: 4% DV
  • Three ounces of rotisserie chicken is not a good source of iron (2% DV).

Health Benefits of Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie chicken is a healthy source of protein that provides a nutritious alternative to red or processed meats. It offers B vitamins, and can contribute to healthy bones, as well as minerals like phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.


1. It’s a Convenient Source of Protein

Rotisserie chicken is typically a budget-friendly, easy way to add protein to the dinner table. A 3-ounce serving provides 11.8 grams of protein, which is slow-digesting and helps to keep you full for longer, per Harvard Health Publishing.


"The white meat parts of a rotisserie chicken are an excellent source of lean protein and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol," says Rebecca Elbaum Jaspan, RD, clinical administrative dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.


While both the thigh meat and breast meat are considered good sources of lean protein, dark chicken meat provides about three times the amount of fat as chicken breast, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

However, poultry (without skin) is still often recommended as a better, lower-fat option than red meat.


You can make your rotisserie chicken leaner by opting for a skinless variety or removing the skin before eating.

Healthy adults typically need to get 10 to 35 percent of their total calories from protein, which equates to about 100 grams of protein (20 percent of total calories) in a 2,000-calorie diet, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Protein makes up every cell in the human body, helping repair cells and make new ones.


2. It Provides Healthy B Vitamins

A serving of rotisserie chicken provides a myriad of B vitamins, including vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. B vitamins form red blood cells, and not consuming enough of them can cause health issues like anemia, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

They also affect a number of other processes: "Vitamin B12 is important for cognition, while niacin (vitamin B3) is important for energy production," Jaspan says.


In fact, three ounces of rotisserie chicken offers 35 percent of the daily value of niacin. This B vitamin also keeps your nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy, per the Mayo Clinic.

You'll also get 15 percent of the DV of riboflavin (B2) in a serving of rotisserie chicken. This vitamin is an essential building block of two major coenzymes that are integral for energy production, cellular function and growth, and the metabolism of fats and drugs. It helps to maintain healthy levels of homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, per the National Institutes of Health.



3. It Can Contribute to Healthy Bones

The protein, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in rotisserie chicken can help support a strong skeletal system.

Bone mineral density is positively associated with dietary protein intakes, and lower hip fracture risk is associated with higher dietary protein intakes when calcium intakes are adequate, per a May 2018 review in the journal Osteoporosis International.

Meanwhile, magnesium is a mineral that plays essential structural roles in the body. In fact, 50 to 60 percent of the body's magnesium is found in the bones, per the Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. Magnesium deficiency could impair bone mineralization and increase the risk of osteoporosis — and low dietary intakes of magnesium are common in the United States.

The potassium in rotisserie chicken may also benefit bone health, and is thought to mitigate the negative effect of excessively acidic diets (like the Western diet) on the skeleton.

Phosphorus is yet another micronutrient present in rotisserie chicken that's important to bone health, per Oregon State University.

Rotisserie Chicken Health Risks

1. Sodium

One serving of rotisserie chicken packs 518.8 milligrams of sodium, or 35 percent of the preferred daily limit for adults.

The limit for sodium is no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, with an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 milligrams daily for most adults (especially those with high blood pressure), per the American Heart Association (AHA).

"Depending on how the rotisserie chicken is seasoned, it may be very high in sodium," Jaspan says. "Some chickens are also injected with a saline solution in order to brine the meat and make it juicy."


Too much sodium can elevate blood pressure, and most Americans are over-consuming it, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). High blood pressure is a major risk for heart disease and stroke.

If rotisserie chicken is part of a dish, it may lend enough flavor that you don't need to add additional salt. Remember to stick to a 3-ounce serving — about the size of a deck of cards — so you don't inadvertently eat extra sodium.


When you have rotisserie chicken at a meal, you may need to limit the amount of sodium you have throughout the rest of the day. Keep a close eye on packaged, processed foods, which are the biggest source of sodium in American diets, per the AHA.

2. Saturated Fat

Although chicken has less saturated fat than most red meat, the darker meat on chicken — such as the thighs — is higher in saturated fat than the breast meat.

For instance, a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast provides just 1 gram of saturated fat, while the same amount of dark chicken meat without skin provides 3 grams of saturated fat, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Too much saturated fat in your diet can cause a build-up of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your arteries, per the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

This increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Because fat also contains more than double the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein, it can add extra calories to your diet and cause weight gain.

3. Allergies

Allergy to chicken has been reported, mostly in those who are also allergic to eggs. Individuals with this syndrome react to a substance in egg yolk and chicken serum albumin, also known as alpha-livetin, per the NY Allergy & Sinus Centers.

"Chicken allergies are not common, but they can cause an itchy and runny nose, difficulty breathing, vomiting or diarrhea," Jaspan says.


In rare cases, chicken allergy can also cause anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction. It's important to speak to an allergist if you think you have a food allergy. You may need to have epinephrine available at all times in case of anaphylaxis.

4. Drug Interactions

There are currently no known drug interactions with chicken. Be sure to discuss any medication and food interactions with your health professional.

Rotisserie Chicken Recipes

  • Rosemary Carrot Soup With Rotisserie Chicken
  • Healthy Homestyle Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Rotisserie Chicken Lasagna (Family-Style)
  • Tzatziki Rotisserie Chicken Pita
  • 5-Minute Cranberry Chicken Salad Sliders

Rotisserie Chicken Preparation and Helpful Tips

Because you can pick it up ready-to-eat from the supermarket, rotisserie chicken takes very little prep time. Follow these tips to best enjoy it and keep leftovers fresh.

Use it as a time-saver: It can be difficult to fit healthy sources of protein into your diet when your schedule is tight, but rotisserie chicken helps you quickly prepare a healthy meal when paired with other nutritious ingredients.

"I love using rotisserie chicken for easy chicken salads, tacos, quesadillas and soups," Jaspan says. "It's an excellent time saver on busy weeknights."

Store it properly: Cooked poultry leftovers can last three to four days in the refrigerator at 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, per the University of Illinois Extension. You can also freeze leftovers for four to six months at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alternatives to Rotisserie Chicken

There are several ways to meet your daily protein needs, and many alternatives to rotisserie chicken.

"Any lean protein is a great substitute," Jaspan says.

"Turkey or fish are good animal options, and beans and lentils are good plant-based alternatives. The more variety of foods we eat, the more variety of nutrients we get, so it's always a good idea to vary your intake of different proteins."




Why are rotisserie chickens so cheap? ›

Rotisserie chickens are also a loss leader according to retailers such as Rowe Farms. This means grocers actually lose money on them, and sell them below cost as a way to get customers into stores to ostensibly buy more items.

Is rotisserie chicken a good source of protein? ›

Rotisserie chicken is nutritious, high in protein, and a significant source of several important nutrients.

What is unhealthy about rotisserie chicken? ›

However, rotisserie chicken comes with significant drawbacks—including high sodium content and some questionable additives. Rotisserie chickens, along with many other types of chickens sold in grocery stores, are often marinated in a preservative solution to extend shelf life and reduce bacterial growth.

How much protein is in an entire rotisserie chicken? ›

100g of Whole Rotisserie Chicken contains 21.4g of protein, which is about the same as 3.6 eggs, 0.8 chicken breasts, or 1.5 cups (416g) of black beans.

Can you live off rotisserie chicken? ›

For starters, "our bodies are meant to eat all the macronutrients — proteins, fats, and carbs — on a daily basis. If we were to eat only rotisserie chicken, we would be surviving off of fat and protein, but no real carb," Meshulam says. "Our gut health relies on carbohydrates (specifically fiber) to survive.

What does Costco do with unsold rotisserie chickens? ›

You might be able to score leftovers super cheap

According to deal-seeking Redditors, at some Costco locations, unsold rotisserie chickens are chilled and repurposed into packs of eight leg quarters (the thigh and drumstick) for $4.99. Yes, the same price as a whole chicken.

Is rotisserie chicken considered processed meat? ›

Processed meats are any meats that aren't fresh. People typically think of processed meat as only referring to pork and beef, but this category can also include poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and fish.

Does rotisserie chicken build muscle? ›

Good news: Rotisserie chicken is actually pretty healthy.

According to Abby Sauer, RD at Abbott, rotisserie chicken is super high in protein, which is “an essential nutrient used to build cells, tissues, muscles, bones, and organs, and is a key factor when it comes to developing healthy eating habits,” she says.

Is rotisserie chicken good for high blood pressure? ›

Even though we love the taste and ease of rotisserie chicken, it doesn't come without its possible side effects. One major side effect of eating rotisserie chicken is that you might consume more sodium than usual, which could lead to spikes in your blood pressure or water retention.

What is injected into rotisserie chicken? ›

The skin of rotisserie chicken was found to have high amounts of HCAs (a carcinogenic compound that forms when meat is cooked at a high temperature) Most rotisserie chickens are injected with chemicals you want to steer clear of including yeast extract, phosphates, and carageenen (more on that below).

Which is healthier rotisserie or grilled chicken? ›

Rotisserie chicken is much lower in calories due to being oven-roasted.

Can diabetics eat rotisserie chicken? ›

Chicken is rich in nutrients and protein and low in calories, making it ideal for people with diabetes trying to maintain a moderate weight and stay full for longer. Many people with diabetes aim to eat more healthily by eating protein-rich food. This makes chicken an ideal diet for diabetes as it is high in protein.

How much protein do I need a day? ›

According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, a sedentary adult should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. That means that the average sedentary man should eat about 56 grams of protein per day, and the average woman should eat about 46 grams.

Can I eat rotisserie chicken everyday? ›

If you make your own at home, rotisserie or roasted whole chickens would be fine to eat regularly. The ones prepared at the grocery stores, however, have a lot of salt added (may have been brined and more salt added to the skin and cavity).

Does rotisserie chicken raise cholesterol? ›

Rotisserie chicken is relatively high in saturated fat. This harmful fat raises low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, further increasing your risk of heart disease.

What organs are left in a rotisserie chicken? ›

Some chicken is sold whole with “giblets” included. In that case, the organs are separated and cleaned and then livers, hearts, and gizzards are packaged and put back inside the bird. For chicken to be sold in pieces, or without giblets, the organs humans often eat - gizzard, heart, liver - may be packaged for sale.

Is rotisserie chicken good for your heart? ›

Rotisserie chicken

Though this is a quick, delicious dinner option it can put you at risk for heart damage. Rotisserie chicken is loaded with sodium and saturated fats. Regular consumption of saturated fats is one of the most common causes of heart failure and cardiac disease.

Why is Costco rotisserie chicken pink? ›

The USDA explains that even fully cooked poultry can sometimes show a pinkish tinge in the meat and juices. This is particularly true of young chickens whose bones and skin are still very permeable. The chicken's feed and whether it's been frozen can also affect the final color.

What is the hidden ingredient in Costco rotisserie chicken? ›

According to Consumer Reports, a saline solution is injected beneath the skin of the product to improve taste, leaving the product with 460 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving. This is nearly a third of the recommended daily limit, according to the American Heart Association.

What does Costco inject their rotisserie chickens with? ›

The rotisserie chickens are extra salty

That's because they're injected with a special saline solution to add flavor. The birds pack in a total of 460 milligrams of sodium each. These are the Costco shopping perks you need to know about.

Is McDonald's chicken processed meat? ›

Description and origin. The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of processed chicken meat that is fried in batter and flash-frozen at a central manufacturing facility, then shipped out and sold at McDonald's restaurants.

Is Chick Fil A meat processed? ›

Our Chicken

As the nation's largest chicken chain, we take chicken seriously. Chick-fil-A sources 100% real, whole, boneless breast of chicken that has never been ground or separated, and that contains no fillers or added steroids or hormones*.

Is canned tuna a processed food? ›

Processed foods: When ingredients such as oil, sugar or salt are added to foods and they are packaged, the result is processed foods. Examples are simple bread, cheese, tofu, and canned tuna or beans. These foods have been altered, but not in a way that's detrimental to health.

Will I gain muscle if I eat chicken everyday? ›

It's also worth pointing out that chicken does more for muscle building than just add protein. Niacin is essential for converting protein, fat and carbohydrates into usable energy. This can help you push around more weight.

Why do bodybuilders eat chicken everyday? ›

One of the main reasons bodybuilders eat rice and chicken is because it's cheap, clean, and incredibly good for building muscle. This is because it gives a good mix of carbs to replenish the muscles right after a workout, with a ton of protein to start the muscle-building process as well.

How many days and should you eat a rotisserie chicken? ›

If stored properly (in a ziplock storage bag or sealed container), the USDA says that cooked chicken can last three to four days in the refrigerator. 1 And that goes for any type of cooked chicken—store-bought, homemade, or restaurant leftovers.

What is the number one food that causes high blood pressure? ›

Salt or sodium

Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood. Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it's easy to eat too much.

Is peanut butter good for high blood pressure? ›

Peanut butter is high in protein and healthy fats, which can also help reduce blood pressure levels.

Is the Costco rotisserie chicken healthy? ›

But while roasted rotisserie chickens are convenient, tasty, and easy on your wallet, they're often not so good for your health. As CR previously reported, a salt solution is often injected into the cooked chickens to enhance flavor and tenderness. Costco's rotisserie chicken has 460 mg of sodium per 3-ounce serving.

Why do they inject chicken with water? ›

Plumping, or injecting, as it is called in the industry, has been going on for some time. In the past five years, this industry process has become the standard. Fresh chicken is injected with a solution of saltwater so it stays juicier and more flavorful (so they say).

Is rotisserie chicken skin healthy? ›

Chicken Skin is High in Unsaturated Fats

Here's another surprise: Unsaturated fats can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The skin also has omega-3, -6, and other fatty acids that are just as favorable for your overall well-being. Plus, leaving the skin on keeps your chicken more moist and flavorful.

What is the healthiest way to prepare chicken? ›

The Winner: Poaching

"The healthiest way to cook chicken is to poach it," Lewis explains, "because you aren't introducing any other ingredient to the chicken other than the water it is boiled in." Similar to the way you'd poach an egg, all you'll need is the chicken you're using and some hot water.

How much protein is in a Costco rotisserie chicken? ›

Calories. A 100-gram edible portion (this means no bones) is 140 calories, seven grams of fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, two grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fibre, zero grams of sugar and 18 grams of protein.

Is rotisserie chicken healthier than turkey? ›

In terms of calories, fat, and protein, turkey breast and chicken breast are similar. Turkey breast contains about 44 calories, six grams of protein, and two grams of fat per ounce. Chicken breast contains slightly more protein and slightly less fat. But, to most people, these differences are negligible.

What is the least healthy chicken? ›

For one, there's the fried chicken—one of the least healthy preparations of the otherwise lean and healthful protein. In fact, fried chicken is considered one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet.

What Chinese food can I eat with diabetes? ›

Chinese: Steamed Chicken and Broccoli

“When ordering Chinese, focus on dishes packed full of lean proteins and vegetables with limited rice and noodles,” advises Palinski-Wade, who suggests ordering steamed chicken and broccoli with the sauce on the side.

Is peanut butter good for diabetics? ›

Research has shown that peanuts can help control blood sugar in both healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes. Peanuts and peanut butter have even been shown to help lessen the spike in blood sugar when paired with high-carbohydrate or high-GL foods.

What is the best meat for diabetics? ›

Lean Meat Choices (3g fat/ounce and 55 calories)

Lamb: Roast, chop or leg. Veal: Leap chop, roast. Poultry: Chicken, turkey (dark meat, no skin), chicken (white meat, with skin), domestic duck or goose (well-drained of fat, no skin).

How much protein does a 70 year old woman need daily? ›

The current recommended dietary allowance for women older than 70 years is 0.36 grams for each pound of body weight or 46 grams of protein for a 130-pound woman. This amount is the same for all women 19 and older.

What is the healthiest protein to eat? ›

Considering the protein package is particularly important when it comes to animal-based foods: Generally, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and a variety of seafood (fish, crustaceans, mollusks) are your best bet. Eggs can be a good choice, too.

Do 2 eggs give enough protein? ›

Eating two eggs each morning only offers you around 12 grams of protein,” says Horton. “To meet that 30-gram threshold, you'll need to step up the egg intake or layer in other protein sources.”

Is rotisserie chicken junk food? ›

Is it healthy? Yes, rotisserie chicken is a healthy choice. Chicken is rich in protein and nutrients, and store-bought rotisserie chickens provide a convenient and inexpensive alternative to less-healthy fast-food options.

Can you eat all the meat on a rotisserie chicken? ›

The average rotisserie chicken yields about 3 to 3 1/2 cups of meat, 2/3 of which will be white meat. To keep your meals low fat, remove the skin. By all means, enjoy the leg and thigh meat—it's still relatively lean and nutritious, too.

What foods soak up cholesterol? ›

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

What foods is highest in protein? ›

Top 10 Protein Foods
  • Fish.
  • Seafood.
  • Skinless, white-meat poultry.
  • Lean beef (including tenderloin, sirloin, eye of round) ADVERTISEMENT.
  • Skim or low-fat milk.
  • Skim or low-fat yogurt.
  • Fat-free or low-fat cheese.
  • Eggs.
Mar 6, 2022

What are the side effects of eating rotisserie chicken? ›

Even though we love the taste and ease of rotisserie chicken, it doesn't come without its possible side effects. One major side effect of eating rotisserie chicken is that you might consume more sodium than usual, which could lead to spikes in your blood pressure or water retention.

Are grocery store rotisserie chickens safe? ›

The bottom line: Rotisserie chickens may not be fresh off the farm, but they definitely won't hurt you. Just make sure to heed this advice from the USDA: “When purchasing fully cooked rotisserie or fast food chicken, be sure it is hot at the time of purchase.

Are rotisserie chickens soaked in chlorine? ›

Chilled water method causes water infusion into the meat. This causes the weight of the meat to increase. Air blast causes the meat to dry out and lose weight. The birds are not “bathed in chlorine” but are washed in chlorinated water that is chlorinated higher than you would a swimming pool.

Do grocery stores lose money on rotisserie chickens? ›

These types of products are known as “loss leaders,” and they essentially work by attracting customers to the store. The store may lose money on the rotisserie chicken, but chances are, customers are going to buy other items while they're there, thereby making it a profitable sale for the company.

Why is Costco rotisserie chicken so juicy? ›

Using salt in the form of a brine (rather than just sprinkling it over the top of the birds) definitely contributes to the Costco rotisserie chicken's well-loved taste and texture. Don't let the salt content scare you away, though — salt is not actually addictive, and can actually be quite good for you.

How long can you keep and eat rotisserie chicken? ›

If stored properly (in a ziplock storage bag or sealed container), the USDA says that cooked chicken can last three to four days in the refrigerator. 1 And that goes for any type of cooked chicken—store-bought, homemade, or restaurant leftovers.

What is the white goo inside rotisserie chicken? ›

Dr. Conner: The white goo is primarily water and protein. Protein from poultry meat is easily digested, which means it's denatured quickly through the cooking process, so it leaches out water, bringing out soluble protein.

Do they wash chicken in Clorox? ›

Washing the chickens in a strong chlorine solution (20-50 parts per million of chlorine) provides a brash, cost-effective method of killing any microorganisms on the surface of the bird, particularly bacteria such as species of Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Why are Costco chickens so big? ›

Why Are Costco Chickens So Big? For decades, chicken farmers have been selectively breeding broiler chickens who are sold for their meat to promote growth rates, taste and size. This has led these chickens to grow nearly six times faster and to double in size since the 1950s.

How old is chicken in the grocery store? ›

Chickens labeled as "Broiler-fryers" are young, tender chicken about 7 weeks old; "Roasters" are older chicken, about 3 to 5 months old; "Capons" are male chickens about 16 weeks to 8 months old; and "Stewing/Baking Hens" are mature laying hens 10 months to 1 1/2 years old.

Why are grocery store chickens so big? ›

Chickens today are in fact bigger and grow faster! As the demand for chicken as a protein has increased, especially chicken parts like breasts or thighs versus whole birds, farmers have worked to create larger and healthier chickens to meet that demand.


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