Rotisserie chicken is often found as a loss leader in many supermarkets. In many instances, you can purchase a fully cooked store-bought rotisserie chicken for less than a whole raw chicken from the meat department in the same store. While I have done this for a quick easy meal on occasion, we prefer to not only use our own home-grown chicken. Additionally, we like to know that the seasonings added to the chicken are also wholesome ingredients. Next time you walk by the steaming rotisserie chicken in the grocery store, take a peek at the ingredients list to see how many you recognize. Rotisserie chicken can be made at home and it’s easy with the right tools. Plus, I’ll share some dinner ideas with leftover rotisserie chicken that make dinner prep easy!
What is Rotisserie?
A rotisserie is simply a means of roasting meat while it is turned during the cooking process. The process of turning the meat can be done automatically by electrical means, or it can be done manually. As the meat turns, it cooks more evenly and is self-basting. With every turn, the fat cooks off the meat, dripping below. Rotisserie-cooked meats are moist, have crispy skin, and will be lower in fat, as it drips off during the cooking process.
Many grills are made to accommodate an added rotisserie bar also called a spit. Many are electric, but you can also use a manual spit that is turned. While an electric spit turns the meat constantly, meat cooked on a manual spit can be turned on a schedule. Depending on how hot your heat source is, the meat would need to be rotated every 15 minutes to half an hour.
Counter Top Rotisserie Oven
Years ago, I purchased a countertop rotisserie oven. I absolutely love this appliance! A rotisserie oven is an investment, however, my commitment to eating healthier, homemade food was a factor in my decision to purchase it. I use the rotisserie oven as often as I use my slow cooker! The rotisserie oven makes it super easy to make this wholesome, juicy rotisserie chicken at home. It is large enough that I can cook two small chickens at one time, to cook an extra rotisserie chicken for later. Plus, I know exactly what is in my meal.
The Perfect Recipe for Rotisserie Chicken
The best thing about rotisserie chicken is it’s so versatile! Your favorite roasted chicken recipe is perfect! With a few basic ingredients, a whole chicken becomes a delicious meal the entire family will enjoy. Rotisserie chicken will take some extra time to cook, so plan ahead. As a rule, a whole chicken needs 20 minutes per pound to bake. Be mindful of the size of your chicken when doing your meal prep.
Rotisserie chicken is perfect for using fresh herbs and spices. Tuck sprigs of fresh herbs into the cooking twine used to tie your chicken or under the chicken skin. Mixed spice rubs can be sprinkled over the outside of the chicken. The spices will stick to the moist skin of the chicken.
You can place herbs inside the cavity of the chicken. Add extra veggies inside the chicken to add flavor. Use things like red onion, sweet onions, bell peppers, or apples to add flavor.
You can baste your chicken with liquids like lemon juice, lime juice, or a little bit of soy sauce. Using a small spray bottle makes this easy or use a traditional baster to add liquids in the cavity or under the skin. My rotisserie oven has a no-turn setting that allows me to stop the spit and add liquids inside the cavity of the chicken.
Sauces on rotisserie chicken like BBQ sauce are not highly recommended as it tends to burn during the long cook time. You can add sauces at the end if you like. You also may want to tent the meat to further protect it from burning.
Kowalski Mountain Rotisserie Chicken
My favorite rotisserie chicken spice rub is in the Kowalski Mountain Subscriber’s Library. If you are a member, you have unlimited access to all our favorite recipes. Not a member? Join today to access the entire Subscriber’s Library to download the Lemon Chicken Rub today!
Preparing a Chicken for the Rotisserie Oven
To prepare a chicken to roast in the rotisserie oven, remove any pieces inside the chicken, like the chicken neck, or giblet (edible organs) packet. Rinse the chicken, inside and out with cool water. Towel dry the chicken as well as you can.
Depending on how you want to season the chicken, it may be easier to do so before binding the wings. If you intend to stuff anything inside the chicken cavity, or under the skin, do it now, before the next step. However, wait to use any spice rubs.
Bind the Chicken
Depending on your rotisserie oven, you may need to bind the chicken legs and wings. Due to the size of my rotisserie oven, the legs and wings need to be bound so they will not flop around and can get stuck. They can also burn on the edges, too close to the heat source.
You can use butcher’s twine to do this job, however, I like to use stretchy cooking ties. These elastic food-grade ties are stretchable and make binding the chicken easy. They are heat safe up to 500 degrees. To see how I bind my chicken, check out the video on YouTube.
Load the Spit
At this point, I like to put the chicken onto the spit. The spit is the metal bars that the chicken is placed on to cook. My rotisserie oven comes with a handy stand to make this easier. Be careful to center the chicken on the spit the best you can. I start at the tail end of the chicken and center the spit bars as well as I can. As you push the spit through the chicken, make sure you keep it centered, pushing through the breast meat evenly. The chicken should remain straight and upright once you are finished.
Once the chicken is bound and on the spit, now is the time to add the spice rubs. The reason I suggest waiting till after the chicken is bound and already on the spit, is that during either one of those processes you will knock a lot of seasonings off the chicken. As a result, you will waste seasonings and likely need to reapply.
Cooking the Chicken
Place the chicken into the rotisserie oven as recommended by the manufacturer’s directions. I like to add a cup of water to the drip pan to make it an easier cleanup. Otherwise, the drippings can burn inside the pan.
If you want to baste the chicken with any lemon juice or liquids. It’s a good time to do so once, the chicken is in the oven. It helps to eliminate mess.
Start the controllers and set your timer. Follow the cooking time recommended by your rotisserie oven. As a rule, chicken needs 15 to 20 minutes per pound of cook time. You can baste with additional liquids during the cooking time if you choose. If the chicken browns more quickly than you want, tent the chicken with foil.
The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. See the YouTube video above for a telltale sign that I use that gives you a hint of the doneness of the chicken. Regardless of the telltale sign, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
Heat safe gloves make it easy to handle the hot chicken to remove the whole chicken from the rotisserie oven and spit.
Don’t Have a Rotisserie Oven?
I am blessed to own a countertop rotisserie oven! I’m well aware it may not be a viable option for everyone. Keep in mind that a rotisserie is a form of roasting, you can roast your chicken in a roasting pan in your oven. While roasting a chicken cooks a bit differently than a rotisserie, minus the rotating, you can achieve very similar results. In a roasting pan, place a rack in the bottom of the pan, to lift the chicken out of the juices to create a more crispy skin on all sides.
You can also try the air fryer! I love my air fryer for cooking wings!
If you are set on a rotisserie, a grill rotisserie attachment is much more affordable than a countertop rotisserie oven, though you will need to be more mindful to monitor the heat source.
Dinner Ideas with Leftover Rotisserie Chicken
Philip and I usually get three to four meals out of every single one of our homegrown broiler chickens. The best thing is that leftover cooked chicken is so versatile! If you are on a budget, a whole chicken is a great way to stretch your food budget. Cooked chicken can be added to comforting casserole, soup recipes, chicken pot pie, chicken soups, and stir fry. Most of these dinner ideas with leftover rotisserie chicken make for quick meals on busy weeknights.
After I have carved the chicken, I go back over the chicken carcass and carefully trim off all the meat that I can. The carcass can be used to make fresh chicken broth or the broth can be canned for later use.
The bite-sized pieces that I pick off the carcass make an excellent addition to chicken noodle soup. A jar of home-canned chicken broth, diced chicken, diced veggies, and seasonings of your choice make a wholesome simple dinner for a weeknight meal. Cook the noodles right in the broth for a one-pot dinner with easy cleanup.
Due to the size of our chickens, the chicken breasts can each make a meal in themselves. Casseroles are a really good way to make a small amount of meat to make family meals. My favorite Skillet Chicken and Rice is an easy dinner-to-use leftover chicken. This creamy chicken dish is made with a roux, rather than a “cream of something” soup. It has shredded parmesan cheese which makes it a kid-friendly recipe that the family is sure to enjoy! Find this recipe in the Kowalski Mountain Subscriber’s Library. If you are a member, you have unlimited access to all our favorite recipes. Not a member? Join today to access the entire Subscriber’s Library to download a printable recipe card.
Liven Up the Flavor
Want to add some ethnic flare? Chicken tacos are easy to whip up, though they are more meat-based and won’t stretch the leftover chicken as far. Heat chopped or shredded rotisserie chicken and season with taco seasoning. I make my own taco seasoning, however, you can use a ready-made packet of seasoning if you choose.
Shredded chicken can be seasoned and melted with cheese into a simple quesadilla. Place a small tortilla in a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese, a layer of shredded chicken, hen a second layer of shredded cheese. Cook in a cast iron skillet to toast both sides and melt the cheese.
Stretch the meat further with a Mexican-style meal using rice and beans. Shredded rotisserie chicken can be heated and seasoned with taco seasoning. I like to mix with black beans, shredded cheese, shredded chicken, and corn in a creamy sauce with cream cheese and a bit of salsa. Spoon the mixture into tortillas. Roll the tortillas to make enchiladas. I top it with a store-bought enchilada sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. Heat through in the oven, and serve with sour cream, and of course extra shredded cheese.
Healthy Food Choices
Looking for a lighter option for leftover rotisserie chicken? A stir fry can be made with any medley of vegetables you choose. Simple ingredients like fresh veggies from the garden or farmer’s market. I season with a little liquid aminos mixed into chicken broth for a soy-flavored sauce. If the evening is particularly busy, a package of frozen stir fry vegetables can transform your leftover chicken into a healthy meal. Serve with rice.
I hope I’ve inspired you that you CAN cook a rotisserie chicken at home! Which one of these dinner ideas with leftover rotisserie chicken is your favorite? Tell us in the comments.
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About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.