Rotisserie chicken makes for an easy dinner whether you buy it or make it yourself. If your family doesn’t eat the whole bird, those leftovers are precious and should be saved! That will probably make you wonder how long is rotisserie chicken good for. The short answer: it depends on how you store it. Keep reading for the long one!
Before we get to the nitty gritty of cooked chicken shelf life and storage, keep in mind the rules of storing it properly also apply to baked, grilled, and fried chicken, not just the rotisserie kind.
Chicken leftovers are great to have. They can be used for quick and easy meals such as sandwiches, salads, casseroles, and soups. Next time you have some, use the information below to store them properly, and avoid waste!
🍗 What Is A Rotisserie Chicken?
A rotisserie chicken is a chicken cooked on a rotisserie, which is a kitchen appliance with a rotating spit.
They are sold by grocery stores, supermarkets, delis, and specialty food stores. Some ovens and grills come with a rotisserie attachment and if you have such an accessory you can make it at home.
If you noticed that some grocery stores and supermarkets are selling rotisserie chicken close to the price of raw whole chickens, there’s a reason for that!
It means they’re using the rotisserie chicken as a loss leader, which is a type of product intentionally sold at a low price to draw in customers.
In general, people coming to buy rotisserie chicken will purchase other things and that’s exactly what the stores are aiming for!
How Long Does It Last In The Fridge?
According to the USDA, rotisserie chicken and other types of cooked chicken last 3-4 days in the fridge when stored properly at a temperature of 40°F or lower.
Keep in mind the shelf life of cooked chicken meat is the same whether it’s homemade, store-bought, or made in a restaurant.
How Long Does Rotisserie Chicken Last In The Freezer?
Freezing rotisserie chicken is the best way long-term storage option. In theory, frozen cooked chicken can last indefinitely, but it’s recommended you consume it within 3-4 months for the best quality.
How To Tell If It Has Gone Bad
These signs will tell you if your rotisserie chicken is still safe to eat. Knowing them can save you and your family from experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of food poisoning.
Here are the major clues that point to a spoiled rotisserie chicken. If you notice any of them, the safest option is to discard it.
- The chicken was left out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if the room temperature is over 90°F)
- Discolorations or brown areas
- Visible mold
- Dry or slimy surface
- Off-putting odor
How To Store Leftover Rotisserie Chicken
The shelf life for refrigerated or frozen leftover rotisserie chicken we discussed above is only true if you store it properly. Here are the best ways to do it:
In The Fridge
When handling cooked food, time is of the essence. Be sure to refrigerate rotisserie or any other kind of cooked chicken within 2 hours of cooking (or purchasing, if store-bought).
Food left on the counter is in the “danger zone” range of temperatures (40°F–140°F), according to the USDA. These temperatures allow the rapid multiplication of bacteria, which is why cooked food should be refrigerated as soon as possible.
Even more, if you live in a warm climate and the ambient temperature is over 90°F, you should not leave rotisserie chicken or other cooked foods on the counter for more than one hour.
One thing I wholeheartedly recommend when you’re transferring leftovers from a whole cooked chicken in the fridge is to carve the bird.
Shredding the chicken is another option that will allow it to chill even faster and it’s also great for meal prep purposes.
Place the portioned or shredded chicken leftovers in ziplock bags or airtight containers before refrigerating, and store them in the coldest part of the fridge.
Store the carcass separately, in the fridge or freezer, well-wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. It’s perfect for making soups and chicken stock!
In The Freezer
To freeze leftover rotisserie chicken, portion or shred it the same way as you would for refrigerating.
For portioned chicken, start by wrapping the pieces individually in plastic wrap. This will keep them fresh for longer and prevent freezer burn.
Then, place them in freezer-safe ziplock bags, remove as much air as possible, and freeze.
For shredded chicken, simply place it in freezer-safe ziplock bags, push out as much air as possible, and transfer it to the freezer.
Both methods will ensure your chicken remains at its best quality for up to 3 months.
Note: It’s definitely possible to freeze a whole rotisserie chicken, but given the fact it will take up a lot of space, you’ll probably want to consume it in the near future. Just like for portioned or shredded cooked chicken, be sure to wrap it tight in several layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil before freezing.
How To Thaw Rotisserie Chicken
To thaw a whole rotisserie chicken simply let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours.
Portioned or shredded rotisserie chicken that was frozen in airtight containers or sealed ziplock bags can also be allowed to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Nevertheless, you also have the option of placing the bags or containers in cold water which will speed up the thawing to 3-4 hours.
How To Reheat Rotisserie Chicken
Depending if your leftover chicken is whole, portioned, or shredded, there are different ways to reheat it.
In The Oven
Reheating rotisserie chicken in the oven is excellent if the bird is whole or portioned as it will allow the skin to crisp up like when it was freshly cooked.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the chicken in an oven-safe dish.
- Add one cup of chicken broth to the dish to keep the chicken moist.
- Cover with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven.
- Allow the chicken to roast for 25 minutes covered.
- Remove the foil, and roast for 5 more minutes to crisp up the skin.
In The Microwave
The microwave is the fastest way to reheat rotisserie chicken but keep in mind it won’t give you the crispy skin it had when you first cooked it.
It works for whole, portioned, and shredded leftover chicken.
Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and reheat on high in 30-60 seconds intervals until it’s warmed through.
Tip: Don’t use a low setting to reheat your cooked chicken. That will lengthen the time needed for the chicken to reheat and can dry out the meat.
On The Stovetop
Shredded rotisserie chicken can be easily reheated on the stovetop. This method works best for leftover chicken that was deboned.
- Add a small amount of cooking oil to a skillet and place it on a burner set to medium-high.
- Once the oil is heated, add the leftover chicken.
- Let it reheat for about 5 minutes while stirring frequently to make sure the chicken reheats uniformly.
In The Air Fryer
The air fryer offers another way to make the skin on your leftover chicken crisp up. In fact, it will give you the crispiest skin of all methods!
Just like the oven method, the air fryer works best for whole and portioned leftover chicken. The best part, it couldn’t be any easier!
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer.
- Allow it to reheat for 3-4 minutes.
How To Make Rotisserie Chicken At Home
I’m a firm believer that homemade food is the healthiest. It also happens to be the cheapest!
Making your own rotisserie chicken at home is not difficult at all. You just need an oven or a grill with a rotisserie attachment or an air fryer that has a rotisserie function.
The last option also happens to be my favorite!
This air fryer rotisserie chicken recipe never fails me. It’s exceptionally easy and you can try various seasonings for the bird over time, to keep the excitement going.
I guarantee the skin will turn out incredibly crispy!
If you love air fryer chicken, you should also try my air fryer BBQ whole chicken. Ready in one hour, it’s perfect when you’re in need of an easy lunch or dinner.
When you’re in a rush, you won’t regret making the air fryer cornish hen. A Cornish hen is smaller than the typical store-bought chicken so it will be ready in 30 minutes.
Easy Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
Information such as the shelf life of leftover chicken and how to store is important but there’s one more step to making sure it always gets used before it goes bad.
Having some leftover rotisserie chicken recipes is an excellent idea. You can even place them in your recipe binder and rotate between them to keep meals exciting.
These dishes all use leftover chicken and it doesn’t even have to be the rotisserie kind. Oven-baked or grilled chicken work well too!
- Keto Chicken Bacon Ranck Casserole
- Air Fryer Chicken Enchiladas
- Air Fryer Copycat Taco Bell Quesadilla
- Air Fryer Taquitos
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Raw chicken stays safe to eat for 1-2 days if stored in the fridge properly.
According to FoodSafety.gov’s cold food storage chart, this applies to both whole chicken and chicken parts.
There is no set number of times you can reheat rotisserie chicken or other cooked food, the USDA says. Each time you reheat leftover chicken, the quality will decrease a little.
To enjoy it at its best, don’t reheat it more than 2 times. In general, try to reheat only as much food as you know you’ll eat.
According to the USDA, all cooked chicken, including rotisserie chicken can last up to 4 days in the fridge.
Even if it looks fine on the 5th day, it’s not safe to eat anymore and should be discarded.