Freeze Rotisserie Chicken Like a Pro!

Have you ever found yourself with leftover rotisserie chicken? It’s a common occurrence, especially when you grab Costco’s delicious and cost-effective rotisserie chicken. Whether you only used a portion for a recipe or didn’t get around to it as quickly as you thought, freezing your rotisserie chicken is a convenient and budget-friendly way to make the most of your leftovers.

Freezing your rotisserie chicken not only extends its shelf life but also provides you with a versatile protein option whenever you need it. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the proper steps to freeze cooked chicken, ensuring it remains fresh and flavorful. Whether you’re a budget-conscious shopper, a meal prepper, or a busy parent, freezing rotisserie chicken can save you time and money while still allowing you to enjoy delicious meals. Let’s dive in and learn how to freeze rotisserie chicken like a pro!

Ziplock bags of diced leftover chicken sitting on a counter before being frozen

How Long Does Rotisserie Chicken Last?

If you’re wondering how long a rotisserie chicken will last, it depends on how you store it. When kept in the fridge, it will typically last for 3-4 days. However, freezing it significantly extends its shelf life, allowing leftover rotisserie chicken to stay fresh for up to three months. The same applies to homemade rotisserie chicken.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and you should always trust your instincts when it comes to food safety. If the chicken exhibits an off smell, strange color, or slimy texture, it’s best to dispose of it.

Further reading:  Homemade Maple Chicken Sausage Patties: A Protein-Packed Breakfast Delight

Can I Freeze a Whole Rotisserie Chicken?

While you can freeze a whole rotisserie chicken, it’s not the most ideal method. Freezing a whole chicken can make defrosting and portioning out later more challenging. However, if you choose to freeze a whole chicken, wrap it tightly in heavy-duty aluminum foil before placing it in a large zip-top bag or wrapping it in plastic wrap.

When you’re ready to eat the frozen chicken, make sure to defrost it overnight. It’s best to use the entire chicken once it’s defrosted, as refreezing previously frozen chicken can affect its texture, flavor, and increase the risk of foodborne illness. To achieve the best results, it’s recommended to remove the meat from the bones and portion it out before freezing. This way, you can easily defrost only what you need and avoid any potential waste.

The Best Way to Freeze Rotisserie Chicken

Step 1: Remove the meat from the bones

The first step is to separate the meat from the bones. This not only prevents freezer burn but also makes portioning easier. Use a sharp knife or your fingers to remove the meat.

It’s essential to let the cooked rotisserie chicken cool to room temperature before freezing. While it can still be warm during the cutting and preparation process, ensure it is fully cooled before placing it in the freezer.

A pile of roughly diced rotisserie chicken on a plate.

Step 2: Portion it Out

Divide the chicken into small portions suitable for your needs. This simplifies the process of defrosting only the required amount later on. You can portion it out by weight or volume. For example, you can measure out 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken or 4 ounces of chicken breast.

The cutting method depends on your preference. For sandwiches, slices of chicken breasts work well, while shredded chicken is ideal for pasta and soups.

Further reading:  Boreal Vital Chicken Grain Free Dog Food

Three piles of chicken, each roughly 2 cups, sitting on a cutting board.

Step 3: Place into Freezer Bags

Use freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags to store the chicken. Plastic freezer bags are a convenient and space-saving option. When using a freezer bag, place the chicken inside, seal it most of the way, press out as much air as possible, and then seal it completely. Removing the air minimizes the risk of freezer burn, keeping the chicken fresh.

If you prefer using airtight containers, reduce air contact by pressing the chicken down with cling wrap or a reusable wrap like beeswax paper. Alternatively, a vacuum sealer can be used, following the specific directions for your brand and model.

Chicken in ziptop bags with as much air removed as possible for freezing.

Step 4: Label and Date

Label the containers or bags with the date you froze the chicken. You can use a permanent marker to write directly on the bag or use masking tape if using a different type of container. This labeling helps you keep track of how long the chicken has been in the freezer and ensures you use the older meat first to avoid freezer burn. You can also include information about the portion size and type of chicken.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your frozen rotisserie chicken stays fresh and flavorful for up to three months.

Thawing Frozen Rotisserie Chicken

Properly thawing your frozen rotisserie chicken is essential before using it. Avoid thawing it on the counter at room temperature, as it can enter the temperature danger zone, leading to unsafe bacterial growth. Here are three recommended thawing methods:

Fridge Method

The best way to thaw your chicken is by placing it in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook with it. Simply take the chicken out of the freezer and place it on a plate or in a container to catch any drips as it thaws.

Further reading:  Delicious and Easy Chicken a la King Recipe

Frozen rotisserie chicken sitting on a plate in the fridge.

Cold Water Method

If you’re short on time and need to thaw the chicken more quickly, you can use the cold water method. Place the frozen chicken in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold. Alternatively, you can place a bowl of cold water with the chicken in the fridge to prevent the cold water from warming up.

The Soup or “Cook It” Method

If you’re making soup, you can add the frozen cooked chicken pieces directly to the boiling soup. They will quickly reheat in the boiling liquid. Stirring often is essential in this process. Additionally, you can skip the thawing process in most instant pot recipes, as they reach temperatures fast enough to avoid food safety issues.

What to Make with Your Leftover Chicken

Now that you have your chicken thawed out, you’re ready to turn it into a delicious meal! Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • If you have an instant pot, try the “Pesto Pasta Chicken” recipe for a quick and easy weeknight dinner!
  • For a comforting slow cooker dish, give the “Chicken Potato Chowder” a try. It calls for 2 cups of rotisserie chicken.
  • Adding rotisserie chicken to frozen meals is a great way to make them more satisfying and filling.

These are just a few ideas, and the possibilities are endless. Use your leftover chicken in salads, wraps, sandwiches, and more. With a stash of frozen rotisserie chicken in your freezer, you’ll always have a protein-packed ingredient on hand for quick and easy meals.

What’s your favorite dish to make with rotisserie chicken? Let me know in the comments!