Seduced by a chicken

Who hasn’t been seduced by the golden brown ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken? No matter how enticing, I’ve often wondered if this was a good deal—both nutritionally and financially. So I did some investigating and experimenting to satisfy my curiosity. Here is what I learned:

  • these chickens are usually sold by the “piece” not by the pound—it may look like you’re getting the same amount, but the starting weights (and the net weights) of rotisserie chickens vary. Learn the sizes for the chickens in your local stores or ask at the counter. You can also ask your kids to pick out the biggest one!
  • costs also vary from store-to-store and doesn’t appear based on the size of the chicken. Prices I found ranged from $4.29 to $7.99 each.
  • one chicken usually feeds 4-6 people. On the average, a 3 pound roasted chicken should yield 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds of boneless meat or about 50%.
  • seasonings and added ingredients on rotisserie chicken also vary from store to store.
  • the nutritional basics of protein, fat, calories and cholesterol in a rotisserie chicken are similar to a home-roasted chicken. The major difference, however, is in the sodium content in a rotisserie chicken.

When you’re hungry (and don’t have 2 hours to roast a chicken) a rotisserie chicken dinner, along with a plain baked potato and salad can be a better choice than eating out. And you can use the bones to make a great broth for soup. If your store lists the sodium content of the chicken you can determine if this is a good choice.

It is easy to make your own roasted chicken. In upcoming articles (5 total) we will explore the costs of cooked chicken and how to make your own.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

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updated on 12-6-2019