Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken?

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I accidentally discovered a kitchen hack that has literally changed my life – and I’m not exaggerating at all. Freezing rotisserie chicken. We hit up Costco at least once a month, and pick up a rotisserie chicken or two (and those delicious street tacos) every time.

Then the next few days are spent making every variation of chicken possible to use up the rotisserie chicken before it turns. Chicken pot pie, chicken and noodles, chicken casseroles, chicken salad sandwiches … you get the idea. 

While I love chicken, I don’t always want days of heavy hearty chicken dinners. 

Then it hit me. I can freeze the rotisserie chicken and have ready-to-go portions anytime I want to make a chicken dish – or any time I’ve forgotten to plan ahead for dinner. 

Why Freeze Rotisserie Chicken?

As a girl who hates handling raw chicken, I have found my perfect solution (the texture, the goo, and cutting it … I’d rather starve). But, even if you don’t mind raw chicken prep work, freezing rotisserie chicken is a kitchen hack for all lifestyles. It makes life easier in a few ways:

  • Frozen rotisserie chicken stays fresh for months. No rush to use it up before it goes bad.
  • On those days when cooking feels like just too much, frozen rotisserie chicken is your low-effort meal backup, always ready to save dinner.
  • Portion it out, freeze, and you’ve got a meal prep strategy that’s hassle-free.
  • Frozen rotisserie chicken is super versatile. Use it in soups, sandwiches, or anything you whip up. Quick and tasty dinners are just a thaw away.
  • Buying in bulk or on sale and freezing is a budget-friendly hack that’s been used for generations.
  • Freeze leftovers to cut down on kitchen waste. Practical and planet-friendly.
  • Freezing keeps the flavor intact. When you defrost it, it’s still as delicious as when you first got it.

Freezing rotisserie chicken is a smart move for saving time, and money, and enjoying real-food nutritious meals without the hassle.

Two cooked rotisserie chickens sit on a countertop.

Can You Freeze An Already Cooked Rotisserie Chicken?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze an already-cooked rotisserie chicken. Your Costco runs just got a little more interesting. Freezing cooked rotisserie chicken is actually one of my favorite life hacks. You do need to follow a few food safety rules though:

  • Cooling: Let the chicken cool completely before putting it in the freezer. If you place warm chicken in the freezer it will create a bunch of condensation. This will impact (in a bad way) both the flavor and texture of your chicken once reheated.
  • Packaging: Use airtight glass or silicone containers, freezer zip-top plastic bags or wrap the chicken tightly in aluminum foil. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to minimize the risk of freezer burn.
  • Labeling: Clearly label the packaging with the date of freezing. This helps you keep track of how long the chicken has been in the freezer.
  • Freezer Conditions: Store the chicken in a freezer maintained at or below 0°F (-18°C). 
  • Duration: For the best taste and texture, it’s generally recommended to eat frozen cooked chicken within 2-6 months. While it’s still safe to eat it beyond this timeframe, the quality may start to degrade.

How To Freeze Rotisserie Chicken

Freezing rotisserie chicken is a simple and pretty straightforward process. There are three main options (each with its own pros and cons) when it comes to freezing rotisserie chicken:

  • Freeze the chicken whole
  • Freeze the chicken in pieces
  • Freeze shredded chicken

Freezing Rotisserie Chicken Whole

The simplest option is to just freeze your rotisserie chicken whole. While I personally don’t love this method; simply due to it creates more work for Future Me, this could work for you if you have more time later – and less time now.  

If you’ve picked up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, first, let it come to room temperature. Then, wrap it in foil tightly and toss it in a gallon-size freezer-safe zip-top bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Toss it in your freezer and deal with it later.

Freezing Whole Pros:Freezing Whole Cons:
Nearly effortless prepTakes literally 1+ days to thaw – need to plan ahead
Can thaw, reheat, and serve wholeWill take longer to heat
Takes up maximum freezer space

Freezing Shredded Rotisserie Chicken

This is my personal favorite option for the simple fact that it makes future meals so simple and easy. 

Long Version:

Once we get home from the monthly Costco run, I pop off the plastic cover and let the chicken cool while putting away the other three hundred dollars worth of groceries. After my husband steals and eats the skin, I shred the chicken by hand into a large bowl. 

I know you can pull off large chunks and shred them in your stand mixer but I personally find that between getting out my mixer, setting up, tearing down, and washing up … the process is actually easier (and requires fewer dishes) to just do by hand. 

Once I’ve gotten all the meat off the bones, or gotten the ick from handling the chicken I wash my hands and get out my freezer-safe containers. 

Then, (because we are a home of two) I place either 8 or 10 oz of chicken in each bag – using my kitchen scale to keep things close to even. 3-4 oz per person is a good serving size. So, for example, if you have three people you’re feeding, go for 9-12 oz of chicken per bag. More if you plan for leftovers. 

Quick Version:

  1. Let the chicken cool down.
  2. Pull off all the chicken meat.
  3. Shred the chunks by hand or mixer. 
  4. Portion out shredded chicken by oz using a kitchen scale.
  5. Place portions in airtight containers. If using plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  6. Label and date the containers, and pop them in the freezer.

I haven’t made chicken stock yet, but just this week I started a freezer bag of veggie scraps (think onion papers, the peeled parts of whole carrots, etc) to make stock in the future. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Freezing Shredded Pros:Freezing Shredded Cons:
Pre Portioned For easy meals Most up front time and effort
Mess-free reheat & eatMore initial clean up
Thaws and warms up quicklyNo skin crunch/flavor
Can use bones for homemade stock
Takes up minimal freezer space

Freezing Carved / Pieced Rotisserie Chicken

If you want to preserve that iconic crispy-skin drumstick experience but don’t want an entire chicken taking up freezer space, carving is your answer. Less work than shredding, but still requiring some skill, this option comes down to three steps:

  1. Let the chicken cool down 
  2. Cut it into leg, thigh, and breast pieces using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. 
  3. Place portions in airtight containers. If using plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  4. Label and date the containers.

If you’re into the homemade stock game, take the remaining bones and toss them in the freezer bag with your veggie extras to scrape together enough pieces for your next broth-making day.

Freezing Carved Pros:Freezing Carved Cons:
Moderate initial workTakes up more freezer space
Easy to thaw and reheatCarving poultry is a learned skill
Less waste than whole chickenCumbersome to round up bones for stock
Maintains skin / flavors

Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken Breast?

Yes, freezing rotisserie chicken breasts is similar to freezing rotisserie chicken pieces:

  1. Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature.
  2. If desired, remove bones and skin.
  3. Divide the chicken breasts into portion-sized pieces based on your needs.
  4. Place portions in airtight containers. If using plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  5. Label and date the containers.
  6. The chicken breasts will stay at peak freshness while frozen for up to 4 months. After that, they are still safe to eat but will begin to lose quality.

When you’re ready to use the frozen rotisserie chicken breasts, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then incorporate them into your recipe.

Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken Bones?

Yes, you can freeze rotisserie chicken bones. Freezing bones is a common practice for those who like to make their own homemade chicken broth or stock. 

If you want to freeze your rotisserie chicken bones, just place the cleaned chicken bones in airtight freezer bags or containers and label the containers with the date. 

When you’re ready to make broth or stock, you can use the frozen chicken bones directly from the freezer. Simply thaw them in the refrigerator or use them directly in the cooking process. 

Remember to follow safe food handling practices and ensure that the bones are thoroughly cooked when making broth or stock.

Equipment needed to Freeze Chicken

You really just need a freezer-safe container to freeze the chicken in and freezer space to store it. I’ve been working to use less single-use plastic, especially in the kitchen. 

My go-to containers are these glass storage containers. I’ve had them for almost a year now and have 0 regrets. They are dishwasher, microwave, oven, and freezer safe, the hinged handles won’t crack (like another brand I’ve tried) and the seal is made of silicone.

These Stasher 12 oz silicone bags would be perfect for shredded chicken storage. While there are plenty of off-brand options that are cheaper on Amazon, most have PEVA and are not true silicone; making them not necessarily the best option (less durable, not safe at extreme temperatures).

Detail of a cooked rotisserie chicken.

How Long Can Rotisserie Chicken Sit On The Counter?

You’re unloading the car and putting away groceries and wondering just how long you’ve got to handle those rotisserie chickens you picked up on sale. Don’t stress, you’ve got up to 2 hours before things cross into the danger zone. 

If you’ve gone full homestead homemaker with your Sunday afternoon and have a homemade roast chicken, it can sit out for three hours before it gets questionable.

How to Properly Thaw Frozen Rotisserie Chicken

You cannot go from frozen to cooked. Unless you shred your chicken super fine and cook it in a soup or casserole, but otherwise you’ll want to thaw your frozen rotisserie chicken. I only recommend two ways to thaw frozen meat: in the refrigerator or in cold water. 

Thawing whole frozen rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator

A whole rotisserie chicken will take 20 hours or so to thaw safely in your refrigerator, but it can chill (literally) in the fridge for a few days safely. This is the only way I recommend thawing a whole frozen chicken. We (I) take food safety (and not getting food poisoning) seriously in this house.

Thawing pieces of shredded chicken in the refrigerator

If you plan a day ahead, simply move the frozen chicken from the freezer to the fridge the night before you plan to use it. Shredded and portioned chicken will take around 10 hours to thaw.

Thawing shredded frozen rotisserie chicken in cold water

Thawing frozen rotisserie chicken is best done in the refrigerator overnight, but if you’re in a pinch you can place the bag in a bowl of the coldest water out of your sink for 1-2 hours. 

Submerge the sealed bag of chicken fully in the cold water. It will want to float due to the air in the bag, so I place another bowl on top and fill it with cold water to keep it fully covered. It’s also recommended to change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays appropriately cold.

Rotisserie chicken legs in a glass dish ready to go in the freezer.

How To Reheat Rotisserie Chicken

Reheating rotisserie chicken can be done using a few different methods, and the choice really depends on your preferences and kitchen equipment. I personally go for the soup/casserole method 90% of the time but here are a few common methods for reheating rotisserie chicken:

Soup Method

  1. If you’re making soup with your frozen rotisserie chicken you can just dump the frozen shredded chicken directly into the simmering soup. 
  2. Stir often to break up the pieces to make sure they fully cook through.

Oven Method:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175 degrees Celsius).
  2. Place the chicken in a baking dish and add a small amount of liquid, like chicken stock or water.
  3. Wrap the dish in foil and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking the temperature every 5 minutes.
  4. For crispy skin, remove the foil in the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Microwave Method:

  1. Put the chicken on a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. 
  2. Heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high for optimal results.
  3. Avoid overcooking to prevent dryness or rubbery texture.

Skillet Method:

  1. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil or a splash of chicken broth to a skillet.
  2. Set the burner to medium-high. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken.
  3. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the chicken is fully cooked.

Air Fryer Method:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place the rotisserie chicken pieces in the air fryer basket and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from the air fryer and enjoy.
Shredded rotisserie chicken in a gray bowl with silver tongs.

How Do You Reheat Chicken Without Drying It Out?

A great way to reheat it is by wrapping the chicken in foil, leaving a small opening for steam, and popping it in your oven or toaster oven. If you want, you can add a splash of water or broth to keep it moist, but it’s not a must.

How To Heat A Whole Rotisserie Chicken In The Oven

Heating a whole thawed rotisserie chicken in the oven is a straightforward process.  

  1. Ensure the chicken is fully thawed. Taking it from the freezer to the refrigerator a day or two before is the best option.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) before placing the chicken inside.
  3. Wrap the whole rotisserie chicken in aluminum foil to help retain moisture and keep it from drying out.
  4. Set the wrapped rotisserie chicken in a baking dish with the foil seam facing upward.
  5. Bake the rotisserie chicken in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes.*
  6. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should reach a minimum of 165°F to be safe to eat.
  7. If you want crispy skin, uncover the chicken for the last 10 minutes of reheating.
  8. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before carving or serving. This helps redistribute the juices and keeps the chicken moist.

*These are general guidelines, and actual reheating times could be a bit different based on your oven and the size of the rotisserie chicken. Always confirm that the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken, avoiding contact with bones.

Can You Refreeze Thawed Chicken?

The short answer is: maybe.

If (and only if) you’ve thawed your chicken in the refrigerator, you can refreeze it. If you’ve thawed with a cold water method (or any other not-recommended way) the chicken is not safe to refreeze. 

But be aware (beware?) that you may notice a bit of difference in the texture and even the taste if you’re freezing-thawing-refreezing-thawing. And only refreeze it once, after that just cut your losses. You can read more about it on the USDA website

Five freezer bags of shredded rotisserie chicken arranged on a neutral countertop.

What is The Best Way to Freeze A Rotisserie Chicken?

By far, the best way is to pick all the meat off the rotisserie chicken, shred it, and freeze it in portions in a freezer-safe container. 

This is the best option because it thaws quickly and sets Future You up for an easy grab-and-go option for dinner. Simply thaw and dump in your soup, casserole mix, or marinade.

I’ve successfully pulled off homemade chicken and noodles (with homemade egg noodles) on a weeknight because I could spend my time making noodles rather than dealing with cooking and shredding chicken.

Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken After 3 Days?

Yes, if you picked up a rotisserie chicken but life got in the way and it’s been sitting in the fridge for a few days, you can – and should – freeze it. 

A cooked rotisserie chicken from the store or your oven will only last 3-4 days in the refrigerator before spoiling. Freezing it is a smart way to extend its storage life.

Before freezing, check for any signs of spoilage. If it has an off smell, unusual color, or slimy texture, throw it out. Keep in mind that these are basic tips, and trust your instincts when handling food safety.

Can I Freeze Rotisserie Chicken After 4 Days?

If your rotisserie chicken has been in the fridge for four days, it’s at its maximum limit of still being safe to eat. While I personally would toss it, it can still be frozen under the right circumstances.

It’s important to consider the overall freshness and safety of the chicken before freezing. Closely assess the chicken’s freshness. If it has developed an off smell, color, or texture, throw it out.

While freezing preserves the safety of the chicken, it doesn’t reverse the aging process. 

The quality of the chicken when thawed will depend totally on its condition at the time of freezing. It’s a garbage-in-garbage-out situation. If you have any doubts about the freshness of the chicken, it’s much better to toss it out than risk consuming rotten meat.

How Long Can You Freeze Rotisserie Chicken?

Generally, frozen cooked chicken can be stored for 2-6 months at peak freshness if it’s stored correctly. If you notice any signs of freezer burn, like dry or discolored spots, the chicken might still be safe to eat. But I recommend throwing it out.

Two labeled and dated freezer bags of shredded rotisserie chicken lay on a neutral countertop.

What To Do With Frozen Rotisserie Chicken

You can use thawed rotisserie chicken in place of just about any chicken recipe you normally make. Just thaw the frozen rotisserie chicken and toss it in your favorite recipes. 

Ways to use leftover rotisserie chicken:

Final Thoughts

Freezing rotisserie chicken has become a standard practice for me. It’s a time-saving kitchen hack for meal prep, budgeting, and reducing food waste. Whether you opt for freezing it whole, shredded, or carved, the versatility and convenience it adds to your culinary routine are undeniable.

About Author

TiaGoodnight

Hey! I'm Tia, and I started this site to bring you the best information on all things kitchen so you can enjoy and elevate your everyday life.

I love trying new techniques and tools, living for the thrill of pulling off a new skill. On weekends you'll find me at the local farmer's markets or hosting friends and family for an evening of yard or card games and delicious food.

If you're looking for honest, real-world advice on all things kitchen and cooking, you're in the right place!