How Long A Rotisserie Chicken Will Last In The Fridge

There's no denying that rotisserie chicken is one of the most cost-effective food items available at grocery stores. Its delectable flavors and relatively low price tag make it a favorite among home cooks, but its large size inevitably leads many to ask just how long any leftovers are safe to eat. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not longer than a week.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a rotisserie chicken will last up to four days in a fridge set at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact time your chicken takes to spoil can vary depending on how long it sat out on the heating display, and whether it was warm enough to prevent pathogens from spreading, so try to pick the freshest bird at the grocery store.

You should also consider how long your cooked chicken has been left out at room temperature. Any longer than two hours puts you at risk of food poisoning, so try to store any leftovers as soon as possible to avoid forgetting about them. The time frame to eat or store your rotisserie chicken also gets cut down to 60 minutes if the weather's above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep that in mind if you're commuting a considerable distance to get your bird.

Use an airtight container to store rotisserie chicken

When you walk through the rotisserie aisle at a grocery store, you're likely to encounter the savory smells of roast chicken. While undoubtedly a pleasant experience, this should also be a good indicator that the container your bird currently sits in is not airtight. Don't use porous items to store leftovers; instead, transfer any extras to a different container or bag.

Most airtight containers found in a typical home cook's kitchen are not the size of a whole bird, so you'll likely need to either carve or debone your chicken beforehand. While this might seem like a hassle, it actually provides a lot of control over how you want it stored. You can keep the breast, wings, and legs intact, or choose to shred everything at once. Any leftover bones and juices should be stored in their own container as well, as they can be used later to make stock or gravy.

Don't be quick to discard your rotisserie's original packaging if it's a bag. It can be used as a method to quickly debone the chicken, helping you avoid unnecessarily dirtying your fingers and kitchenware. However, feel free to dispose of those flimsy plastic trays in the trash, as they are typically not recyclable.

Other tips for using and storing rotisserie chicken

Four days might seem like a short time window to use up an entire rotisserie chicken, but there are actually numerous ways to prepare your leftovers. Casseroles, pasta, and salads are common and excellent choices for incorporating some shredded chicken, but feel free to add any extras to fried rice, congees, soups, and even empanadas. Some people get really creative and even turn rotisserie chicken into a bread alternative using a waffle press, so the possibilities really are endless.

If you're having trouble using up all your rotisserie chicken within four days of purchase, feel free to freeze the extras. Cold storage can extend the life of your leftovers indefinitely, but you should use up your chicken within four months to prevent any loss in flavor or moisture. To properly store rotisserie chicken in the freezer, tightly cover any meat in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn, and place it in a resealable bag.