5 Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens You Should Buy And 5 You Shouldn't

If you typically turn your nose up at rotisserie chicken from a grocery store, you're truly missing out. Grocery store rotisserie chickens are the perfect way to have a delicious, protein-packed meal in almost no time. They can even simplify more complex homemade recipes like chicken noodle soup or enchiladas, which usually take a ton of time if crafting these dishes from scratch.

But the truth is, not all rotisserie chickens are created equal. While some chickens are truly worth the money, others can totally ruin a meal. It's all too common to pick up a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store with high hopes only for it to be dry, tasteless or — worse — have a strange texture that doesn't resemble chicken at all. While there are definitely some hacks for how to pick out a high-quality rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, let us save you the trouble and tell you exactly where to go if you desire a superior chicken (and who doesn't?).


Buying a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store that's no good can feel like a total waste. So to help you figure out which are worth your time and money, we've scoured reviews online from people who have tried grocery store rotisserie chickens from across the nation. We've looked through Yelp, Reddit, and published rankings to assess the best places to go for your rotisserie chicken needs. We've read through 10+ reviews for each grocery store chain and analyzed them using attributes we believe are most important when it comes to grocery store rotisserie chicken: the value, taste, texture, and overall quality.

While there is obviously a ton of variation when it comes to the location, purchase date, and even reviewers' individual preferences, we took a general consensus based on noticeable patterns in the group of reviews we've read so we could deliver the most objective assessment possible. That way, you can increase your chances of scoring the best bird possible and satisfying your rotisserie chicken cravings.

Buy: Costco rotisserie chicken

This one is certainly controversial, but there is overwhelming evidence that Costco's rotisserie chicken is actually really good. Especially considering how this is one of the most affordable options on the list. In fact, Costco does this on purpose to attract customers. Despite rising inflation, Costco's chicken has been $4.99 since 2009, and not a dollar more.

While a lot of reviews mention that the bird is a tad bit on the salty side, it's not intolerable. You might even enjoy how seasoned the bird is and find it perfect for nibbling on straight out of the package. When it comes to taste, the Costco chicken also has another good thing going for it: It's known to be very juicy, which is an important attribute for any rotisserie chicken. And not only is the actual meat tasty, but the skin is crispy, too, which is an obviously desirable quality. Not to mention that this rotisserie chicken weighs 3 pounds, which is quite large (and you should buy the heaviest rotisserie chickens at the store). It's also extremely meaty, making it great value overall.

Avoid: Fresh Market rotisserie chicken

If you're an avid Fresh Market shopper, then we hate to break it to you, but that rotisserie chicken you've been eyeing isn't going to be worth the purchase. The main reason being that it repeatedly commits an unforgivable crime in the world of rotisserie chicken: It's consistently dry. This can be a huge bummer for whatever you plan to use the chicken for, whether that be alone or as a component in a more complex dish.

Not only is the dry meat going to be a let down, but the skin isn't going to impress you, either. It's said to be rather tasteless, void of any identifiable seasonings. Plus, it's tough, which makes every bite a generally negative experience. To add insult to injury, this rotisserie chicken is on the expensive side. This isn't surprising considering the fact that Fresh Market is a pricier grocery store, but it's definitely disappointing since its chickens aren't large in size; they're not even 2 pounds. For almost $10, you'd be wise to say that the bird isn't worth it.

Buy: Sprouts rotisserie chicken

If high-quality ingredients are important to your food purchasing decisions, we recommend taking home a rotisserie chicken from Sprouts. The chain's rotisserie chickens are made without antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. And the best part is that the chicken actually tastes good. It tastes fresh and is seasoned just right with notes of garlic, onion, and parsley that are noticeable without being overpowering. It's also recognized for having a distinguished smokey flavor that's extra delicious. Keep in mind that it's pretty salty with 880 milligrams of sodium in a 4-ounce serving size, so make sure to eat these rotisserie chickens sparingly. 

When it comes to moisture, Sprout's rotisserie chicken is definitely one of the juiciest in the bunch without being too wet or greasy. It's unlikely you'll come across a dry rotisserie chicken from this grocery store. A huge plus is that the overall texture is enticing — no extra fatty or stringy pieces here. And while you might not get that crispy skin that you could get from a rotisserie chicken from another grocery store, it's still totally worth it.

Avoid: Whole Foods rotisserie chicken

One thing about Whole Foods is that it cares about the quality of its food, and that extends to the prepared rotisserie chickens. On the grocery retailer's website, it make note of its responsibly raised meats where animals are brought up in humane conditions and are free to roam outside. So, naturally, you'd expect the chicken to be a top-tier choice compared to other grocery stores.

But unfortunately, based on reviews, there are better options out there. The general consensus is that Whole Foods' rotisserie chickens are on the drier side and lack flavor. You might even find the appearance of the chicken to be lackluster, with skin that has more of a baggy look to it. This can be quite disappointing, especially since the store's food is definitely pretty pricey. If you're making a recipe that has shredded chicken, like enchiladas, and you plan to add your own seasonings to it and some other wet ingredients, this could be a good option for you. Otherwise, you might want to skip this grocery store to fulfill your rotisserie chicken craving.

Buy: Smart and Final rotisserie chicken

If you're looking for a decent rotisserie chicken that will last for a few different meals, look no further than the ones from Smart and Final. These jumbo-sized oven-roasted chickens have a ton of meat on them. This is definitely a good thing, considering that this chicken gets rave reviews from customers, with some even calling it the best they've ever had at any grocery store. What makes this chicken especially good as leftovers is that it magically maintains its juiciness the following day after purchase, which means you won't be stuck with a ton of dry chicken you have to either power through or throw away.

Keep in mind that this might not be your experience every time, as some label the bird as just being simply good enough. But honestly, it's hard to come across a totally negative review from Smart and Final, so you're chances of scoring a great rotisserie chicken are pretty high.

Avoid: Winn-Dixie rotisserie chicken

For all those Winn-Dixie lovers out there, we're sorry to say the rotisserie chicken definitely falls into our "avoid" category. You should ultimately skip this chicken for a few reasons. 

For one, the look of it is an immediate turn-off. It's consistently reviewed as being pale in color, which indicates a lack of seasoning or possibly being undercooked. But a huge blow comes from the texture of the meat. Ideally, you want the interior of the chicken to be tender and almost pillow-like. But unfortunately, for Winn-Dixie chicken, there's a good probability it'll be more of a fatty texture and have a stringy consistency. And true to the pale color, this chicken lacks a roasted flavor that makes rotisserie chicken so good in the first place. It's not unheard of for these chickens to be undercooked altogether. So if you ever come across a rotisserie chicken from Winn-Dixie, it might be in your best interest to keep your cart rolling.

Buy: Sam's Club rotisserie chicken

While the reviews on Sam's Club are generally a mixed bag, they ultimately skew towards being more positive. Especially considering the fact that many mention how these chickens are better than the ones at Costco, which says a lot. Though they might be smaller in size, they have more flavor and a more perfect cook. They also come in at the same price at just around $5 — basically a steal.

When taking a bite of Sam's Club rotisserie chicken, you'll quickly notice how the grocery retailer has mastered seasoned flavor, a cornerstone of a delicious rotisserie chicken. The skin is also said to be super crispy. You might not always get a super moist chicken every time, though. While some reviews mention a moist chicken, some do claim that it's on the drier side. If you do come across a dry bird, dip each piece in a bit of sauce and you'll hardly notice this minor setback.

Avoid: Walmart rotisserie chicken

This may not be a surprise to anyone, but Walmart makes the list for rotisserie chickens you should avoid. For one, reviews make note of the fatty quality and the overall unusual texture that doesn't resemble a typical chicken. And while the chicken is pretty juicy, it's been claimed that it's almost too juicy, to the point where it was greasy and basically falling apart (though, there might be those who prefer this). Another strike comes from the flavor of the chicken, which seems to be consistently lacking, and in some cases, even unpleasant.

But of course, you might get lucky and grab a good chicken from Walmart, with some reviewers saying they were surprised by the quality. It's also pretty low in sodium compared to others on this list at just 250 milligrams for every 3 ounces. So if you're watching your salt intake, this might be the best chicken for you. But with that being said, it's pretty unlikely you'll come across a rotisserie chicken from here that will beat out the competitors. So if given the opportunity, we suggest passing up the rotisserie chicken from Walmart.

Buy: Publix Rotisserie Chicken

Publix is known for its delicious subs, but what about the rotisserie chicken? Reviews say that it's pretty good, though ultimately, nothing to write home about. Across the board, Publix seems to get one thing right, and that's the flavor. It has some depth to it, and there are a few recipes to choose from, including original, lemon pepper, and mojo.

On the topic of moisture, it's definitely a hit or miss. You might end up with something super dry or you could luck out with a bird that's perfectly juicy. Just be careful, as you might come across a small bit of fattiness under the skin. But for the most part, it's safe to say that locals love Publix rotisserie chicken — so much so that they always seem to run out. If you're lucky enough to be in one of the eight states that Publix operates in and want to try a chicken out yourself, your best bet is to call ahead and place an order.

Avoid: Kroger rotisserie chicken

A reoccuring theme in Kroger rotisserie chicken reviews is how dry the meat is. Even generally positive reviews make note of this. It's even been said that the meat is so dry, it gives off a chalky consistently while you're chewing it. This is a major reason why rotisserie chicken from Kroger is one we recommend avoiding.

Beyond the dryness of the meat, the skin is said to be void of any crispiness and identifiable seasonings. It also looks pretty pale in most cases, which is obviously not a great sign. The chicken will be pretty small at just 2 pounds, so it's not the best choice if you want it to last you more than a meal or two. Ultimately, the conclusion we've come to is that this rotisserie chicken would taste great in a soup recipe that calls for shredded chicken, like caldo de pollo or chicken mulligatawny. But if you're looking to serve the bird as the main entrée, you're better off sourcing it from a different grocery store altogether.