Rotisserie chickens are a great convenience food that is actually pretty healthy too. All you have to do is throw together some quick sides, like mashed potatoes and rolls, and you’ll have a fresh and healthy meal in a minimum amount of time.
Although a family of four can easily wipe out a rotisserie chicken, a single person might not be able to. In that case, you will need to save your rotisserie chicken to prevent it from going bad.
Freezing rotisserie chicken meat is the best way to make sure that it does not spoil. When frozen, cooked rotisserie chicken can stay fresh for about 3 months. Raw rotisserie chicken can stay fresh for up to a year in the freezer as long as it is packed correctly and stays solidly frozen the entire time.
How Long Is Rotisserie Chicken Good For?
The exact length of time that rotisserie chicken is good for will depend on whether it’s cooked and how you are storing it.
Cooked chicken will stay good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. After this point, the chicken will have started to spoil and should be thrown out. Once chicken goes bad it is prone to causing food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
Frozen rotisserie chicken will stay good for about 3 months before you should throw it away. After 3 months it will still be safe to eat, but it is likely to become freezer burned which negatively impacts the flavor and texture.
If stored at room temperature, cooked rotisserie chicken is only good for 2 hours. Once you get past the two-hour mark, rapid bacterial growth will occur which can cause food poisoning.
Raw chicken will only stay good in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. After 1-2 days the chicken will spoil and bacterial growth will increase.
In the freezer, the raw chicken will stay fresh for a couple of months, just like cooked chicken. The same concerns of freezer burn apply after three months, but this does not affect the safety of the food.
Raw chicken should never be left at room temperature unless you are planning on preparing it within two hours. This is why frozen chicken should always be thawed in the refrigerator, not on the countertop.
Can You Freeze a Rotisserie Chicken?
Refrigeration can help to extend the shelf life of your rotisserie chicken, but it still limits it to less than a week. This may leave you asking the question, “can a rotisserie chicken be frozen?”
Freezing a cooked rotisserie chicken is a great way to preserve the chicken and make it last longer. You’ll simply want to package it properly to reduce the chance of freezer burn and keep it from drying out.
If you are freezing an entire chicken, it is also a good idea to disassemble it before freezing. This will make it easier to only remove and thaw the pieces that you’re planning on eating.
Freezing raw rotisserie chicken is an easy way to make one batch of chicken last a lot longer. It is especially helpful if you are buying chicken in bulk and can’t prepare and consume all of it within one to two days.
When you freeze chicken raw it is also recommended that you disassemble the chicken before freezing. This will make the thawing process faster and packaging easier.
How Long Can You Freeze a Rotisserie Chicken?
When you freeze a cooked rotisserie chicken it is recommended that you freeze it for no longer than 3-4 months. Although the chicken will remain safe for several months after that, the chicken will likely become freezer burned and dehydrated.
Raw chicken can stay good in the freezer for up to one year. All you have to do is make sure that the chicken stays frozen the entire time and is packaged properly to prevent freezer burn and reduce moisture loss.
How to Freeze Rotisserie Chicken
No matter how long you freeze your rotisserie chicken, there are some important steps that you should follow. Following these steps will help to ensure that you get the best results.
To freeze cooked rotisserie chicken you will need a few supplies:
- Cooked chicken
- Freezer bags
- Permanent marker
- Shred/Disassemble the Chicken
Before you freeze your cooked rotisserie chicken you will want to split it apart into several portions. This will make it easier to only thaw a small amount of chicken and make the packaging process easier.
If you freeze an entire chicken then it will be more difficult to fit it into a single bag. You will likely have to use a combination of plastic wrap and some freezer bags to package it, resulting in a chicken that is more vulnerable to freezer burn and drying out.
Try splitting the chicken into categories of parts. For example, do one group of legs and wings then shred the breast meat to package them separately. This will also make it easier to only thaw what you want to eat.
- Pack Into Freezer Bags
After you have prepared the chicken you will want to pack it into several freezer bags. Make sure to use bags that are actually labeled freezer bags, these bags are rated for cold temperatures and are better at preventing freezer burn.
Once all the chicken is packed into the bags make sure to squeeze out all of the air before sealing the bags. Limiting the amount of air that is in each bag will help to keep the chicken nice and moist. It will also help to prevent freezer burn which will negatively impact the flavor and texture of the chicken.
- Label Each Bag
After all of the bags are packed make sure to label each bag using a permanent marker. Write down the date that they were packed as well as the cut of meat that each bag contains. This will make it easier to pull the right bags out of the freezer. It will also help you to keep track of when each bag was frozen so you know when to throw them away.
Frozen cooked chicken can keep in the freezer for up to 3 months as long as it remains solidly frozen. After this point, the chicken will begin to dry out and will no longer be very palatable.
Once you are ready to thaw your frozen cooked rotisserie chicken you will remove the chicken and place the entire bag into the refrigerator. Using this method, it will usually take 12-24 hours for the chicken to thaw fully. This is why it’s recommended to start the thawing process the day before you plan on using the chicken.
If you need to thaw your chicken more rapidly, you can run cool water over the sealed bag. Wait until the water becomes ice cold then change it out for fresh cool water. This takes a lot more work but can significantly reduce the thawing time.
To freeze raw chicken you will need the following:
- Plastic wrap
- Raw chicken
- Freezer bags
- Permanent Marker
- Separate the Chicken
If you purchase your raw chicken in bulk, now is the perfect time to separate it. Think about how much chicken you usually eat at one time and then separate the chicken into piles of that amount.
If you bought the chicken from the store and it’s already packaged into smaller servings, you can leave it in those amounts.
- Wrap the Chicken
Now that your chicken is separated, you will want to wrap the chicken in plastic wrap. This will help to keep the cold freezer air from touching the chicken and drying it out. Make sure to do this tightly, limiting the space between your chicken and the plastic wrap.
After the chicken has been wrapped with plastic wrap, you will want to wrap it in a layer of tin foil. This will help to provide additional protection against the freezing conditions.
- Pack the Chicken into Freezer Bags
Now that the individual pieces of chicken have been wrapped, it’s time to place them in freezer bags. Freezer bags will completely seal off the chicken from the rest of the freezer and protect it. Make sure to pick high-quality freezer bags to achieve the best results.
As you do this, make sure to squeeze as much air out of each bag as possible. This will help to keep the raw rotisserie chicken from drying out and prevent freezer burn.
- Label Each Bag
Make sure to label each bag before freezing it. This will help you to remember exactly when you put the chicken in the bag so you know when to throw it away. You should always use a permanent marker to do this or it will rub off while it’s in the freezer.
Now all you have to do is put the bags of raw chicken in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
Once you are ready to thaw your raw chicken you will take it out the day before and place it in the freezer. This will allow the chicken to gradually thaw without exposing it to the temperature “danger zone” of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you thaw it on the counter then bacterial growth could begin to affect the outer layers while the inside remains frozen.
What are Tips for Freezing Rotisserie Chicken?
- Let the Chicken Cool
Before you package your chicken and place it in the freezer, you will want to let it cool completely. Try placing your chicken in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before you freeze it. This will make sure that the chicken is cool before you package it up.
- Separate into Servings
Before freezing your chicken make sure to separate it into individual helpings. This will make it much easier once it is time to thaw the chicken. If you keep all of your chicken in one bag it will be difficult to only pull out the amount that you want to defrost.
- Label Your Freezer Bags
One last tip for freezing rotisserie chicken is to label the bags before you put them in the freezer. Make sure to specify what the bag contains and the day the chicken was frozen. This will make it easier to know if the chicken is still good when you go to thaw some chicken.
Freezing rotisserie chicken is a great way to preserve the chicken past the normal 3-4 days. You can freeze both cooked and raw rotisserie chicken, but the process is slightly different between the two.
Regardless, the most important thing to remember is to use high-quality freezer bags and squeeze as much of the air out as you can. These freezer bags will protect your chicken from drying out while it is in the freezer. It will also slow down the freezer-burning process and keep your chicken fresh and tasty for many months.