Rotisserie chicken is a quick, easy and healthy mealtime staple for countless families across the country. We set out to find the best rotisserie chicken available at the grocery store to make your dinner a delicious success.
While some people prefer to make their own rotisserie chicken, for most it’s easiest to pick up a bird at the grocery store. Rotisserie chicken recipes are a go-to when it comes to easy weeknight meals, considering half the work is already done! But with all the options out there, it can be hard to figure out which one offers the most bang for your buck while adding all the flavor you need to your dish. That’s why we decided to taste test rotisserie chickens from the most popular grocery stores.
How We Tested Rotisserie Chickens
Each rotisserie chicken was evaluated based on price and value, the size and shape of the bird, the skin color and flavor, and finally the tender and juicy flavor of the meat. They were all purchased and tested as quickly as possible to ensure optimal freshness.
Read on to see how they ranked!
5. Jewel (Albertson’s)
The “Traditional Whole Roasted Chicken” from Jewel (part of the Albertson’s family of stores) ranked lowest among the birds tested. At $6.99 and 1 pound 12 ounces, it was the smallest of the chickens tested, though with a price tag similar to larger chickens on our list.
We found the chicken to be very pale in color with gummy skin and without any visible seasonings or rubs. However, the Signature Cafe line of roast chickens also offered Rosemary and Garlic as well as Lemon Pepper flavored chickens. No other grocery store we tested offered any other option than traditional, so customers are more likely to get some variety in flavor here. We also appreciated the Signature Cafe Rotisserie Chicken Guarantee. This guarantees that a roast chicken will be available every day from 11 am to 8 pm, or it’s free on your next visit. For busy parents with hungry families, it’s good to know there will always be a fresh dinner option available.
Albertson’s family of companies include Acme, Amigos, Andronico’s, Balducci’s, Carrs, Haggen, Jewel-Osco, Kings Food Markets, Lucky, Market Street, Pak ‘n Save, Pavillions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, United Supermarkets and Vons.
Bottom Line: While we appreciated the availability guarantee and the flavor options, the taste and value of this chicken didn’t earn it top honors.
Many Target stores now offer a sizeable grocery store section where you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, meal kits, deli options and even rotisserie chickens. We sampled their hot version of the “Savory Oven Roasted Chicken.” The 1.8-pound chicken was available for $6.79 and there was a label on the container letting customers know when the chicken came out of the oven. We definitely appreciated these labels since they can help you select for optimal freshness. There was also a cold option available.
We noticed the chicken broke apart a bit in the cooking process and the skin was golden on top but quite fatty and pale underneath. While the meat was slightly dry, we did enjoy the garlicky flavor of the rub that was used.
Bottom Line: We loved the convenience of picking up a rotisserie chicken at Target, but the uneven cooking kept this chicken from ranking higher on our list.
3. Mariano’s (Kroger)
The rotisserie chicken sold at Mariano’s (part of the Kroger family of stores) was 2 pounds and retailed at $6.99. However, Mariano’s offers a special deal where you can buy 2 chickens for $10. If you decided to take advantage of this offer, the Mariano’s chicken would be one of the best values at the stores we sampled.
We appreciated the nicely tucked wings to prevent burning, and we noticed even browning of the skin all around the bird. The flavor was tender and juicy, making this rotisserie chicken a great option for supper.
The Kroger family of companies include Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Gerbes, Jay C Food Store, King Soopers, Kroger, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Pay-Less Super Markets, Pick’n Save, QFC, Ralphs, Ruler, Smith’s Food and Drug.
Bottom Line: Mariano’s offers a delicious rotisserie chicken along with good value. However, there were a couple of other chickens that beat it out for the top slots.
By now we all know that Costco is famous for their 3 pound, $4.99 “Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken.” For the size and price, this is hands down the best value out there. The rotisseries are always fired up, with perfectly cooked chickens being continuously replenished throughout the day.
The meat is very moist and flavorful, and the birds are shapely with a gorgeous, even color all around. There was one reservation that kept the Costco rotisserie chicken from taking the top spot on our list. Upon reading the ingredient list on the packaging, there were more additives and fillers than our highest-ranking chicken. The Kirkland Signature rotisserie chicken listed the following ingredients: Whole chicken, water, seasoning [salt, sodium phosphate, modified food starch (potato, tapioca) and potato dextrin, carrageenan, sugar, dextrose, spice extractives.]
Bottom Line: The rotisserie chicken is definitely one of Costco’s best deals. The quality is delicious and consistent, and we appreciate the Costco commitment to keeping the price affordable.
1. Whole Foods
In the end, Whole Foods offered the best rotisserie chicken of the ones we sampled. The 2-pound 12-ounce conventional chicken sold for $7.99 and earned top honors across the board. (The store also offers a certified organic rotisserie chicken for $10.99.)
The chicken was the perfect shape and was tied securely with well-tucked wings. The seasoning was visible and well distributed, and the skin had a beautiful golden color. We also appreciated that it was sold in BPA-free packaging, and the bag indicated that the chickens are raised without antibiotics or hormones and fed a vegetarian diet. In terms of flavor, this chicken was the moistest and most delicious of all sampled. Even though it was a dollar more than some of the other rotisserie chickens, the larger size and far better flavor made the extra dollar money well spent. If you want to pick up some sauce, Whole Foods’ store brand also performed well in our best barbecue sauce taste test.
Bottom Line: The Whole Foods chicken was easily the most delicious of all the ones sampled. The fact that the ingredients were simply chicken, salt and organic black pepper put this rotisserie chicken at the top of our list.