There’s no denying that the convenience and versatility of a fully-cooked rotisserie chicken enhance its appeal as an economical purchase—but how long is rotisserie chicken good for after you take it home? While some might assume that these ready-made birds have a significantly long shelf-life, the truth is rotisserie chicken, unfortunately, doesn’t last forever. If not stored properly or eaten within the recommended window of freshness, a rotisserie chicken can spoil just as easily as any other meat product.
To find just how long a rotisserie chicken is good for—plus give you storage tips to help you get the best out of your bird—we consulted a handful of registered dietitian nutritionists and culinary experts. Read on to learn just how long rotisserie chicken is good for, and for more tips to help you better preserve your poultry, check out How Long Raw Chicken Lasts in the Fridge—and Signs It’s Gone Bad.
According to the USDA, a fully cooked, ready-made rotisserie chicken will generally last about three to four days. It’s also advised that you either eat or refrigerate your newly purchased rotisserie chicken within two hours of picking it up from the store to retain peak freshness.
How long is rotisserie chicken good for?
To store your rotisserie chicken for a later date, Chef Mattey suggests that you “wrap the carved chicken meat tightly in plastic wrap. Then, transfer that to a resealable freezer bag and store it in the freezer. That way, it’ll keep for four months.”
Rust also offers resourceful recommendations to help store your leftovers that will not only help elongate its shelf-life but also enables less waste and easier meal prep. “I’d recommend removing all of the meat from the bones and then placing it into a zippered freezer bag,” suggests Rust. “You might consider packaging it into three to four smaller bags if your household is small. That way, you can just take out two servings at a time.”
“Alternatively, you could cut the breast meat off, place that in a freezer bag, and place the legs, thighs, and wings into separate bags. Then, place the remaining carcass into a large pot, cover [it] with water, and make broth!” adds Rust.
Tips to keep your rotisserie chicken fresher for longer
Whether you store your bird in the fridge or freezer, Gorski underscores the importance of noting the storage date somewhere clear and easily accessible. “Write the date on the container, so you can keep track of how long it’s been in the fridge or freezer.”
“Be sure to push all of the air out of the bag before sealing, labeling, dating, and freezing,” says Rust.
Can you freeze rotisserie chicken?
Though a rotisserie chicken can last up to four months in the freezer, Gorski notes that though this can be a useful means to help it last, “it may come at the sacrifice for texture and moisture.” That said, you’ll want to be strategic about how you go about reheating a frozen rotisserie chicken.
“To reheat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then place it in an oven-safe dish and bake at 350°F until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F,” advises Novak. “Alternatively, you can microwave frozen rotisserie chicken on high power for two to three minutes per side until hot and steaming.”
Another way to reheat a chicken you’ve kept frozen, according to Chef Mattey, is to break out the air fryer. “The best way to reheat frozen rotisserie chicken is to let it thaw in the fridge and then pop it in the air fryer!” she says. “I like to season mine with whatever herbs I have on hand, onion powder, and garlic powder. Reheat it in an air fryer or toaster oven until it reaches 165°F and dig in!”
Gorski’s suggested best practices for reheating rotisserie chicken emphasize food safety. “The safest way to thaw a rotisserie chicken is in the fridge,” she says. “Allow 24 hours for the chicken to thaw before eating.”
Additionally, Gorski shares two tried-and-true methods for reheating a rotisserie chicken, which can be especially effective when short on time: