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Cooking Tips

What’s the Best Way to Shred a Rotisserie Chicken?

Rotisserie chickens can be the base of a quick meal—if you know how (and when) to shred them.

It’s no secret that we at Cook’s Country love the convenience of a rotisserie chicken to shortcut weeknight meals. We’ve developed a number of recipes that rely on these precooked birds. Those three tantalizing dishes in the image above? They all use rotisserie chickens. (Bonus: Rotisserie chickens are, paradoxically, often cheaper than whole raw chickens!) 

But on more than one occasion I’ve found myself hunched over a cold rotisserie chicken carcass, scraping off congealed goo and rushing to pick off every usable morsel of meat. I couldn’t help wondering whether I was really saving any time. 

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But you don’t have to go down that same path. Learn from my mistakes: Skip the knife work and use your hands to pick the meat off your rotisserie chicken as soon as you get it home from the grocery store. Why?

  • It’s far easier to separate the meat from the less-tasty cartilage bits and bones while the chicken is still warm.
  • You’ll be able to refrigerate the picked meat in a more space-efficient container.
  • Your dinnertime prep will be just that much easier when the time comes to use it.

And speaking of dinner, now that you have all that shredded chicken at the ready, what can you do with it? You could try our Buffalo Chicken Chili

For this recipe, we start by sautéing celery, chili powder, and a few minced garlic cloves for a flavorful base. Then we stir in a couple cans of pinto beans, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, chicken broth, and hot sauce. After letting the mixture simmer for 15 minutes, we simply mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken the chili and stir in all that shredded rotisserie chicken. 

Top it all off with a little sour cream, crumbled blue cheese, and extra hot sauce, and you’ve got a comforting dinner in less than an hour!

Wondering what to do with that picked-over carcass? If you have the time, make stock. Pile everything left behind (bones, skin, and all) into a large saucepan with 5 cups of water, half an onion, and a bay leaf, and simmer it for 30 minutes for a quick and roasty-tasting stock.

Looking for more ways to use a rotisserie chicken? Here are some of our favorites. Start a free trial to access them, plus all our other rigorously tested, reliable recipes and reviews.