Chicken has become Americans’ favorite source of protein, and we eat more of it than any country in the world.
In fact, the National Chicken Council says that the average American ate 93.5 pounds of chicken in 2018 — and that number continues to rise. Part of the reason for that growth is the country’s expanding love affair with rotisserie chicken. In fact, figures from 2017 put the number of rotisserie chickens sold in the United States per year at a whopping 625 million, many of which are sold at grocery stores all across the nation.
Rotisserie chicken exploded in popularity starting in the 1990s. That’s when Boston Market, then known as Boston Chicken, became a mainstay for many families that wanted to pick up a quick (but healthy) meal to feed their family on their way home from work. Soon, motivated by not wanting to lose customers, grocery stores took note of the growing desire and the rotisserie chicken boom began.
Today, you can find hot and fresh rotisserie chicken in every nook and cranny of just about every American city. However, they are not all created equally. Here is our ranking of the best grocery store rotisserie chickens, ranked in order from worst to best.
13. Walmart rotisserie chicken
Like many items at Walmart, the only good thing about their rotisserie chickens is the fact that it’s cheap. You can usually get one for less than $5 — or even less if you time it right. But if you care about anything other than the price tag, you should stay far away.
First of all, the rotisserie chickens at Walmart are always fatty, and no one enjoys taking a big bite of chicken and being forced to swallow a mouthful of chicken fat.
Secondly, you’ll never know the true status of your chicken until you get home. Sometimes, they are overcooked and the meat is dry. At other times, and even more distressingly, a Walmart rotisserie chicken can be undercooked. You don’t want to slice into it and be met with pink, uncooked meat. The convenience factor will be out the window if you’re forced to pop the bird into your oven in order to finish cooking it.
Finally, maybe to mask some of their shortcomings, Walmart puts a ton of salt on their chickens. Much more than rotisserie chickens at other grocery stores, in fact. They also have a lemon pepper version, but that one is almost always overseasoned, so do yourself a favor and stay away from that one as well.
12. Whole Foods rotisserie chicken
You will really want to like the rotisserie chicken you buy from Whole Foods, as their chickens are organic, free-range, and free of hormones. However, there’s one big problem: they don’t taste good. Or, more specifically, there isn’t much taste at all.
Whole Foods rotisserie chickens are like biting into an old, worn out piece of rubber. There’s a slight chicken smell — but that’s about the extent of the chicken flavoring you can expect.
Another problem with the rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods is the cost. Considering some grocery stores use rotisserie chicken as a loss leader to draw in customers, you can almost always find good deals. However, that’s not the case at Whole Foods — even after Amazon bought the company and lowered the prices of their rotisserie chicken.
Thus, unless you really value the fact that their chicken is organic and responsibly raised, you should go elsewhere for rotisserie chicken that actually tastes good.