14 Clever Ways To Take Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken To The Next Level

Store-bought rotisserie chicken has long been a cooking hack for busy families. It's a convenient and affordable way to get dinner on the table. Most grocery stores sell rotisserie chicken, and some even come with different seasonings, like garlic and herbs, or lemon pepper. The price is tough to beat. In many cases, it's the same price or cheaper to buy a ready-to-eat rotisserie chicken than to buy the same raw whole chicken, season it, and cook it at home. But the best thing about buying rotisserie chicken is the many ways you can use it; one rotisserie chicken can make various meals throughout the week, saving time and money.

The best way to get the most out of your store-bought chicken comes down to meal planning. Knowing the best ways to use it ensures you use every part and avoid any food waste. Another bonus of rotisserie chicken is that it freezes well, so those who don't want to eat chicken for several days in a row can store the shredded meat to save it for future meals. If you love the convenience and the price of rotisserie chicken but are looking for new ways to use it, you'll be pleased to learn the many clever ways to take store-bought rotisserie chicken to the next level.

1. Add black beans or sweet potatoes

Turn your shredded rotisserie chicken into chicken enchiladas. Mix chicken with black beans for protein-packed enchiladas, or reach for sweet potatoes for extra fiber and flavor. Adding some texture with corn kernels or sunflower seeds can also take your enchiladas up a notch. You can also adjust the ratio of chicken to vegetables depending on what you have on hand, like by throwing in some chopped spinach or Swiss chard for a healthier enchilada, or adding extra cheese for a more decadent version.

The great thing about making enchiladas with store-bought rotisserie chicken is you can make the filling ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer and pull it out when you are ready to assemble the enchiladas. You can choose a can of green or red enchilada sauce for a quick dinner — or, alternatively, make your own enchilada sauce with fresh tomatillos for a green sauce or dried ancho chilies and tomatoes for a red sauce. If you are feeling indulgent, use a rich, chocolatey, spiced mole sauce to make enmoladas for a truly unforgettable experience. Enjoy your favorite style of enchiladas, all thanks to rotisserie chicken.

2. Make it a comfort food

A classic comfort food, homemade chicken noodle soup, is easy to make with leftover rotisserie chicken. It's perfect on a rainy day or when you need a hug in a mug. Homemade chicken noodle soup isn't as difficult to make as you might think; you don't have to have superb cooking skills or grandma's famous recipe to make a satisfying homemade chicken noodle soup.

There are two ways to make chicken noodle soup. The first is the most convenient, using store-bought chicken broth. Look for low-sodium broth because most commercial chicken broths are saturated with salt. Alternatively, if you have more time and want a truly homemade chicken noodle soup, take the meat off the rotisserie chicken and roast the bones in the oven for thirty minutes. Then, throw them with some water in a Dutch oven with herbs and spices like oregano, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic. Simmer for a few hours and strain. Make sure to also add a splash of vinegar — this provides a nice acidic component and helps break down the bones, so you get all the nutritious collagen and other goodies. Lastly, add your chicken to the broth, with carrots and noodles, for a fantastic homemade chicken soup starring the humble rotisserie chicken.

3. Wrap it and make shawarma

You can wrap up that shredded rotisserie chicken and make a tasty chicken shawarma. This is a favorite street food throughout the Middle East. Traditionally, the meat is marinated and roasted before cutting it into thin slices and wrapping it in warm pita bread or some lavash flatbread. With rotisserie chicken, though, you can cut out the roasting part and just add some seasoning like cumin, garlic, turmeric, and paprika to spice up the chicken before wrapping it in a pita with fresh lettuce and tomatoes.

Shawarma can look different in various parts of the Middle East. In some areas, creamy tahini or garlicky hummus is added for a rich flavor, while in other places, you'll find shawarma drizzled with tangy tzatziki or a touch of hot sauce. If you're avoiding carbs, you can make a shawarma plate with all of the goodies and just skip the bread altogether. With rotisserie chicken, making shawarma at home just got easier.

4. Make it into a salad

Chicken salad is a simple way to turn rotisserie chicken into a delicious meal. Classic chicken salad mixes chicken in a mayonnaise base with grapes and a sprinkle of tarragon. It's usually served between two slices of bread, on a green salad, or with crackers. But the classic version isn't the only chicken salad in town. Mix in other aromatic herbs and spices or swap out basic mayonnaise for its creamier cousin, kewpie mayonnaise. Some chicken salads skip the mayonnaise altogether and use vinegar or mustard as a binder. Try mixing in colorful curry powder with sweet cranberries and crunchy slivered almonds for a curried chicken salad.

Another option is to take a page from Latin American cuisine and make ensalada ruso, or "Russian chicken salad." The Mexican version uses shredded chicken, with diced potato, celery, and apples, and is served with sliced carrots and pickled jalapeños for a flavorsome chicken salad that goes perfectly with fresh tortilla chips. There is no wrong way to make a chicken salad — with rotisserie chicken, it all comes together quickly and easily.

5. Turn it into a spicy soup

The Mexican soup, caldo tlapeño, isn't as well-known as its tomato-based cousin, sopa azteca (sometimes called tortilla soup), but it should be because it's just as good and easy to make with leftover rotisserie chicken. The shredded chicken isn't the star of the show here. Instead, caldo tlapeño is an ensemble soup with chicken being one ingredient alongside potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. It's served topped with queso fresco or slices of avocado. Traditionally, it comes with a little ramekin of chipotle peppers in adobo, and those who like their soup hot and spicy can add a pepper or two to swish around in the broth.

The best way to make caldo tlapeño with rotisserie chicken is to add the shredded chicken to the soup bowl and ladle the broth and veggies on top so you can avoid overcooking the chicken and changing the texture. This soup is excellent for cold and flu season because the hot, savory broth and spicy chipotle peppers help clear the sinuses.

6. Mix it with rice and make stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of those popular dishes that you can make a million different ways. From ground beef with wild rice to pork with fried rice to chicken and brown rice, there really is no wrong way to stuff a pepper. Using rotisserie chicken removes some of the steps in the cooking process, so you can get those peppers stuffed and in the oven for an easy weeknight dinner.

If you don't like peppers, try stuffing chicken and rice into roasted eggplant or zucchini boats. You can add some cumin and Mexican oregano for a Mexican-inspired dish or mix in some Kalamata olives and feta cheese for a Greek-inspired filling. Get creative and try different kinds of rice like basmati or black rice. You can even skip the rice and mix the chicken with quinoa, which packs more protein than rice and is just as filling.

7. Add it to chili

If you've ever been to a chili cook-off, you know that everyone seems to have their own unique way of making this Tex-Mex classic. Chili has many forms, from spicy to mild, bean-filled to no beans. The best way to use rotisserie chicken in chili is to make creamy white chicken chili with white beans and cheese. This thick, savory chili can be eaten in a bowl with a spoon or served as a dip with crispy tortilla chips or chunks of thick white bread for a hearty game-day snack.

Dairy-free chili lovers can still enjoy chicken chili by making green chicken chili by swapping out the cheese for salsa verde, and topping it with chunks of avocado and tangy pickled red onions. Serve with lime wedges and habanero hot sauce for a true chili experience. The whole thing is easy to assemble with shredded rotisserie chicken, canned beans, and jars of salsa verde.

8. Take it south of the border

You can take your rotisserie chicken on a trip south of the border and use it in all kinds of Mexican dishes. Shred it and roll it into corn tortillas to fry for chicken flautas or taquitos. Place it in hard taco shells and serve with fresh diced tomatoes, chopped iceberg lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese for American-style tacos. Layer a melty bed of cheese on a flour tortilla for a rich quesadilla. Mix it with rice, beans, cheese, and veggies, and roll it up in a large flour tortilla for a giant burrito. There are plenty of options.

One good choice is to spice the shredded chicken up for the best flavor and turn it into a salpicon. This is a popular dish in Latin America and is made with any protein diced and minced with onions, cilantro, garlic, and chilies. Salpicon is good on its own, or as a taco, burrito, or quesadilla filling. Alternatively, you could mix your chicken with some mashed potatoes and make a savory filling for empanadas. Whichever Mexican dish you make with your rotisserie chicken, serve it with fresh salsa, guacamole, and perhaps a margarita for the most delicious results.

9. Turn it into tikka masala

Chicken tikka masala is a colorful Indian dish, made with chicken marinated in a yogurt sauce spiced with cumin, garam masala, paprika, and other spices. It has a bright orange color and a rich, smoky flavor. The best way to use rotisserie chicken to make chicken tikka masala is to cube the chicken breast rather than shred it, then soak it in the yogurt marinade for at least an hour to infuse the chicken with flavor. Since the chicken is already cooked, you can let it marinate while you make the rest of the sauce and heat it right before serving it over a bed of rice.

Many spices go into tikka masala, and if you are new to making Indian food at home or don't have a stocked spice cabinet, you can always buy premade tikka masala spice mix to make the process easier. While it's typically served over rice, you can also enjoy it with warm naan or chapati.

10. Add it to pizza or flatbread

You may not think of rotisserie chicken as a pizza topping, and it isn't as popular as the classic pizza protein, pepperoni, but shredded chicken is an underrated pizza topping. You can cube the chicken breast and bathe it in barbecue sauce to make a chicken barbecue pizza. Or, you can take your tastebuds on a trip to the Eastern Mediterranean and make a Greek-inspired flatbread with shredded chicken, marinated artichokes, Kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, and feta cheese.

For those who like a pizza without tomato sauce, you can try using shredded chicken and creamy Alfredo sauce, for a chicken Alfredo pizza. Another option is to mix shredded chicken with bright green pesto, for a basil-infused bite. Rotisserie chicken has such a mild flavor that you can play with the taste and try marinating it with pulled pork spice mix before adding it to pizza or flatbread. While it's not a traditional pizza topping, it has endless possibilities to be used as one.

11. Turn it into tinga

If you have never tried chicken tinga, you are in for a treat. Chicken tinga is made with shredded chicken mixed with tomato sauce and chipotle chilies en adobo. It is one of the quickest dishes to put together using leftover rotisserie chicken. It is usually served on corn tostadas, topped with thinly sliced onions, slices of avocado, and a drizzle of Mexican crema. It can be hot and spicy or super-hot and spicy, but it's never mild, thanks to the chipotle peppers. Don't be afraid to experiment with your rotisserie chicken tinga either, by adding a sweet component to balance the heat. Crushed pineapple is one way to keep the unique flavor but balance the heat. Some chefs add a splash of orange juice for the same effect.

The best way to make chicken tinga with rotisserie chicken is to make the sauce separately so the flavors can come together. Then, stir in the shredded chicken and let it marinate in the sauce for ten minutes before slathering it on a crispy tostada.

12. Mix it into fried rice

Instead of ordering Chinese take-out, turn your rotisserie chicken into chicken fried rice for a healthier version. Most take-out restaurants make fried rice with pork, but chicken is a great alternative, especially if you're watching calories. Pork is a fattier meat with about 300 calories per 3.5 ounces, while chicken only has 165 per for the same amount (via Healthline).

To make chicken fried rice, you don't need a wok or any special tools. You can use your favorite non-stick skillet. Start by sauteeing some aromatic onion and garlic, then add your veggies; most fried rice comes together with just carrots and peas, but if you want to make it healthier, you can add some broccolini, bell peppers, or sugar snap peas. For a little added crunch, you can also include water chestnuts or peanuts. Once the veggies are cooked, throw in the cooked rice, an egg, and the rotisserie chicken with a splash of soy sauce to bring it all together.

13. Add it to a bowl of phở

Vietnamese cuisine is popular right now, from bánh mì sandwiches to spring rolls to roasted pork belly — but the Vietnamese noodle soup, phở, is still the best-known of the country's dishes, so popular that it's become the national dish of Vietnam. Making phở gà, or chicken phở, is an excellent way to use rotisserie chicken. There are many ways to make phở, and like many dishes, the recipe changes and is personalized to regions and tastes. Typically though, phở is a brothy soup with protein, noodles, and other veggies served with fresh or pickled jalapeños and bean sprouts.

A good phở starts with a good broth, so it's best to make your own if you have the time. If you don't, you can use a store-bought chicken broth and add spices like ginger, coriander, and fennel. Once you heat the broth, add some noodles, and when they're almost done, add in your shredded chicken and top with a handful of bean sprouts, chopped chilies, and fresh basil or cilantro. Phở is flavorful but doesn't have to be spicy, so skip the chilies if you are sensitive to spice.

14. Put it in pozole

Pozole is a Mexican soup made with either chicken or pork and hominy — those giant white corn kernels often available in cans. Pozole can be green or red and is served piping hot with sides of shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, lime wedges, and hot sauce. You can pull the dish together with either red or green enchilada sauce, chicken stock, and rotisserie chicken. The chicken adds some meaty protein to the stew, but the real star of pozole is the chewy hominy. Canned hominy is the easiest to use because it has been processed and the kernels are soft, but it still needs to be properly cooked. Add it in while the stew is simmering and let it cook for at least thirty minutes for the perfect texture.

Pozole has a long history. As an Aztec dish, it actually predates Mexico. Per Familia Kitchen, this humble dish was once a meal enjoyed by the elite of the Aztec Empire, in pre-colonial times. So, if you like eating your history, use that shredded rotisserie chicken to make a tasty chicken pozole.