How to Get Every Penny Out of Costco's $5 Rotisserie Chicken

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  • Costo sells an entire rotisserie chicken for just $4.99, which is one of the best (if not the best) deals in the store.
  • That deal gets even better the more you can get out of your chicken. 
  • Thankfully, it's remarkably easy to put every last scrap of that bird to good use -- and yes, that includes the bones!

You can find a lot of great deals at Costco, even in the under $10 range. However, arguably the best deal at Costco is its $4.99 rotisserie chicken. Not only is it a solid option from a personal finance aspect -- where else can you get an entire chicken for $5? -- but it's also a great buy solely from a "What's for dinner?" point of view.

What do I mean? Well, you can get a whole lot of use out of one little chicken. Even for a family of four, a single rotisserie chicken could help you put multiple meals on the table. Here are a few ways to get your money's worth out of that $5 bird.

Hot and fresh dinner

For most of us, the first meal from a Costco chicken is the simplest: slicing the breasts right off the chicken, then serving with some veggies and other sides. On a well-sized bird, the two chicken breasts alone can easily feed a family of four as part of a well-balanced dinner.

According to the American Heart Association, the serving size of poultry for adults is 3 to 4 ounces; for children, it's less than 3 ounces. While chickens can vary widely in size, a large chicken breast could be equal to up to 12 ounces of meat. Even a smaller breast can yield 5 ounces of meat, making smaller chickens ideal for a family of three or a couple.

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Sandwiches, tacos, and more

Don't toss that bird after dinner is over. There's still a ton of meat left that can be used for all manner of delicious meals. For example, shred the meat from the thighs and legs, and you have an excellent addition to a salad for lunch or dinner.

That same shredded meat, left plain, can make an excellent sandwich with just some cheese and greens. Or add a little BBQ sauce and turn it into a delicious -- if somewhat messy -- meal with some beans and slaw on the side.

Slip leftover chicken shreds into a taco shell, add some guac or pico de gallo, and you'll have an excellent taco night. Add beans, roll it up, and turn it into a burrito for a handy to-go meal as you run your errands.

Don't forget soups, too. You can turn even a canned vegetable soup into something more filling by adding bits of chicken from any part of your leftover rotisserie meat. And speaking of soup -- don't throw out that carcass once the meat has been recovered.

Turn bones into liquid gold

Even after every last scrap of edible meat has been cleaned off the bones, your bird isn't done. Now it's time to make chicken stock!

Toss the bird bones into a large pot -- you can break it down into smaller bits to better fit -- then add some chopped carrots, onion, and celery (roast your vegetables first for extra flavor). Cover it all with water and let it simmer for a few hours. (Don't let it boil, that will muddy the stock.)

Strain your stock into smaller containers and let them cool before tucking them into the fridge. For longer-term storage, put the stock into freezer-safe containers and pull out just what you need; it will last at least a few months in the freezer.

You can use your homemade stock in just about anything. While making your own soup from scratch is the obvious choice, you don't need to be even that motivated to get good use of your own flavorful stock. (We like to use chicken stock in place of water when making instant mashed potatoes!)

Good to the last bite

It always feels good to score a great deal. But it feels even better to turn that deal into a downright bargain by ensuring you make use of every last piece. Costco's $5 rotisserie chicken is a darn good deal on its own. And you can make it even better by using these tips as inspiration for turning it into as many meals as possible.

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