A plump, juicy rotisserie chicken can be a tempting sight indeed, but keto dieters may hesitate to indulge—is it really even possible to enjoy such a delicious treat while adhering to the strict rules of the ketogenic diet? The answer is yes! Rotisserie chicken is actually an excellent choice for those on the keto diet. The diet focuses heavily on fat and protein, which are both abundant in a rotisserie chicken. But if you’re headed to your local grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. And, in case you’re making your own rotisserie chicken at home, we have a few tips for you, too. Let’s dive in!
Is Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken Keto?
Store-bought rotisserie chicken can be a great choice for those on the keto diet. But before you toss that beautiful bird into your shopping cart, there are a few things you should consider.
First of all, take a look at the nutrition facts label. Many store-bought rotisserie chicken recipes include a myriad of spices and flavors, some of which might not be keto-friendly. For example, a seemingly-innocent rub may contain sugar or high-carb ingredients like breadcrumbs.
Also, be sure to check the sodium content—most rotisserie chickens contain high levels of sodium due to the added brines and seasonings. Although sodium isn’t necessarily bad for keto dieters, it’s important to keep an eye on your intake.
Another thing to keep in mind is that any sauce added to the chicken will add additional carbs and calories. Think about it—to make a thick, flavorful sauce, you need to add some form of thickener. Most often this involves adding flour or cornstarch as a thickening agent. This will add carbs and calories to your meal, so try to avoid sauces when possible.
Simplify your rotisserie chicken purchase by opting for an all-natural option that has no added sugars or thickeners. This will give you a much healthier and lower carb version of rotisserie chicken.
Choosing Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken
When selecting store-bought rotisserie chicken, follow these tips to ensure you’re getting a keto-friendly version:
- Check the label for added sugar, thickeners, and sodium content.
- Opt for an all-natural option with no added ingredients.
- Choose a version that is free of sauces and gravies.
- Avoid “flavored” rotisserie chickens.
- Choose the heaviest chicken you can find, as this will give you the most meat and fat.
- Choose the bird with smooth, plump skin and juicy, golden flesh.
- Check dates to ensure the chicken is fresh.
- Go for organic, free-range chickens if you prefer.
Is Rotisserie Chicken Skin Keto?
Chicken skin is often a controversial subject for most meat lovers due to its fat content. Hence the increasing popularity of skinless chicken breasts, boneless chicken thighs etc. You won’t find a skinless rotisserie chicken though, so naturally the question arises – is rotisserie chicken skin keto?
Yes, rotisserie chicken skin is keto. The skin contains fats, and with the right preparation these fats can provide valuable nutrients to a keto dieter.
There are also some great benefits of eating rotisserie chicken skin on a keto diet. It’s an excellent source of protein and offers a rich, savory flavor to your meal. And, the skin provides added texture which can be a welcome change for those who eat the same meat dishes day in and out.
This means that there’s no need to remove and discard the skin of your rotisserie chicken, especially while on the keto diet.
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Making Your Own Rotisserie Chicken
If you want to ensure that your rotisserie chicken is keto-friendly, making your own rotisserie chicken is the way to go. Making your own rotisserie chicken at home doesn’t have to be difficult—in fact, it’s easier than you may think.
Start by selecting the right chicken. Choose one that is organic and free-range if you prefer. A heavy roasting chicken will also work well.
Once you have chosen your bird, prep it. Food safety experts no longer recommend that you wash the chicken because it spreads bacteria around the kitchen. Make sure to discard the packaging, too. Cleaning surfaces afterwards with a good disinfectant is also recommended.
Pat your chicken dry with a paper towel. Next, season your chicken with salt, pepper and herbs and spices of your choice. Steer clear of high-carbohydrate seasonings such as sugar, honey or maple syrup. Dry rubs and marinades will also add flavor to your chicken, but be sure to read the ingredient list and make sure nothing contains added sugars.
Rotisserie chicken pros rave about the wonders of stuffing, but try to avoid high-carb ingredients like bread crumbs. Instead, stuff the cavity of your chicken with a mix of aromatics and herbs for flavor. You can also stuff the chicken with cubes of butter or lard to keep it moist.
A popular trick that ensures a juicy outcome is to gently lift the skin away from the breast and thighs, then spread some butter or lard between the meat and skin before roasting. This will keep your chicken moist throughout the cooking process.
If you like, you can also tie the chicken’s legs together with kitchen twine to ensure even cooking. This will help your chicken to cook evenly and keep its shape.
Now, you are ready to cook! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and when it is ready, put the chicken on the spit rod and into the oven. Use a sheet pan to catch juices that may spill as the chicken cooks.
To get that crispy skin you crave, start off with a high-temperature roast for 20 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and cover the chicken with aluminum foil. This will help to trap the moisture and keep your chicken from drying out. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
Don’t make the mistake of eye-balling cooking times. An undercooked chicken can cause illness (1), and an overcooked chicken will be dry. The size of your chicken will affect its cooking time, so make sure you use an instant-read thermometer to ensure it is cooked all the way through.
When done, let your chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving and serving. This will allow the juices to settle, making for a juicier outcome.
Use the list below to troubleshoot any rotisserie chicken issues.
- Chicken looks dry on the outside – you’ve overcooked it, or you didn’t baste it with butter or oil. Basting the chicken in melted butter and herbs will help keep it moist, as well as give it flavor.
- Chicken is unevenly cooked – if you notice that one side of the chicken is more cooked than the other, experiment with different oven rack positions. Try to place the chicken on the top rack of your oven, closer to the heating elements.
- Chicken meat is dry and lacks flavor – if you’re finding that your chicken meat is dry and bland, try brining the chicken before cooking. Brining will help give it subtle flavor, as well as keeping the meat moist and juicy.
- Chicken has limp, soggy skin instead of brown, crispy one – you didn’t thaw it completely, or you are not heating the chicken at the right temperature. If you’re having trouble getting it crispy, turn up your oven heat to 375-400°F and cook it for a few minutes longer.
How Much Rotisserie Chicken Can I Eat On Keto?
The amount of rotisserie chicken you can eat on the keto diet will vary depending on your individual macro and calorie goals. Assuming you’re eating a plain bird with zero added carbs or sugar, one leg and thigh should give you approximately 12-15g of fat and 18-20g of protein.
That’s a good starting point for most people’s macros, but you’ll need to customize the portion size based on your own goals and requirements. You should factor in other foods you’re eating with your rotisserie chicken.
For example, if you’re having a salad on the side, you may need to consider what’s in the salad, as well as how much of it you’re eating. And don’t forget that sauces and dressings add carbs and calories to your meal!
If you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, you may need to limit your rotisserie chicken portion size. One leg and thigh usually contains around 250-300 calories. If that’s too many for your meal plan, cut it back to a smaller portion.
Another consideration is timing. If you’re having your rotisserie chicken as a late-night snack, you may want to adjust the portion size accordingly. Eating a large meal late in the evening might interfere with sleep by causing indigestion. Keep your plate light and portion-controlled.
Not to mention, a greasy chicken sandwich or plate of wings may not be the best bedtime snack (heartburn, indigestion, and restlessness can be a few unwanted side effects).
Satiety may be an issue to consider as well. If you tend to overeat, it’s a good idea to bulk up your meal with fiber-rich veggies or a healthy fat source. This will help keep you full and satiated, so you don’t end up peckish an hour later.
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What To Do With Rotisserie Chicken Keto Recipes
One of the reasons this type of chicken is so popular is its versatility. Let’s break down a few classic recipes, as well as some creative spins on the dish.
Homemade Rotisserie Chicken Broth (2)
First up on the list is a savory, delicious broth that you can make with your rotisserie chicken bones. This easy-to-make dish is a nutrient dense addition to your diet, as it offers collagen, minerals, and electrolytes. Plus, it’s a great way to make use of leftovers! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 whole Rotisserie Chicken meat stripped off
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 medium carrots rough chopped
- 1 medium onion peeled and quartered
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- salt/pepper to taste
- 12-16 cups water
- Roast the bones and vegetables. In a large roasting pan, add the striped chicken bones, chopped vegetables, and garlic. Roast in the oven at 450° F for 20-30 min until vegetables are lightly browned.
- Add to a stockpot and cover with water. Transfer the roasted bones and vegetables to a large stock pot and cover it with water. If needed, add a bit more water to ensure all the ingredients are completely covered. Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 4-6 hours, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface.
- Strain the broth. Once done cooking, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids (bones, vegetables, etc). Let the broth cool before storing in the fridge or freezer.
Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 42 kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 123mg | Sugar: 1g
Rotisserie Chicken Salad (3)
This light and refreshing salad is a great way to use up your leftover rotisserie chicken. It’s a fiber-rich meal that’s perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 oz / 120 g / 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken (breast/thigh)
- 1 cup chopped baby spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup sliced or chopped celery (1 rib)
- 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
- 2–3 radishes, sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
- 1 tablespoon finely diced pickle or gherkin (medium size)
- 1 tablespoon pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt
- 1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- A good pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds on top
- Shred the chicken. Place your rotisserie chicken in a large bowl and use two forks to shred it into small pieces.
- Set aside the carcass for later use.
- Prepare the vegetables. Wash and chop the celery, spinach, cucumber, and radishes into small pieces.
- Mix it all together. To the bowl with the shredded chicken, add the chopped vegetables and pickles.
- Add seasonings. To the bowl with the chicken and vegetables, add the shallot, pickle juice, yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard. Mix until everything is combined.
Serving Size: Full serving (recipe makes 1 serving) Calories | 393 Sugar: 6.8 g | Sodium 966.3 mg | Fat: 23.6 g | Carbohydrates: 13 g | Fiber: 2.7 g | Protein: 31.7 | Cholesterol: 93.7 mg
The Bottom Line
Rotisserie chicken is an excellent source of protein that can be used in a variety of dishes. It’s low-carb and keto-friendly. Plus, its versatility means that it can be used in anything from salads to soups and casseroles.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Chicken and Food Poisoning (2022, nih.gov)
- Rotisserie Chicken Bone Broth (2020, thymeandjoy.com)
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad Recipe (Keto, Gluten-Free) (2022, cookandloved.com)