We Found the Best Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken

Picking up a grocery store rotisserie chicken is basically a form of self care, because you know that thing will come in handy in a pinch. Need a main course for dinner? Grab some instant gravy and you’re good to go. Need to meal prep some work lunches? Shred the meat and stick it in tacos, sandwiches, pasta—whatever you want. Feeling peckish? Swing by the fridge and pluck that thing apart with your bare hands. No one’s judging you. In fact, whatever you choose to do with it is between you and the chicken. I don’t want to know. What I do want to know is probably the exact same thing you’re wondering yourself: Which grocery store has the best rotisserie chicken? 

We rounded up some of the most popular brands and styles of grocery store rotisserie chicken—Costco rotisserie chicken, Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken, lemon pepper rotisserie chicken (Walmart is known for theirs), rosemary garlic rotisserie chicken—and went at them with our grubby little fingers. We were looking for chicken that’s well-seasoned (so many rotisserie chickens taste like nothing) and, most importantly, moist. A rotisserie chicken breast shouldn’t make you choke while you eat it. If you generally pick up any ol’ rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, we think you’ll be more choosy after reading this ranking.

Best Budget

Freshness Guaranteed Lemon Pepper Rotisserie Chicken

I’m a big stickler for moist rotisserie chicken. If you hand me a piece of dry chicken, I can’t be responsible for where I tell you to stick it. Luckily, this lemon pepper rotisserie chicken Walmart sells in the deli section didn’t leave us clamoring for a glass of water. The meat is cooked evenly, cuts well, and retains its juices—not bad for that $6 price point. In terms of overall quality, this is one of the best grocery store rotisserie chickens you can buy, but I’ll admit that the lemon pepper flavoring was a little divisive among our tasting team. Some people liked it, others thought the dehydrated lemon juice-garlic powder combo was a bit off. Personally, I think you can do better with your own seasoning and ingredients. But again, at that price point, it’s a nicely flavored rotisserie chicken. 




Best Rosemary & Garlic

Signature Cafe Whole Roasted Rosemary & Garlic

The roasted rosemary-garlic seasoned chicken from Albertsons is a very solid choice when it comes to grocery store rotisserie chicken. The meat is tender, and the bag is juicy, which we love. The notes of rosemary and garlic are very subtle, but we all agreed the flavor works well as a baseline. Albertsons rotisserie chicken pretty much set the standard for what we hoped a grocery store rotisserie chicken should be, so it only gets better from here. 




Best Crispy

Member’s Mark Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken

Member’s Mark Rotisserie Chicken must be Sam’s Club blowing a kiss to their loyal customers, because that little guy couldn’t stop making me smile. Why? Well, unlike the rest of the little naked birds we tried (save for #1 on this list, but we’re getting there), it comes out of the oven exactly like a whole roasted chicken should—a little rough around the edges (read: burnt). The skin is actually crispy and packed with savory flavor. I will admit that, yes, the meat itself was a little dryer than it should have been. But remember, I’m a stickler for moist chicken. The flavor and char of this Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken totally make up for any of the meat’s shortcomings. 




Best Classic

Kirkland Signature Rotisserie Chicken

I didn’t intend to pit Sam’s Club rotisserie chicken against Costco rotisserie chicken here, but I guess that’s what happens when one wins bronze and the other wins silver. Kirkland might not have had the same charred skin that won me over with Member’s Mark, but it has pretty much everything else. It’s hefty, tender, moist, beautifully seasoned, and golden-brown in all the right places. This came so close to being named the best grocery store rotisserie chicken we tried, but…




Best of the Best

First Street Jumbo Oven Roasted Seasoned Chicken

No one—no one—expected the dark horse candidate from Smart & Final to come in and steal the show. “If I were making a chicken at home, I would be trying to make this one,” Mythical Chef Josh said after we force-fed him a slice. (He proceeded to eat half the chicken.) First Street’s rotisserie chicken fully wowed us with its tender, succulent meat—the savory juices are practically sealed in. The rich seasoning and salty, salty goodness of its drippings made this the best grocery store rotisserie chicken we tried. Every bite is a flavor explosion. Buy this!




Other products we tried: Home Chef Hot Savory Whole Chicken, Signature Cafe Traditional Whole Roasted Chicken, Freshness Guaranteed Traditional Rotisserie Chicken, Mary’s Whole Organic Rotisserie Chicken

About the Author

Ariana Losch

Ariana Losch is a Sporked contributor, webcomic writer, java junkie, and bad TV enthusiast. She only ever feels at peace laying out on a beach like a kebab, roasting in the sun; sadly, she can never move back to Florida, her home state, because there simply isn’t enough good Mediterranean food. You can find her overstaying her welcome at just about every LA coffee shop, working on a screenplay and avoiding all eye contact. (She is embarrassed to be there, please leave her alone.)