We Tried 6 Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens, And This Was Our Favorite

This chicken is the top of the flock.

You know those weeks when appointments pile up, school projects need doing, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough minutes in the day to spend an hour cooking dinner? Those are the days rotisserie chicken shines.

Rotisserie Chicken Taste Test

Dotdash Meredith

Grocery stores offer slow-cooked, juicy chicken (with or without sides) that take the edge off those busy evenings. You can even opt for the “meal deal” and have dinner completely finished with one-stop shopping.

The other beauty of rotisserie chicken is its versatility. Want chicken for your Caesar salad? Maybe a protein for enchiladas? How about that filling for chicken tetrazzini casserole? Rotisserie chickens make all those dishes easy. All it takes is a little chicken picking, and the restraint to not eat it all before the main event.

But the field is broad when it comes to which chick to pick. Each store has a different amount of cooking time on the spit, different flavors, and different levels of crispiness to the skin. So we did the heavy lifting and ate our way through six kinds of rotisserie chicken fresh out of the ovens of your favorite grocery stores.

How We Tested

Four friends gathered in my kitchen to taste six different traditional or original flavored rotisserie chickens to determine the fan favorites. I gave each participant a piece of breast meat and a piece of dark meat. We tasted and recorded our comments about each brand on separate surveys for each round. We then ranked them from 1 to 6 independently, and I compiled the results to pick an overall favorite. 

Rotisserie Chicken Brands We Tried

Winn Dixie
Whole Foods
The Fresh Market

The Contenders

Winn Dixie

This chicken ranked lowest among tasters. The skin was pale (despite the longest roasting time of any of the brands, at three hours), and the meat was sinuous and fatty simultaneously. Two of our testers remarked on the juiciness compared to other brands and commented it might be good in cooked applications (I tried it; it was a good protein for enchiladas).

The flavor also fell short of the other brands. Yes, it tasted like chicken, but not that deep rotisserie flavor you look for in roasted chickens. One tester also commented the drumsticks were a little nubby and the meat really sticks to the bone.

As far as flavors, Winn Dixie offers the traditional, lemon pepper, and barbecue.


As regular Publix shoppers, we all thought this one would rank high, but it came in on the middlin’ side. The skin was golden brown, but a little soft. The meat easily separated from the bone, and one tester remarked how much meat was on the wings.

The problem came in the juiciness—it was incredibly dry. Ironically, this one was only roasted for two hours. It ranked above Winn Dixie and Kroger because the meat was not greasy and the flavor had depth. They also had more variety in specialty flavors with lemon pepper, mojo, Mardi Gras, and Greenwise (organic).

I also prepared a chicken and rice casserole with this one, the dryness of the meat evened out with the creamy sauce, and the rich flavor lent seasoning to the dish.


This one’s a sleeper. We all went in with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. The skin was golden brown, and the breast meat was tender and juicy. It also had all those things you look for in a good spit-roasted chicken: sweetness, salt, and meat that pulls from the bone easily. It also lacked the sinew and grease the Winn Dixie sample evidenced.

It wasn’t anybody’s favorite, but it surprised us all with its quality. Walmart roasts their chickens for 1 ½ to 2 hours, and the flavors available are lemon pepper and traditional. 


This bird landed in a dead heat with Publix. On first blush, it had golden, crispy skin, and meat that separated easily from the bone, but wasn’t greasy or fatty. Past the initial look, the thighs and wings were pale in color and the meat was on the dry side.

Their traditional chicken is called “Savory,” and it had a very straightforward, tastes-like-chicken flavor. Their other options are garlic & herb, and Simple Truth organic. This would be a great choice if you are making soup, but don’t want to spend the time roasting from scratch.

The Fresh Market

This was a contentious one. The skin was golden. The wings were ample. It was moist, flavorful, and tender. It also fell right off the bone. They had many flavors (butter garlic, lemon rosemary, white wine herb, and natural roasted).

One of our testers ranked it number one and fought vociferously for it as the favorite. I really liked that all the chickens packaged for easy pickup had times on them and seemed to be rotated regularly for freshness. Even though it didn’t win, this one was tasty for a standalone meal with sides—it was that delicious.

rotisserie chickens

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Drumroll, Please... Our Favorite

Whole Foods

Did you know Whole Foods doesn’t put rotisserie chicken out until after 2 p.m.? Yeah, me neither. It was worth the wait. I watched as the deli attendant pulled them out and temped every single chicken. I asked her, and that is regular protocol—they don’t have a uniform cook time (though it usually ranges from 1 to 1 ½ hour); they go by temperature to ensure the chicken is optimally cooked. It was impressive. But not as impressive as the chicken.

The skin was deep golden brown and crispy. The drumsticks were so plump. It was juicy, but not greasy. The flavor was rich, but not overseasoned (I got the salt and pepper, their version of traditional). And to be fair to the other birds I didn’t get right out of the rotisserie, I waited three hours before testing. It was still moist and tender! Whole Foods has it going on in the rotisserie.

They have other flavors as well: paleo lemon herb, Plain, lemon pepper, buffalo (it’s so good), and you can also find them in the cold case along with sides already packaged up for easy weeknight dinner.

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