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How to Cook a Whole Chicken – And Use All of It

Whether you’re a new or experienced home chef, the process of learning how to cook a whole chicken may seem like a daunting task fraught with potential blunders (or a dry, overcooked bird). If you often reach for chicken breasts or thighs at the grocery store because an entire chicken is too intimidating, we’d like to tempt you into trying a new skill: cooking a whole chicken. It’s easier than you might expect, economical, and there are so many ways you can use the leftovers!

In this guide, along with a step-by-step video, you’ll learn how to cook a whole chicken and what you can do with it all to reduce food waste. 

Why Roast or Cook a Whole Chicken?

Image: iStock

Chicken is an incredibly popular animal protein – and the demand is growing globally. In 2000, there were 14.38 billion chickens across the globe. In 2019, that number rose to 25.9 billion and chicken sales reached $192.3 billion.

Chicken breasts are one of the most beloved cuts, accounting for 57% of chicken sales in 2020 in the United States. During the 2021 Super Bowl, Americans chowed down on an astounding 1.42 billion chicken wings. But when you purchase a 12-pack of chicken wings or a couple of chicken legs, what happens to the rest of the bird? Answer: it goes into other processed foods like nuggets and hot dogs.

We aren’t eating whole chickens anymore. In 1962, whole chickens accounted for 83% of sales. In 2014, only 11% of us were still buying whole birds. 

Sure, roasting a whole chicken can take additional time and skill. But the benefits are many!

A whole chicken is more economical

Chicken breasts are the most popular cuts, but they’re also the most expensive! Chicken costs vary around the world, but the price per pound is typically cheaper for an entire chicken than a package of individual chicken parts. If you’re looking to save on your food costs, a whole chicken is the way to go.

A whole chicken is versatile and great for meal prep

There are so many ways to use a whole chicken (get the full scoop down below!). Roast a whole chicken to use throughout the week in your…


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