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Weeknight Cooking

9 Recipes That Use Our Favorite Shortcut Ingredient: Rotisserie Chicken

Here’s how we make some of our most-liked dishes simpler, without sacrificing any flavors.
By Published Oct. 31, 2018

We love making meals from scratch, but we love the time we’re able to spend around the dinner table with our families a bit more. Plus, there’s just something liberating about being able to put together a satisfying dish, without having to labor over it for hours.

That's why we rely on timesaving ingredients, such as rotisserie chicken, in the test kitchen. Fun Fact: It's cheaper to buy a rotisserie chicken than it is to buy a whole uncooked chicken at many grocery stores. Also, not having to cook your own chicken breasts gives you time back (that you didn’t really have to give out in the first place). We can go on and on about why picking up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store isn’t a cooking cop-out, but we’ll let the nine recipes below—featuring rotisserie chicken—speak for themselves. 

1. Lemon Chicken and Orzo Soup

lemon chicken orzo soup

To make weeknight cooking simple—as it should always be—we use shredded, rotisserie chicken to prepare this dish. The use of pre-cooked chicken in this recipe helps us get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less, without sacrificing any of those key flavors. We also add egg yolks to the hot broth to help thicken the soup, which in return adds to its richness. (Read “Getting to Know: Thickeners” to see how you can achieve the right consistency in a sauce, custard, pie, soup or jam.) [GET THE RECIPE]

2. Chicken Banh Mi

Chicken Banh Mi

Our Banh Mi recipe wasn’t born on the streets of Saigon, Vietnam (aka Ho Chi Minh City) but it still contains familiar flavors that you’ll find in this traditional Vietnamese-style sandwich. As always, one of our goal in the test kitchen is to provide home cooks with a convenient ingredient list. That’s why we call for 8-inch sub rolls instead of Vietnamese baguettes and rotisserie chicken instead of pâté or chả lụa (Vietnamese sausage) in this recipe. With easily available ingredients you’re able to get a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less. [GET THE RECIPE]

3. Buffalo Chicken Dip

buffalo chicken dip

For a more party-friendly appetizer—that can easily serve a crowd—we took the same fiery, vinegary flavors normally found in Buffalo wings and turned it into a dip using rotisserie chicken. Don't worry, this dip tastes just as good as wings but serves as a much easier, tidier option for a gathering. [GET THE RECIPE]

4. One-Pot Chicken Chili with Cornmeal Dumplings

one-pot chicken chili with cornmeal dumplings

We love the way cornbread’s subtle sweetness complements the punchy flavors of white chicken chili. But chili and cornbread for a Tuesday night dinner? Sounds complicated, right? Wrong. With a few timesaving ingredients—like rotisserie chicken, our winning jarred green salsa, and canned beans—you’ll easily be able to create this stress-free dinner. [GET THE RECIPE]

5. Chicken Tetrazzini for Two

chicken tetrazzini for two

Poaching breasts in broth, then shredding them takes too much time and sautéing thin slices of chicken takes too much effort. That’s why we turn to the test kitchen’s favorite convenience product: rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

All you have to do to the already cooked chicken in this recipe is tear it into pieces. In a matter of no time, you’ll have a simple but rich and satisfying chicken Tetrazzini to serve your other half. [GET THE RECIPE]

6. Quick Green Chicken Chili

quick green chicken chili

Our delicious green chili recipe gives you a weeknight stew complimented by weekend flavors. You heard correctly . . . our version cuts down on time but not flavor. All you’ll need is a few ready-made supermarket products (such as rotisserie chicken and our winning jarred green salsa) to have this chili meld together quickly. [GET THE RECIPE]

7. Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla Pie

chicken and cheese quesadilla pie

This recipe is a favorite of many of our Cook’s Country members. The praise it’s gotten over the years is partially due to its simplicity; this dish uses a good amount of already available ingredients, only requires two steps, and can be made in 30 minutes or less. But besides its simplicity and quickness, its glory really comes from its great flavors. [GET THE RECIPE]

8. Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie

double-crust chicken pot pie

It’s hard to imagine anything more comforting than a traditional pot pie: savory chicken and vegetables suspended in a velvety cream gravy and topped with a flaky pie crust. To make the pies filling savory and satisfying—but also just as simple as it was to make the crust—we grabbed a grocery store rotisserie chicken, shredded the already-cooked meat, and stirred it into the filling. Not only will you find this a timesaver (and a dirty dish saver), but your filling will turn out flavorful and moist. (Editor’s Note: This pie is make-ahead friendly and can be frozen for up to 1 month.) [GET THE RECIPE]

9. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

poppy seed chicken casserole

For a fresher take of this Southern staple, we use a few simple techniques and ingredients. To begin, we brown the mushrooms to help get rid of any liquid that might dilute the sauce. In the second step, we also add flour to create a creamy, flavorful sauce. Last but not least, instead of cooking our own chicken we use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut ingredient. These simple tricks make this homemade version better than the canned stuff normally called for in this dish any day. [GET THE RECIPE]

Try one of our quick recipes if you're looking for meals that use other timesaving ingredients.