15 Things To Know Before Buying Costco Rotisserie Chickens

Hot and ready to take home, Rotisserie chickens are a godsend for busy families, and Costco has been making dinner a snap for over a decade.

If you’ve never visited Costco before, then maybe you haven’t heard of these cult-favorite chickens. Well, I’m going to remedy that here and now! These are 15 things to know before buying Costco rotisserie chickens.

15 Things To Know Before Buying Costco Rotisserie Chickens In 2024

1. Costco Rotisserie Chickens Debuted In 2009

If you walked into a Costco store in 2009 and suddenly smelled something amazing, well, it was probably the rotisserie chickens, a new product that year.

Further, the world’s fifth-largest retailer began selling them for just $4.99, and in a little over a decade, they have become an absolute hit.

At Costco, the rotisserie chickens are hot, delicious, cheap, and also customizable.

2. Costco Rotisserie Chickens Are Easy On Your Wallet

Not only did the Costco rotisserie chickens debut at $4.99, but that’s the price they have remained to this day.

While inflation, supply chain issues, and other national crises have made the price of many products rise. Still, year after year, the Costco rotisserie chicken stays easy on your wallet.

3. Costco Rotisserie Chickens Lose The Company Money

According to Eat This, Not That, the rotisserie chickens at Costco are what’s known as “loss leaders.”

Additionally, another example of a loss leader is Costco’s $1.50 hot dog and a soda deal.

So, these are cheap items that don’t make a profit and instead constitute a loss because they get people in the doors.

Once inside, unwitting customers then end up spending enough, and often much more, to cover the profit loss on the chicken or the hot dogs.

4. The Price Of Costco Rotisserie Chickens Won’t Rise Any Time Soon

Despite what must amount to immense pressure from outside sources to make the Costco rotisserie chicken a little bit more expensive, it doesn’t seem likely.

After all, what could 25 cents hurt? Or 50 cents?

Well, to Costco and its Chief Financial Officer, that would be a huge hit to its established reputation for having certain deals at a certain price.

Costco is determined to stay consistent, no matter what Walmart or Wegmans might do with its rotisserie chicken prices.

5. Customers Love The Taste Of Costco Rotisserie Chickens

Costco rotisserie chickens aren’t just cheap; customers and critics alike find them immensely delicious.

For example, there are more than 18,000 die-hards for the chicken on a Facebook fan page, and Consumer Reports refers to them as “super-tasty.”

6. Some Customers Find The Costco Rotisserie Chickens Salty

If there’s one complaint some people have, it’s that the Costco rotisseries can veer toward the supremely salty.

Further, that would result from the injections of salt solution into the chickens, once cooked, to improve taste and texture.

If you find it too salty, try hitting the chicken with a squeeze of lemon juice or a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, as the acid helps neutralize the saltiness.

7. You’re Getting About Three Pounds Of Meat On A Costco Rotisserie Chicken

One of the things Costco excels at is uniformity, and its rotisserie chickens are no different.

For example, pretty much every chicken from Costco’s rotisserie constitutes three pounds of meat, though if you’re lucky, you might find some that are heavier.

However, you won’t find wild outliers on either side of the spectrum. That said, there are no two-pound or five-pound chickens.

8. Costco Once Sold Over 100 Million Rotisserie Chickens In One Year

8. Costco Once Sold Over 100 Million Rotisserie Chickens In One Year

In 2020, Costco sold about 101 million rotisserie chickens, the most this international retailer has ever sold in a single year.

9. Head To The Back Of The Store For Your Costco Rotisserie Chicken

One of the reasons Costco has never raised the price on its rotisserie chicken is that selling them for $4.99 gets people in the door.

To capitalize on this, Costco puts the chickens in the back of the store. By doing this, it forces customers to walk through all those aisles filled with alluring food and merchandise.

So, what Costco loses on the low-price birds (and it’s millions) the company more than makes up for when every hungry patron also leaves with cake, bacon, coffee, and chips.

10. Costco Rotisserie Chickens Are Surprisingly Healthy

On the whole, for selling a good deal of processed foods, Costco manages to keep the ingredients in its store-brand items surprisingly wholesome.

For what it’s worth, Dr. Oz has given Costco rotisserie chickens a thumbs up for being one of the best processed foods you can buy.

Also, he suggests making it even healthier by removing the skin (that’s just a suggestion, though).

11. The Costco Rotisserie Chicken’s Spice Blend Is A Mystery

While the ingredients in a Costco rotisserie chicken are pretty straightforward, the propriety spice blend that gives the crackling skin its flavor remains unknown.

To most people, that’s a smart move because if people knew the spice blend, they could simply recreate it at home!

12. Listen For The Bells When Near Costco Rotisserie Chickens

One minute you’re casually strolling the aisles; the next, a bell goes off from a distance, and suddenly you’re sprinting for the back of the store with a full cart.

That’s because Eat This, Not That “has it on good authority” that the bell sound from the deli indicates there’s a fresh coop of rotisserie chickens ready to go out.

13. No Worries About Gluten In The Costco Rotisserie Chicken

Many people are discovering that their bodies and gluten don’t agree. Luckily, Costco’s rotisserie chicken is still compatible with their diet.

Moreover, Eat This, Not That says this is significant because some grocery stores add flour to the chicken, to help the skin get crispier while cooking.

But Costco does not, and its chicken skins get plenty crisp on their own.

14. Costco Sources Some Of Its Rotisserie Chickens

Some of the rotisserie chickens that Costco sells are sourced from its own Midwest farms.

Further, these facilities help the major retailer save up to 35 cents per chicken processed and sold, and when you sell 101 million chickens in a year, the savings add up.

However, Costco has received some heavy criticism for its company-run chicken farms.

For example, footage from the farms in Nebraska came out recently showing deformed and injured chickens in deplorable living conditions.

After the footage leaked, animal rights activists have petitioned the company to change its ways, but the issue remains unresolved so far.

Moreover, this chicken exposé is one major stain on a retailer’s reputation who otherwise holds a glowing record for its operations.

15. Costco Rotisserie Chickens Are Super Versatile

One of the best things about Costco rotisserie chickens is how versatile they are, beyond just cutting them up and eating them as your dinner.

For example, people regularly use Costco rotisserie chicken for the following:

  • Shredded chicken for quesadillas
  • Using the carcass for chicken stock
  • Using the meat for soups and salads

Further, the only thing better than a Costco rotisserie chicken is using it to bring that unique, salty flavor to another dish you enjoy.

To know more about Costco, you can also see our posts on things to know before buying bacon, pizza, and whiskey.


Costco rotisserie chickens are a steal at just $4.99 per bird, allowing the company to sell millions of chickens every year.

Despite being a significant profit loss leader, the chickens get shoppers through the doors, allowing Costco to entice customers with everything else for sale. 

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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