Stop overspending on chicken or letting that yummy protein go to waste! These hacks will help you save money on chicken and cut your grocery bill by a ton. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

woman shopping for chicken, from Shelf Cooking

We love a good chicken dinner around here. That juicy meat is one of the most versatile proteins around, it's easy to prepare, and it's picky-eater approved. Bake it, fry it, add it to a casserole. Whatever you do, there's one thing you don't have to do…and that's overspend!

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We'll show you how to feed your family a gaggle of tasty, chicken-filled dishes without busting that grocery budget! Learn how to stretch your chicken, prep it ahead of time, and buy it in bulk for a crazy good deal. We've rounded up five of the best ways to save money (and time) on chicken. Here we go!


roasting whole chickens, from Shelf Cooking

It may not be our most popular tip, but trust us when we tell you this WORKS. Look, we get it. Buying pre-trimmed, ready-to-go cuts of chicken does seem pretty dang convenient, but if you do the math, it's a rip-off! If you can buy a whole chicken, do it! You'll save so much per pound, and the effort is actually minimal.

You can buy whole chickens at your grocery store (if you see them on sale, stock up), direct from local farmers, or even online. For example, you can order 6 whole chickens from Perdue for just under $100, which comes out to less than $4 per pound. That's a whole lot of meat and months' worth of meals. Cha-ching!

Pro Tip: Looking for the best whole chicken recipe of all time? You have to try Bubba's easy smoked chicken recipe! You'll be hooked.


shredding cooked chicken, from Shelf Cooking

Okay, let's say you decided to cash-in on all those bulk chicken deals. Now, what? Well, this next tip just might be our favorite. When we bring chicken home, we like to prep and cook it immediately, then freeze it. Why? Well, first off, fresh chicken doesn't last that long. Second, having pre-cooked chicken ready to pull from the freezer makes dinnertime so much less hectic!

Who needs to roll through the Taco Bell drive-through when you can pull together chicken fajitas, quesadillas, or chimichangas in just minutes?! Having cooked meat on hand in the freezer will save your budget and your sanity! It's the fastest, easiest way to cut back on impulse food delivery purchases.

Pro Tip: Use your electric hand mixer to shred cooked chicken in just seconds! Divide that shredded chicken into small freezer bag sized-portions for easy grab-and-go dinner options.


fresh rotisserie chicken, from Shelf Cooking

We're not usually big on convenience buys, but grocery store rotisserie chickens are actually a dang good deal! Here's the secret. They sell them for such a reasonable price because they expect you'll buy more while you're there. So, go in with a list and stick to it! With a bit of creativity, you can two or three meals out of one rotisserie chicken, so it's worth it.

Costco usually has the lowest price around, but if you head to your local grocer in the early afternoon, you can generally score a chicken on clearance just before they put out the next batch. Make friends with the deli employees, so you know when to find those deals!

Pro Tip: If you're not sure what to do with leftover rotisserie chicken, we've got a ton of ideas! Whether you make a chicken salad or use the bones for broth, make sure you get the most bang for your buck. There's no reason to throw away perfectly good rotisserie chicken!


bowls of creamy chicken soup, from Shelf Cooking

If you take nothing else away from this post, let this tip sink in for a minute! You do not have to serve a whole piece of chicken to each of your family members. That adds up fast. And the truth is, there are SO many smart ways to stretch that meat. We love to add shredded chicken to casseroles or soups, so that our family gets a nice dose of protein, but we don't have to use up a ton of chicken in one meal.

Our mantra? Make meat a feature of your meal, not the main ingredient! If you're making soups, salads, or casseroles, you can even use canned chicken to save serious cash. Here are five examples of chicken dishes that make it easy to stretch that meat:

  • Creamy Chicken Soup – This meal is one of the cheapest, easiest things you'll ever make, but it is so dang delicious! Grab our favorite creamy chicken soup recipe.
  • Chicken Alfredo – Don't say we didn't warn ya! You will want seconds of this chicken alfredo.
  • Italian Cream Cheese Chicken – Paired with rice and bread, you can go easy on the chicken in this easy Italian cream cheese chicken recipe. Let's face it; the cheese steals the show, anyway!
  • Copycat Red Robin Chicken Wrap – Wraps, sandwiches, and salads are great ways to stretch meat, and this chicken wrap is so stinking delicious!
  • Baked Potato Nachos – We count nachos as a meal around here! Add a little shredded chicken to this baked potato nachos recipe, and dinner is served.

Pro Tip: Never run out of chicken ideas again! Here are 20 baked chicken recipes that make meal planning a breeze.


kitchen inventory printable, from Shelf Cooking

Do you know the number one way people end up wasting money on chicken? They let it sit in the refrigerator for too long and don't use it. Or, they freeze it, but they don't do it properly and end up with a freezer-burned mess. You guys, that's like throwing money in the trash can.

If you're not sure how long chicken keeps or how to store your chicken, take a few minutes to learn. You'll save hundreds of dollars each year (at least!) just by using what you buy. It's a no-brainer!

Pro Tip: The best way to keep food from going bad is to track what you have. Grab our free kitchen inventory printable, so you never let another piece of chicken go to waste again!

There you have it! Follow these tips and watch what happens. Spoiler alert: you're gonna save time and money!

How do you save money on meat? Spill your best secrets in the comments below!

Image with text that reads "how to save money on chicken" from Shelf Cooking

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Go ahead. Shake a leg to save more money!