30+ Ways to Use a Whole Chicken

(Photo Credit: Lindsay Linton Buk/Linton Productions)

What is up with America’s fascination with chicken breasts?

If you thumb through most cookbooks or Pinterest, you’d quickly come to the conclusion that that chickens don’t even have other edible parts. The vast majority of recipes are suspiciously absent of wings, thighs, or drumsticks in the ingredient lists.

Which is all fine and dandy until you start raising your own birds and start realizing that you are badly in need of recipes that use the WHOLE bird, so you aren’t left with a pile of wings and drumsticks…

how to butcher a chicken tutorial

My Whole Chicken Routine

We try to raise 1-2 batches of meat birds each year, and I usually roast a whole chicken 3-4 times per month. Here’s my whole chicken routine:

  • Cook/roast a whole chicken for supper one evening and eat it with potatoes, veggies, whatever.
  • Pull all leftover meat from the bones, trim away fat/gristle, and dice it
  • Pop the carcass in the Instant Pot or slow cooker to make a gallon or so of chicken broth
  • Use the leftover meat in soup, pot pie, or a chicken skillet meal the following night and use the broth throughout the next 1-2 weeks.

Since most recipes call for chicken breast only, I generally ignore that part and just use the meat I have. No one complains and it ensures we use all the chicken meat as best as we can.

The Prairie Homestead Cookbook

In my cookbook, I tried really hard to include recipes that can use leftover meat from the entire bird, not just breast meat. You’ll find my tried-and-true recipes for things like Sticky Honey Chicken, Chicken Poblano Chowder, and Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup that are delicious not matter if you use leftover white OR dark meat.

Admittedly, roast chicken is one of my favorite meals, and it’s so stinkin’ easy. However, even the most avid roast chicken fan can get a little tired of the same old recipe after eating it once a week, so I’ve gathered over 30 ways to creatively season and cook your whole chickens to mix things up a bit!

slow cooker rotisserie chicken recipe

30 Ways to Use a Whole Chicken

Cooking whole chickens is not only budget-friendly, the leftovers can be used in creative ways to make quick and easy dinners later in the week. However, cooking whole chickens does not have to be boring! There are a huge variety of cooking methods as well as flavors for whole chicken recipes. Let’s take a closer look:

Oven-Roasted Whole Chicken Recipes

One of the most common ways to cook whole chickens is by using the oven. I searched the Internet for as many creative ways as possible that uses the oven to cook whole chicken.

1. Simple Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken from I Heart Umami

2. Crispy Roasted Garlic Chicken from Gimme Some Oven

3. Citrus and Herb Roasted Chicken from The Organic Kitchen

4. Easy Sheet Pan Garlic Butterfly Chicken and Veggies from Whole Kitchen Sink

5. Crispy Roasted Chicken with Vegetables from The Seasoned Mom

6. Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken from Cafe Delites

7. Slow-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken from Deliciously Organic

8. Honey Orange Roasted Chicken and Gravy from A Spicy Perspective

9. Lemon Roasted Chicken from Spend with Pennies

10. Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto from Our Happy Mess

11. One-Pan Orange Honey Garlic Roasted Chicken from Cotter Crunch

12. One-Pan Garlic Thyme Roast Chicken with Cauliflower from Abra’s Kitchen

13. Orange Cranberry Roasted Chicken with Rosemary Balsamic Butter from The Endless Meal

14. Whole Roasted Masala Chicken from Manilla Spoon

15. Peruvian-Style Roast Chicken with Green Sauce from Once Upon a Chef

16. Dutch Oven Red Curry Whole Chicken from I Heart Umami

17. Buttermilk Marinated Roast Chicken from Samin Nosrat (this one is RIDICULOUSLY GOOD)

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Recipes

The slow cooker is an ultra-handy way to handle the roasting of a whole chicken when I’ve got a busy day or week ahead. Just pop the chicken in the Crockpot with the other ingredients and forget about it until supper time.

17. Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken from The Nourishing Home

18. Slow Cooker Garlic Balsamic Whole Chicken from Real Food Whole Life

19. Slow Cooker Lemon Thyme Whole Chicken from Everyday Good Thinking

20. Crockpot Honey Garlic Chicken & Vegetables from The Kitchen Magpie

21. Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Whole Chicken with Gravy from 40 Aprons

22. Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken from The Rising Spoon

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipes

I’ve been in love with my instant pot for a while now, so I had to include some whole chicken recipes that use the instant pot. Don’t forget to also check out my other favorite instant pot recipes.

23. Instant Pot Classic Whole Chicken from The Real Food Dieticians

24. Pressure Cooker Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary from Our Best Bites

25. Instant Pot Beer Can Chicken from Family Fresh Meals

26. Instant Pot Pickle Chicken from The Foodie Eats

More Creative Whole Chicken Recipes

There are a few other ways you can cook up a whole chicken, including using the grill and using an air fryer.

27. Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken from Amy in the Kitchen

28. How to Butterfly and Grill a Whole Chicken from Tasty Yummies

29. Grilled Beer Can Chicken from Simply Recipes

30. Grilled Root Beer Can Chicken from Iowa Girl Eats

31. How to Cook an Old Chicken (my favorite way to use an old hen or rooster!)

Other Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

After enjoying one of the delicious whole chicken recipes mentioned above, you’ll probably have leftovers. Leftover chicken can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Use the bones from the whole chicken (and other veggie scraps) to make your own broth. Here are my instructions for making broth.
  • Use the leftovers with some homemade barbecue sauce and hamburger buns for chicken shredded sandwiches.
  • Make a homemade pizza with shredded chicken (here’s my favorite pizza dough recipe!)
  • Use the shredded chicken for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos (topped with some homemade roasted poblano salsa).
  • Use the leftover chicken in your favorite soups (chicken noodle is a classic!)
  • You can also make chicken pot pie, salads, chicken chili, and so much more with the leftover chicken. Remember– usually you can get away with substituting dark meat for recipes calling for cubed chicken breast with good success.

Other Chicken Posts & Recipes for You:

What’s your favorite way to use up a whole chicken? Share your fav recipes & techniques with me below!

how to use a whole chicken

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