You Can Get 5 Meals From a Whole Chicken

Do you know how to get 5 meals from a whole chicken? Can you turn one meal into a variety of different meals?

I am always looking for ways to take one main course and use it in several different ways.

I enjoy cooking for my family, but our chaotic life means dinner needs to be simple and on the table quickly.

Therefore let me tell you how to get five meals from a whole chicken. Incidentally, the size of your family may require two chickens for this to work. The principal is the same for one chicken or two.

Be sure to account for how much you know that your family will eat of each meal you are expecting to prepare with your chicken. That is to say, a family with toddlers will not need as much as my family with five adults.

How to Get Five Meals From a Whole Chicken

Cooking Your Chicken

I prefer to buy whole chickens and cook them myself. I can control the seasonings that way as well as the size of the chicken. If the meals on my menu require more meat, I can shop accordingly.

To roast a chicken yourself, take it out of the packaging and then pat it dry. Rinsing chicken in the sink can create a spray effect that will spread germs.

For this reason, pat it dry with a paper towel.

Next, place the chicken in a roasting pan with the breast meat facing up. Season it generously inside and out with your preferred spices. Bake it uncovered in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the internal temp reaches 180 degrees.

Alternatively, you can boil a whole chicken in a stockpot. Cover the chicken with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cook the chicken for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

If your chicken is larger than 4 lbs, it will need a little more time.

A whole chicken will cook in an instant pot in about 30 minutes. So place your chicken on the trivet after you have pat it dry and seasoned it well.

Add one cup of water to the instant pot. The next step is to close the lid and seal the valve. Cook the chicken on manual for 30 minutes.

If your chicken weighs more than 4 lb, you may need to add a few minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes before you open the pot.


spring cleaning checklist link

The Benefit of Cooking Your Chicken

A great benefit of cooking your chicken is that you can use the broth from the cooking process for making homemade chicken noodle soup. Most importantly, it makes use of the broth and eliminates the need to spend money on the store-bought versions.

As a result, the meals you prepare will have so much more flavor. I challenge you to try it! My Instant Pot is the perfect kitchen appliance for homemade broth. You can read all about how I make my homemade bone broth in this blog post.

Buying Your Chicken

When you are short on time, buying a cooked chicken from your local grocery store will be the easy choice.

Most grocery stores have rotisserie chickens ready for quick dinners. So if cooking it yourself is too time-consuming, you have another option.

However, some of them can be on the small side. I have found Costco to be the exception for this. Their whole chickens are a perfect size.

If you want great broth for use in soups and other dishes, cooking your own is the way to go. It may be scary the first time, but I promise it is much easier than it seems.

What to Make with Leftover Chicken

  1. Chicken Noodle Soup is the first thing that comes to mind. I recommend the leg and thigh meat for use in the soup. It will give it a nice rich flavor. Celery, carrots, the broth from your cooked chicken, noodles, salt, pepper, and a few other spices are all you will need.
  2. Cold Chicken Salad is a favorite around here with leftover chicken. I use celery, chopped red apples, walnuts or pecans, shredded cheese, and mayo with salt and pepper added in to taste. The breast meat of the chicken is perfect for this dish.
  3. Chicken Quesadillas are great for using up a whole chicken. Breast meat works best in this one as well. I use a little chicken broth and taco seasoning on the chicken to give it flavor. Then use it on top of a tortilla topped with cheese, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro for a delicious authentic flavor. Top with a second tortilla and brown on each side for an effortless dinner.
  4. Chicken Tacos are similar to the quesadillas in the way you prepare them, yet they are in a category all their own. Taco Tuesday, anyone? Again, I use chicken broth and taco seasoning on the shredded chicken. Then add to soft or crunchy (my fave) tortillas with whatever toppings you prefer. I highly recommend cilantro if you are a fan. It is so delicious on tacos! Tacos are an excellent way to use your leg and thigh meat from a whole chicken.
  5. Chicken Burrito Bowls is another excellent option. I’m sensing a Mexican food theme here! Use cooked rice along with chicken, black beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream if you prefer.

And that’s how to get 5 meals from a whole chicken.

The Benefit of Prepping 5 Meals from One Chicken

An easy way to save money on your grocery bill is to plan a weekly menu that uses whatever meat is on sale at the time. Whole chickens are usually a reasonable price year-round. Additionally, when they go on sale is the right time to plan five meals from one chicken.

Suddenly, dinner prep is quick and easy!

Savvy tips for cooking, organizing and cleaning

Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Above all, preparing ahead of time is how to get five meals from a whole chicken. You can do it, too!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest here for more quick recipes as well as tips for around the home.