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The Best Methods To Keep Rotisserie Chicken Warm Until Dinner

Here’s how to keep rotisserie chicken warm until you’re ready to serve dinner, plus tips for using and storing leftovers.

Planning to serve a hot rotisserie chicken for dinner tonight?

If you’re not quite ready to eat, but want to keep your chicken warm, here are some tips to help you safely maintain your chicken until mealtime.

I also share tips for storing leftovers and several delicious recipes you’ll love!

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Where to Find Cooked Rotisserie Chicken

Several cooked rotisserie chickens on rods hanging in a grocery store oven.

You can find rotisserie chickens in the deli section of most grocery stores. And sometimes you can even watch them as they cook.

Most stores use a large oven with clear glass so you can see right in. The hot air from the rotisserie creates juicy chicken with perfectly crispy skin. So they’re ready to eat right from the store.

You’ll generally be able to choose from a few different flavor options like mesquite, lemon pepper, Garlic, and plain. However Costco rotisserie chicken is only available in one flavor, which is plain.

Easy Ways to Keep Rotisserie Chicken Warm

Crispy whole rotisserie chicken on a platter surrounded by green garnish on wooden table.

1. Keep it in the bag

If you plan to eat dinner in about half an hour, you can keep your rotisserie chicken in the bag from the store. It can stay warm for quite some time this way.

You can also place tea towels on the bottom and top of the bag to seal the heat in even more.

The food “danger zone” for chicken is between 40 and 140 degrees. So, once your chicken reaches room temperature you have about 4 hours before it becomes unsafe to eat and you could risk getting food poisoning.

2. Rotisserie chicken warming bags

Did you know you can purchase your own rotisserie chicken warming bags? They’re a little on the expensive side. But, they’re the same type of bag used for store-bought chickens.

If you frequently make whole chicken, a warming bag might be worth the investment.

You can purchase them online, and they’ll cost between $90 and $150.

3. Insulated thermal bag

Thermal bags are great for transporting food from one location or another. Or, for keeping food warm outside.

Insulated thermal bags are an affordable option to keep chicken warm that doesn’t require a power source.

You can even use them at home to keep your chicken warm on the counter. These are a great option for keeping chicken warm for 30 minutes to an hour.

4. Aluminum foil

If you don’t have the original bag for the chicken or an alternative bag option, you can use humble aluminum foil.

Place your chicken in a deep-sided dish and tightly cover with foil to trap in the heat.

This method is a great short-term solution. And it can keep the chicken reasonably warm for about 30 minutes.

5. Microwave

After you cover the chicken with foil you can step it up a notch by placing the chicken in your microwave. Just be sure not to turn it on!

Microwaves are a great insulator and can help to keep your chicken warm for even longer.

6. Oven

A conventional oven is the best method when you need to keep food warm for up to 2 hours. And there are two different methods you can try.

Method 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then place an oven-safe dish inside to heat for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, place your rotisserie chicken on the hot dish, and close the door. This will keep your chicken nice and toasty until dinner time.

Method 2: Set your oven to between 140 and 165 degrees, place your rotisserie chicken on a pan inside and cover with foil. The low heat setting will keep your chicken warm without drying it out.

7. Oven warming drawer

Contrary to popular belief, the drawer at the bottom of your oven is designed to keep food warm, not to store pots and pans!

If you’d like to try out your oven’s warming feature, preheat to 350. Then, place your chicken on a dish in the warming drawer with the door cracked open.

You can keep a rotisserie chicken warm this way for an hour or two.

8. Slow cooker

You can also use the warming setting on your slow cooker to keep a chicken warm. Add up to a cup of chicken broth to the bottom of your cooker to keep the chicken moist.

You can keep a chicken warm using this method for up to 2 hours without compromising texture and flavor.

9. Instant Pot

If you own an Instant Pot, you already have another easy warming solution for a rotisserie chicken. These multi-use pressure cookers come with a “keep warm” setting that’s great for keeping hot food hot.

If your chicken isn’t too large, you can place it inside your Instant Pot and keep your chicken ready to eat for 30 minutes to an hour.

10. Food warming tray

If you have a food warming tray, you can use it to keep your chicken ready to eat for a couple of hours. Keep the tray on medium-low heat. And you can loosely cover the chicken with foil to trap more heat.

11. Saucepan with a lid

A saucepan with a lid, or any type of large lid, can keep rotisserie chicken warm in a pinch. Simply cover the chicken to trap in the heat.

Use this method when dinner is about 30 minutes out.

How To Store Leftovers

Close up of leftover sliced rotisserie chicken pieces on a blue plate.

Once you’ve enjoyed your warm and juicy rotisserie chicken, you’ll need to properly store the leftovers.

The best way to store leftover rotisserie chicken is to take it off the bone and place it in an airtight container. This extends the shelf life and makes the leftovers easier to use.

Make sure you cool the chicken completely before putting it in the fridge. Failing to do so can make your chicken tough and dry.

Once cooled, pull the chicken from the bones and place them in a shallow container.

Leftover chicken lasts up to 4 days in the refrigerator, and chicken in the freezer lasts about 4 months. Any longer and the chicken will lose its flavor and moisture.

Reheating Leftovers

Person partially opens a stainless steal microwave with blue back lighting.

Here are some easy methods to reheat rotisserie chicken without losing its moisture. You’ll want to ensure your reheated chicken meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.

And you can measure this using a simple store-bought meat thermometer.

1. Frying Pan

You can use a frying pan on medium heat to warm your leftover chicken. Cut the chicken into strips or chunks so it’s easier to heat. And be sure to add a little bit of chicken broth to keep it moist. This will also prevent the chicken from sticking.

You’ll only need a minute or two to warm the chicken through.

2. Microwave

The microwave is a quick reheating option to use. Simply place the roasted chicken on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel.

Then, microwave the chicken for 2 minutes until it’s steaming hot.

3. Instant Pot

If you’ve got your Instant Pot out, you can use the steam setting to warm your chicken. Make sure it’s cut into small pieces and steam for 5 minutes.

4. Oven

You can also use a conventional oven to reheat chicken. This is a great option for crisp skin, and great for larger hunks of chicken or chicken left on the bone.

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Then, place the chicken in an oven-safe dish and add a cup of chicken stock. Cover the chicken with foil and roast for about 25 minutes.

After 25 minutes, remove the foil and roast for another 5-10 minutes until the skin is nice and crispy.

5. Air Fryer

An air fryer is another great method to warm chicken and crisp up the skin.

First, preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees. Then, place the chicken in the air fryer (with any packing removed) and fry for 3-4 minutes until the chicken is crisp and heated through.


How do you keep rotisserie chicken warm without drying it out?

There are several easy methods to keep a rotisserie chicken warm. And a few different ways to preserve the chicken’s moisture. Use one of the 6 methods below:

1. Keep the chicken in the rotisserie bag with tea towels placed on the top and bottom. This will trap heat and moisture to keep your chicken juicy and tender.
2. Wrap the chicken in aluminum foil and place it in a cool microwave. (Do not turn the microwave on!)
3. Place the chicken in an Instant Pot or slow cooker on the warming setting with a small amount of chicken broth.
4. Warm the chicken in your oven or the oven’s warming drawer on low heat with foil on top.
5. Cover the chicken with foil and place it on a warming try on medium-low heat.
6. Use a saucepan lid or another large lid to cover the chicken to preserve heat and trap the steam.

How long can you keep a warm rotisserie chicken out?

The danger zone for cooked chicken is between 40 and 140 degrees. And though it’s not recommended, a rotisserie chicken can stay at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

After this, you’ll either need to reheat the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 or place it in the refrigerator or freezer.

How do you reheat a rotisserie chicken?

There are several methods to reheat a rotisserie chicken depending on how much you need and how quickly you need it. Use one of the 5 methods below:

1. Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add a small amount of chicken broth. Warm strips or chunks of leftover chicken until steaming hot.
2. Place leftover chicken pieces on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat for 2 minutes.
3. Warm small or medium-sized chunks of chicken in an Instant Pot for 5 minutes on the steam setting.
4. Or, place the hunks in an air fryer at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes if you want to bring back the crispy skin.
5. Use a conventional oven to reheat large amounts of chicken or chicken left on the bone. Cover the chicken with foil and roast for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes to crisp the skin.

Yummy Recipes to Try

And here are some delicious recipes using leftover rotisserie chicken you’ll love!

Coconut Cilantro Chicken Soup

Bowl of Thai coconut chicken soup with spoon and fresh cilantro garnish.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole with Rice

White baking dish with poppy seed chicken casserole with rice and part of it removed.

The Best Chicken Caesar Salad With Pasta

Chicken Caesar pasta salad on large white platter next to kitchen towel and wooden spoon.

Chicken Salad with Grapes, Strawberries, and Apples

Three sandwiches full of grape and apple chicken salad in parchment paper lined pan with bunch of grapes nearby.

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream White Sauce

Pan of chicken enchiladas with white sauce with spatula in empty space and plate of enchiladas nearby.


Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Ok , 2 1/2 hrs. To dinner time... should the chicken be refrigerated? Then reheated using oven method? Thanks!

Jessica Ashcroft

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Yes I would refrigerate it for about an hour and a half and then pull it out an hour before dinner to warm in the oven!