Freezing cooked chicken to keep on hand is the perfect short cut for dinners during a busy weeknight! Learn how to freeze cooked chicken with these simple easy steps.
Here at Simple Joy, I have so many recipes that use pre cooked chicken. Soups, casseroles, wraps and sandwiches that are delicious, but do require already cooked chicken. Freezing cooked chicken is a great solution so you always have it on hand.
I especially love to purchase rotisserie chickens when they are on sale for freezing. This way I can pull the chicken out whenever I need a cup or two for recipes. If you are making a soup or a casserole, you can even add it to the recipe right from frozen.
See a great list at the end of this post for several wonderful recipes to use shredded chicken in.
How to Freeze Chicken
- Allow the chicken to cool. You can wait overnight or just until the chicken is cool enough to touch easily.
- Remove and discard the chicken skin.
- Pull off as much chicken meat as you can, discarding fat and bones. (Or keeping them to make stock.)
- Cut up the chicken. I find that using kitchen scissors works really well for this.
- Flash freeze the chicken. Lay the chicken out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour.
- Transfer to an airtight container. After the chicken is frozen for an hour, break it apart and transfer it to an air tight container.
Storing Frozen Chicken
In general most items last in the freezer for about three months. After that, you will likely get freezer burn. If you have a deep freezer, you can get a bit more time out of your frozen goods because the freezer is opened and closed less often, and things at the bottom are less exposed.
Another option when you are freezing cooked chicken is to vacuum seal it. I would recommend sealing it in one cup portions so that you can pull out exactly how much you need. Some vacuum sealers advertise that they can prevent freezer burn up to three years.
How long does chicken last in the freezer?
Chicken lasts for 3 months in the freezer. This is true whether you are freezing shredded chicken or a whole chicken breast.
Where do you purchase your rotisserie chickens?
I find that I get the best quality chicken for the best price with Costco rotisserie chicken.
Rotisserie Chicken Recipes
- This Chicken Salad recipe is one of my most popular. It is delicious and makes a great lunch recipe.
- Once you make my Chicken Noodle Casserole, you will be hooked!
- If you want some serious comfort food, make my Chicken Stuffed Shells.
- This Chicken Enchilada Casserole will be a hit with your entire family.
- My Chicken Lasagna has the most amazing white sauce; you will want to dive into it.
- This Chicken Wrap is the perfect easy 20 minute dinner.
- You can never go wrong with Chicken Enchiladas.
- My kids absolutely love these Chicken Quesadillas.
If you make any of these delicious leftover rotisserie chicken recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Freezing Cooked Chicken
- rotisserie chicken
- Rotisserie chicken should be prepped for freezing as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of being purchased.
- Cut the cooked and cooled chicken into bite sized pieces.
- Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Transfer the frozen chicken to a plastic bag or reusable and sealable container. Seal and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For soups and casseroles, the chicken can be added to the recipe directly from the freezer. For other recipes, thaw the chicken turkey in the refrigerator overnight before adding to the recipe. (See our list in the post of great recipes to use frozen rotisserie chicken.)