If you never saw your mom cook a whole chicken, how do you learn? When you walk into the grocery store, and head to the meat department, it can be a little overwhelming to look at all the different options that one has when purchasing chicken. Buying a whole chicken can have implications when you are roasting it, but have you ever thought about cutting it up and using it for your recipes? I am going to show you how to cut up the chicken, and use every piece of it to make 3 different meals.

So the first and obvious step would be to cut up the chicken. I made a video, which is below, and you can watch me cut up the chicken step by step. It isn’t perfect, but you get the idea!

YouTube video

So like, I said, we are splitting it up into three different meals (but feel free to make this into two or one meal using the whole chicken if you want to!)


Recipe 1: Use a Whole Chicken to Make Stock

This is probably the easiest and most low maintenance recipe ever. It is so customizable, and can be changed to fit your needs. This recipe makes chicken stock, which can be used in other recipes or as a base for chicken noodle soup!

Start by filling a large stockpot with water, I filled mine about ¾ of the way up. But again, this depends on how much stock you want to make, and how long you are planning on cooking it for (the more water, the longer you need to cook to get the same flavor).

For this recipe, I used the leftover chicken bones, back, and extra skin that I trimmed while I was cutting it up (if you want to use more chicken, so that you have some to make chicken noodle soup, feel free to do that!). For the other aromatics, I used 2-3 carrots, 2 parsnips, ½ an onion, and a bunch of parsley, but you could also add other vegetables that you like, like red peppers or celery. (Tip: Making stock is a great way to use up vegetables that are close to going bad!)

chicken stock

The next part is easy! Throw everything in the pot, season well with salt, and throw it on the stove. Simmer on medium-low heat for 3-4 hours depending on how much water you used. This is a great thing to do on a weekend when you have more time, and you can really just put it on and forget about it until it is done! When the stock finishes, make sure it is seasoned well, and skim any fat off the top by using a ladle.

how to cook a whole chicken

I choose to keep this batch as stock, portion it into other containers and stick it in the freezer but you could easily make this into chicken noodle soup, by draining out vegetables (or keeping them in, I sometimes even add peas), shredding up any chicken that was on the bones and cooking some noodles in the stock.

chicken broth

Recipe 2: Roasted Whole Chicken and Potatoes

This is another fairly simple recipe that can be made and stuck in the oven so that you can finish other things while dinner is cooking! For this recipe, I used the dark meat and wings, but you can easily add the breasts to this meal as well if you are trying to feed more people.

Take your chicken, and season is with your favorite seasoning. The one I used is pictured.

how to cook a whole chicken

Next cut up potatoes that you want to roast. I used smaller roasting potatoes, but you can use any kind that you like and cut them into bite sized pieces. I seasoned the potatoes with salt and pepper, and placed the chicken pieces on top.


Place in a 375 F oven, and roast for about 1 hour. Once your chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are fork tender, increase the oven temperature to 400 F, remove the chicken to another baking dish and place in the oven to allow the skin to crisp up. Drain any excess fat from the potatoes, and place back in the oven to allow to get golden brown, about 10 minutes, but keeping an eye on it would be a good idea.

Serve with a vegetable or a side salad!

chicken with potatoes


Recipe 3: Fiesta Rice

This is probably the most involved recipe, but it was quick and very very delicious!

how to cook a whole chicken


This is what you need:

1 cup of rice (white or brown)

2 cups water

1 lime- juiced

Cilantro- 2-3 TBSP chopped for the rice, and extra for garnish

1 can black beans- drained

1 can diced tomatoes with green chili- drained

1 can corn- drained

1 pack of taco seasoning

1 red pepper sliced

1 green pepper sliced

1 onion sliced

1 pound of chicken breasts (I just used the two from the chicken I cut up)

First cook the rice. Place 1 cup rice, with lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt, 2 cups of water, and cilantro in a pot. Cook covered at medium low until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Meanwhile, heat some oil a large pan. Season chicken with half of the taco seasoning.


Add to hot pan and cook until golden brown, and cooked all the way through.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan, add a little more oil and add the peppers and onions. Cook until soften, and season with the rest of the taco seasoning. Add corn and keep cooking until everything is browned.


Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the beans, tomatoes, rice. Mix well and adjust seasoning if needed!


And there you have it! Three different ways that you can save money by buying the whole chicken and making three very different meals!

Looking forward to cooking in your own kitchen?  Need some help with meal planning? Our dietitians can help!  Contact us at 301-474-2499 or fill out the form here to set up an appointment with us!


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Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned chef, Dietitian Klara will work with you to help you reach your nutrition goals. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating, Cooking with Diabetes and Cooking with Food Sensitivities Guide.

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