Is It Better to Cook Whole Chickens or Parts?

whole roasted chickenWith apologies to my vegetarian readers. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow with a recipe for winter squash quiche.

Recently I compared the advantages of cooking fresh over bulk cooking and freezing. Today I consider cooking whole chickens versus chicken parts.

Advantages of Cooking Whole Chickens

  • Usually costs more, if bought in parts
  • Cutting raw chicken is time-consuming and messy; easier to cut when cooked.
  • Whole roast chicken comes out much juicier, with tender white meat
  • Carcass can more easily be saved for soup.
  • More economical as you can cut off as much as needed, not limited to standard 8 parts (although raw chicken can also be cut creatively).
  • May be served stuffed, but may be risky as the stuffing may not reach a safe temperature.
  • Impressive appearance

Advantages of Cooking  Chicken Parts

  • No need to cut just before serving, under time pressure or in front of guests.
  • Parts take up less room in the oven, refrigerator, or freezer.
  • Choose which pieces can be used for each meal, or cook s parts some parts in different recipes.
  • If you buy only the parts your family likes, you won’t be left with the unpopular pieces.
  • Collect parts and freeze, like wings for barbecuing, necks for soup, or breasts for stir-fries and chicken salad.
  • Less cooking time

If you like chicken, do you buy it whole or in parts?

You may also enjoy:

Handle Raw Chicken Safely to Prevent Illness

11 Great Ways to Cook Beets

Barriers to Home Cooking

Photo: jameelwinter


  1. elisheva says

    We buy whole chickens cut into parts only because it’s cheaper than a whole chicken (riddle me that one). I prefer the fanciness of a whole intact chicken but it *is* nice not to have to cut it…

  2. I prefer to cook – and eat – whole chickens.

  3. I always buy whole chickens because of the difference in price. Cut up chicken can be as much as 4-6 shekels more per kilo. Since I always skin chicken when I bake it in parts it really doesn’t add much time to the preparation.

    I usually make it in parts. When I make it whole I do it in the slow cooker when I don’t have time to prepare complicated meals or I’m just fed up of the same recipes. The preparation time for the slow cooker is less than 15 minutes, then it takes 5-6 hours to cook so I can run errands while the dinner cooks

  4. We usually buy whole chicken because it’s much cheaper, and I cau it at home, then split it for meals (we’re not big meat eaters so one chicken is soup plus two meals worth of meat).
    I do buy parts too when they’re on offer for extra meals (how much soup can I make per week…)or we have guests.

  5. aviva_hadas says

    I buy thighs at Costco & am happy with that because I can cut off the backs & use them for stock. I generally bake all 9-10 pieces at once & serve them over the course of the week. When I bake a whole chicken for company, my husband gets “stuck” with a breast… When that is the attitude, any cost savings is better spent elsewhere.
    (We generally eat the thighs plain with steamed vegetables also served plain.)

  6. aviva_hadas says

    Do you have a chicken salad recipe that does not use mayonnaise &/or celery?

  7. Elisheva–maybe because of reduced storage costs?
    Nathalie and Raquel-thanks for the tips.
    aviva_hadas: Try an Italian dressing. Celery is optional.

  8. (off-topic I know) aviva_hadas the greek salad dressing you can find on this website (last year’s shavuos post) is great on everything including chicken salad. Or if you don’t want to make a more complex dressing, 1 part lemon juice to 1 part olive oil plus salt to taste will get you far.

    Substitute the celery for any vegetables you like.

    Also good on potato salad.

  9. mommymommymommy says

    I love to cook a whole chicken for Shabbat. I then use the carcass for soup. For quick dinners when I am running around after school, I like chicken cutlets as they cook faster.

  10. We buy whole chicken to save costs and also because a whole chicken tastes so much better, IMO. I’m blessed to have an in-house (read husband) chicken cleaner. He skins the chickens, defats them (I use the fat for shmaltz) and gives me pristine, naked chickens which I season and sauce and roast in Kookie bags so they don’t dry out.


  1. […] often more economical; the choice of whether you boil a whole bird or cut-up parts is up to you. Cooking Manager also notes that with parts, you can cook only those parts you know your family will eat. In […]