This is the real reason grocery store rotisserie chicken is so cheap

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It’s one of the oldest bits of kitchen advice in the books: If you want to save money, skip convenience foods and cook from scratch. This is true for a batch of brownies (about 39 cents for homemade but more than $2 for a boxed mix) and cut fruit (a pineapple is only $2.75 per pound vs. $4.28 if it’s precut), and especially for ready-to-eat meals, which tend to cost nearly twice as much as the ingredients you need to make them. But there’s one food where this rule doesn’t apply: rotisserie chicken. Here are 14 other grocery store items you’re better off making at home.

That’s right: In most grocery stores, the average whole, raw chicken is actually more expensive than its spit-roasted equivalent. Savings aside, it seems to be a much better deal for any busy shopper to invest in a finished dinner—one that doesn’t need to be cleaned, stuffed, seasoned and roasted at home. So why are rotisserie chickens so inexpensive?

RELATED: Try these chicken recipes at home 

Grilled Chicken with Asian Marinated Tomatoes by Food Wine

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Curried Maple-Mustard Chicken Breasts by Food Wine

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Honey Balsamic Mustard Glazed Chicken by Chef Billy Parisi

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Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro-Shallot Relish by Food Wine

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Buffalo Chicken Parm Poppers by Oh, Bite It | Amy Erickson

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Slow Cooker Coca-Cola Chicken by Oh, Bite It | Amy Erickson

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Spicy Barbecued Chicken with Miso Corn by Food Wine

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Healthier Slow Cooker Crack Chicken by Slimming Eats

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Honey-Ginger Chicken with Lime by Food Wine

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Roast Chicken Panzanella by Food Wine

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Crisp Chicken Thighs with Peas and Carrots by Food Wine

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Easy Chicken Fajitas With Thai Mango Slaw And Coconut Rice by Half Baked Harvest | Tieghan Gerard

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Whole Roast Chicken With 40 Brussels Sprouts by Food Wine

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Buffalo Chicken Casserole by Campbell’s Kitchen    

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Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatballs by Food Wine

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Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts with Tarragon Creamed Corn by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Chicken, Fennel and Artichoke Fricassee by Martha Stewart

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Mini Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas by Campbell’s Kitchen

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Five-Spice Chicken Banh Mi Sandwiches by Food Wine

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup by Melanie Makes | Melanie Bauer

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Sticky Sweet Chili Chicken Wings by Savory Nothings | Nora Rusev

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Fresh Harissa Yogurt Spiced Chicken Sandwiches by JJ Begonia | Carlynn Woolsey

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Spicy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup by Love and Olive Oil | Lindsay Landis

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Healthy Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pizza by Savory Nothings | Nora Rusev

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Chicken Tikka Masala by Food Wine

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Butter-Roasted Chicken with Soy-Garlic Glaze by Food Wine

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Wintertime “Barbecue” Chicken by SELF

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Chicken-Cashew Tea Sandwiches with Shallot Gremolata by Food Wine

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Strawberry Basil Chicken by The Kitchen Prep | Dianna Muscari

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Butcher Shop Chicken by Food Wine

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Chicken Chile Verde by Food Wine

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Cambodian Red Curry Chicken Wings by Food Wine

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Braised Chicken and Noodles in a Creamy Garlic Sauce by In Sock Monkey Slippers | Meredith Steele

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Turmeric Chicken Rice by Food Wine

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Slow Cooker Healthy Creamy Chicken Casserole by The Magical Slow Cooker | Sarah Olson

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White Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas with Pomegranate by Cooking and Beer | Justine Sulia

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Chicken Caesar Skewers by Food Wine

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40 Glove Garlic Chicken by Today’s Nest | Sam Henderson

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Chicken Wild Rice Soup by Food Wine

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Crock Pot Chicken and Chickpea Stew with Tomatoes by Chef Billy Parisi

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Tea-Brined and Double-Fried Hot Chicken by Food Wine

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Chicken Paprikash Over Dumplings by Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen | Carrie Farias

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Creamy Rice, Chicken And Spinach Dinner by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Chicken Roasted on Bread with Caperberries and Charred Lemons by Food Wine

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken by Food Wine

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Chicken Thigh Kebabs with Chile-Yogurt Sauce by Food Wine

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Thai Chicken Pizza by Bacon Egg Cheese{cake} | Shelley Liu

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Grilled Chicken and Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing by Food Wine

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BBQ Pulled Chicken with Balsamic Onions and Slaw by Chef Billy Parisi

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Yuzu Kosho-Glazed Chicken Drumsticks by Perry’s Plate | Natalie Perry

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Korean Fried Chicken by Simply Delicious | Alida Ryder

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Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas by Curtis Stone

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Creamy Tomato-Basil Pasta With Chicken by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Chicken Quinoa Salad with BBQ-Spiced Vinaigrette by JJ Begonia | Carlynn Woolsey

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Healthified Crock Pot Chicken Dumplings by The Skinny Fork | Amanda Plott

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Braised Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses by Own Your Kitchen | Anne Burrell

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Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Kingside Roast Chicken by Marc Murphy 

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Easy Skillet Chicken Parm by Prego

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Open-Face Buffalo Chicken Subs with Ranch Slaw by Domesticate ME! | Serena Wolf

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Mini Chicken Pot Pies by Campbell’s Kitchen

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Italian Sundried Tomato, Garlic and Rosemary Chicken Hoagies with Melted Fontina Sauce by An Edible Mosaic | Faith Gorsky

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Lemony Chicken Stir-Fry by Food Wine

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Asian Vegetables and Chicken in a Spicy Peanut Sauce by No Yolks

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Easiest Chicken Tacos by Food Wine

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Tagliatelle with Braised Chicken and Figs by Food Wine

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Chicken Shawarma with Green Beans and Zucchini by Food Wine

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Chicken Nuggets by Deceptively Delicious | Jessica Seinfeld

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Chicken Quinoa Meatballs by Chez Us | Denise Woodward and Lenny Ferreira

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Coffee-Spice Chicken and Fruit-Basil Salsa by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Spicy Asian-Chicken-Salad Lettuce Cups by Food Wine

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Chicken Cordon Bleu by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Chicken and Cheese Poppers by Kitchen Daily Editors

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese by Well Plated by Erin | Erin Clarke

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Easy Chicken Broccoli Alfredo by Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Oven Fried Chicken Breasts by Food Wine

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Well, it turns out there’s a secret behind your pre-roasted poultry. According to an article published by the California educational television channel KCET, the golden, juicy rotisserie chickens in grocery stores are often the unsold raw chickens that are about to expire. By selling them at a lower price, grocery stores make less money than they would on raw birds, but way more money than they would if they tossed the chickens out. Don’t throw your grocery shopping money out the window either. These are the 19 tricks frugal shoppers use to save money on groceries.

Repurposing unsold products is pretty common in grocery stores. Supermarket consultants have admitted that vegetables and meat are often thrown into pre-made salads or deli items to minimize waste. Even rotisserie chickens that don’t sell are chopped up and thrown into creamy chicken salad! Next, check out the 50 food secrets food manufacturers don’t tell you that could change the way you eat.

RELATED: Add these to your Costco shopping list 

Waygu beef

USDA Prime meat is a big deal at the Prime + Proper Steakhouse in Detroit. That’s why executive butcher Walter Apfelbaum supplies the chefs there with Waygu beef he buys at Costco, according to Food Wine. “Costco sells some of the most beautiful prime beef I’ve seen out of the restaurant industry,” he says. Here’s more about why chefs love Costco’s beef.

Pork chops

Chef Julie Yoon, who runs an online cooking show called Bits Piecesbuys a big pack of bone-in pork chops at Costco. She’ll wrap them individually in plastic wrap and place them in a Ziplock bag to freeze for future use.

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