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The Secrets Behind Costco’s Famous $4.99 Rotisserie Chickens

Ever wonder what makes the Costco rotisserie chicken so popular?

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costco rotisserie chicken close up
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There are many reasons to love Costco—Costco pizza, anyone? With a loyal membership base of customers stocking up on affordable bulk items, a trip to the big retailer would not be complete without picking up one of their famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens. There are many Costco secrets out there, like why Costco hot dogs are so cheap, and the Costco rotisserie chickens are no exception. While their cheap price and tasty flavors are widely known, there are a few secrets behind the cult-favorite you may not know.  Read up on the facts before you head to Costco to make your next purchase.
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The $4.99 rotisserie chickens really are a great deal

There really isn’t a sneaky catch to these low-cost meals, for the consumer, that is. Inflation makes everything more expensive for both consumers and corporations, but even with rising costs, Costco refuses to increase the price of their rotisserie chickens that have stayed at $4.99 since 2009. The reasoning behind this is that while other stores are raising the price of their rotisserie chickens, the low price of the Costco chickens will ultimately draw more customers into their store to possibly make more profitable purchases while they are there. These are the things you probably shouldn’t buy at Costco.

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Costco sells a lot of rotisserie chickens

Costo sold approximately 101 million chickens in 2020. These are impressive digits and set a record for the retailer as most rotisserie chickens sold in one year. Though Costco is famous for its chickens, these are its products you can’t buy anywhere else.

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The retailer actually loses money on their rotisserie chickens

According to Costco’s chief financial officer, the retailer loses between $30 and $40 million a year on the chickens. Still, they refuse to raise their prices to a more reasonable $5.99. The reason: They really believe $4.99 is how much a chicken should cost. In a less selfless way, the chickens keep foot traffic high at the store, which benefits its bottom line.

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The rotisserie chickens are extra salty

If you’ve ever tasted a Costco chicken before, you know they can be incredibly salty (and, in turn, incredibly tasty). That’s because they’re injected with a special saline solution to add flavor. The birds pack in a total of 460 milligrams of sodium each. These are the Costco shopping perks you need to know about.

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The rotisserie chickens are “processed foods”…

But they don’t pack in that many unexpected ingredients. The chickens are typically seasoned in factories before being shipped to Costco, which is what earns them their “processed food” title. Even Dr. Oz reassured viewers that the birds are some of the healthiest processed foods out there—and removing the skins makes them even healthier. Win!

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The rotisserie chickens have a cult following

There is, in fact, a Costco Rotisserie Chicken fan page on Facebook, with more than 18 thousand followers. Additionally, there are recipes upon recipes devoted to meals that star these chickens.

Rest assured, Costco’s rotisserie chickens really are healthy-ish wins for consumers. More good news: Here’s everything you can do at Costco without a membership.


  • Business Insider: “Costco says it’s getting more expensive keep the rotisserie chicken at $4.99, but it won’t raise the price”
  • Business Insider: “Why Costco charges only $4.99 for a rotisserie chicken”
  • Winsight Grocery Business: “Costco Posts Biggest Year Ever, Sells 101M Rotisserie Chickens”
  • The Daily Meal: “15 Secrets of the $4.99 Costco Rotisserie Chicken”