Ideas on how to use every part of a chicken

Everyone loves chicken

It’s versatile, economical and flavoursome.

You can have chicken for a special Sunday roast or use it for quick midweek meals.

So, this week, I thought I’d show how far a chicken can go with a few recipe ideas to boot.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, buying a whole chicken and jointing it is better on your pocket.

It’s also more environmentally friendly as there is no waste and you aren’t adding lots of packaging to the planet.

But you should always try and buy organic and if not organic, then free-range.

It makes a huge difference to taste but means we are supporting animal welfare and sustainable farming.

Yes, they cost more but when you stretch out a chicken into many meals, then you’ve actually saved a lot of money in the end.

Saving money

If you bought two chicken breasts and compared to a whole chicken, they cost about ½ – ⅔’s of a whole chicken.

But that’s just one meal.

Whereas if you bought a 2.5kg chicken, that will give you enough meals (for 2 people) for a week.

Delicious and nutritious

Cooking meat on the bone releases collagen into the flesh which makes the meat super-succulent and tender.

And full of nutrients and vitamins.

On top of that, using a whole chicken means extra flavour enhancing cooking.

You’ll get to make super-easy chicken stock which you can freeze for other meals.

The giblets can be used to make intense gravies.

And standard quick meals like risotto or a pie will taste next level when you go for a whole chicken.

Ways to stretch your whole chicken

Roasted crown

Who doesn’t love a roast and why not start with one at the beginning of the week?

Roast the crown and the wings.

Once you’ve eaten your meal, thoroughly strip the carcass and bones of any leftover meat.

And store in the fridge, along with the bones to use for another meal and stock.

Pan-roasted legs

A nice and simple dish where you can add whatever vegetables from your larder into the pan for a quick midweek meal.

 Again, strip any meat off the legs once finished and put in the fridge.

Leftover chicken from the wings and carcass

This is perfect for a chicken pie.

And with homemade chicken stock (below), your pie will be next level.

Try a chicken and tarragon or chicken and leek oie.

Roasted chicken breast

Roast your chicken breasts and shred them to make a light, midweek meal like a chicken salad.

Or use the shredded chicken for delicious Mexican tacos.


Make stock: place the bones in a pan with 2 chopped carrots, onions and celery sticks.

Cover with 2 ltr water and simmer for 1 hour. 

It’s that simple.

And will enhance your cooking flavours.

If you don’t have time to make stock after a meal, just freeze the bones with the giblets and make when you have time.

You can use your homemade chicken stock to make two more cheap, delicious meals like barley minestrone or mushroom risotto.

Or use it to cook rice, lentils or pasta or add to a stew to enhance the flavours.

There are loads of creative ways to reinvent the chicken for a week of meals.

And they won’t make you or you family tire of chicken.


Giblets are made up of the heart, gizzard, liver, and neck of the chicken (or turkey).

Usually found in a small bundle inside the cavity of the whole bird.

You can save these (if you haven’t used them in stock) and make rich gravy.

Do you have some great ideas to share on how to use a whole chicken? Leave a comment…

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Spruce Eats

The Guardian – Angela Hartnett