How to use every part of a whole chicken

Buying a whole chicken is often better value than specific cuts and using it all saves on waste. Emily Gussin shows you how to make the most of it – skin, fat, carcass and all…

How to use every part of a whole chicken

1. The chicken fat

We buy goose fat to roast potatoes but often dispose of the fat from a chicken roasting tin without thinking. There’s so much flavour in this fat and it’s great for cooking with. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and use it to roast veg, pimp mayonnaise or simply spread on toast.

How to render more fat
Cut any trimmings of fat and skin into similar-size pieces and put in a pan over a low heat, stirring regularly, to gently render out the fat. Once some of the fat has been released, you can add chopped onion for flavour, as is typical in schmaltz – highly prized chicken fat in Jewish cookery. Continue cooking until all the fat has been released, then pour through a sieve into a container. Chill and use as suggested, above.=

2. The carcass

The carcass from a roast chicken is ideal for making stock. If you don’t have time to make it immediately, keep it in your freezer in a bag with any veg scraps and peelings, ready to be simmered. Once you’ve made the stock, you can reduce it down to a concentrated liquid and freeze in an ice cube tray for homemade stock cubes. Follow our foolproof homemade chicken stock recipe.

You can also use the chicken carcass to add flavour to anything brothy you’re cooking. Soups, stews and casseroles will all benefit from a boost of chicken goodness, even if you only keep it in the liquid for half an hour.

3. The chicken skin

Crisp chicken skin is great eaten like crisps, added to a sandwich for crunch or sprinkled over pretty much anything. To make it, scrape any excess fat/meat from the skin, then stretch it to a thin layer. Lay on a baking tray, top with another one, then weigh it down with a heavy ovenproof pot. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 180°C fan/gas 6 until crisp. Keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

Discover how to make the best chicken of your life with our expert guide to cooking chicken breasts, thighs and the whole bird perfectly.

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.