Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Chillin' Chicken

By Theo Weening, January 15, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Theo Weening
Are you interested in trying some new and exciting things in the New Year? If so, give our air-chilled chicken a try. Its tender, has lots of flavor and is very juicy! As part of processing chicken, the birds have to be cooled to a certain temperature to ensure food safety, and this can be done in one of two ways: immersion in cold water or by air-chilling. The most popular method in the U.S. has been to water-chill birds. However, a handful of chicken processors have recently embraced the air-chilled method, which has been used in Europe for more than 40 years. Each bird is individually chilled over the course of about three hours. Birds are moved into carefully monitored temperature-controlled chambers where cold air is misted on them. The birds move over a mile or more on tracks in these special chambers as they cool down. The air-chill process offers several tasty benefits! First, it keeps the meat juicy and tender; and second, it keeps the natural flavor of the bird locked inside. Additionally, because the birds have not been processed with water, they cook more quickly. Some say that these birds make the perfect roast. Hungry yet?!  Pick up some air-chilled chicken and give it a try in one of these recipes: Air-chilled chicken is available in ALL our stores year round. It’s not the only chicken we offer, so just look for “air-chilled” on the label or ask the meat guys in your local store and they’ll be happy to show you the air-chilled selection. You’ll find whole birds, of course, along with an assortment of parts like breasts, thighs, wings, drums and tenderloins. We are proud to work with our partners Pitman Farms, Bell & Evans, Joyce Foods, BC Natural, Field to Family and Miller Poultry to provide you tasty air-chilled chicken raised to our strict standards, including no antibiotics — ever. Have you tried air-chilled chicken? Could you taste the difference? Tell us more – we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Category: Food & Recipes, Meat




Jackie says ...
I roasted an air chilled chicken. It was amazing. Super moist.
01/21/2011 11:44:37 AM CST
SusieBeeOnMaui (Eat Little, Eat Big) says ...
Yes, we can tell the difference. Love the air-chilled birds-more tasty, moister meat. I haven't noticed a difference in cooking time but will pay more attention and see.
01/15/2011 1:22:02 PM CST
Cooking4carnivores says ...
Just used your chicken to make my hubby some BBQ baked deliciousness. It's a simple recipe you can see here - http://www.cooking4carnivores.com/2011/01/simple-life.html Made me feel better using your chicken!
01/18/2011 12:30:24 PM CST
Felicia Harris says ...
What is the cost comparison to your regular whole foods brand chicken?
01/27/2011 7:12:13 AM CST
Lauren Strouse says ...
I have tried the air-chilled chicken and it is far superior in flavor and texture to the standard water chilled variety. I am sixty years old and it reminded me of chickens we ate when I was a child living in rural MN.
01/27/2011 4:29:53 PM CST
ND says ...
Whole Foods air-chilled chicken is the best chicken. Always so tender. Worth every penny.Once you've cooked with air-chilled chicken, you won't go back to water-chilled chicken.
02/10/2012 12:25:18 PM CST
Mike Lanning says ...
I am having trouble finding super markets that carry airchilled chicken brands. I reside in north eastern Ohio, in a suburb of Cleveland ,Ohio 44142..please advise.....
09/02/2013 1:58:22 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MIKE - We definitely have air-chilled chicken options in our stores. It appears the closest location to you is our Upper Arlington store: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/upperarlington.
09/02/2013 4:16:01 PM CDT
Silvia C says ...
So glad that Whole Foods sells air-chilled chickens! But I have a question about the topic. While I was looking at what the meat dpt. guys at my local Whole Foods were pointing as being air-chilled chicken, I saw that the packaging clearly stated that the contents "may contain up to 5% water". According to a PBS show I saw last week, only chickens processed in the water/bleach bath would contain such notice. I'm just wondering where the water mentioned in the packaging of what's supposed to be air-chilled chicken came from. Just curious.
10/16/2013 11:57:16 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SILVIA - The USDA requires that processors rinse poultry with an anti-microbial after evisceration. This is true for water-chilled and air-chilled poultry. This is regulated by the USDA and is done in accordance with National Organic Standards. Anti-microbials, like chlorine or acidified sodium chlorite, are used to help control the spread of bacteria. Shoppers should consult the USDA website for more information: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/.
10/28/2013 4:12:35 PM CDT
Cynthia Perkins says ...
I cooked these for my husband...and made hot wings... He said they were the best...I loved the way they looked. I am a pescetarian and therefore did not eat them. But he was satisfied.
01/14/2014 6:22:52 PM CST
marilyn bosarge says ...
Absolutely marvelous chicken and distinctively more delicious! I'm never going back.
02/02/2014 9:30:27 AM CST