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Why You Should Be Cooking With Air-Chilled Chicken

Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken

Discover the secret behind flavorful juicy chicken: The air-chilled process.

Air-Chilled Process, Explained

As part of processing chicken, the birds have to be cooled to a certain temperature to ensure food safety. This can be done in one of two ways — immersion in cold water or air chilling. The most popular method in the U.S. has been to water chill birds. However, a handful of chicken processors have embraced the air-chilled method, which has been used in Europe for more than 40 years.

During air chilling, each bird is individually chilled over the course of about three hours. Birds are moved into carefully monitored temperature-controlled chambers where purified air cools them. The birds move over a mile or more on tracks in these special chambers as they cool down.

The Benefits

The air-chill process results in several standout benefits — namely great-tasting chicken. It produces tender succulent meat and 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 this is the key to the making the perfect roast chicken. Favor extra crispy skin? You guessed it, opt for air-chilled chicken.

Our Offerings

Air-chilled chicken is available in our stores year round. We carry whole chickens, along with breasts, thighs, wings, drums and tenderloins from birds raised to our strict standards, including:

  • No antibiotics, ever
  • Quality feed without animal byproducts
  • No physical alterations
  • Appropriate litter provided for comfort and to satisfy natural foraging instincts
  • 5-Step® Animal Welfare Rated

Simply look for “air chilled” on the label or ask a team member in the meat department at your local Whole Foods Market store for assistance.

Get Cooking

Hungry yet? Pick up air-chilled chicken, and try one of these or another of our favorite chicken recipes

Coffee-Rubbed Roasted Chicken

Pineapple-Chicken Kabobs with Quinoa

Grilled Barbecue Chicken

Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese

Picnic Chicken Drumsticks