What’s the key to tastier chicken? Keep it chill — specifically, air-chilled. Perhaps you’ve heard of air-chilled chicken or seen it in our stores. If you crave a juicy bird with extra-crispy skin, then you’ll want to give it a try. And there's no antibiotics, ever, as with everything in our Meat department.
What is Air-Chilling?
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 air-chilling process results in several standout benefits — namely great-tasting chicken. It produces tender, succulent meat and keeps the flavor intact. Some say air-chilling is the key to the making the perfect roast chicken with extra-crispy skin.
What Makes Our Chicken Different
Air-chilled chicken is available in our Meat department year-round. We offer whole chickens, along with breast, thighs, wings and drumsticks from birds raised to our Quality Standards for meat:
- No antibiotics, ever and no added hormones.*
- No animal byproducts in feed
- No physical alterations
- Appropriate litter provided for comfort and to satisfy foraging instincts
- Animal Welfare Certified
Simply look for “air-chilled” on the label or ask a team member in the Meat department at your Whole Foods Market store for assistance.
How to Cook Air-Chilled Chicken
Ready to get in the kitchen? Grab some air-chilled chicken from our Meat department and try one of these recipes. We’ve divided them into two categories that play to air-chilled chicken’s strengths. Simply choose the one that best fits into your routine.
Juicy Chicken Recipes
- Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Kabobs
- Easy Chicken Burritos
- Chicken and Brown Rice Soup
Extra-Crispy Chicken Recipes
- Chicken and Artichokes with Farro
- Oven-Baked Chicken with Parmigiano Reggiano Crust
- Roasted Chicken With Herbs
- Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry.