Trader Joe's Fans Say This New Product Takes All the Effort Out of Making Roast Chicken
A simple roast chicken is the easy, comforting gift that keeps on giving. After all, it's hard to resist a weeknight dinner that you can transform into a whole new meal for lunch the next day—we're looking at you, Lemon Chicken Pasta and Creamy Chicken Salad. But while it's usually pretty easy to get a simple roast chicken into the oven (or the air fryer), it does require a little bit of prep work, especially if you want to brine your bird.
That's where a new Trader Joe's item comes in. The beloved grocery chain just started selling a Buttermilk-Brined Half Chicken, which is the perfect size for those cooking for one or two (or for folks who don't like leftovers). The brine, which is a tad acidic, thanks to the buttermilk, helps tenderize and boost flavor in the chicken. If you were brining the chicken at home, you'd have to remember to start marinating well in advance—our Buttermilk-Brined Chicken recipe calls for somewhere between four and 12 hours of marinating time. With a TJ's pre-brined chicken on hand, you're good to go as soon as you leave the store.
Kelsey Lynch, a Trader Joe's fan and cookbook author who goes by @traderjoesfoodreviews on Instagram, says this chicken is pretty tasty, and it sounds like a boon for nights when you want a comforting home-cooked meal without all the effort. "The skin was soo crispy and flavorful on this chicken," Lynch wrote on Instagram. "The chicken itself was also incredibly moist."
The new product has just five ingredients: chicken, low-fat buttermilk, salt, vinegar powder and rosemary. Those seasonings would definitely give it some flavor, but you could also bump up the flavor with black pepper, lemon, garlic, thyme or any other favorite seasonings before sliding the bird in the oven. One commenter suggested adding some of the store's new ranch seasoning for an extra punch of flavor.
Trader Joe's suggests baking this chicken in the oven at 375°F or grilling over medium-high heat—either option will take around 40 minutes. But you could also cook it in the air fryer at about 350°F for about 30 minutes. No matter how you prepare it, you'll want to have a meat thermometer on hand so you can be sure that the thickest part of the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
Here's how a 4-ounce serving of this marinated chicken stacks up, nutrition-wise:
- 220 calories
- 15 grams total fat
- 4.5 grams saturated fat
- 470 milligrams sodium
- 2 grams carbohydrates
- 0 grams added sugar
- 20 grams protein
That's plenty of protein, which can help you feel satisfied for longer after a meal and support muscle-building, among other health perks. The chicken also comes in just under our recommended limit for sodium in a main dish—that's good news, especially since prepared convenience foods tend to sneak in a lot of sodium. If you're concerned about your heart health, you might want to be a little wary of the saturated fat and sodium in this quick main. The American Heart Association recommends getting just 5 to 6% of your calories from saturated fat, so if you ate 2,000 calories each day, that would be about 13 grams of saturated fat. This chicken contains 34% of that daily suggested limit, most of which comes from the skin. You could opt to discard the chicken skin after cooking to help cut down on saturated fat.
Serve this chicken with a quick side dish or two—like our Simple Cabbage Salad or Cheesy Asparagus—for a simple but tasty roast dinner that takes practically no time to prepare. If you're hitting the grill, another commenter suggests adding grilled zucchini to the mix, which sounds like a delish way to welcome summer.