Menu Banner

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Grocery Store’s Best Kept Secret: Cheap Chicken Breasts

The other day I was chatting with a few friends.  Friend #1 mentioned that she has been buying whole chickens and cutting them up since that’s so much cheaper than buying boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  She also mentioned that their kitchen feels like a butcher shop.

I said, “I just wait until the boneless/skinless chicken breasts are on sale at the grocery store.  It’s usually $1.99/lb.”  Both friends looked at me like I had three heads.

I figured if they didn’t know that boneless/skinless chicken breasts go on super sale at the regular old grocery store, than a few of you might not know either!

In case you are not aware, your local grocery store will carry family packs of boneless/skinless chicken breasts for $1.99/lb…sometimes less!  They will go on sale randomly, so I always swing by the meat section when I’m at the store. When they ARE on sale, I grab a few packages, individually bag them up in the food storage bags, tie some knots, and toss them in the freezer.  I literally had 10 pounds of chicken breasts on my counter this morning.

Costco’s chicken comes individually packaged…but it’s more expensive.  I think it’s worth the 5 minutes of time to bag it myself.  And, I’ve been able to find chicken on sale like this everywhere I’ve lived. 🙂


  1. I do the same thing as you. My favorite place to buy them is Sunflower Farmer’s Market grocery store. They usually go on sale from anywhere betwee $1.39 – $1.79/lb. I really stock up when it’s $1.39/lb!

  2. 2

    I have been lucky enough to be able to stock up at $1.29/ lb and just keep it in our garage freezer. Chicken is a staple at our house!

  3. 3

    If you’re like me, I really like having individually frozen chicken breasts so I can just pull out however many I need. I buy chicken in bulk like this when it’s on sale, too. However, I bring it home and once I trim any fat, I lay the chicken breasts out on a cookie sheet covered in parchment or wax paper. I freeze them for 24 hours and then I just stick them in freezer bags…ta da…individually frozen chicken breasts for at most $1.99 per pound! It’s kind of like the frozen cookie ball method. I will also cut some of the chicken into chunks or strips for fajitas since I use chicken that way in recipes. It just saves time to not have to wait for the chicken breast to completely thaw before cutting it up. I try to split them into about 1 lb packages. One other thing I do sometimes is boil and shred some of the chicken and freeze it that way, then it’s ready to toss into soups or to make chicken salad sandwiches.

  4. 4
    Jane Maynard

    kristy you are a very efficient user of chicken! 🙂 I’ve never thought of doing with chicken what I do with cookie dough balls – genius! I always bag them individually, but freezing them first on the tray is so smart. thanks!

  5. This is a great tip! Although, I have a hard time with raw chicken. I do like to buy the frozen chicken tenders from Costco, then just toss them into boiling water to cook. No touching necessary! I know, I gotta get over that sometime… maybe!

  6. 6

    i’m a long time member of your chicken bagging camp, jane. i’ve been doing it for years, but it seems like lately i’ve had problems with some of the cheap chicken kind of falling apart. i’ve noticed they’re usually in “15% solution”–plumped up with salt water. i’m not trying to ruin it for anyone, but no wonder they go on sale for so cheap. i haven’t calculated yet if non-plumped chicken is more than 15% more expensive when it’s on sale.

  7. 7
    Jane Maynard

    very interesting, lindsay!

    I pound the you-know-what out of my chicken half the time, so I hadn’t really noticed honestly…I’m so curious about whether or not my chicken is plumped. (btw – love that anti-plumping chicken commercial.) I’m going to do some investigating at the store tomorrow. although, obviously even if mine ARE plumped, I haven’t been bothered by it. 😉

  8. 8

    Three words: Costco Costco Costco. IQF breasts and IQF fillets for grilling. Beautiful.

  9. 9

    I do this too–except my local grocery store sells the raw chicken in huge boxes–40 lbs! That’s a lot of chicken. I buy a box every few months and bag them. It’s seriously cheap, usually at least half the price you noted.

    • What grocery store do you get 40lbs of chicken? I am looking for pre-measured boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 3.5 oz each for the HCG diet. Best not to touch the chicken as it delays weight loss. Any suggesions?

  10. 10
    Jane Maynard

    all I can say to that rynell is WOW! pretty sweet. hope you ahve a huge freezer!

  11. I just BARELY started noticing this myself! We’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately.

  12. 12

    i do the same thing! i buy at least 4 packages when it goes on sale!

  13. 13

    There are alot of great ideas on here…I have started going to the local Butcher…not only chicken, but everything else is cheaper as well!!

  14. Yup, saves ya money and a few minutes at supper time. Can’t beat that!

  15. Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic job!

  16. 16

    For those of you who have one nearby, Harris Teeter’s boneless skinless chicken breasts FRESH are always $1.99 with your VIC card.

  17. 17

    you are paying the same price for that pumped in water as you are for the chicken.

  18. 18

    I’ve actually done the math on this issue and came out with an interesting result.

    I tested a 4lb whole young chicken (aka the fryer), and slow cooked it. I carefully picked all the meat off, and ended up with 1.25lbs of meat. That works out to a ratio of 1lb for every 3.2lbs of precooked weight.

    For boneless skinless chicken breasts, the ratio worked out to 1lb for every 1.33lbs of precooked weight.

    For chicken leg and thigh quarters (which you can still use to make stock from), the ratio worked out to be 1lb for every 1.9lbs of precooked weight.

    So you multiply the ratio amount by the price to get the price per cooked lb.

    Whole chicken: price x 3.2
    Boneless Breasts: price x 1.33
    Chicken leg and thigh quarters: price x 1.9

    I can consistently get the leg quarters for 79c a lb, and breasts for 1.99/lb, and without taking the stock into account, both work out to be vastly cheaper per cooked lb of meat than the whole fryers.

    I slow cooked all 3 for this projected btw, and the meat on poultry is known to have a 25% reduction when cooked, so that accounts for some of the lost weight in addition to the bones and skin.

    The leg quarters will still make a decent stock, and work out vastly cheaper over all, plus they are easier to freeze, store, and defrost than whole chickens are.

    • no kidding you’ve done the math – WOW! thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • Heather

      William, this is excellent information! Thank you for sharing! Out of curiosity, do you know if pumped and not pumped chicken breasts cook down the same? Does one cook up better (more moist) than the other when cooked side by side? Or are they pretty much the same? Also interested to know if the pumped vs. non pumped lose the same percentage of weight… You are so scientific I thought you may already have these answers. If not, no worries. Thanks!

  19. 19

    The Asian stores sell the cheapest chicken around. In oakland and Sacramento they were selling chicken for $0.69 a pound. KP international market.

  20. They will go on sale randomly, so I always swing by the meat section when I’m at the store. When they ARE on sale, I grab a few packages, individually bag them up in the food storage bags, tie some knots, and toss them in the freezer.

  21. 21
    marlyn Kowal

    But the boneless skinless chicken meat is also flavorless. I’ve been trying to find out why it’s becoming difficult to find chicken with skin and bones in the stores.

  22. 22

    It’s funny when a blog writer makes accounts just to fill them with comments in ways that make it obvious it was all the same person.

Leave a comment