Difference between a Broiler, Fryer and Roaster Chicken

By: | Updated: Feb-10, 2020
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When we look for chicken at the grocery store, we encounter different types depending on the cooking preparation. There are broiler chickens, fryer chickens, and roaster chickens. Apart from the difference in the manner of cooking, how can you tell one type of chicken from another? Continue reading this article to learn the differences between broiler, fryer, and roaster chickens.

Summary Table

Broiler chicken Fryer chicken Roaster chicken
5-7 weeks old 7 weeks old 3-5 months old
Weighs around 4 to 5 pounds Weighs around 2.5 to 4 pounds Weighs around 5 to 8 pounds


A broiler chicken

A broiler chicken is a chicken that is raised for meat, and it typically reaches it’s processing weight of 4 to 5 pounds around 5-7 weeks old. Broilers are tender, meaty, and can be cooked in many different ways.

A fryer chicken

A fryer chicken is raised for its meat and reaches processing weight, 2.5 to 4 pounds, at about 7 weeks old. Even though it is called a fryer chicken, it is also tasty when poached, grilled, steamed, or sautéed.

A roaster chicken

A roaster chicken is usually processed for its meat at 3 to 5 months of age. It weighs around 5 to 8 pounds. The roaster has a thick layer of fat, which helps with basting. This type of chicken is not good for broiling or frying since the thicker pieces tend to burn on the outside prior to the inside meat cooking through.

Broiler vs Fryer vs Roaster chicken

The main differences between broiler, fryer, and roaster chickens come down to the age and weight of the poultry when they are processed for meat. Fryer chickens are the smallest, weighing around 2.5 to 4 pounds. They reach this slaughter weight around 7 weeks. Next in size are broiler chickens, weighing at least 4 pounds. Broiler chickens are ready for the market when they are 5-7 weeks old. Roaster chickens are the largest, oldest type, at around 3 to 5 months old and weighing 5 to 8 pounds.

Broiler and fryer chickens have young and tender meat. They are best cooked at high heat and are mild tasting. The small parts, though, are not so good for stewing or braising since they easily dry out. Roaster chickens are a little older and larger. They must be cooked longer and they have a distinct flavor. This type of meat is good for braising and stewing. However, roaster chickens are not ideal for broiling or frying since the larger, thicker pieces tend to burn on the outside while the inside is not yet cooked through.

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