How to Cook Chicken in a Can?

Chicken recipes are one of the most widespread delicacies in the entire world. From western to eastern, it’s a part of every culture. There are more than hundreds of ways available to cook chicken. Do you ever hear of cooking chicken in a can? Well, it’s possible to cook a whole chicken in a can.

If you want to try something new with your chicken, then you should check out the recipes on how to cook chicken in a can. You can try these unique dishes that you can try at home or while camping outdoor. The distinct procedures of cooking chicken will also offer you a better taster and flavors.

How to Cook Chicken in a Can: Cooking in a Coffee Can

It may sound awkward but you can really cook an entire chicken in your coffee can. The dish is typically known as “Coffee Can Chicken” and sometimes also called “Swingin’ Chicken”. Here is how to do it:


  • A Whole Chicken (around 3 lbs)
  • Empty Coffee Can (or a size 10 can)
  • Dry Chicken Rub
  • Vegetables (Optional)


Step 1: Preparing the Coffee Can

The first thing you need to do is to prepare the coffee can. If there is no old coffee can available nearby, the number 10 cans can also do the work. If there is a flange on the top of the can, trim it off so that you can fit the entire second with ease.

Afterward, cut around 1/4″ holes about one inch up from the bottom of the can. Make use of the biggest nail available near you to create the holes. Create around 6 to 8 holes in a circle around the can above inches from the bottom. Now create two more holes above on two sides just beneath the rim to add a handle.

Step 2: Add Briquets and Heat Them

Add around 15 to 16 briquets at the bottom of the coffee can. Use charcoal lighter fluid to heat up the briquets. They will require around 20 minutes to become ready. You should see a coating of white ashes on the briquets. If you don’t have the fluids, simply fire up the briquets on a grill or rock with some newspaper and a hairdryer.

Step 3: Prepare the Chicken

While allowing the charcoal to become hot, prepare the chicken by adding dry chicken rubs. If you don’t have it already, you will require making it. It should consist of paprika, ground black pepper, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme leaves, coriander, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, etc. Simply mix them together and add on the chicken as required.

After that, wrap the entire chicken with heavy-duty dry aluminum foil. Make sure to cover the entire chicken. You need to make sure that the chicken is sealed properly to trap the juices produces during the cooking. Note that you may also add veggies on the cavity of the chicken like onion, celery, garlic, etc. if you want.

Step 4: Put the Chicken on the Can

Once the coals are ready, you can put the wrapped chicken on the can with the feet side up. Once you add the chicken to the can, make sure to hang the can somewhere using steel wires. You will need to do this as the heat of the coals on the bottom may destroy the surface. You can hang it anywhere but make sure that you hang it tightly to prevent falling. If hanging is not possible, you can also put it on the grill.

Step 5: Time to Cook

The basic rules of thumb are to cook one hour for one lb of the chicken. So, you will require cooking for around 3 hours for a 3 lbs chicken. Much time is required for a bigger chicken. The same rule is applicable if you add vegetables.  The interesting thing about cooking is you can leave the cooking unattended as there is nothing to do for you.

Step 6: Complete the Cooking

Simply hang the can and go for a walk or hike or complete your works. The chicken will be ready after the prerequired time. The cooking will be complete once the inside temperature of the meat becomes more than 165 degrees. Use a kitchen thermometer to check it. Once you are done cooking, the meat will so tender and soft that you will be able to pull it out with your hand.


How Long I will require to cook with the vegetables?

Well, you will require cooking only a few more minutes if you prefer adding the vegetables. Simply cook for around 15 to 25 minutes extra. Note that there are no chances of burning the meat as it will be covered by the foil. So, you can cook as long as you need.

What types of the vegetable can I add?

You can add almost any vegetable you want. These include the onion, carrot, sweet or usual potato, celery, etc. Make sure to cut the vegetables in half or quarter depending on their size to fit into the cavity of the chicken.

What to do with the leftovers?

We know it will be hard to consume three lbs of chicken at once. It is possible to preserve the chicken for a few days. You will require putting the remaining chicken in a sealed bag and put it in the refrigerator. Make sure to heat up a bit on the stovetop or oven before serving. Eat within three days for the best taste.

What else I can cook in a coffee can?

You can follow the exact same recipe to cook a turkey in the coffee can. Make sure to cook for a bit longer for a proper result. Apart from the chicken and turkey, you can also try other meats, fish, or vegetables following the way.


If you are tired of the usual chicken recipes, you should consider cooking your next chicken meal following the discussed recipe in the article. We assure you will love the outcome of tender and flavorful delicious chicken meats. Please let us know how it comes along if you dare to try this unique recipe.



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