Which chickens are best for roasting, frying, and stewing?

What’s the difference between a roasting chicken, a fryer, and one you use for things like chicken and dumplings?  What is a capon?

Chickens bigger than fryers range from Roasters to Stewing Hens to Capons. Roasters weigh from 5 to 7 pounds. Stewing Hens may be smaller, but they are the oldest of the group, from 10 months to 1-1/2 years old. Because of their age, they are less tender than their siblings. This makes them suitable for long, slow, cooking, i.e., stewing. Capons are neutered roosters and weigh from 4 to 9 pounds.

Fryers & Roasters

Roasters and fryers generally have more muscle, flavor and fat. The fat is favorable for roasting & frying because it adds flavor and moisture to the meat as it is cooking and will eventually melt off through the cooking process. They can be either a cockerel or a pullet, that is, a male or female under 1 year old.


More flavorful and tender than roasting chickens and turkey, Capons are neutered roosters.  They are perfect for roasting.

Cornish Game Hens

Cornish Game Hens are a breed of domestic chicken that weighs 16-24 ounces dressed when fully mature. They have a light savory flavor slightly stronger than chicken, but not as strong as partridge or quail.


Poussin are 26 to 28 day-old chickens that weigh about 16 ounces. They are light and flavorful.

Stewing Hens

Stewing hens are fully mature laying hens that are 1 to 1 1/2 years old and weigh 5-7 lbs. when dressed. Their meat is firm, and has a strong chicken flavor. Stewing hens are best used for soups and broth, potpies, chicken and dumplings, and excellent chicken salad.

Stewed-Chicken Salad

Prep Time0 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
0 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken salad, stewed chicken
Servings: 8


  • 4 cups chopped stewed chicken
  • 1 stalk celery finely chopped
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh dill less for dried
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 hard boiled eggs grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Stewed Chicken
  • 1 5-6 lb. stewing hen cut up
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • For chicken: Place chicken in Dutch oven with water to cover, about 2quarts. Add parsley, celery, carrot, onion, salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook over low heat, about 2 1/2 hours, until tender. Remove meat from bones.
  • For chicken salad:
  • In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, scallions and herbs. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, eggs, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the chicken and mix gently until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Optional Chicken Salad additions
    Chopped walnuts, pecans or sliced almonds
    Pickle relish
    Dried cranberries
    Sliced tomatoes