Fried chicken is one of the infamous American dishes, and who doesn’t love it? However, what makes this meal amazing is its taste and texture. It is served hot to enjoy its crispiness, juiciness, and crunchiness that everybody loves.
For this reason, when you have leftover fried chicken, you want to reheat it in a way that it will taste and feel like it’s freshly cooked. In this article, we’ll provide you with a few ways to reheat your fried chicken to keep its crispiness and flavor, making it more satisfying to eat.
How To Store Fried Chickens
Before we discuss reheating the chickens, we should first discuss how to store leftover chicken to retain its flavor when appropriately reheated. After all, we can only restore its taste and flavor if it is properly stored. We cannot reheat already spoiled or contaminated fried chickens.
It is not advisable to keep the fried chicken at room temperature for long periods after cooking. It is recommended to store them within two hours before bacteria start forming.
When storing the chicken, make sure to completely cover your fried chicken to avoid freezer burn, which destroys the dish’s original flavor. Seal your chicken in an airtight container, wrap it in foil or reusable food wraps, or store it in a freezer bag. Depending on when you plan to reheat the chicken, you can either refrigerate or freeze it after being prepared.
How Long Can You Store Fried Chickens?
Refrigerating the delicious fried chicken is the best way to keep it safe to eat in the following days. The frosting is another option if you want to store them for a more extended period, like months.
|Counter||Up to 2 hours|
|Freezer||Up to 4 months|
5 Ways To Reheat Fried Chicken
Now that you know how to store excess fried chicken and for how long, let’s talk about how to reheat fried chicken after you’ve stored it. Chicken is a delicious and cost-effective meal, but it tends to dry out when reheated.
When reheating fried chicken, the most important thing to remember is to make sure that every part of the chicken is thoroughly warmed. To ensure that all harmful bacteria are removed, the internal temperature should be at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have refrigerated fried chicken, whose skin has become soft and limp, some ways can get back the crunchy, crispy skin the chicken had before you stored it.
If you have frozen your leftover chicken, it must be defrosted first. It must be defrosted overnight in the fridge or cold water.
How to reheat fried chicken using a Conventional Oven?
The conventional oven, by far, is the best way to reheat fried chicken and restore its crispiness.
This is how chefs in professional kitchens prepare fried chicken before it is ordered. It doesn’t need any more oil, and you can leave it in there unattended to keep it warm while also allowing any excess oil to drip off the food.
Claudia Sidoti, a chef from HelloFresh, shares her tips on reheating fried chicken using a conventional oven. This process will take 30 minutes, and the result will be a fried chicken that is crispy and crunchy outside while soft and juicy on the inside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Remove the fried chicken from the refrigerator and place it on the counter to thaw while the oven heats up. This allows all of the pieces to reach the same internal temperature.
- Place the chicken on a baking paper lined with aluminum foil that has been preheated in the oven.
- Put the baking pan in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Check on the chicken frequently, as they may heat at different rates.
Take note that thicker pieces take a longer time to heat than smaller ones. They’re done when the chicken is crispy on the outside and warm all the way through.
How to reheat fried chicken using Toaster Oven?
If you’re in a rush and don’t have the time to preheat your oven, a toaster oven is an excellent alternative.
After the oven, the oven toaster comes next in the list to produce the best result in reheating leftover fried chicken. So, if you have an oven toaster at home, you can save time and use it to reheat your stored fried chicken while maintaining its crispiness.
Here are the steps Sidoti shared on how to reheat fried chicken using the oven toaster.
- Line your toaster with baking paper lined with aluminum foil.
- Preheat the oven toaster to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes. An oven toaster heats faster than a conventional oven. On a plate, place a few pieces of fried chicken enough to fit them in one file. Cover the plate using a paper towel.
- Place the fried chicken inside the toaster oven for 1 minute to 2 minutes. Remove the plate and place the chicken on the baking paper. Then put the chicken back in the toaster oven for an additional three minutes more.
- Allow the chicken to stand until it is almost lukewarm to the touch.
How to reheat using a Microwave?
Microwaves are made primarily used to heat food. Like pizza, fried chickens can be reheated using the microwave.
Using the microwave is not the best method, according to Sidoti. However, she states that many people only have a microwave in their kitchen, so it’s just proper for her also to recommend tips on how to reheat chicken using the microwave.
Just do not expect too much because the heat of the microwave will tend to absorb the juiciness of the meat, making it dry and soggy. However, if you have no other options, here are the steps Sidoti recommends for reheating fried chicken using the microwave.
- Remove the refrigerated fried chicken and set it aside for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
Like most methods, you need the chicken to be at room temperature before reheating them. This prevents the chicken from losing moisture during the heating process.
- Cover the plate with a paper towel to keep the chicken from getting too soggy. Some of the moisture will be absorbed by the towel.
- Microwave the fried chicken for 30 seconds at a time until warm. If you over-microwave it, it will dry out.
How to reheat fried chicken using an Air Fryer?
The air fryer has been one of the modern kitchen technologies these past years. This popular kitchen appliance allows users to fry foods without oil.
The air fryer quickly reheats fried chicken to crispy, crunchy, juicy perfection. You can eat the leftovers, and they will taste almost as good as they did fresh from the deep fryer.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375° F.
- Remove the stored fried chicken from the refrigerator and set it aside for 10 to 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the air fryer basket.
- Cook for 4 minutes, flipping once to ensure even cooking.
Like in the oven, the chicken must be filed in a single layer for even heat distribution. This ensures that the skin on the chicken is crispy. Air fryers are smaller than standard ovens, so you may need to cut the chicken into smaller pieces.
How to reheat fried chicken using a Frying Pan or Skillet?
No high-tech appliances? Don’t worry. You can still reheat your chicken using a frying pan or skillet. This is called “double-frying” because you will literally fry the chickens again.
- Allow the chicken to sit for 10 to 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
- Heat the frying pan on the stove using medium-high heat with oil. Make sure the oil reaches a temperature of 300 degrees F.
- Then fry the chicken again for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Do not put too much chicken on the pan because the oil temperature will drop, resulting in a dry fried chicken.
- After frying, place the finished product on a wire rack to drain excess oil as it cools.
When reheating fried chicken, this method yields a more oily result than the other methods.
The DONT’s When Reheating Fried Chicken
Reheating fried chickens is not as easy as it may seem. There are things to consider to achieve the crispiness and juiciness that we all want.
- Do not reheat it directly after getting out from the fridge. Wait for 10 minutes until it reaches room temperature.
- Do not wrap in foil when reheating using an oven or toaster oven. There is a belief that it is better for insulation and warms the meat more efficiently, which is wrong. Wrapping it in foil only traps steam, making its skin wet and soggy. If you want your leftover chicken to be crispy, avoid using foil.
- Do not freeze the reheated fried chicken again! Frequent reheating promotes the spread of bad bacteria and reduces the quality of meat. It will be hard to achieve crispy chicken if you reheat it more than once. So make sure it’s consumed or throw away any reheated leftovers, and don’t frost them again!
- Do not undercook. Make sure that you reheat the fried chicken using the prescribed heat and time. This will ensure to kill the bacteria that might have formed when you store the chickens.
Reheating leftover fried chicken is safe as long as it is fully cooked and stored correctly within 2 hours after it is cooked.
You can choose either of the five ways mentioned above to reheat the fried chicken. Remember that its internal temperature should be at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that all harmful bacteria are removed.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.