There’s nothing like eating fried chicken. You can even get roasted or barbecued chicken as well.
Cooked chicken is known for its tender-juicy meat as well as crisp breading. You don’t necessarily need to cook a KFC-type chicken, but most chicken recipes are delicious anyway.
Chicken is delicious. If you wish to make sure that the chicken you’ve made remains crispy and flavorful (even umami or savory), you need to reheat it properly.
You can use fried chicken oil or follow specific instructions in order to get a reheated chicken that’s as delicious as a freshly cooked bird. So what is the best way to reheat fried chicken? Here’s how you should go about it.
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What is The Best Way to Reheat Fried Chicken with a Microwave?
If you don’t have time to preheat your conventional oven, you can reheat your chicken with a microwave.
You have to be careful though because you might dry out the chicken if you incorrectly use this device. The texture won’t be the same with a microwave reheating compared to a conventional oven reheating.
Microwaving Isn’t Preferred
Microwaving chicken isn’t the preferred method. According to the experts, the fried chicken will dry out due to the nature of the radiowaves produced by the appliance and how they interact with the water molecules found in food and beverages.
The skin also ends up soggy as the water rises from inside to outside. The soggy, soft texture of microwaved chicken won’t compare to an oven-heated chicken, obviously.
The preferred methods for heating chicken include an air fryer, a conventional electric or gas oven, and a toaster oven. Most anything that results in a reheated chicken that isn’t dry.
A hot oven is great in quickly crisping up the chicken skin and heats through the meat without drying it out as a microwave would.
Making Do with What You Have
If you’re in a hurry to heat up your chicken, few devices can do it as fast as your microwave. Do the following to make it happen.
Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it sit out for about 10 minutes. Make it reach room temperature. This prevents the chicken from losing moisture versus reheating it immediately in the microwave.
Paper Towels and 30-Second Intervals
Keep the chicken from becoming soggy by placing a paper towel over the plate. The towel absorbs the moisture when push comes to shove.
Zap the chicken about half-minute or 30-second intervals until it’s warmed up or hot. Over-microwaving the food will lead it to dry out.
Therefore, keep an eye out to ensure the chicken remains juicy. Add side dishes like French fries or chips if you want.
What is The Best Way to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken with a Microwave?
If the fried chicken is frozen, you need to thaw it out. Defrost it with the microwave to get it ready immediately. Otherwise, thaw it out normally, like let it go back to room temperature normally overnight by putting it in your cooler than outside on the sink.
Thawing with the Microwave
Put your microwave in defrost mode or thaw the leftover chicken with a temperature reaching 165°F (measure with a food thermometer).
From there, follow the directions on how to reheat the chicken outlined above.
Over-Safe Baking Sheet with Aluminum Foil Lining
Alternatively, you can also place the chicken in an oven-safe baking sheet lined with aluminum foil in order to further heat it up from the outside as well as the inside. The pan should be placed at the center rack then zapped with the device for about 10 minutes of time.
Check the Chicken Regularly
Different microwaves offer different wattages and power levels. A bigger convection microwave oven can cook the chicken better than a 700-watt solo microwave oven.
Therefore, check the condition of the chicken since thicker pieces like the breast heat up slower than smaller pieces like the wings.
When Is It All Done?
You’ve done your job in microwave-heating the fried chicken if it results in a chicken that’s crispy on the outside and warms on the inside or all the way through.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be as delicious as a freshly cooked chicken but at the very least keep it from drying out.
How to Reheat Fried Chicken in the Oven
There’s no foolproof way to refry or reheat chicken like how it tasted when it was freshly cooked. You can salvage and savor whatever is left of its deliciousness the most with oven heating though. Ergo, here are the steps needed to properly reheat via a conventional electric or gas oven.
Room Temperature Chicken
In order to not waste gas or electricity, leave your chicken taken straight from the fridge on your counter or table until it reaches room temperature. This takes about half an hour or 30 minutes. This will ensure it gets cooked quicker and more evenly as well.
Preheat Oven and Use the Wire Rack
The desired preheating temperature for your oven is about 350°F. There’s also a wire rack you can place on top of the sheet pan in order to make sure the chicken is raised as it is cooked or reheated. This also keeps the bottom of the chicken from becoming soggy when all is said and done.
15-Minute Cooking and Temperature Raising
The chicken should be cooked for about 15 minutes until its temperature reaches 150°F. Raise the heat of the oven to about 400°F and cook the fried chicken for an additional 5-8 minutes. This should ensure that the chicken reaches the ideal temperature of 165°F.
Your Fried Chicken Has Now Been Reheated
Technically, you’ve baked your fried chicken, but this method is the closest one available to make cold chicken taste almost like freshly fried chicken.
If you’ve done everything properly, expect a crispy outside and a juicy inside. Just dip the wings or drumstick on your favorite sauce and savor its restored juiciness.
Reheating Fried Chicken in a Toaster Oven
You can also reheat your fried chicken using a toaster oven instead. However, you need to follow the instructions below to prevent yourself from accidentally overcooking, charring, or drying out your leftovers.
Aluminum Foil Lining
Line with aluminum foil the baking sheet of your oven. The sheet comes with every toaster oven unit. Afterwards, set the toaster to about 400°F for preheating purposes. Let it preheat for a couple of minutes before placing your leftover chicken on a microwave-friendly plate that’s covered with a paper towel.
Use a Microwave First
The paper towel is supposed to absorb the moisture coming out of the chicken as it’s cooked. From there, put the fried chicken into the microwave and zap it for about 1 minute to 1 minute and 45 seconds. Remove the plate from the microwave and put the hot chicken on the prepped baking sheet.
Heat Up with the Toaster Oven
Stick the baking sheet and chicken into the toaster oven so that it could be heated u p for 3 more minutes. Let the chicken get further cooked after 3 minutes has passed by letting it stand inside the oven.
Check to see if it’s lukewarm to touch. When it’s lukewarm then it’s ready to be served on your table.
What Not to Do When Reheating Fried Chicken
When reheating fried chicken, make sure the leftovers don’t make you sick because they’re left too soggy or too dry. It’s all about maintaining the flavor of the original chicken when it was first fried to golden crispy perfection.
According to food safety professionals, the safest way to reheat the fried chicken is by microwave or oven. It’s not recommended to refry them because they might get overcooked or dried out too much.
You should also avoid leaving the food out for too long at room temperature. Your leftovers should be left chilled then defrosted or warmed up to room temperature before they’re reheated.
If the chicken lands in the danger zone temperature range (of 41°F to 135°F), bacteria should thrive on it. Keep in mind how long the meat lasts too.
Don’t reheat the chicken too many times without finishing it because it could come out tasteless at best or inedible at worst after the third or fourth day of refrigeration.
You should be careful when reheating food. The fewer times you’ve reheated it the better.
Otherwise, it’s no better than dog food or it might even end up so inedible even dogs can’t eat them.
Then again, when feeding leftover chicken to dogs, always make sure to strip out the meat and leave out the bone because dogs might end up with digestive problems by eating chicken bones.
When All Is Said and Done
It’s perfectly fine to eat cold-fried chicken. You can even make chicken salad out of a cold cooked chicken if you wish. However, fried chicken is still best served hot instead of cold.
Revenge should be the dish best served cold not chicken. To ensure you get a hot and crispy fried chicken dish—from the breasts to the wings and legs—you should follow the recommendations outlined above. You can either refry it or you can reheat it with a microwave oven, conventional oven, or toaster oven.
- Erin Kayata, “The Best Ways to Reheat Fried Chicken“, Reader’s Digest, May 15, 2019
- Heath Goldman, “How to Reheat Fried Chicken“, FoodNetwork.com (Food Network Kitchen), Retrieved March 9, 2021
- Heath Goldman, “The Best Ways to Use Up Leftover Chicken“, FoodNetwork.com (Food Network Kitchen), Retrieved March 9, 2021