If you’ve ever struggled with reheating fried chicken — it comes out dry and the skin is not crunchy like it was the day it was cooked — then this article is for you. Here are ways you can reheat your fried chicken so that it comes out moist, crunchy, and delicious!
10. Make Sure it’s Room Temperature
Pull the chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes to an hour before rewarming it. This will ensure that each piece is heated evenly, thereby preventing “danger zone” temperatures (41–135 degrees Fahrenheit) where bacteria can thrive. It will also cut down on the amount of time needed to reheat the chicken.
TIP: Avoid leaving the chicken out for too long. As we mentioned, 30 minutes to an hour is long enough, though most experts recommend leaving it out no longer than 30 minutes.
9. Use the Oven
According to food publication Spoon University, “ovens and toaster ovens are fried chicken’s besties when it comes to reheating.” That’s because you can easily overcook it when reheating it in the microwave. And, what you’ll end up with is something that’s too dry to eat.
With that said, here’s how to go about reheating fried chicken in the oven:
Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 2 – Arrange the room-temperature chicken on a baking sheet covered in foil
Step 3 – Place more foil on top to insulate the chicken
Step 3 – Bake for 20 minutes
TIP: Another way to reheat fried chicken is to use a convection oven.
8. Use the Microwave
Although this is not the best way to reheat fried chicken, you can still do it. Just make sure you follow these steps to prevent it from being too soggy or too dry:
Step 1 – Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit out until it reaches room temperature. This will help prevent moisture loss during reheating.
Step 2 – Put the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a paper towel to prevent the chicken from becoming too soggy.
Step 3 – Microwave the chicken in 30-second intervals until it’s completely warm.
Step 4 – Enjoy!
7. Cut it into Pieces
Consumer Reports recommends reheating chicken by cutting it into smaller bits and heating them in a bit of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Quora user Jamie Lacson also recommends doing this:
“For something that is like Popeyes Chicken that has been refrigerated, I will first slit into the meat then microwave [it] for about a minute. I will then put [it] in the oven on [the] low broil setting until the skin and batter starts to crisp. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and it will be nice and crispy. If the chicken is not refrigerated, I skip the microwave part. The reason I microwave it is broiling alone will overcook the outside and will not heat the inside, especially for parts like thighs and breasts.”
6. Make Sure it’s Heated to the Right Temperature
For Cook’s Illustrated magazine, reheating fried chicken to an internal temperature of 120 degrees works for them — when it comes to the perfect serving temperature, that is. But, if you’re not planning on eating it immediately, you’ll want to reheat it to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “From a food safety perspective, you have to be careful about how you reheat food,” Katie Hell, a certified professional in food safety and a senior editor at StateFoodSafety, told Reader’s Digest. “Food can’t stay in the temperature danger zone longer than four hours.” Reheating your fried chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit will prevent bacteria from growing to unsafe levels.
5. Re-Fry It
Last year, a Quora user posed the question, “What is the best method of reheating fried chicken so that it’s still crispy and not dry?” Garrick Saito, an amateur weekend cook and avid Food Network watcher, responded by saying that you should use the same method to reheat it that you used to cook it.
The folks at home and garden website FamilyNano agree that the stovetop method is a great way to reheat fried chicken. Here’s how it should be done:
Heat 1/2″ of vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil because it has a low smoke point) in a cast iron skillet until it’s hot. Then, add the chicken and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side until it’s hot and crispy. Lastly, remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a wire rack for one minute before serving.
4. Use a Bag
There are two ways you can reheat fried chicken using a bag: 1) inside a paper bag, or 2) inside a Ziploc bag.
To reheat the chicken in a paper bag, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place the chicken in the bag, making sure to distribute the pieces evenly by size so they reheat at the same time. You can even separate them so that you have big pieces in one bag and small pieces in another. After you’ve assembled your pieces, you’ll need to gently fold the opening of the bag. Next, place the bag on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
To reheat the chicken in a Ziploc bag, you’ll first need to heat some water to 150 degrees Fahrenheit in a large pot. Then, place the chicken in the bag and make sure you lock it so that no water seeps through. Next, place the bag in the pot of water for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces of chicken.
3. Use a Wire Rack
Wire racks aren’t just good for draining your fried chicken or letting it cool. They can also be useful during the reheating process. That’s because the wire rack will keep the chicken raised so it won’t get soggy on the bottom. As a result, it’ll help restore that original crispiness from when you first cooked it.
TIP: Make sure you put the wire rack on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven. You don’t want the grease from the chicken to drip onto the oven’s heating element.
2. Don’t Overcrowd the Chicken
If you want to reheat your fried chicken just right, avoid the temptation to reheat it all at once. Yes, it’s quicker that way, but, as we mentioned a moment ago, it may be best to separate them so that you reheat the big pieces together and the small pieces together. That way they’ll all heat evenly.
Another reason why you don’t want to overcrowd your chicken is because if you plan on reheating your fried chicken on the stovetop with oil, overcrowding will drastically reduce the temperature of the oil, and you’re going to end up with some not-so-good results (as you’ll see in the next section). Heat your chicken in batches instead.
1. Use an Oil with a High Smoke Point
When you reheat chicken in oils with a low smoke point, the chicken ends up absorbing more oil than it should. It’s best, then, to use an oil with a high smoke point and reheat it at a high temperature. This way you’ll end up with crispy skin.
FYI, the smoke point is the temperature at which cooking oil starts to smoke. Butter and extra-virgin olive oil both have low smoke points, whereas canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and clarified butter all have high smoke points.
What are some ways you reheat your fried chicken? Let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!