We know it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever have leftover Fried Chicken, but if you do, you definitely need to know how to reheat it for perfect results.
As we already discovered, fried chicken is America’s comfort food. It’s almost impossible not to love it, especially if you’re from the South.
There’s nothing better than getting a hot juicy bucket of fried chicken and feeling the moist explosion of flavor as you sink your teeth in for that memorable first bite. Fried chicken can be an amazing culinary experience, especially when paired with the right sides.
But what about the next day? Have you ever tried to reheat fried chicken only to find that it lacks that zesty juicy crispy goodness which wowed you the first time? While it’s true that some foods never quite taste the same after being reheated (lookin’ at you, French fries) surely there must be some way to recapture the magic of your fried chicken a day or two later.
So what are the best ways to reheat fried chicken? How can you make the most out of your leftovers? Read on to find out, then thank me later!
I know, right now you’re probably like “duh, Kev” but hear me out on this one. Sure, most of you microwave your leftover fried chicken and that’s where you’re getting the weird tasting remnants we spoke about above. That’s because you’re not microwaving your chicken the right way.
First, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter for 10 or so minutes. You want to make sure that it’s at room temperature before you start trying to heat it. Why should you do this? You’re trying to prevent the chicken from losing all its moisture when it’s heating in the microwave. This way it doesn’t have to be in the microwave for as long AND it will heat more evenly so that it’s warm on the inside and outside, not cold inside and warm outside.
Once the chicken is at a nice room temperature, cover the entire plate with a paper towel. This will keep the chicken from getting soggy by allowing the towel to soak up a lot of the excess moisture.
Microwave it in short 30 second bursts. Check the chicken after each run to see if it’s at the desired temperature (165°F). If you overheat it, the chicken will dry out and that is never a fun meal.
So be careful!
Rejoice! There are reheating options that don’t involve “nuking” your chicken in the microwave. You can reheat food right in your oven, which a lot of people never realize.
First, you’re going to preheat said oven to 400°F.
Then, take out your chicken and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes until it gets to room temperature. This is going to be a fairly common occurrence throughout our heating methods.
Arrange the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet.
Now, take another sheet of foil and place it on top of the sheet, fully covering the chicken.
Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the chicken. You’ll want to let it sit for about five minutes, but if all has gone well you’ll have some perfectly crisped second-day fried chicken to enjoy.
Here’s another very popular method of reheating fried chicken. Your toaster oven! It combines the microwave technique with the oven technique to create some crispy leftover fried chicken.
First things first, line the baking sheet of the toaster oven with foil. Then, you’ll set your toaster oven’s temperature to 400°F. Let the chicken sit out for 10 minutes so that it gets to room temperature. (I’m sure you saw that coming)
Arrange the chicken pieces on a plate and cover that plate with a paper towel. Place the chicken in the microwave and microwave it for one minute and 45 seconds. Take the chicken out and place it on the baking sheet in the now heated toaster oven.
Bake for two to three minutes. Remove the chicken and let it sit for about five minutes before serving it up.
Come on, it wouldn’t be a modern food blog post without at least mentioning an air fryer. These popular appliances allow us to cook fried foods in our homes without having to get a deep fryer and dealing with pools of boiling oil.
But did you know that you can and should be reheating foods in your air fryer? This includes fried chicken.
First, (say it with me now) let the chicken sit out for about 10 minutes until it reaches room temperature.
Next, arrange the chicken pieces inside the basket of your air fryer.
Turn your air fryer to somewhere between 350 and 400°F. Cook for no longer than four minutes. Honestly, three minutes should do it.
The end result will be some perfectly warm and perfectly crisp fried chicken!
It’s not impossible to have great crispy fried chicken on the second or third day. Follow these important tips and bite into your leftover fried chicken like it’s the first time!
This post originally appeared in April 2019 and was revised and republished in June 2022.