How To Perfectly Reheat Leftover Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a fan favorite, but day-old fried chicken can be difficult to enjoy as it is generally soggy. Unfortunately, nobody wants to eat soggy fried chicken, because the crunch of fried chicken is the best part.
There has to be a better way to make day-old chicken taste great, right? So, we need to find out how to reheat fried chicken without destroying everything that makes it taste great? Let’s take a look at how you can get the crispy, crunchy fried chicken taste and texture out of previously made fried chicken without a whole lot of fuss.
What Do You Need to Reheat Fried Chicken?
To get perfectly crispy and warm reheated fried chicken, you will need a few different items. First, we have two different methods for getting perfectly reheated fried chicken.
For the oven method, you will need:
- An oven
- A baking sheet
- Aluminum foil (optional)
- Tongs (optional)
- A wire rack
- Day-old chicken
For the frying method, you will need:
- A heavy pan such as a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven (or a deep fryer)
- Vegetable, peanut or canola oil
- A wire rack
- Day-old chicken
Depending on the method and what you have your kitchen, you have a little wiggle room. For those who are inexperienced in the kitchen, we recommend the oven method, as it requires less attention and work.
How to Reheat Fried Chicken
Since we have two different methods for reheating fried chicken, we will go over each of them individually. We recommend that anyone who isn’t comfortable in the kitchen or with frying foods use the oven method. It is typically easier and requires less work; plus, there is no hot oil in the oven reheating method.
Step 1. Preheat the oven and let chicken sit at room temperature
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is warming up, let the chicken sit out at room temperature to warm up slightly before baking. You should allow the chicken to sit out for at least 30 minutes.
We enjoy using this time to make other dishes or for other prep work in the kitchen. The best part is that you don’t need to babysit the chicken during this method, so you have plenty of time to do other cooking.
Step 2. Put chicken on a wire rack on a baking sheet
To bake your chicken, you will want to put it on a wire rack over a baking sheet. If you want, you can line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, which will make it much easier to clean up after the fact.
Putting the chicken on a wire rack will prevent the bottom of the chicken from getting soggy or steaming instead of baking.
Step 3. Bake the chicken
Allow the chicken to bake at 400 degrees. If you are reheating chicken breasts, allow them to bake for 14 to 18 minutes. Legs and thighs will take less time to bake. Leave them in the oven for eight to 12 minutes. You may want to turn your chicken halfway through the cooking process with tongs. You will want to make sure that your chicken is reheated to at least 120 degrees internally. This will make it safe for you to eat (CooksIllustrated.com).
Step 1. Allow chicken to reach room temperature
If you want perfectly cooked re-fried chicken, you will need to let the chicken reach room temperature before you try to cook it again. We recommend allowing it to sit out for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. This will prevent the oil temperature from dropping when you put the chicken into the pan, which will prevent the chicken from crisping up.
Step 2. Heat oil
Add your choice of oil – we recommend vegetable, canola or peanut – to a heavy pan like a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet. You will want to use enough oil to allow at least the bottoms of the chicken pieces to become submerged in the oil. Heat it over high heat.
For those with a deep fryer, you may want to break it out for this process as it will also allow you to get crispy re-fried chicken.
Step 3. Re-fry chicken
Add your chicken to the hot oil using tongs so you don’t cause the oil to splash. You will want to only fry a few pieces at a time to prevent overcrowding in the pan. Allow the chicken to cook for two to three minutes. Be sure to turn the chicken regularly to prevent burning.
The longer you cook the chicken, the crispier the skin will get, but if you cook it for too long, you risk drying out the chicken.
Step 4. Drain oil from chicken
Allow the oil to drain off the chicken using a wire rack. If you have a pan that you can place the wire rack directly onto, you will allow the oil to drain while still keeping the chicken warm. If you can’t place your wire rack directly over the pan, put the wire rack on a baking sheet. Let the chicken drain for three to five minutes (WikiHow.com).
What Not to Do
Now that we’ve told you what you should do, let’s take a look at what you need to avoid.
First, don’t use the microwave. Microwaves are known for being a quick way to reheat food, but they just dry out the chicken and make the skin soggy and limp. Toaster ovens are also another no-no. They won’t heat the chicken evenly and the outside won’t get crispy.
We also don’t recommend reheating fried chicken in a dry skillet. Not only will you get uneven heating, but you will also dry out the chicken.
If you are tired of soggy old chicken, these methods will teach you how to reheat fried chicken with ease without compromising its taste and texture. Remember that you should avoid the microwave; stick with baking or re-frying the chicken to get the best reheated chicken.
Do you feel confident that you can go out and reheat your leftover fried chicken? If you have any further questions, leave us a comment. Be sure to share this article if you found it helpful.