There is very little that is more satisfying than crispy, perfectly fried chicken. The bad thing is, just a few minutes in the fridge will end up undoing everything that makes fried chicken delicious and you’ll have a piece of meat that is cold, soft, and soggy.
Have no fear though – you can reheat your fried chicken without messing it up. Of course, you must keep in mind that it will not be nearly as good as when it’s fresh out of the fryer, but it will be so much better than eating cold, soggy chicken.
Here are a few easy techniques and the best way how to reheat fried chicken that will give you delicious fried chicken even days after it was cooked.
Reheating in the Oven
Start by taking the chicken out of the fridge and letting it sit on the counter while you preheat your oven to 375°F. Spread out what you plan to heat up on a plate/platter and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until it reaches room temperature. You can use this time to do anything else you need to, such as preparing side dishes, setting the table, or anything else.
Once the chicken is room temperature and the oven has heated up, you can place the chicken on a baking sheet. You may want to line it with some foil or parchment paper to make cleanup easier. You shouldn’t need to grease the baking sheet, but it won’t hurt.
Place the chicken in your oven on the center rack and set your timer for 10 minutes. You’ll find that some sources will tell you it’s wise to spritz the chicken with a small amount of water, but others leave this out. Make sure that you plan to cook it at least 10 minutes and as much as 30 – cooking times vary for a variety of reasons.
Make sure that you check on the chicken often. The biggest issue with this method for reheating is that different pieces warm at different speeds. Generally, the bigger, thicker pieces are going to heat more slowly than the smaller pieces. Since you probably want to avoid drying out your smaller pieces, be sure that you check them every few minutes after 10 minutes. Some sources will tell you that you can reheat legs and wings in about 15 to 20 minutes and breasts and thighs will take about 20 to 25 minutes.
Once the chicken has regained a fairly crispy exterior and are warmed through, it’s time to take it out and enjoy it. You should not need to add more seasoning; the seasoning in the batter should be preserved.
Reheating by Re-frying
You want to allow the chicken to come to room temperature before you fry it again. This should take about 30 minutes. You can do any other prep work for your meal while you’re waiting. If you put cold chicken into the oil, it reduces the temperature, which will keep you from getting a crispy exterior.
Once your chicken is at room temperature, place your pan on the stove and turn your burner to high. Heavy pans are best because they retain heat. Make sure that you add enough oil to your frying pan so that you can submerge at least the bottom of your chicken, if not the whole piece. You should use peanut, vegetable, or canola oil, which has a higher smoke point. You can use a deep fryer if you have one for this method, but that’s not a requirement.
Carefully add the chicken to the oil once it’s hot and fry them for about 2 to 3 minutes. You can adjust the cook time as you wish. Keep in mind that cooking for too long is going to dry out the meat. Be sure to keep an eye on the texture of the chicken as it cooks.Remove from the oil and place on a wire rack to drain. This is critical because allowing the oil to drain off will get the chicken crispier. This step will take about 3 to 5 minutes. Once the excess oil has drained off and the chicken has cooled, you can sit back and enjoy it.
What Should You Avoid When Reheating Fried Chicken
When you are reheating your fried chicken, you’ll want to avoid using a microwave because it will dry out the soggy skin of cold fried chicken as it cooks. So, while the chicken will be warm, it will almost always have a soft and unappealing exterior.
If possible, avoid using a toaster oven, unless you don’t have any other options. This is because a toaster oven can heat the chicken unevenly, providing you with meat that is hot on the outside and cold on the inside.
It’s a very bad idea to cook your chicken in a skillet that isn’t full of oil. You won’t be able to heat the chicken evenly if you try to sear it in a pan. Plus, you risk drying out the meat because the fat leaches onto the dry pan.
You should never place your reheated chicken on paper towels. While this may seem like a good idea because it will soak up the excess grease, it also keeps the chicken in direct contact with the hot oil and the liquid that is draining out of the chicken. The moisture ends up rehydrating the skin that you’ve worked to get dry and crispy.
Crispy, perfectly fried chicken is a delicious meal that many people enjoy. However, often there will be leftovers. Some people can eat cold fried chicken and be perfectly happy. Others avoid heating it up because they’re afraid they will end up drying it out or making the skin too soggy.
As you can see, this article has provided a couple of ways how to reheat fried chicken to perfection. Keep trying until you find the method that works best for reheating fried chicken for you and makes your fried chicken almost as good as it was when it was fresh. It is going to take some time and effort, but in the end, it will be worth it because you won’t have to eat cold, soggy chicken leftovers.