How to Reheat Fried Chicken

We’ll show you how to reheat fried chicken so it’s just as crispy and crunchy as day one.

There’s simply nothing like eating fried chicken. It gives you all the juicy, tender meat of your favorite chicken underneath a satisfyingly crisp breading. While you may think your appetite for fried chicken is insatiable, you may sometimes find yourself with leftovers and wondering the best way to reheat fried chicken so it maintains its crispy flavor.

Just like there’s an ideal way to reheat pizza, there’s a best way to reheat fried chicken so it’s as crispy as the day it was made. We’ll show you four methods for how to reheat fried chicken along with tips and guidance from our Test Kitchen pros.

By the way, these are our best fried chicken recipes:

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How to Reheat Fried Chicken in the Oven

Stove And Hood In Modern KitchenJulien McRoberts/gettyimages

Ovens are just about the best way to reheat fried chicken. Not only does it cook the chicken evenly without immediately drying it out, but baking can also get the breading golden-brown and crunchy.

What you need:

  • Fried chicken
  • Sheet pan
  • Wire rack
  • Cooking spray
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs

Step 1: Prep the Oven

First, preheat your oven to 350°F. While your oven is heating up, pull your chicken out of the oven to take off the chill.

Step 2: Prep the Pan

Place a metal wire rack on top of a sheet pan. This will allow the fried chicken to reheat evenly and prevent any soggy bits.

Then, place your leftover fried chicken on the wire rack and give each side a spritz of cooking spray.

Step 3: Bake the Fried Chicken

Bake the fried chicken until the internal temperature reaches 150° when read with a food thermometer, about 15 minutes or so. Then, bump up the oven temperature to 400°, or turn on the broiler, for a few minutes until all of the pieces of chicken reach 165°.

Raising the temperature of the oven will help crisp up the chicken and bring it to food-safe temps without burning the outside.

Once reheated, serve the pieces with one of these side dishes for fried chicken.

Test Kitchen tip: Since fried chicken pieces come in a range of sizes depending on what cut they are, be sure to take the temperature of the largest part of each piece of chicken.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken in the Air Fryer

Air Frying Homemade Chicken NuggetsGrandbrothers/gettyimages

Air fryers have exploded in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason. They only require a touch of oil for crisp, crunchy foods. You have to see these six ways to air fry chicken.

What you need:

  • Fried chicken
  • Air fryer
  • Cooking spray
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer

Step 1: Prep the Air Fryer

Preheat your air fryer to 350°F and remove your fried chicken from the fridge.

Step 2: Prep the Fried Chicken

Once the air fryer has heated, spray each side of your fried chicken with some cooking spray and place the chicken on the fryer basket.

Step 3: Fry the Fried Chicken

Air fry the chicken in three-minute intervals, flipping each time, until the pieces reach an internal temperature of 165°. To prevent any pieces from under or overcooking, air fry the different cuts of chicken separately.

While you have your air fryer out, make a batch of these air fryer sides, too.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken in a Toaster Oven

Toaster Oventamaya/gettyimages

If it’s too hot out, or you just don’t want to take the time to preheat your oven, a toaster oven is a great short cut.

What you need:

  • Fried chicken
  • Toaster oven
  • Cooking spray
  • Foil
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer

Step 1: Prep the Toaster Oven

Preheat the toaster oven to 400° and take the fried chicken out of the fridge.

Step 2: Prep the Fried chicken

Spray the chicken pieces lightly with cooking spray and place them on the toaster’s foil-lined tray.

Step 3: Cook the Fried Chicken

Toast the chicken for about 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of each piece reaches 165°. To prevent the breading from getting soggy, flip the chicken halfway through cooking.

Want to make a fresh batch of fried chicken? Make sure you follow these fried chicken tips.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken in the Microwave

Woman's Hands Closing Microwave Oven Door And Preparing Food in microwave.; Shutterstock ID 735463006Zynatis/Shutterstock

When you’re tight on time, you can reheat fried chicken in the microwave. However, the texture of the chicken and breading won’t be as delicious as the other methods.

What you need:

  • Fried chicken
  • Microwave-safe plate
  • Paper towel
  • Microwave

Step 1: Prep the Fried Chicken

Take the fried chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes to take off the chill.

Step 2: Cover the Fried Chicken

Place equal-sized pieces of fried chicken on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a paper towel (which will help wick away some moisture).

Step 3: Microwave the Fried Chicken

Place the plate in the microwave and cook in 30-second intervals until the chicken is warm throughout. Be careful not to overcook the chicken as it can dry out the meat.

If you’re in need of a new microwave, take a look at our Test Kitchen’s pick for the best countertop microwave.

How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken

Yes, that container of leftover fried chicken in your freezer can be reheated into a tasty dinner. These are the freezer meals you should always have on hand.

What you’ll need:

  • Fried chicken
  • Plate
  • Food wrap
  • Wire rack
  • Cooking spray
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tongs

Step 1: Defrost the Fried Chicken

Take your fried chicken out of the freezer and transfer the pieces to a plate, making sure they’re in one layer. Cover the plate with food wrap and let the chicken defrost overnight in the fridge.

Step 2: Prep the Oven and Chicken

Preheat your oven to 350° and take the chicken out of the fridge.

Place a wire rack on a sheet pan and spray the defrosted chicken with some cooking spray. Put the prepared chicken on the wire rack

Step 3: Bake the Chicken

Once the oven is up to temperature, bake the fried chicken for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature for all of the pieces has reached 165°.

If desired, broil the fried chicken for a minute or two on each side to get the breading crispy again.

What Not to Do When Reheating Fried Chicken

Homemade Southern Fried Chicken with Biscuits and Mashed PotatoesBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

When reheating fried chicken, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your food is safe to eat. This means making sure the chicken is still fresh, it’s brought up to temperature and it’s not left out.

Leftover fried chicken will last in your fridge for about 3-4 days. If you’re unsure if a piece of chicken is still good, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Here’s more on how long leftovers last in the fridge.

According to our Test Kitchen’s guide to food-safe cooking temperatures, chicken needs to be heated to at least 165°F in order to kill off harmful bacteria. When taking the temperature of fried chicken pieces, you’ll want the thermometer to be inserted into the thickest part of the meat for the most accurate reading. Take care to avoid any bones as they can skew your temperature reading.

Additionally, avoid leaving the food out on your counter for too long. This can land your food in the temperature “danger zone,” which is between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can thrive and make you sick. While we’re talking about it, these are the common food safety mistakes that you might be making.

Now that you know the best ways to reheat fried chicken, learn how to make fried chicken better than KFC.

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Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.