Fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food. Chances are you have at least a few pieces left over after a meal. Just pop it in the fridge.
However, if you reheat it incorrectly the next day, you can lose all of that fantastic flavor.
You can heat it in a pan, but there is a technique involved. It can ensure the reheated chicken regains the crispiness and juiciness it had when you first made it.
How To Reheat Fried Chicken In A Pan
The best way to reheat fried chicken is to re-fry it in a pan. Just follow these steps:
- The first thing you need to do is take the chicken out of the refrigerator. Let it thaw for half an hour. Cold chicken can compromise the frying process. It will reduce the temperature of the oil, which will prevent that crispy skin from forming.
- When the chicken reaches room temperature, set the pan on the stove on high heat. Use a heavy pan such as a skillet or a Dutch oven. Thick pans can retain heat well.
- Add just enough oil to the pan to submerge the chicken. Make sure you choose one that has a low smoke point. Excess smoke can make the chicken bitter in taste. Oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or canola oil, is a better alternative. Use a deep fryer for the best results.
- When the oil is hot enough, drop the chicken in it carefully. Use a pair of tongs or you may burn yourself. Let the chicken fry for two to three minutes and turn it at intervals. You can adjust the temperature if you want, but be careful. Frying the chicken for too long can dry out the meat.
- Once the skin is crispy and dry, take out the pieces one at a time and set them on a wire rack to drain. The chicken will absorb all of the oil otherwise, and make the chicken soggy and oily.
- Dispose of the oil and enjoy your fried chicken.
Other Methods To Reheat Fried Chicken
Don’t have a frying pan that is thick or deep enough to re-fry chicken?
No problem! Just use these reheating methods instead:
Use a Microwave
You may lose the crispy skin, but you can ensure the chicken is piping hot if you use a microwave.
Just follow these steps:
- Take out the fried chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Leave it out for 10 to 15 minutes. It will prevent the chicken from losing moisture and keep the meat tender as it heats up.
- Place the pieces on a glass plate and cover it with a towel. The towel will soak up moisture and prevent the chicken from getting soggy.
- Set the microwave to 30 or 35 seconds or till the chicken is piping hot.
While this is the fastest reheating option, don’t expect the chicken to be crispy at the end. Only use a microwave if you don’t have a pan handy.
Use a Convection Oven
Compared to a conventional oven, a convection oven has a fan and an exhaust system that circulates hot air.
Here are the steps you should follow to reheat fried chicken in one:
- Allow the fried chicken to come to room temperature after taking it out of the refrigerator.
- Heat the convection oven to 350F.
- Line a baking tray with foil.
- When the oven reaches the desired temperature, place the chicken pieces on the baking tray, and pop it in.
- Wait for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how big the pieces are.
- When time’s up, take out the tray and leave it outside for 5 minutes.
- Dig in!
This reheating method will make the chicken crispy and fresh.
However, it would be best if you kept a close eye on it to ensure the chicken is heated all the way through.
Also read: Can Calphalon Pans Go in Oven?
Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an excellent tool if you prefer to limit your oil intake.
It can also be used to reheat the fried chicken. Just follow these steps:
- Pop the (room temperature) fried chicken in the air fryer and close it.
- Heat for 10 minutes and do not open the air fryer in the interim. You will lose precious hot air.
- Open the air fryer once time’s up and take out the piping hot chicken.
- If the chicken is not hot enough, pop it back in again and leave it for 5 minutes.
Reheating fried chicken in an air fryer may seem convenient, but this technique takes time to master.
What To Avoid When Reheating Fried Chicken
Here are some things you should avoid when reheating fried chicken:
Don’t Use A Microwave If It Can Be Helped
While you can use the aforementioned microwave technique to reheat the fried chicken, don’t if you have other options.
For one thing, it will not dry out the soggy pieces as it heats them. Even though they will be warm, the chicken will have a damp texture at the end, rather than a crispy one.
It will be far from the crisp skin that made you fall in love with fried chicken in the first place.
Keep An Eye On The Toaster Oven
The toaster oven can work in a pinch. However, it can reheat the chicken unevenly from the inside.
Chances are you get chicken that is warm on the outside, but cold on the inside. Most toaster ovens are not made to retain the crisp skin either.
The heat generated is not enough to ensure that.
Don’t Sear Fried Chicken
If you use only a small bit of oil to reheat the fried chicken, you will have your work cut out for you.
For one thing, you will have to turn the pieces at intervals. Otherwise, the chicken will not heat up evenly.
Plus, even if you sear the chicken successfully, the meat will probably be dry. Fat will leak out into the pan as well.
Don’t Place The Chicken On A Paper Towel
While paper towels can soak up oil quickly, placing reheated fried chicken on it is not a good idea.
The moisture that leaks out from the steaming hot chicken will rehydrate the skin and make it soggy.
All of your hard work to retain that crispy skin will go to waste! Plus, don’t leave the chicken to cool down on a paper towel, either. It will ruin the crisp texture as well.
Don’t Heat The Chicken Without Oil
Never try to reheat fried chicken in a pan that has no oil in it.
It will only dry out the meat, and you may end up ruining the pan as well.
Plus, do you want to spend time scrubbing that crust from the pan after you are done? You may have to buy a new one later.
How To Store Fried Chicken
Reheated fried chicken will only be as good as the method used to store it the first time around. It can last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. After that, the meat can get dry.
Just make sure you pop it in the refrigerator 2 hours after you cook or buy it – bacteria can start growing on the chicken at 40F and 140F.
Plus, make sure you store the fried chicken in an airtight container or wrapped in foil. You can also keep it in the freezer if you don’t plan on eating it for a few days.
Just make sure the temperature does not increase from 0F.
If you thaw out the fried chicken but want to store it again, pop it in the refrigerator once more.
However, try to eat it within 3 to 4 days after that. If you thaw the chicken in a microwave, eat it immediately.
Plus, never eat chicken if it smells bad or looks strange. You may get terrible food poisoning otherwise.
Some people think the best way to eat leftover fried chicken is at room temperature or fresh out of the refrigerator.
Cold chicken tastes great in salads and sandwiches. So the next time you have a picnic, check if you have any fried chicken leftover. You will save yourself a lot of time and effort.
Fried chicken is a staple comfort food in several households. Many families have a recipe that has been handed down through the generations.
However, when it comes to reheating, most use the tips mentioned above and methods. Try them out yourself today!
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