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Crispy Leftovers: Reheat Fried Chicken to Perfection

Fried chicken is a delicious, crispy treat. But when leftover fried chicken loses its crunch, it can be disappointing. Thankfully, there are several easy methods to reheat fried chicken and restore its crispy exterior. Follow these tips for enjoyable leftover fried chicken that tastes freshly fried.

Reheating fried chicken properly is key to maintaining its signature crunch. Here are some of the best reheating methods:

Reheating Fried Chicken with Oven

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Place fried chicken on a baking sheet or oven-safe rack.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until hot and crispy.
  • Use oven’s dry heat to recrisp the batter.

Reheating Fried Chicken with Air Fryer

  • Preheating air fryer to 350°F.
  • Cook fried chicken for 5-10 mins, flipping halfway.
  • Air fryer will recreate the crispy texture.

Reheating Fried Chicken with Skillet

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in skillet over medium heat.
  • Add chicken pieces and fry 2-3 mins per side.
  • Pan-frying will re-crisp the breading.

Reheating Fried Chicken with Microwave

  • Least ideal but works in a pinch.
  • Microwave in 30-second intervals until hot.
  • Check frequently to prevent sogginess.
  • Stop when chicken has some crispness.

No matter which reheating method you use, start with fully cooked fried chicken. Uncooked chicken should always be fried from raw for food safety.

How Long to Reheat Fried Chicken in the Oven

When using the oven to reheat fried chicken, allow 10-15 minutes for the best results. Thinner chicken pieces like wings and strips will take less time than thicker drumsticks and breasts.

Check periodically and remove individual pieces from the oven once they have become fully hot and crispy. Smaller pieces may be done after 8-10 minutes. Larger pieces likely need the full 15 minutes.

Keep in mind that ovens vary, so adjust cook times as needed. The key is heating the chicken until steaming hot, with an exterior that approaches the original crispness.

How to Reheat Breaded Fried Chicken

Breaded fried chicken requires a bit more finesse to reheat. The delicate breading can become soggy if not handled properly. Here are some tips:

  • Use the oven or air fryer rather than the microwave to maintain the breaded exterior.
  • Flip chicken pieces halfway during reheating to dry out both sides of the breading.
  • Place chicken on a wire rack over a baking sheet. This allows air flow all around to crisp the breading.
  • Brush chicken pieces with oil before reheating for added crispness.

Take care not to overheat breaded chicken or the coating can separate or get tough. Heat just until chicken is hot and breading is recrisped.

How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken

For best results, defrost frozen fried chicken in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. This prevents moisture from building up and making the crust soggy.

Once thawed, use the oven, air fryer or skillet methods above to reheat the chicken fully while restoring its crunch.

If you’re in a rush, frozen fried chicken can go straight into a preheated 350°F oven. Add a few extra minutes to the reheating time. Flip the chicken halfway through and monitor closely to avoid overcooking.

The microwave can also work in a pinch. Use a lower power setting and cook in short intervals until chicken is hot, checking often to prevent sogginess.

More Questions & Tips

What is the best oil to use for frying chicken?

The best oils for frying chicken have a high smoke point and neutral flavor. Good choices include refined peanut oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. Avoid oils like olive oil or butter that have lower smoke points and can burn.

How can you keep fried chicken crispy after reheating?

  • Allow fried chicken to cool completely before refrigerating. The steam will make it soggy.
  • Reheat fried chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet instead of directly on the pan.
  • Brush the chicken pieces with oil or melted butter before reheating for extra crispness.

What temperature should fried chicken reach when reheated?

Fried chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F on a food thermometer when reheated. This ensures any bacteria are killed and the chicken is safe to eat.

How do you maintain the crunch on breaded fried chicken?

Use the oven or air fryer instead of the microwave when reheating breaded chicken. Flip pieces over halfway through cooking. And avoid overheating or the breading can toughen or separate from the chicken.

Is reheated fried chicken safe to eat?

Yes, as long as the chicken reached 165°F at some point during cooking, reheating, and serving, it is safe to eat. Make sure to reheat it thoroughly until hot. Leftovers should be refrigerated within 2 hours.

Can you re-fry leftover fried chicken?

You can re-fry leftover fried chicken to heat it through and add back crispness. Heat 1⁄4 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes per side until hot and crispy again.

Here are some recommended appliances for reheating fried chicken:

Air Fryers:

  • Philips Premium Airfryer XXL – Features fat removal technology and can hold up to 3 pounds of food. Great for reheating larger batches of fried chicken.
  • Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer – Has two independent baskets so you can cook two foods at different temperatures.
  • Cosori Air Fryer Max XL – Extra large 5.8 qt capacity and 11 one-touch cooking functions.


  • LG LDE4415ST Electric Double Oven – Double ovens allow you to reheat one batch while cooking something else.
  • GE JTS5000SNSS 30″ Electric Double Wall Oven – Self-cleaning mode makes cleanup easy after reheating greasy fried chicken.


  • All-Clad Stainless Steel 12-Inch Covered Fry Pan – Thick aluminum core heats quickly and evenly. Stainless steel is durable.
  • Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Nonstick Hard Anodized Fry Pan – Nonstick surface makes reheating chicken easy.


  • Panasonic Microwave Oven NN-SN936B – Inverter technology delivers consistent reheating results.
  • Toshiba EM131A5C-BS Microwave Oven – Large 1.2 cu. ft. capacity with sensor reheating function.
  • Breville Quick Touch BMO734XL – Presets for reheating and defrosting make it easy to use.

Reheating and enjoying leftover fried chicken is simple with these handy tips. Use the oven, air fryer, skillet or other methods to re-crisp the coating and heat the chicken through. Follow proper food safety and adjust cook times as needed for tender, crunchy fried chicken that tastes fresh and delicious.

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