Sliced Fried Chicken

Resurrect Cold Fried Chicken: How to Reheat Your Fried Chicken

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Fried chicken is one of the best comfort foods in the world, especially when it’s juicy, flavorful and very crispy. Fresh out of the fryer or the oven, falling apart at the bone and made special by a layer of crunchy goodness: it’s happiness in a pan. 

Fried chicken is best enjoyed fresh but there’s nothing wrong with savoring cold fried chicken. Sometimes, however, you want your chicken to be as crispy and flavorful like it was recently cooked in a deep fryer. So here’s a question: “How to reheat fried chicken properly?”

For most people, using the microwave is the best way to reheat fried chicken. But don’t just pop your cold chicken in the microwave — unless you want a soggy and hot mess. You can always do better with fried chicken. 

So if you’re wondering how to reheat fried chicken in the best way possible, here are some things to keep in mind. 

How Do You Properly Reheat Leftover Fried Chicken?

A bunch of fried chicken
A photo from Patrick Le

First things first: is it safe to reheat fried chicken?

 Reheating fried chicken is safe, as long as you cooked it well for the first time. Properly wrapping and promptly refrigerating your chicken after cooking also helps. In fact, eating cold leftover chicken (or fried chicken at room temperature) is still OK as long as the chicken hasn’t spent more than two hours in the “danger zone.” This refers to when the chicken hovers between 40°F and 140°F, which is the temperature range that causes bacteria to grow to dangerous levels and cause illnesses. 

When it comes to reheating fried chicken, the best trick is to maintain a balance in moisture levels. Some methods will keep the chicken meat moist but soggy while others can dry the meat out, causing you to endure with touch and chewy fried chicken. 

No reheating method can get your cold fried chicken to taste as freshly cooked, but you can still get close. 

Consider the following best ways to reheat the fried chicken. 

The Best Ways to Reheat Your Precious Fried Chicken

Bunch of friend chicken with stainless strainer
A photo from Shardar Tarikul Islam

Reheat Fried Chicken in an Oven

To reheat your fried chicken in your oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. While waiting, take your cold chicken out of the fridge. 
  • Place a baking sheet under the wire rack and put the chicken on the rack in a single layer. You can also use the baking sheet lined with foil instead of a rack but the latter heats the food better. 
  • Before you heat the chicken, let it come to room temperature. Wait for at least 10 to 30 minutes. Heating the chicken at room temperature promotes even heating. 
  • Once your oven is preheated, bake your fried chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes or wait until the skin becomes crispy. 

Reheat Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer

Another way to reheat your fried chicken is using your air fryer. Apart from enabling you to fry food sans the oil, your air fryer can also restore cold fried chicken’s crispy goodness. 

To reheat your fried chicken in your air fryer:

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F.
  • While waiting, remove your cold chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Wait for around 10 to 30 minutes. 
  • Arrange your chicken parts around the air fryer’s basket to ensure each chicken will be heated properly. 
  • Cook the chicken for four minutes. Flip it once to make sure it cooks evenly. 

Similar to reheating your chicken in an oven, re-heat your leftovers in a single layer. This ensures your leftover chicken will come out with crispy skin. Most air fryers, however, come with small baskets. You’ll have to cut your chicken in half or smaller parts to make sure they’re all in a single layer. 

Reheat Fried Chicken in an Oven Toaster

Your handy-dandy oven toaster can also be helpful in heating cold leftover fried chicken! Despite its compact size, your toaster can bring your chicken back to life (or at least make it crispy). 

To reheat your fried chicken in an oven toaster:

  • Line your toaster oven’s baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Preheat your toaster to 400°F. While waiting, take out your chicken, put it on a plate and cover it with a paper towel. 
  • Microwave the chicken for a minute or two.
  • Next, transfer the chicken to the baking sheet heat it in the oven for two to three minutes. Let the chicken stand until it’s warm enough. 

Reheat Fried Chicken Using a Skillet or Frying Pan

If you don’t have any of the appliances above, your skillet or frying pan can do the job. The “double-frying” method can be laborious, even though you’re just frying chicken. So, only use this method if you have enough energy and time on your hands.

  • Take the chicken out of the fridge and wait for it to come to room temperature.
  • While waiting, warm up your pan or skillet with oil over medium heat. Make sure the oil reaches 300°F.
  • Use tongs to fry the chicken for two to three minutes on each side. Avoid overcrowding the pan to keep the oil’s temperature high.
  • Once the chicken is done, place the parts on a wire rack to drain the excess oil. 


Fried chicken is a classic dish that offers happiness and comfort. The crunchier it is, the better! So if you’ve got leftover chicken in your fridge, heat it using one of the following methods mentioned above!

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