How to Reheat Chicken for Best-Ever Leftovers
It's possible to learn how to reheat chicken with Test Kitchen-approved results. Just follow these simple steps for reheating chicken on the stovetop, in the oven, with air fryer and in a microwave.
There’s nothing worse than heating up delicious leftovers from the night before, only to discover that the chicken is dry, the skin is like rubber or the breading is soft.
Thankfully, following this guide will make your leftover chicken tender and oh-so-flavorful.
How to Reheat Chicken in the Oven
Heating chicken up in the oven is a great method for bone-in or breaded chicken leftovers. After all, there’s nothing better than the crispy coating of fried chicken—and there’s no better way to. keep it crispy than to toss those leftovers in the oven. That’s right: Skip the microwave!
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400°F
You want the oven to heat up fully before you attempt to reheat the chicken. Your food cooks faster in a preheated oven!
Step 2: Fit a wire rack over a baking sheet
Take your chicken out of the fridge; let it come to room temp. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer on a wire rack fitted over a baking sheet.
This setup allows the hot air in the oven to circulate all around the chicken (unlike when it’s on top of a foil-lined baking sheet). This will help create a super-crispy crust.
Step 3: Bake for 15 minutes
The internal temp of reheated chicken should still be 165°. You can check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
How to Reheat Chicken on the Stove
Reheating chicken on the stove is best for meat that has been removed from the bone, like a recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breast, or leftover rotisserie chicken.
Step 1: Prepare the chicken
For a boneless, skinless chicken breast, slice the meat into strips that are about an inch thick, and set aside. For a rotisserie chicken, pick the meat off the bone, and set it aside.
Step 2: Prep a skillet
Place a skillet over medium heat and add just enough water or chicken broth to cover the bottom.
Step 3: Cook the chicken
Once the water starts to simmer, add the chicken in a single layer. Lower the heat and stir the chicken until it’s nice and hot. Use the leftover chicken to top a salad, make wraps or serve with pasta and vegetables for a simple meal.
How to Reheat Chicken in an Air Fryer
Your air fryer is capable of making food that’s both crisp and healthy. That magical power makes this countertop appliance a secret weapon for reheating takeout fare—like chicken wings.
Step 1: Prep the chicken wings
First, let your chicken wings come to room temperature on the counter. Then, spray the wings with a light coating of nonstick spray. (The Taste of Home Test Kitchen uses PAM cooking spray.)
Step 2: Preheat your air fryer to 360°F
Place your wings in a single layer in the basket. Set the timer to bake for four minutes.
Step 3: Turn up the heat to 400°F
Then, bake the wings for another five minutes.
How to Reheat Chicken in the Microwave
It is possible to reheat chicken in the microwave with mouth-watering results (here’s a microwaved Parmesan chicken recipe to prove it). But before you zap those leftovers, remember that this method is best for non-breaded chicken.
Step 1: Arrange the chicken on a plate
Place the chicken in a single layer on a large, microwave-safe plate. You want to have smaller pieces of chicken near the center of the plate and bigger pieces near the edge. This is the secret to properly using a microwave!
Step 2: Add oil and water
Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil and a teaspoon or two of water over the chicken. This will help keep the meat moist. (You can also use water and salsa or chicken broth for extra flavor.)
Step 3: Cover the chicken and reheat
Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap and heat for two minutes. If the chicken isn’t hot enough, flip it over and heat 30-second intervals.