The last thing you want to do with chicken tenders is throw away the leftovers, but you’re afraid if you put them in the refrigerator the tenders will get all soggy.
The good news is that you can easily reheat chicken tenders in a number of ways so that crispy, crunchy exterior is preserved, and the chicken inside doesn’t get rubbery.
You can reheat chicken tenders using an air fryer, oven, toaster oven, or microwave. The best method to reheat chicken tenders without burning or drying out is to use the oven, and we’ll go over all of these methods below.
A quick tip for all of these methods: take your chicken tenders out of the fridge and let them sit for 10-15 minutes until they come to room temperature before you heat them up. This prevents them from drying out while reheating!
Air Fryer Method
Air fryers are great for when you don’t have the time to spare to preheat your oven, you still want an even reheat, and you don’t want to risk your chicken tenders going soggy in the microwave.
If you want to avoid more of a mess, put foil in the air fryer basket. That will catch any crumbs and grease from the chicken tenders and will make it easier for you to clean up.
If you have an air fryer that needs to preheat, turn the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, skip to step 2.
Spray or grease your basket with a tiny bit of oil to prevent your chicken tenders from sticking. Because chicken tenders are usually fried in oil, you will only need a small amount.
Place your chicken tenders in your air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching. You may need to reheat your chicken tenders in batches, depending on how many you have.
If you overfill your air fryer basket, your heat will not distribute evenly. You will also risk burning parts of your chicken tenders while other parts don’t reheat.
Reheat your chicken tenders in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes, turning them halfway. Do not touch the chicken tenders with your bare hands as they will be extremely hot.
Remove the chicken tenders from the air fryer with tongs when they are finished reheating. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, and then serve with your favorite sauce.
Using an oven to reheat chicken tenders is the preferred method. The trick to reheating your chicken tenders in the oven is to allow airflow all around them.
While your chicken tenders are out of the fridge, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you set your oven rack in the center of your oven before you turn it on!
Place your chicken tenders on an oven-safe wire rack, and set the rack on top of a baking sheet. This allows heat and air to reach the underside of the chicken tenders, allowing for a crispy exterior all around.
You may want to lightly spray your wire rack with cooking spray prior to putting your chicken tenders on it. This will help to prevent them from sticking.
Bake the chicken until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 minutes.
If the edges of your chicken tenders start to burn before they are heated inside, lightly place a piece of foil on top of your chicken tenders. This will still allow heat to reach them while protecting them from burning.
Remove your chicken tenders from the oven and serve with your favorite sauce or chicken marsala.
Toaster Oven Method
Reheating chicken tenders in a toaster oven makes them even crispier than if you would use a conventional oven or an air fryer. It doesn’t take very long to reheat them, which is an ultimate plus!
Cover your toaster oven baking sheet with foil. You really want to avoid any crumbs or grease falling onto the bottom of the toaster oven, as they can start to smoke.
Set your toaster oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to allow your toaster oven to preheat.
While your toaster oven is preheating, place your chicken tenders on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel. Microwave on high for one minute.
Transfer your chicken tenders from the plate to your foil-covered baking sheet. Toast in your toaster oven for 2-3 minutes, allowing for your chicken tenders to get nice and crispy.
If you want to skip Step 3 and the microwave altogether, do the following:
- Follow Step 1.
- In Step 2, preheat your toaster oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Skip Step 3, and directly reheat your chicken tenders in the toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. Cover your chicken tenders loosely with a piece of aluminum foil at minutes 5 or 6 to prevent them from burning.
Allow your chicken tenders to cool for a minute or two after reheating, and serve with your favorite sauce.
Microwaving food is a quick and convenient method by all accounts, however, it is not preferred when reheating chicken tenders. This is due to the microwave causing the outside of the chicken tenders to get soggy while drying out the inside.
That said, if you don’t have an alternate option, you can still microwave your chicken tenders and have them be delicious.
Bring your chicken tenders to room temperature. This is imperative for this method of reheating chicken tenders. If 10 minutes isn’t long enough, take your chicken tenders out of the fridge and leave them for 30 minutes.
Place a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Put your chicken tenders on the plate, ensuring that they are not touching one another. Cover your chicken tenders with another sheet of paper towel.
The paper towels in this step serve to absorb the excess moisture that comes from the chicken tenders as they reheat in the microwave.
Microwave your chicken tenders in 30-second intervals for one to two and a half minutes. Check your chicken tenders after each interval to make sure they aren’t getting too dry or rubbery.
Serve your chicken tenders with your favorite sauce and enjoy!
Bonus – How to Reheat Frozen Chicken Tenders
The methods listed above are for chicken tenders that have been refrigerated. This method is best for leftover chicken tenders that you froze.
For pre-cooked store-bought frozen chicken tenders, it’s best to follow the directions of the manufacturer in order to reheat.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your oven rack is in the center of the oven.
Prepare your baking sheet and wire rack just as you did with the oven method.
Using the microwave method mentioned above, thaw your chicken tenders until they reach an internal temperature of 125-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a food thermometer, gauge this by whether or not you can break apart the chicken tender and the inside is cool or warm, but not frozen.
Reheat your frozen chicken tenders in the oven for between 5-10 minutes until their internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your chicken tenders are not touching one another.
If the battered outside of your chicken tenders begins to burn, cover them loosely with foil.
Your frozen chicken tenders may reheat unevenly from one another, and at different speeds. Check your chicken tenders after 5 minutes to confirm they’re done.
Once your chicken tenders have reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit with crispy skin and warmed inside, they’re done!
Let cool and serve with your favorite sauce.
There are multiple satisfying ways to reheat your chicken tenders – whether it’s after a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. Whichever method you choose, just don’t let those chicken tenders go to waste!
It’s good to note that you shouldn’t reheat your chicken tenders more than once, otherwise your meat will be tough. That said, these methods of reheating will make your chicken tenders so delicious, you shouldn’t have any leftovers to do so!