Chicken is one of the healthiest and most cost-efficient meal additions out there, and you don’t want it to go to waste. Whether you’ve fried it to a perfect crisp, or baked it in a delicious sauce, you want to bring back that fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor. Sometimes you can pull this off with a microwave, but not always.
The best way to reheat your chicken breast is in an oven preheated at 375°F, for 10-15 minutes. For moist, juicy chicken, you may cover your baking dish with foil. For fried or breaded chicken, leave uncovered on a baking sheet for a little extra crisp.
How Long Does Chicken Keep in the Fridge?
Fresh, raw chicken should be kept in the refrigerator no warmer than 40°F. The USDA recommends no more than 2-3 days from shelf to table unless you plan on putting it in the freezer.
Cooked chicken is good for up to twice that if it is properly stored in an airtight container. Still, be cautious when thinking about warming up leftovers. Too much moisture can cause mold that can be easy to miss, especially on breaded chicken. Always make sure the chicken is reheated back up to 165°F, unless you plan to eat it cold.
How to Reheat Chicken in the Oven
Most foods will taste a little worse for wear the second time around. However, if you put in a little extra effort you can still enjoy your leftovers in their former glory.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375°
Step 2: While the oven is preheating, set your chicken out to come to room temperature
Step 3: For fried or breaded chicken breast, place on a baking sheet, uncovered. For baked or grilled chicken that tastes better on the juicy side, place in a glass baking dish with a splash of water, oil, or chicken broth. Cover with tinfoil.
Step 4: Depending on how much chicken you are trying to reheat, cooking time may vary from 10-20 minutes. Flip chicken halfway through, and be sure to heat to 165°F before consumption.
How to Reheat Chicken in a Microwave Oven
If you don’t have the time or energy to put into reheating your chicken in the oven and don’t mind them not being quite up to par, tossing it in the microwave is an acceptable alternative. By adding a little extra liquid, your chicken can still maintain some of its moisture and flavor.
Step 1: Place chicken on a glass plate or baking dish. Never use plastic, as it may melt into your food.
Step 2: Add 1-2 tablespoons of water, oil, or broth if you want your chicken to stay moist.
Step 3: Place a microwave cover or damp towel over the dish to avoid a mess.
Step 4: Depending on the amount of chicken you are reheating, cooking time may vary from 3-8 minutes.
Step 5: Flip chicken halfway through your cook time.
Step 6: Remove the dish from the microwave using an oven mitt or towel, and let it sit for 2 minutes.
Can Chicken Be Reheated a Second Time?
If you are working with fresh/frozen chicken that was cooked within a week, it is fine to reheat your leftovers a second time. Much more than that, and they simply will not be worth eating.
For fast food or other pre-cooked chicken such as chicken patties, nuggets, or strips, it is best to simply toss whatever you don’t finish.
Eating leftovers is a great way to save money and prevent food waste. There are many ways to reheat cooked chicken, or you could make sandwiches with it cold. However, it is extremely important to always be aware of the appropriate window of time for you to do so.
Eating spoiled or undercooked chicken can cause severe food poisoning, so if you are ever unsure about whether it is still good or not, take the safe route and throw it away.