Are you looking for a delicious way to reheat fried chicken? When it’s time to reheat leftover fried chicken, you don’t need to use your microwave. Instead, you can air fry the chicken for better results.
Microwaves turn fried chicken into a soggy mess with no flavor. But your air fryer will finish the job in under 10 minutes and deliver the delicious, crunchy skin everyone loves.
Air fryers are a multi-tool kitchen appliance, allowing you to try a ton of air fryer recipes for healthy and delicious air-fried foods. Even better, you can also use them to bake, toast, and reheat leftovers, including fried chicken.
Let’s see how to reheat fried chicken in an air fryer, along with some handy tips for the crispiest results.
- How Does an Air Fryer Work?
- Why an Air Fryer Is the Best Way to Reheat Fried Chicken
- How To Store Leftover Fried Chicken
- How to Reheat Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
- Simple Tips and Tricks for Reheating Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
- How To Know When the Fried Chicken Is Reheated
- Reheating Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
Air fryers are like a mini convection oven that wraps hot air around food to produce crispy results like a deep fryer. Because it relies on hot air rather than cooking oil, it is a healthier alternative.
An added bonus to air fryers is that the cooking time is faster than traditional ovens and toaster ovens. Plus, they don’t produce as much heat as their bigger counterparts.
Why an Air Fryer Is the Best Way to Reheat Fried Chicken
The traditional methods for reheating leftovers are using an oven, a toaster oven, or a microwave. Preheating an oven takes time, and it also heats up your kitchen. On the other hand, reheating fried chicken in a microwave will make it soggy.
Air fryers are the best way to reheat chicken because the chicken reheats evenly and won’t dry out. The hot air circulating around the chicken keeps the inside of the chicken juicy while crisping the skin.
An air fryer also works great for reheating rotisserie chicken and fried chicken wings, giving them a nice, crispy skin.
Not only will it give you the best results, but it’s also the fastest method. Simply place the leftover fried chicken in the air fryer basket, flip the chicken pieces over when it’s halfway done, and you will have classic air fryer results within 10 minutes.
How To Store Leftover Fried Chicken
Before we talk about how to reheat fried chicken in air fryer, let’s look at how to store fried chicken properly. After all, if you don’t follow proper storage, you risk losing its delicious taste and juiciness and can possibly make you sick.
After the chicken is fried and cooled, refrigerate it within two hours in an airtight container. This will keep the chicken out of the temperature danger zone (40 °F to 140 °F). The shelf life is three to four days.
If the leftover chicken has an off odor when you pull it out of the refrigerator, throw it out. Cut your losses, and just make sure you practice correct leftover storage next time.
How to Reheat Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
Before you use your air fryer, make sure the air fryer basket is clean and free of any debris or grease left over. More importantly, check that it is completely dry before you preheat it.
Learning how to reheat fried chicken in an air fryer is straightforward. The prep time is minimal, and the results are outstanding.
Step 1: Bring the fried chicken to room temperature.
This is an important step as it allows the protein in the chicken to relax. If the chicken goes from 40°F (refrigerator temperature) to a hot air fryer, it will cause the meat to be tough. Depending on the size of the chicken, this can take 10 to 20 minutes.
Step 2: Preheat the air fryer.
Preheating an air fryer is always a good idea so that the entire cooking chamber is at an even temperature and will cook evenly.
To reheat fried chicken, preheat your air fryer to 375°F. Preheating takes three to four minutes and can be done while the fried chicken is coming up to room temperature.
Step 3: Place chicken in the air fryer basket or on the wire rack.
If you have a basket-style air fryer, place the fried chicken in the basket, making sure they don’t touch. If you have a toaster oven-style air fryer, place the fried chicken in a single layer on the wire rack.
Step 4: Reheat for 4 to 10 minutes.
Reheat the fried chicken for four to 10 minutes, depending on the pieces you have. Flipping halfway through the cooking time will produce better results.
Here is a list of reheating times for different chicken pieces in an air fryer. The cooking times vary depending on the size of the chicken. Fried chicken breasts take the longest time to cook because of their thickness.
- Chicken Breasts: 8 to 10 minutes
- Chicken Thighs and Legs: 6 to 8 minutes
- Chicken Wings: 5 to 6 minutes
- Chicken Strips: 4 to 5 minutes
Step 5: Serve immediately!
Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, remove it from the air fryer and enjoy! If you want to reheat chicken breast, make sure to insert the thermometer all the way to the center.
Simple Tips and Tricks for Reheating Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
There are several tricks you can use to get extra crispy results with little to no mess to clean up. That said, the best thing you can do is to preheat your air fryer no matter what you’re cooking or reheating.
The following tips and tricks will give you the best results:
1. Spray the fried chicken with cooking oil.
Spraying a light coating of cooking oil on the chicken produces delicious and crispy skin and seals the juices in. As a bonus, the fried chicken won’t stick to the air fryer basket or rack. You can also add more oil after flipping halfway.
2. Reheat similar-sized pieces together.
Reheating similar size pieces together means that the chicken will reheat evenly and will not overcook. For instance, if you reheat chicken breasts and chicken tenders at the same time, the chicken tenders will overcook and become tough because they’ve cooked too long.
3. Use the rotisserie basket.
Since reheating dries food out faster than standard cooking, I use the rotisserie attachment on my air fryer, especially when reheating chicken.
I spray a little cooking oil on the outside of the chicken to help retain moisture and to crisp up the skin, and then place the chicken in the rotisserie basket. So far, this has produced the best results. I don’t even have to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time because the pieces rotate in the rotisserie basket.
4. Don’t overcrowd the basket or rack.
Since hot air needs to circulate around the food in an air fryer, putting too much food in at one time will block the airflow and produce unevenly cooked food.
If you are reheating a large amount of fried chicken, you will want to place the pieces in the basket one by one, making sure they are not touching. When using a rack, place the chicken in a single layer.
5. Use a liner.
You can line the air fryer basket or air fryer rack with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or silicone for easy cleanup. After the air fryer cools down, you just need to wipe it clean with a paper towel, and you’re done.
6. Use aluminum foil between batches.
If you’re cooking multiple batches, place the chicken in aluminum foil in between batches to keep it warm until serving time.
How To Know When the Fried Chicken Is Reheated
The safest way to check if the reheated chicken is done is to insert a cooking thermometer into the thickest part. The chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
It is best to start a timer for the halfway mark, so you will know when to flip the chicken. When I flip food, I also check the temperature. This gives me a good indication of the finish time.
Reheating Fried Chicken in an Air Fryer
Reheating leftover fried chicken in a microwave turns it soggy, while an oven takes a long time and heats up the kitchen. In comparison, air frying pre-cooked fried chicken retains the juiciness inside and gives it a crunchy skin.
There are different tricks and techniques you can use with an air fryer, but the process is straightforward.
If you want leftover fried chicken that tastes like it was freshly cooked, the air fryer method is right for you. If you want to start from scratch, we have plenty of air fryer chicken recipes to check out here.