Fried chicken is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In fact, it’s one of the few fast foods that’s actually worth the calories. The only bad part about fried chicken? Eating a cold, soggy drumstick that’s been hanging out in the fridge for a few days. And if you’ve ever tried to reheat them, you know that it just isn’t the same.
But hold on, friends, we have some big news for you: Reheating fried chicken to its former glory is possible, and if you know how to do it properly, it’s virtually foolproof. Don’t believe us? Here’s what to do.
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If You’re Using an Oven
1. Preheat and Prep
If you’re using an oven to reheat fried chicken, take the leftover fried chicken out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes to let it come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F and layer a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. This two-piece system is essential to ensure that heat permeates all sides of the chicken…without the bottom part turning into mush while lying flat on the pan.
2. Resist the Urge to Wrap It Up
While your instinct might be to cover the chicken with a piece of tinfoil, please, for the love of Colonel Sanders, don’t do this. Placing a foil tent over your chicken will create a humid environment that will turn the beautiful, crispy crust into a soft mess you’ll want no part of.
3. Heat the Fried Chicken
Place the chicken pieces on the wire rack and pop the whole thing into the oven for about 15 minutes. It’s done when the outside is hot to the touch and the skin is crispy.
If You’re Using an Air Fryer
1. Preheat the Fryer Basket
Yep, you can totally use an air fryer for this (and if you don’t own one, here’s a model that’s beloved by Bed Bath & Beyond reviewers). Preheat the fryer to 375°F and allow the chicken to sit out for 15 minutes to come to room temperature.
2. Work in Batches
Air fryers work fast, but only if used correctly. Depending on the brand and model of your fryer, you might have a large or small basket, which will dictate how many pieces you can reheat at once. Arrange your chicken in a single layer—jamming them all in together will make them heat unevenly and ultimately take longer. To further ensure all the chicken is done at the same time, organize what you have: “Fry” wings with wings, drumsticks with drumsticks and so on.
3. Wait a Few Minutes, Then Flip
Cook the chicken pieces for 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on each piece’s size. The result will be delightfully crispy skin and juicy meat. OK, enough talking—time to eat.