Cooked chicken on a plate

Do You Need To Reheat Cooked Chicken?

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Due to its vast versatility, chicken is a staple in most of our homes. As many of us lead a hectic life, this leads to days of getting by on reheating the previous day’s leftover chicken to save some time. But you may have forgotten how fickle chicken is when cooking and reheating it. If you still don’t have a clear answer to “Do you need to reheat cooked chicken?” you are at the right place!

Reheating cooked chicken can make it dry out, toughen up, and even lose its juicy flavor. As it is rich in protein, reheating chicken can also alter its protein composition. Consuming the chicken in such a state can cause you severe digestive issues. However, you can easily avoid this by following proper guidelines to reheat the chicken. 

To most of us, chicken holds a special place in our lives, especially in our weekly meal plans. But it is also easy to be left with a good portion of chicken as leftovers, and not knowing how to reheat it properly can be particularly harmful to your stomach. So if you need the proper ways to reheat the chicken, I will share all about it in this article. 

Should You Reheat Cooked Chicken?

The answer to this question depends upon whether you had stored the chicken safely before reheating it and whether you are following the proper guidelines to reheat it. If you manage to reserve it correctly and safely and follow the appropriate process to reheat it, it’s perfectly ok to reheat the cooked chicken. 

As chicken is rich in protein, many would recommend against reheating it when cooked. When someone reheats protein-rich food, it can cause digestive issues. As cooking causes protein-rich ingredients to break down or denature, constantly heating it can make it difficult for our bodies to digest. 

So reheating cooked chicken does not only cause it to dry out, toughen up, and lose its juicy taste but may also cause digestive issues. But that’s not the issue if you follow appropriate caution when reheating this ingredient. You must be careful not to undercook it when you are reheating it. Then again, overcooking it can cause it to dry out and make it completely inedible!

So keep in mind that while there’s a fine line, you must check the poultry constantly while you reheat it to guarantee that it is perfect throughout. Also, remember to note how long it has been in the refrigerator. If it has been there for more than three days, it’s best to toss it out.

How Many Times Can You Reheat Cooked Chicken?

According to the safe reheat methods by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), you should only reheat food once. However, you can safely reheat chicken at most 2 or 3 times if following the correct process. 

How many times you can reheat your chicken will mostly depend on whether you store and reheat it correctly or not. It’s safe to reheat it two to three times if you let it cool down before putting it away in the fridge. You should also ensure that the poultry is piping hot when reheating it. 

What Are the Safest Ways To Reheat Cooked Chicken?

There’s no correct or incorrect way to reheat the chicken, but you must follow the guidelines properly. Other than that, the best method to reheat chicken will mostly depend on your personal preferences and what leftovers you have. However, specific pros and cons are associated with the one you follow. 

Method 1: Reheat The Chicken In The Oven 

If you need to reheat larger chicken pieces or a bird still left on the bone, it’s best to use an oven. Here is how you can reheat chicken in an oven – 

Step 1: Start by preheating the oven at 350 °F. Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter at room temperature while waiting for the oven to heat up. 

Step 2: Add moisture to your chicken. Place your chicken on a baking dish when the oven finishes preheating. Add a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock to create a thin liquid layer in the baking pan. Then use two layers of foil to cover the baking pan tightly. 

Step 3: Reheat the Chicken. Place your chicken on the pan in the oven and cook it until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches up to 165°F. The time may vary depending on the type of chicken you’re handling. Once the chicken is warm thoroughly, take it out of the oven. It should be juicy and satisfying but won’t get crispy skin. 

Method 2: Reheat The Chicken On The Stove 

The stove is a reliable method for reheating deboned chicken. I would not recommend tossing a boneless and skinless breast onto a frying pan to reheat them but using the following steps to make it tender and ready to be added to salads, stir-fries, or pasta dishes.

Step 1: Prepare your chicken. Depending on the cut of chicken you have and what you wish to do with it, there are different ways to prepare it for reheating it on the stove. 

If you have leftover bone-in-thigh meat or rotisserie chicken, you should take the meat off the bone and inspect it to remove any cartilage. Slice skinless, boneless chicken breast into one-inch pieces so it can heat up quickly. 

Step 2: Reheat your leftover chicken. Take a skillet and add some water to cover its bottom. When the water begins to simmer, place the skillet on the stove. Keep the heat medium and add the meat. After a while, lower the temperature and stir around the chicken gently. Cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Once it’s thoroughly heated, it should be good to eat. 

Method 3: Reheat Chicken In A Microwave

No doubt, using a microwave to reheat chicken is the most convenient way, but it might not be the best way to do it. There’s a chance you are left with dry or rubbery chicken. Nevertheless, if you are in a pinch, I would advise following the following instructions for the best results – 

Step 1: Prepare your plate. Take an oven-proof dish and arrange the chicken so the larger pieces are at the edge and the smaller ones are in the middle. 

Step 2: Add additional moisture to the mix. Pour a little water over the chicken and a drizzle of olive oil on top of it. It will stay moist and flavorful because of the oil and water.

Step 3: Cover and heat it. Cover up the chicken using microwave-proof plastic wrap. Microwave it for two minutes. Check it to see whether it’s ready or not. If not, turn over the chicken, cover it back up and microwave it again for an additional 30 seconds. When the internal temperature has reached 165°F, it’s ready to serve. 

Method 4: Reheat Chicken In An Air Fryer 

If you own an air fryer, you can use it to reheat chicken that was once crispy and retain its beautifully crunchy texture. Here’s how you can reheat chicken wings or fried chicken in an air fryer – 

Step 1: Preheat your air fryer. Follow the instructions for your air fryer model to preheat up to 375°F for around 5 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare your chicken. Depending on your air fryer, spread the chicken in the air fryer tray or basket in a single layer.

Step 3: Heat the leftovers. Once midway through cooking the chicken, shake the basket once. Cook it for around 4 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Once finished, dunk the chicken in your favorite sauce and enjoy its beautiful crispiness.

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