Our recommendations are made independently through Research & Testing. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is an excellent dish to munch on the weekends. But if you have some leftovers, here’s how to reheat fried chicken and bring back their crispness.

By ·Updated

Although fried chicken can be eaten both hot and cold, not many prefer the latter. Sweltering hot and crisp as if it has just been fished from out of the fryer is the “proper” way to enjoy it for most people. However, reheating your leftover fried chicken to Colonel Sanders-level can be surprisingly tricky.

We will show you exactly how to reheat fried chicken— be it your homemade fried recipe or KFC leftover from the night before— so that it got the desirable crispiness every time.

Best Way to Reheat Fried Chicken

There are many methods that you can use depending on the appliance you have in your kitchen and how much time you have at hand.

1. Air Fryer

The best method to attain maximum crispiness and overall quality is to use an air fryer.

Compared to other methods on this list, an air fryer can heat the pieces of chicken in the basket most evenly. When done correctly, an air fryer will not give you the detestable soggy and half-cold chicken that a microwave would. Instead, it can refresh the crispy outer layer, giving the meat a great crunchy mouthfeel, as if it’s just been made rather than reheated.

Don’t let the name fool you, though. Your air fryer is more versatile than it seems. It can be used to reheat many different recipes, even non-fried ones. In our guide on how to reheat steak, air frying was prominently featured as one of the best reheating methods to use.

2. Oven

An oven is a great alternative to an air fryer if you don’t have one in your kitchen (you can use a toaster oven or a traditional oven, depending on what you have available.)

Reheating with an oven is a little bit more complicated and takes longer on average than with an air fryer. Nonetheless, your effort will pay great dividends. Your leftover fried chicken will come out of the oven evenly heated and crispy.

The oven is the preferred method of reheating other chicken recipes, too. In fact, it is the best way to reheat chicken wings — the non-fried counterpart of fried chicken. You will also net excellent results if you reheat rotisserie chicken using the oven.

3. Microwaving

The third and last method is to use a microwave.

Only reheat your fried chicken with a microwave as a last resort. Reheating using a microwave — regardless of how well you time or control the reheating process — will degrade the quality of the chicken.

Microwaved chicken has regularly been described as feeling “soggy”. This is because the microwave sucks the moisture out of the meat, eliminating the crispness of the chicken’s outer layer. As a result, the chicken is just going to feel soft and fleshy in the mouth rather than having the delectable crunchiness it had before.

Despite having to be extra cautious, you can reheat many other dishes with the microwave. If you want to pack more fish-based protein into your diet, try learning how to reheat salmon using the microwave. Other seafood works with the microwave, too, as you can learn in this guide on how to reheat crab legs.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken In Air Fryer

1. How Long Will This Take?

The most time-consuming part of the whole process is to wait for the chicken to come down to room temperature. This can take between 15 to 30 minutes. We recommend waiting 30 minutes to ensure that it’s as close to room temperature as possible. The chicken will be crispier when reheated and cooked more evenly this way.

It only takes between 4 to 5 minutes for the air fryer to actually reheat the chicken.

2. Temperature & How to Do It

Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Maintain this temperature all throughout the process.

best way to reheat fried chicken is in air fryer

Before you begin to reheat, take note of the sizing of the chicken pieces. You will want them to be in roughly the same sizes. For example, you don’t want to put a breast and a thigh together. You will risk the smaller thigh being overcooked and the larger breast being undercooked inside of the fryer’s chamber.

Arrange all of the chicken into the cooking chamber. Make sure there is plenty of spacing between the different pieces so hot air can circulate freely between them.

Let the chicken cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Keep in mind that the time may vary depending on the size of your cut. Give the basket a shake once every 2 minutes.

If the meat looks a little bit dry to you, you can spray a bit of water on it to keep it moist.

Use a digital thermometer to check the chicken’s internal temperature. It will be ready when the core temperature reaches about 165°F (74°C).

How to Reheat Fried Chicken In Oven (Conventional)

1. How Long Will This Take?

Reheating in an oven, like previously mentioned, will take longer. Without accounting for the airing time, it is going to take you 15 to 20 minutes to reheat your fried chicken to a good consistency. All in all, the whole process can take between 50 minutes to an hour.

2. Temperature & How to Do It

Preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C)

How to Reheat Fried Chicken In Oven conventional

While the oven is doing its job, pull out a baking sheet and line it with foil. Then, place your chicken on top of the sheet and cover everything up with another layer of foil to insulate it. Make sure that the chickens are completely covered.

Put it into the oven and let it bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.

When the time has elapsed, bring it out and let it sit for 5 minutes. Check the crispiness and if you want to be extra sure, use a thermometer to check the core temperature, too.

If the chickens still weren’t as crisp or as hot as you’d like, put them back into the oven for another quick 5-minute session. Make sure not to overheat them, though.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken In Toaster Oven

1. How Long Will This Take?

This method is more special in that it uses two devices: a microwave and a toaster oven.

The first step is to microwave the chicken for about 1 minute and 45 seconds. Next, the heated chickens are placed in the toaster oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Together, the whole thing takes only about 5 minutes.

2. Temperature & How to Do It

Preheat your toaster oven to 400°F (204°C). In the meantime, place the chicken into the microwave and let it cook for about a minute and 45 seconds.

Once everything’s done, place the chickens on a plate, cover it up with paper towels, and put it into the toaster oven. Set the baking time for 2 or 3 minutes.

Allow the chickens to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken In Microwave

1. How Long Will This Take?

It greatly depends on the size of your chicken cuts. But usually, microwaving takes less than 5 minutes.

2. How To Do It

To ensure that the chicken won’t be dried to a jerky-like texture by the end, you need to use the burst-heating technique.

Burst-heating is a popular method to reheat meat in the microwave. You will be heating the meat in short bursts up until the meat is cooked just right.

Because it is inherently more accurate than continuous heating, it is commonly used to reheat heat-sensitive meat. As an example, burst-heating in the microwave is actually one of the very few methods you can use to reheat prime rib without overcooking it.

Prime rib is significantly more sensitive and prone to overcooking than fried chicken. Thus, you can count on this method to give you well-cooked, crispy chicken at the end.

Place the chicken (which should already be at room temperature) onto a plate and cover it up with paper towels. The towels are incredibly important as they soak up the moisture that would be escaping from the meat and allow the meat to remain moist throughout the process.

Microwave it in short 30-second bursts. After each burst, check the crispiness and the core temperature. Stop microwaving when the meat has reached a desirable temperature of about 165°F (74°C). Going any further will dry out the meat.

How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken

The best method to use is the microwave – oven method.

First, throw the frozen chicken into the microwave and thaw it down to 165°F (74°C). Use a digital thermometer to aid you in the process.

Once that’s done, put the pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet. You don’t need to cover up and insulate the chicken in this case.

How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken

Put it into your oven and bake for 10 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Let it sit for 5 minutes when finished. If the crispness or temperature is still not good enough, put it back into the oven and continue heating for around 5 minutes. As always, be careful of overheating.


Though all of these methods may not match up with freshly-made fried chicken, it’s going to bring your leftovers as close to it as could be.

Aside from reheating fried chicken, we also have other guides dedicated to teaching you how to reheat other kinds of food. Check it out:

  • Can I Reheat Fries? — The Best Ways to Reheat Leftover Fries: fries are the ultimate side-dish to fried chicken. Here is how you can restore your leftover fries to their former crispy glory.
  • How to Reheat Mashed Potatoes: another popular side dish to fried chicken. You can find the best techniques to return the creamy goodness back to your cold mashed potatoes in this guide.
  • Best Ways to Reheat Corn on the Cob: a staple of weekend barbecues. The natural sweetness of the corn can excellently complement the savory fried chicken. If you have a few cobs hanging around, reheat, and try it together with your fried chicken for a guaranteed wholesome meal.
  • All the Best Methods for Reheating Lasagna: savory, creamy, and incredibly rich in flavor. Reheated lasagna can be a better companion to fried chicken than you may think.
  • How to Perfectly Reheat Rice: if you’re in need of a filling meal, try rice together with fried chicken. Since leftover rice spoils quickly, you will be hitting two birds with one stone by combining it with your freshly-reheated fried chicken.


Headshot of Luna Regina
Luna ReginaEditor in Chief

Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.

Latest Posts

You have 3/3 full reviews left

To access unlimited full product reviews, product prices and other exclusive site features Become a Member