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How To Reheat Chicken

So, you made a big, delicious chicken dinner last night, and you’ve got some leftovers? Chicken is a versatile and tasty protein that can make round two of meals just as exciting as the first time.

But wait, there’s a catch. Have you ever reheated chicken and found it to be dry, rubbery, or just not as yummy as before?

Yep, we’ve all been there. Don’t worry, though, because I’m here to help you become a pro at reheating chicken. You’re going to learn the best ways to keep that chicken delicious, juicy, and safe to eat. Let’s dive in!

Leftover grilled chicken breast on a white plate with a white wood background.

The oven method at 325°F is highly recommended for evenly reheated chicken that retains its flavor. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, ensuring an internal temperature of 165°F for safe consumption.

Basics of Reheating Chicken

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about some basic food safety rules. Chicken is a type of meat that can harbor harmful bacteria like Salmonella if not stored or reheated properly.

Here are a few important things to consider when reheating leftover chicken.

  1. Temperature: Always store leftover chicken in the fridge within two hours of cooking. It should be at a temperature of 40°F or lower.
  2. Shelf Life: Use or freeze the leftover chicken within 3-4 days for maximum quality and safety.
  3. Smell Test: Before reheating, give the chicken a good sniff. If it smells off, better to be safe and toss it. Learn how to identify chicken that has gone bad.
  4. Reheating: When reheating, make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any harmful bacteria.

Best Methods For Reheating Chicken

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s talk about the different ways to reheat chicken. There are various methods you can use, each with its own pros and cons. Here’s a handy table to help you decide.

MethodTime NeededProsCons
Microwave1-3 minutesQuick, convenientCan make chicken dry or rubbery
Oven20-30 minutesKeeps chicken juicy and crispyTakes longer
Stovetop5-10 minutesGood for small pieces, saucesNeed to watch closely, can dry out
Air Fryer10-12 minutesQuick and can be crispySmaller portions, not all have one

How To Reheat Chicken In The Microwave

The microwave is ideal for reheating grilled chicken or chicken mixed with other foods like rice or pasta. It’s quick and convenient, making it a go-to for many.

  1. Place chicken on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Cover with a microwave-safe lid or wrap to hold in moisture.
  3. Heat on medium power for 1-3 minutes, checking every 30 seconds.
  4. Check the internal temperature. Remember, it should reach 165°F.

How to Reheat Chicken In The Oven

The oven is perfect for reheating baked chicken and is also a good choice for fried chicken if you want to keep that crispy texture intact.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Place chicken on a baking sheet or oven-safe dish.
  3. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness.
  5. Check the internal temperature. It should be 165°F.

How To Reheat Chicken On The Stovetop

The stovetop is versatile and works well for smaller pieces of chicken, whether grilled, fried, or baked. It’s also great for reheating chicken mixed in sauces or with veggies.

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add a splash of water or chicken broth for moisture.
  3. Add the chicken pieces.
  4. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Check the internal temperature to make sure it’s 165°F.

How To Reheat Chicken In The Air Fryer

The air fryer shines when it comes to reheating fried chicken, giving you that crispy outer layer while keeping the inside moist.

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure there’s some space between each piece for proper air circulation.
  3. Cook the chicken for about 10-12 minutes. It’s a good idea to flip or shake the basket halfway through to ensure even reheating.
  4. Once the time is up, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. You know the drill—it should reach 165°F!

How To Reheat Chicken Without Drying It Out

Keeping reheated chicken—whether it’s grilled, fried, or baked, moist and juicy is a game-changer, and it’s easier than you might think.

Whether you cooked too much and saved it for later or simply want to enjoy your takeout chicken the next day, knowing how to reheat without drying out the meat is essential, here is how…

  1. Cover It Up: Regardless of the method you choose, covering the chicken helps keep the moisture locked in. You can use a lid, aluminum foil, or microwave-safe wrap for this.
  2. Add Liquid: Introducing a small amount of chicken broth, water, or even a drizzle of olive oil can help maintain moisture. This trick works well when reheating on the stovetop or in the oven.
  3. Lower the Heat: Cooking at high heat can make your chicken dry out quickly. Using a lower heat setting for a longer time can help maintain its juiciness.
  4. Short Bursts: If you’re using the microwave, heat the chicken in shorter time intervals, stirring between each to evenly distribute heat and moisture.
  5. Preheat: Don’t forget to preheat your oven or air fryer. Starting with a preheated cooking environment helps the chicken reheat more evenly, reducing the chance of dry spots.

How To Reheat Chicken Mixed With Other Foods

When your chicken is mixed with other foods like rice or pasta, the stovetop is usually the best way to go.

You’ll add a splash of water or broth, cover the pan, and stir occasionally to make sure everything heats evenly.

This works well for dishes like chicken fried rice, chicken pasta bake, or chicken and vegetable stir-fries.

Check out my posts on how to reheat rice or how to reheat pasta for more tips to ensure that your dish is reheated to perfection.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Reheating Chicken

Whether you’re reheating grilled, fried, or baked chicken or even chicken mixed with rice or pasta, avoiding these common mistakes will set you on the path to success.

One big mistake people often make is reheating chicken too quickly at high heat, which almost guarantees dry, tough meat.

Another error is overcrowding the pan or microwave plate, leading to uneven reheating. Forgetting to cover the chicken can also result in a loss of moisture, making the meat dry.

Ignoring the internal temperature is risky too, both for your taste buds and food safety.

Last but not least, be cautious with how many times you reheat chicken; doing it multiple times not only affects taste and texture but can also be a food safety hazard.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’re well on your way to enjoying your reheated chicken as much as you did when it was first cooked.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Reheat Chicken

Yes, you can reheat fried chicken using methods like the oven or air fryer to maintain its crispy texture. Microwaving is not recommended for fried chicken as it may turn soggy.

Cooked chicken can be safely stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Always make sure to store it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Absolutely! Chicken in sauce or gravy can be easily reheated on the stovetop. Just place it in a pan, cover it, and simmer until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.


So there you have it—four awesome ways to reheat chicken! Whether you’re a fan of the quick-and-easy microwave method, love the traditional oven approach, prefer the stovetop for smaller portions, or want to go modern with an air fryer, you’ve got options.

Remember the safety tips, always check the temperature, and don’t forget to add a little moisture to keep that chicken juicy.

Leftover grilled chicken breast on a white plate with a white wood background.

How To Reheat Chicken

Leftover chicken doesn't have to be dry or tasteless. This guide offers four tried-and-true methods—microwave, oven, stovetop, and air fryer—to reheat your chicken so it remains moist and delicious, just like when it was freshly cooked.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American


  • Leftover chicken



  • Place chicken pieces in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Add a splash of water or chicken broth.
  • Cover the chicken using a microwave-safe lid or wrap.
  • Microwave on 50% power for 1-2 minutes.
  • Stir and check the temperature, aiming for 165°F.


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Place chicken on an oven-safe dish.
  • Cover using heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Ensure internal temperature of 165°F.


  • Preheat a skillet on medium-low heat and then place chicken pieces in a skillet.
  • Add a few tablespoons of water or broth.
  • Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
  • Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Air Fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer to 350°F.
  • Place your chicken pieces in the air fryer basket without overcrowding it.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Turn chicken pieces over.
  • Cook for another 3-4 minutes, checking for an internal temperature of 165°F.
Keyword How to reheat chicken
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