Crispy fried chicken is one of the best comfort foods. That audible crunch, the crispy skin, and tender flesh, it can make everyone’s day. And getting one from your favorite cafe is such a treat. So much that you want to buy more so that you can devour it the next day,
But once it gets cold, it’s not as palatable anymore. Even the kids won’t eat it. Cold fried chicken isn’t exciting to the palates, so to speak. But you can make the leftover chicken crispier again. You may ask how, with an air fryer!
More than just hype, you can reheat fried chicken in an air fryer. And allow us to show you how.
What’s an Air Fryer
An air dryer functions much like an oven, you can roast and bake in it. The major difference is that the heating element is located at the top of the unit. These countertop kitchen appliances are also equipped with powerful fans.
That’s why when compared to convection ovens, it can cook meat faster. And meat cooked in air fryers tends to be crispier too. And all of this happens without the use of any oil. Hence, air fryers are a healthier choice. You may also be able to enjoy fried foods with the use of any oil.
How to Reheat Fried Chicken in Airfryer
Compared to reheating your chicken in the microwave, leftover chicken reheated in air fryers comes out crispier. And who doesn’t love a crispy piece of chicken?
- Crank up your air fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the leftover fried chicken from the packaging and place it inside the wire rack of the air fryer.
- Heat for 3-4 minutes until the chicken becomes crispy.
- Remove from the air fryer and indulge!
How to Prevent Food From Drying When Using the Air Fryer
While these units can make crispier fried chicken and other fried items, it also tends to dry them out. You won’t encounter these issues if you’re just reheating fried items. But if you’re making fried chicken in an air fryer, you have to pay close attention.
Air fryers are labeled healthy because these countertop units do not require oil. But is it? Yes, you do not need oil to be able to cook fried items in an air fryer. But if you want crispy fried chicken or fried nuggets, oil is inevitable.
But aren’t we compromising the health tag if we use grease? Not really, because you just need about a tsp of it to make your fried chicken crispier. That’s nothing compared to how much you have to use in a deep fryer.
And here are several tips on how to use minimal oil but still get really crispy fried food.
- Lightly spray oil on the food that you’re going to cook. It’s best to spritz oil on the food in a separate container and not on the wire rack of the air fryer. This will prevent overly oily food.
- Make sure to just have a very light coating on the food. Aside from being unhealthy, too much can make it soggy.
- Place the chicken or the food in the basket. Distribute it evenly on the tray to ensure everything cooks at the same time.
- Do not cramp the unit. If you have a lot of chicken wings to cook, make them in batches.
- For best results, give the air fryer a shake every 2-3 minutes. This will prevent the food from sticking.
- When halfway done, check the chicken for dry spots. If there are, give it a few more sprays.
- Close the lid and continue to finish the cooking cycle.
- Check your chicken 3-4 minutes before the cooking cycle ends. This will prevent overcooking or burning your chicken wings.
Can You Reheat Fried Items in an Air Fryer
Yes, you can! and here are the five best foods that you can reheat in your air fryer.
You don’t have to finish that entire box of pepperoni pizza. You can still enjoy it the next day and it would still taste as if you just had it delivered.
If you’ve been reheating pizza, you know how frustrating it is. You use the stove or microwave, but the pizza always comes out tough and dry. Only an air fryer will be able to reheat pizza with a melted buttery texture.
Apart from pizza, steak is very hard to reheat. Once reheated, it tends to lose all that glorious juicy flavor. You’re then stuck with a piece of dry and tough steak. It gets too chewy. The air fryer is the best way to reheat steak. You may add a dollop of butter on top for that extra sizzle.
3. Tortilla chips
Leftover tortilla chips can get sloppy and soggy. But an air fryer can bring it back to life. Even chips that are past beyond their date can be crispy still when reheated with an air fryer.
4. Smoked barbeque
Reheating smoked barbeque will caramelize that sugar and make it taste fresh again. Reheating smoked barbecue in the microwave can make it tough and chewy.
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5. French fries
Yes, you heard it right, you can reheat fries and make them crispy again. These finger foods tend to get soggy and limp even after just a few hours of cooking. That’s why they should be eaten while still hot. Even your microwave can’t make fries crispy again. But you can with an air fryer. And the same goes for chicken nuggets and fried meat too.
Other Way to Reheat Fried Chicken
Apart from an air fryer, here are other ways to reheat the fried chicken. These are alternatives but it might not be able to render leftover fried chicken as crispy as an air fryer.
Reheating fried chicken using the microwave method
- Take the leftover chicken out of the fridge. And let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Allowing it to reach room temperature fist will prevent the fried chicken from losing moisture.
- Then wrap the entire plate with a paper towel. This prevents the chicken from getting soggy.
- Heat the chicken at 30-second intervals until the chicken is warmed all the way through.
Reheating fried chicken using the oven
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees celsius
- Line the baking tray or baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and allow it to cool down until it reaches room temperature.
- Once the oven is hot enough, pop in the fried chicken. Cook for 10-20 minutes. If the chicken pieces are large, you might need more time. Technically legs and thighs can reheat for 10 minutes and chicken breast will take 15 minutes to reheat.
- The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches that temperature, it’s reheated all the way through already.
Reheating fried chicken using the pan
- Take the fried chicken out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature.
- Turn on the pan on high heat and pour on oil. You need a hefty amount so the chicken will slightly submerge in it.
- Once the pan is hot, put the chicken pieces and fry them.
Pros of Using an Air Fryer to Reheat Chicken
You might be wondering, why not just use your trusty microwave or the oven? What is the advantage of reheating fried chicken leftovers in the air fryer?
Frying pan vs air fryer
Reheating fried chicken leftovers in a frying pan can be very long. It would take 30 minutes just for the chicken to reach room temperature. Whereas with the air fryer, you only need just a few minutes.
Also, you need a lot of oil to reheat fried chicken in a pan to make it crispy. It’s like deep frying it for the second time again.
Convection oven vs air fryer
Using the oven to reheat fried chicken can be tricky. You won’t have any idea if the chicken is heated all the way through. So you have to open the oven to check if the meat is properly reheated already.
Microwave vs air fryer
Out of the options above, this is the worst method of reheating fire chicken. The microwave method won’t be able to make fried chicken crispy again. You’ll be able to reach room temperature asap but no matter how long you let it sit in the microwave, it won’t get any crispy.
Related Article: How to Reheat Fried Rice
How can I prevent the chicken from getting too dry?
You may cover the chicken pieces in aluminum foil to prevent them from overcooking and drying out.
Is an air fryer hard to use?
Air fryers can heat leftover fried chicken fast. And it can also make it crispier than other methods. But of course, there are some gripes. If it’s your first time to use one, it might have a learning curve.
Can you use a toaster oven to reheat fried chicken?
Yes you can. Set the toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line the tray with a baking sheet. Then reheat until it’s warmed all the way through.
With an air fryer, your leftovers can be palatable again. You can enjoy leftover crispy fried chicken and recipes. Aside from fried chicken, you can reheat a ton of fried items in an air fryer. And it can reheat faster than a microwave, the oven, or a pan. There are different ways to reheat fried chicken, but an air fryer is by far the best.
Thus, can avoid wastage and can help you save extra bucks from buying take-out food. Who would have thought you can still enjoy the crispy goodness of leftovers? Your family won’t be able to tell it’s from yesterday’s takeout.
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two kids and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen game plan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.