Fried chicken wings are one of those meals loved by pretty much everyone. Buying them from your favorite fast-food chain or making them at home, they’re usually tender and full of flavor. However, eating leftover chicken wings the next day is often a disappointment. The skin doesn’t have that same crispy texture, and the chicken can be a little dry.
Wouldn’t it be outstanding to have those same scrumptious chicken wings two nights in a row? The good news is you can, and it’s effortless! I’m going to show you how to reheat chicken wings using five different methods.
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How to reheat chicken wings: 5 Easy Options
Option 1: Microwave + Oven
This method gives the best of both worlds. It’s quick because the microwave does most of the heating. The final result is a perfectly crisp skin thanks to the broiling process.
Heating the chicken with a microwave is also a safer option as it cooks from the inside out. You won’t end up with chicken that’s Luke-warm on the inside and potentially a health hazard.
What you’ll need
- leftover chicken (of course)
- paper towels
- a baking tray
- oven and microwave
- oil spray (optional)
- Preheat oven: Set your oven to broil. In some countries, this setting is called “grill.” It needs to be roaring hot before you get started.
- Warm the chicken: Lightly wet some paper towels so that they’re a little damp then line a large plate. Place the chicken on the plate then cover with another wet paper towel. Microwave until the chicken is warm, but not sizzling hot. The time will vary depending on how much chicken you have and your microwave, but around 1-2 minutes will usually be enough.
- Broil the chicken: Place the chicken on an oven tray and discard the paper towels. Position your chicken wings on the top shelf and cook for one minute then flip the meat over. Cook for a further minute then check to see how they look. Are they looking crispy and delicious? If the answer is yes, remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating.
Note: If you have a toaster oven, then this is an excellent alternative to using a conventional oven. Not only do they heat up quicker, but they’ll also lower your power bill. I use the Breville Smart Oven for its generous size and fancy control panel that does some of the thinking for you. You can see my review of this toaster oven here.
Watch the video and learn
Option 2: Microwave
Microwaving chicken is the perfect solution for anyone that’s in a hurry. Are the kids in need of a fast snack, are you running late for an appointment? Pop your leftover chicken in the microwave, and you’ll be eating within a few minutes!
The secret to reheating chicken wings in the microwave is damp paper towels which prevent the meat from drying out. They also stop fat from spattering all over the inside of the microwave.
Note: If you choose to microwave the chicken, then don’t expect crispy skin; it will be slightly soggy. Some love this; for the rest of us, choose another reheating method.
What you’ll need
- a microwave
- a microwave-safe plate
- paper towels
- Layer damp paper towels on a large plate.
- Place chicken wings on the plate then cover with another layer of moist paper towels.
- Heat the chicken on high for 2 minutes then check if it is sizzling hot all the way through. If necessary, continue heating for 1 minute at a time until ready.
Option 3: Frying
Frying is a useful technique for reheating chicken as it provides a lovely crispy skin. This method of cooking uses a low-medium heat, so the protein doesn’t get the chance to dry out.
Reheating chicken in a pan can get quite messy so if you hate cleaning stovetops then avoid this option.
What you’ll need
- a skillet
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- Heat a frying pan on low-medium then add some cooking oil of your choice once warm. You don’t want it to get too hot because it will dry out the chicken before the inside warms to a safe temperature.
- Using tongs, carefully place the chicken onto the pan and heat, frequently turning for 3-4 minutes. Cook the wings until the center of the meat is heated to 167°F.
- Check the inside of the chicken is piping hot then remove from the pan.
- Allow the chicken to rest for two minutes, then serve.
Option 4: Grill
If you take any opportunity to fire up the barbecue, then this method will suit you. Not only is this option simple, but it also gives the chicken a tasty char-grilled smoky flavor that no other heating method can provide.
What you’ll need
- A grill and cooking utensils
- Tray or platter for the chicken
- Cooking oil
- Coat the wings in a layer of your preferred cooking oil. Canola works well.
- Heat the grill to a low-medium heat then use tongs to place the chicken onto the heat.
- Once the chicken starts to brown, flip each piece and continue heating until the chicken is cooked through.
- Transfer the wings to a tray and allow to sit for 2 minutes before serving.
Tip: Spice up your chicken by sprinkling with some paprika before cooking.
Option 5: Oven-baked
If you aren’t in a hurry, then oven baking is an excellent method for keeping the wings crispy and the chicken tender and moist.
Although the reheating time takes longer than the other options, you’ll find the flavor is delectable.
What you’ll need
- An aluminum foil-lined baking tray
- Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
- Place your chicken on the tray and pop them in the oven. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is heated sufficiently on the inside.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Tips to improve your chicken
- You can spray a small amount of oil onto the chicken if it looks dry.
- Keep a close eye on your chicken when heating as it can dry out fast.
- Be wary of very large or small pieces – consider cooking them separately as they’ll either be under or overcooked.
- Don’t overcrowd the baking tray with too much chicken. You’re better to heat one dish at a time with nicely spaced chicken wings.
- Sprinkle on a little extra kosher salt to dial up the taste.
Is it okay to reheat chicken?
Chicken is susceptible to nasty bugs like E. Coli. Bacteria that cause food poisoning will start to multiply once the food reaches around 40° F (5° C). They stop multiplying when the food reaches 140° F (60° C). It’s essential that you don’t leave the chicken wings out of the fridge too long before reheating as you increase the chances of getting food poisoning.
Remember to cover your leftover chicken with foil after you’ve served and, more importantly, ensure it gets placed in the fridge within an hour or serving up the food.
Have you had the chicken sitting out of the fridge all night? It’s a disaster waiting to happen. Toss the meat out and buy fresh chicken from the store.
Can you reheat chicken twice?
So you’ve had wings two nights in a row, and you’re considering going for a third? Is it safe? Reheating chicken twice is perfectly safe; however, ensure that it gets heated to 167° F (or 75° C). It is vital that every part of the chicken gets reheated, and the only way to know for sure is with a cooking thermometer. [source]
Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should avoid taking any risks with reheated food.
How to store chicken wings
The secret to serving amazing chicken, even when they’re leftovers, is to store the meat appropriately. Add wings to a ziplock bag or place in an airtight container. You can leave poultry in the fridge for up to four days. If you have hot leftovers, allow them to cool below 40°F before sealing them and storing them.
If you don’t think you’ll eat them within a few days, store in the freezer for 2-6 months. Although you can usually eat chicken that you’ve frozen for over six months, you may find the flavor and texture of the meat have deteriorated.
Got more leftovers to reheat?
If you had a party the night before, the chances are you have other leftovers that need reheating.
The best option for reheating French fries is to fry them over a high heat in a ¼ layer or oil. This method will result in a yummy crispy exterior. Choose an oil that has a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil; otherwise, it will burn and impart an unpleasant flavor on the fries.
If you’re looking for a healthier cooking option, bake the fries in the oven, on a lined baking tray at 400F (200C) for 8-10 minutes or until crispy.
To retain that crispy base, toss the leftover pizza into a hot, lightly oiled skillet. Heat until the cheese melts sufficiently. If you like crispy pepperoni, then skip the skillet and use the oven. Place the pizza on a lined baking tray and bake on 350F (180C) until the toppings are crispy and the cheese has melted.
If you have rice that needs to get reheated, then place it in a bowl and splash with a tablespoon of water. If the rice is clumpy, then break it up using a fork. Finally, cover the container with a paper towel and heat on high for one minute. If the rice hasn’t cooked throughout, cook for a further 30 seconds, and check again.
Ready to eat?
So that’s all there is to reheating chicken wings. It’s pretty simple when you know-how. I want to repeat the importance of food safety. Make sure it’s not just the outside of the wings that are hot. If the inside is lukewarm, it’s a recipe for food poisoning. The heating methods mentioned on this page that use a microwave will cook from the inside out; the best way to make sure all the meat gets heated to 167°F.
Although we provide five options to reheat fried chicken wings on this page, the first method is recommended: microwaving then broiling. It helps raise the internal temperature of the meat, but the added step of broiling results in delicious crispy skin.
If you have got frozen chicken wings, then you’ll need to defrost them before cooking. In a hurry? Defrost them in a microwave until their temperature reaches 165°F.
Now it’s time to take those wings in the fridge and turn them into another enticing meal. If you have another method that works well let us know and we’ll add it to this resource. Of course, if all else fails, you can always cook (or buy) the original chicken again.