Learn how to reheat fried chicken in the air fryer, the proper way. Out of the many tests we conducted, this air-fried chicken recipe resulted in the most mouthwatering results!
Nothing is worse than cold and soggy fried chicken the next day. Whether you have fried chicken breasts, chicken strips, chicken tenders, chicken thighs, chicken wings, or chicken drumsticks; the air fryer is the best way to bring them back to life.
🍽️ Why This Works
We tried many methods, and reheating fried chicken in the air fryer is the best way to go.
Healthiest option – It is much healthier than throwing that fried chicken back in an oil bath or reheating it on the stove. You only need a light spray of your favorite cooking spray, and you are good to go! The air fryer has quickly become a go-to reheating option for my family because it is fast, healthy, and convenient.
Maximum Crisp – The hot air circulation in the air fryer crisps up anything that goes into it within minutes. Compared to an oven, which takes a while to heat up and get to the crisping point, the air fryer saves you time and hassle while guaranteeing good results. The breading on the fried chicken will taste like it is straight out of the fryer, if not better.
Easy Cleanup – Most air fryers have detachable parts that can be washed very easily. If you want even easier cleanup, you can line it with parchment paper or invest in those air fryer disposable paper liners.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Fried Chicken – Use any leftover fried chicken you have. It could be homemade fried chicken you made the night before, or takeout from Kentucky Fried Chicken that got cold on the road.
Spray Oil – Use your favorite non-stick cooking spray of choice, preferably one that can stand high-heat cooking. I like to use olive oil!
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Air Fryer – My family loves our Ninja AF101 air fryer! It heats up quickly and gets the job done within minutes so it’s perfect when you need to reheat fried chicken in the air fryer. Aside from the air fry option, you can roast, bake, dehydrate, and even reheat. I find that the air fry option offers the highest heat and overall crispiness!
Tongs – You want to keep a pair of tongs handy as these fried chickens will be hot when they come out of the air fryer. I like my metal tongs as they are heat-resistant. These will make your life so much easier when it comes to grabbing and flipping things inside the air fryer.
Air Fryer Liner – This is optional, but if you want easier cleanup, I recommend using an air fryer liner. There are disposable and reusable options out there.
Wire rack – If you are cooking a batch or just need a place to cool them down, a wire rack might come in handy. Let the reheated chicken cool down for a few minutes before serving for maximum juiciness!
Step One: Place the fried chicken pieces in the air fryer basket.
Step Two: Adjust the temperature to 375°F on air frying and cook for 4-5 minutes.
⏲️How Long To Reheat Fried Chicken In The Air Fryer?
The most important thing to remember when reheating fried chicken is that it needs to reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
You can use these times as a loose rule, and check halfway through to see the progress or rely on a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temp.
|Chicken Part||Reheating Time (375°F)|
|Fried Chicken Tenders||3-5 min|
|Fried Chicken Wings||3-5 min|
|Fried Chicken Breast||8 min|
|Fried Chicken Thighs||5-7 min|
|Fried Chicken Legs||4-5 min|
Air Fryer Reheating Times For Fried Chicken
We tried reheating fried chicken wings, thighs, and tenders at 350°F, 375°F, and 400°F.
400°F will give you the crispiest exterior while 350°F will keep it soft. We loved 375°F as the perfect in-between as reheating at 400°F can dry out smaller chicken pieces.
For a larger piece like a chicken breast, you can reheat at 400°F without any worries.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Single layer – Try not to overcrowd the basket to allow air circulation. If you have more chicken pieces to reheat, I recommend doing it in batches. This will allow the air to circulate and crisp up the outside of the chicken evenly. Make sure you have one layer of chicken each time. In the case of my quart-sized air fryer, this was two pieces of fried chicken.
Cut into smaller pieces – If you want even more crispiness, feel free to cut the chicken into smaller pieces or nuggets.
Reheat similar-sized pieces together – If you have lots of fried chicken, reheat the bigger pieces in one batch and add a few extra minutes to the cooking time. Then, reheat the smaller pieces and adjust the cooking time accordingly. This will ensure the small bits don’t dry out while the larger ones need to reheat for longer
Extra juiciness – Let the fried chicken rest for a few minutes before digging in. This lets the moisture settle back in and ensures a juicy bite every time.
Avoid soggy fried chicken – Make sure the chicken is cold or at room temperature before putting it in the air fryer. Ideally, you should remove it from the refrigerator 10-30 minutes before reheating. This will help the meat reheat faster and retain moisture. If you tried to reheat it in the microwave and it came out too soggy and steamy, wait for a little to cool it down. Putting steamy food in the air fryer wouldn’t give you the same crispiness as you might expect.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
The fried chicken tastes best straight out of the air fryer! However, if you have any leftover chicken, make sure they are completely cooled before putting them away.
For refrigeration, use an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you need to store for longer, fried chicken can last in the freezer for up to 4 months.
To reheat frozen fried chicken, either air fry for about 10 minutes at 400°F or thaw for an hour and reheat like usual. Reheating frozen fried chicken is pretty much like reheating room-temperature fried chicken, just for longer.
The total cooking time may vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces. The internal temperature needs to reach 165°F before serving. The best way to get an accurate measurement is to use a digital meat thermometer.
✔️Additions and Substitutions
Spray Oil – If you don’t have this on hand, you might achieve the same result with a pastry brush or your fingers and cooking oil. You can also use a liner to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. I find that if your fried chicken is oily anyway, you may not even need spray oil sometimes.
Seasoning – Optionally, you can season the fried chicken with salt and pepper or any seasoning blend or sauce of your choice after it comes out of the air fryer. Think of this as a second chance to add new flavors and make it taste even better.
Air Fryer – No matter what you use to substitute the air fryer, it won’t work the same. You can try reheating fried chicken using the oven, but it would take around 15-20 minutes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Pan frying would require constant oversight at low-medium heat for about the same time. Whatever you do, please try to avoid the microwave as it will result in soggy and sad fried chicken. It is also hard to ensure even heat in the microwave compared to other methods.
Waffles – Chicken and waffles are the first thing that crossed my mind! I am a big fan of chicken and waffles, especially because you can also reheat frozen waffles in the air fryer! You can also substitute the waffles for these healthy oat waffles.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy – There is something about mashed potatoes and gravy with fried chicken that is so nostalgic! For a healthier alternative, you can also pair these with mashed cauliflower.
Coleslaw – Another classic with fried chicken is coleslaw. You can easily make this at home or buy it at a grocery store.
Mac and Cheese – My extra gooey mac and cheese recipe would go perfectly with some reheated fried chicken!
Sheet pan veggies – If you want some low-carb sheet pan veggie side dishes, I have recipes for roasted rutabaga fries, roasted Brussel sprouts, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, and roasted beets and carrots.
🍗More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
The air fryer will elevate this fast-cooking protein in no time!
When you’re in a rush, there are plenty of fast air fryer chicken recipes that can save you in a pinch. Air fryer chicken tenders, air fryer bang bang chicken meatballs, air fryer sweet Asian chili chicken wings, and air fryer chicken livers are delicious, frugal, and ready in no time!
Try these air fryer chicken enchiladas with the leftover meat for a fast lunch or dinner that everyone will love!
You can even meal-prep chicken in the air fryer and store the meat in the fridge or freezer for future use.
The air fryer is excellent for making fried chicken from scratch as we did for this air fryer copycat chick-fil-a sandwich.
❓ Recipe FAQ
You can reheat KFC chicken in the air fryer as it helps preserve freshness and evenly reheats the food.
Add a bit of spray oil on top and reheat the fried chicken in the air dryer until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Overcooking it would result in dry and stale fried chicken.
It is actually recommended to make sure the cooked chicken is cold when putting in the air fryer. Hot and steamy chicken would interfere with the air circulation and result in soggy chicken.
Tin foil is safe to use in the air fryer as long as you are following food safety measures, such as avoiding contact with hot foil and only cooking non-acidic food in foil.
The air fryer is the better option for reheating fried chicken. It preheats faster than an oven and the hot circulating air will reheat the chicken quickly, crisping up the outside while the interior remains moist.
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Reheat Fried Chicken in Air Fryer
- spray olive oil
- 2 pieces fried chicken
- Spritz the exterior of the leftover fried chicken with a little bit of olive oil spray. This will help the chicken skin be crispy and crunchy.
- Heat up the air fryer to 375°F and place the 2 pieces of chicken in the basket on top of the liner. Cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken pieces and how crispy you would like the skin.