Welcome back to Air Fryer Bro and another ‘Bro Meals’ test. I have tried reheating leftover pizza and quiche in my air fryer in the past, all with pretty good success. What other leftovers do we have in our fridge to heat up? Today it is the turn of the humble fried chicken! Last night my wife was out of the house and (as it was a Friday) I decided to order some fried chicken. As my eyes are bigger than my stomach, I ordered an eight-piece bucket! Although I can be a pig, I am not that much of a pig! This morning I have three pieces left over and I want to see if I can reheat them successfully in my trusty air fryer! Let’s do this!
A disclaimer before we get going 🙂 If you are looking for the picture perfect Pinterest (or Instagram) ready recipe, this is not the post for you. This article is more about helping you to find the best way to reheat fried chicken in your air fryer. I am not a trendy chef so don’t expect glossy pictures 🙂
The Fried Chicken
I am quite the fan of Jolibee for cheap fast food style fried chicken. I find things such as KFC to be lacking in quality in the region I live in, whereas Jolibee must have a secret source of Filipino chicken or something, because their version is much nicer!
Anyway, below you can see the three drumstick chicken pieces I had (forget about the calories, leftover chicken has never looked so good!) Fresh out of Jolibee’s they were crispy and juicy (the Jolibee coating is amazing fresh out of the fryer!). Can we get anywhere close by reheating it the next day? My hungry belly certainly hopes so 🙂
The Air Fryer
I am currently using the Uten air fryer I reviewed earlier in the year (to give it a good long-term work out), so this is the appliance I will use for this test. It’s a pretty typical air fryer, being 6.9 quart in size and 1700 watts power wise. This air fryer model had the perfect sized air fryer basket for this test, so it all worked out!
I think fried chicken will be easy to re-crisp the outside, but tougher to make sure that it gets warmed right through to the core. Fried chicken should be piping hot all the way through, so this will be the challenge. The problem I see is the outside coating getting overcooked 🙂
Therefore, I am starting at 170 Celsius/ 338 Fahrenheit for a five minute cook time with my first cold chicken drumstick. Then we will see where we stand 🙂 What was the result? Exactly as I predicted, the outer skin was almost too hot to touch, but the core of the chicken was still cold. Still edible, but far from the perfect result.
So I went to the other extreme for the second drumstick, 150 Celsius/ 300 Fahrenheit, for ten minutes! Let’s see if we get a better all round result. I have to say, this was almost perfect. The fried chicken was piping hot right through to the bone. However, the outer skin wasn’t quite as crispy as I would have liked.
So my final time for my last fried chicken drumstick was eight minutes’ air fried at 150 Celsius/ 300 Fahrenheit , followed by 2 minutes at 180 Celsius/ 356 Fahrenheit. And this turned out to be the perfect combination of piping hot chicken and crispy skin. Give me some fries and I’m golden (literally). This is how I will reheat my fried chicken in the future. Yum! Fried chicken leftovers won’t be sat in my fridge for long after this 🙂
What is the Benefit of Using an Air Fryer to Reheat Fried Chicken?
When you try to reheat fried chicken in a microwave, it becomes soggy and not tasty. Add to this the fact that the microwave will basically blitz a lot of the nutrients out of your food too! And you don’t want to heat up your whole traditional oven just to reheat a few pieces of chicken, and if you do, the time required will be much longer than with an air fryer.
Using my perfect timings discovered above, you can have piping hot and crispy reheated fried chicken in as little as ten minutes. This is a real game changer for me. And I have had issues in the past when reheating fried chicken, where I can some weird texture in between the skin and flesh of the fried chicken (I think it’s to do with excess moisture issues!). I didn’t get any of this today when using my air fryer.
Any Considerations when using an Air Fryer to Reheat Fried Chicken?
- To make it easier for your air fryer to heat the fried chicken through to the core, ensure your chicken is at room temperature before putting it into your air fryer.
- Check the internal temperature of your leftover fried chicken with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 165 Fahrenheit or 74 Celsius.
- If you are reheating larger quantities of fried chicken, make sure to leave space in between each piece to allow the hot air to flow all around it. A single layer is better too, unless you have a wire rack to add to your air fryer basket.
- I used a 1700 watt air fryer in this test. If your air fryer is higher or lower wattage, you may need to amend the cooking times accordingly.
- I cooked drumsticks today. If your fried chicken includes thighs or chicken breasts, you will need to increase the time to cook these bigger and thicker pieces. And if it’s chicken wings, it should be less. Again, use the meat thermometer to guide you!
- Do not add any extra oil when reheating your fried chicken in an air fryer. It doesn’t need it! So put that olive oil spitzer away please 🙂
- DO NOT PREHEAT your air fryer 🙂 It’s a waste of your time and your electric bill. It’s an urban myth that pre-heating an air fryer does anything!! Read my full article on this subject to get the lowdown.