If you hate food wastage as I do, you will probably have some left-over chicken in your fridge or freezer ready for cooking another day. Maybe you like to save all your left-overs from each meal and have a left-over night? It’s the favourite kind of dinner in our house!
If you have some chicken saved then you will be wondering how to reheat it without drying it out. Who wants chewy, dry chicken? Our dog Xena would love it, but that is all it would be good for!
If you are wondering how to eat succulent chicken the second time around here is the quick answer: (for more detail carry on reading)
To reheat your chicken and keep it moist and succulent the best method is to bake it in the oven in a covered dish with some chicken stock or water in the base. If you have just one chicken breast to reheat slice it up and reheat it in a heavy-based pan along with some water. You can also use your microwave if you cover the dish and add some water to create a steamy environment as it reheats.
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What are the best ways to reheat chicken breast?
The best method of reheating your cooked chicken breast will depend on how much time you have and how much you have to reheat at once.
If you only have one chicken breast to reheat it is going to be quickest and easiest to use your microwave or the stove. For best results, I recommend you reheat only one chicken breast in the microwave at a time. So if you only have one this is ideal. I will show you how to microwave your chicken without getting the classic rubbery texture.
If you have more time and more chicken to reheat your best option is to use your oven. You can cook more chicken at once without increasing the overall cooking time. I will show you a trick for creating melt-in-the-mouth juicy chicken to enjoy, even when it’s left-over night.
Before we begin I want to give you one big tip.
Always start with room temperature chicken if you can. Get it out of the oven at least 30 minutes before you start reheating it. That way cooking time will be reduced and the outcome will be better because there is less time for your chicken to dry out.
If your chicken is frozen, defrost it first in the fridge and then take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you reheat. It is possible to cook your left-over chicken straight from frozen, you will just need to add 50% to the cooking time. Again that’s increasing the cooking which should be avoided if you want to achieve the best results.
How to reheat chicken breast in the oven without drying it out
Reheating your chicken breast in the oven is the best way to achieve moist chicken complete with a crispy top.
Pro tip: for quicker cooking times cut your chicken breast into slices before you reheat it.
Things you will need to reheat your chicken breast in the oven:
- Oven safe dish with a lid.
- Chicken stock or marinade.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a lid for your dish, you can cover it with foil instead.
Method for reheating your cooked chicken in the oven:
Step 1 – Preheat the oven
It depends on your oven. But for this type of cooking, I will use no higher than about 180c or 250f.
Step 2 – Arrange your chicken in the dish
Unlike the microwave, you can reheat as many chicken breasts as you want to. Don’t cram them in though. You need to leave space between each breast otherwise they will take longer to cook.
It is best to start with room temperature chicken. That way cooking time will be reduced and there is less opportunity for your chicken to dry out.
Step 3 – Add moisture and put a lid on
- Cover the bottom of the dish with some chicken stock or water. This will stop your chicken from drying out as it reheats.
- Put the lid on the dish or cover with aluminium foil pressing it around the edges to create a seal.
Step 4 – Cook
Cook your chicken in the preheated oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 75c or 167f which it should do so after 15 to 30 minutes of cooking.
I find meat thermometers very useful for this.
The cooking time will vary depending on how cool your chicken was when you put it in the oven and whether you sliced it up beforehand.
Step 5 – Grill (optional)
To get a crispy skin on your chicken, remove the cover and put your dish underneath the grill for 5 minutes or until the top starts to crisp up.
Step 6 – Serve immediately
Don’t delay serving your chicken! Chicken should not be reheated more than once.
If you can’t eat your chicken straightaway, here are some tips for keeping your chicken warm.
- How To Cook Chicken Leg Quarters In A Slow Cooker
- Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Lentil Tandoori Curry
- How To Defrost a Whole Chicken Fast!
- Keeping Cooked Chicken Warm – Succulent Chicken Secrets
- 10 Easy and Healthy Chicken Breast Crock Pot Recipes
How to reheat chicken breast on the stove without drying it out
Reheating your chicken breast on the stove is best if you have smaller amounts of chicken.
To reheat your chicken breast on the stove you will need:
- Heavy based frying pan such as a cast-iron skillet.
- Chicken stock or water.
Method for reheating chicken breast on the stove:
Step 1 – Remove the chicken bones if you have any
If your chicken has bones, it is recommended that you remove the bone from the meat before you reheat it. The chicken will reheat faster and more evenly.
Step 2 – Cut your chicken breast into chunks or slices
Your chicken will cook more quickly and evenly if you cut it into chunks or slices before you attempt to reheat.
Step 3 – Cook the chicken until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 75c or 167f
- Add your chicken chunks or slices to the pan and pour in some stock or water to cover the base of the pan.
- Cook for five minutes and then turn the chicken and cook for five minutes more.
- The internal temperature of the chicken needs to reach 75c or 167f to be safely cooked.
Step 4 – Eat immediately!
Don’t let your chicken hang around too long! Chicken can be safely reheated once but not twice.
How to reheat chicken breast in the microwave without drying it out
If you don’t have much time to spare, reheating your chicken breast in the microwave will be the quickest. However, the potential for creating a rubbery and dry chicken is greatest when you use a microwave!
Pro tip: for best results reheat your chicken breasts one at a time.
Things you will need to reheat your chicken breast in the microwave:
- Microwave-safe bowl or plate.
- Something to cover the bowl such as another plate, cling film or kitchen towel.
Steps needed for reheating your chicken breast in the microwave:
Step 1 – Put your chicken breast on a microwave-safe bowl or plate
Put your chicken breast on a plate or bowl. If you have more than one chicken breast to reheat you will get the best result in terms of the texture if you cook them one at a time.
Step 2 – Sprinkle some water on the plate
It’s important to add some water to the cooking environment. That way your chicken will steam rather than bake in the oven which will stop it from drying out as it cooks.
Sprinkle some water over the chicken and the plate. Not too much, just enough to create a bit of steam as the chicken cooks.
Step 3 – Cover
Cover your chicken with a well-fitting lid. This could be a plate or a microwave food cover.
I like this one in particular because it collapses for easy storage.
You don’t want to create a seal on your chicken, you just want to stop most of the moisture from evaporating.
Step 4 – Cook for 20 seconds at a time
Cook on high or select the ‘reheat’ option on your microwave if you have one and cook for about 20 seconds, turn and then repeat for another 20 seconds.
Cook this way until the chicken breast has reached at least 75c or 167f.
Step 5 – Consume immediately!
It is safe to reheat your cooked chicken once. Any more than that and it could be dangerous to eat.
How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?
You can store your leftover cooked chicken in the fridge for up to four days. Store in an airtight container so it isn’t affected by other smells in the fridge.
A good idea is to date your chicken so that there is no danger of it eating it when it is on the turn.
How to store leftover chicken breast
If you need to store your leftover chicken for longer than four days you can freeze it instead.
Freeze your cooked chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag. If you freeze chicken breasts individually it will be more convenient if you only need one later on.
Cooked chicken can be frozen for up to four months before it starts to degrade.
Once you reheat your chicken you should consume it immediately. The rule is that you can safely reheat your chicken once.
Frozen chicken can be reheated straight from frozen. Always add 50% to the cooking time for the equivalent thawed chicken.
Frequently asked questions
Can you reheat frozen cooked chicken?
Once your cooked chicken is fully thawed you can reheat your chicken as you would if it hadn’t been frozen. You can use either the microwave, oven or stovetop.
You can also reheat cooked chicken from frozen without thawing it first. A rule of thumb is to add 50% to the cooking time for thawed chicken. So if you would normally reheat a thawed chicken breast for 30 minutes in the oven you would need to increase the cooking time to 45 minutes.
Can I reheat chicken in the microwave?
Yes, you can reheat chicken in the microwave. Always add liquid to the microwave dish and cover it before your cook. Cook in short bursts being careful not to overcook the meat which will cause it to become rubbery.
Can you reheat chicken on the bone?
Any type of chicken can be reheated. But if it has a bone your best option for moist and crispy skin is to reheat it in the oven. Always cover your chicken when you reheat it in the oven. For extra moistness add some chicken stock to the oven dish. At the end of the cooking time remove the cover and put it under the grill to make the skin crispy.
Is it safe to reheat chicken breast in the microwave?
You can safely reheat chicken in a microwave. Chicken can be reheated very quickly in a microwave. However, there is a danger of overdoing it and thus making the chicken dry and rubbery.
Always reheat your chicken breasts singly. If your chicken has a bone it is best to remove the bone before you reheat.
Add some moisture to the plate and cover it with another plate, damp kitchen towel or cling film.
Choose the ‘reheat’ setting on your microwave if you have one and cook for 20 seconds, turn and repeat cooking for 20 seconds until the chicken is fully heated through.