Chicken makes a delicious and inexpensive meal, but tends to dry out when reheated to eat leftovers. If you have leftover cooked chicken that you want to reheat, there are a few easy ways to do it safely so that the meat stays chewy and doesn't dry out, while avoiding re-cooking the meat, which would be. the case if you were frying it.
Microwave preparation time: 2 to 4 minutes
Method 1 of 4: Reheat the chicken in the microwave
Step 1. Cut the chicken into small pieces
Chicken (especially white meat) tends to dry out when heated too long. Cutting the chicken into smaller pieces will take less time to reheat, which will prevent the pieces from drying out.
Step 2. Place the chicken on a microwave safe plate
Place the pieces side by side, they should not overlap, and leave a little space between each so that the cooking is even.
- Do not microwave anything in a plastic container. Most of the myths about microwaved plastic and cancer have proven to be without scientific merit. On the other hand, you risk melting the plastic on your food.
- You can use a "normal" plate, a paper plate, or a glass container.
Step 3. Cover the chicken
Again, don't use staple plastic wrap, as it may melt on the food. Do not use aluminum foil either, as it can spark and start a fire or break your microwave.
- You can buy special lids made from microwave-resistant plastic.
- If you can't find anything else, just place paper towels on the chicken.
Step 4. Reheat the chicken
How much chicken do you have? If it's a very small amount (one serving for one meal), start by reheating it for a minute and a half on your normal microwave setting (usually 1000 watts). If you have a lot of chicken, start by reheating it between two and a half and three minutes.
- Turn the pieces over when you are halfway through the total time.
- Check the temperature of the chicken either by touching it with your finger or by taking a small bite to see if it is completely reheated. Keep reheating it in 30 second increments until it reaches the right temperature.
Step 5. Take out the chicken and let it rest
Remember that the container will be very hot, so use tea towels or pot holders to safely remove the chicken from the microwave. Leave the lid on the chicken and let it sit for two minutes before cutting or serving.
Step 6. Remove the cover
Be careful, as this may release a large amount of hot steam. Keep your face or fingers away to avoid burns.
Method 2 of 4: Reheat the chicken on the stove
Step 1. Heat a skillet over low to medium heat
A non-stick skillet is great for reheating chicken, especially when skin is left on the meat, as oily skin tends to stick to hot pans.
- You should feel the heat emanating from the pan when you put your hand a few inches above it.
- The pan should not be as hot as if you were cooking raw chicken, as intense heat will dry out the chicken.
Step 2. Put a tablespoon of oil or butter in the pan
A little fat in the pan will keep the chicken from drying out.
Step 3. Heat the chicken in the pan
Put the cold chicken in the pan and watch it closely. To avoid burning it, stir it in the pan so that the surface of the meat cannot catch on. Be sure to turn the pieces every now and then so that the chicken is completely heated on both sides.
Step 4. Let sit and serve
Let the chicken rest for a minute or two in its own juice then enjoy.
Method 3 of 4: Reheat the chicken in the oven
Step 1. Prepare the chicken for reheating
It is not imperative that the chicken is at room temperature, but it should not be completely frozen (solid). It is best to put it in the refrigerator 6 to 8 hours before reheating it so that it thaws naturally.
- If you want to reheat it immediately, put it in a freezer bag with a zipper, seal and put it under running water to thaw it.
- It is also possible to thaw it in the microwave using the defrost function.
Step 2. Cut it into small pieces
Thus, it will not dry out as it warms up.
Step 3. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish
A metal cookie sheet would be ideal. Check the bottom of the dish to see if it can withstand very high temperatures.
- Distribute the cooked chicken pieces in the dish, trying to space the pieces evenly.
- Drizzle the remaining chicken juices on the meat, if any.
- Cover the dish or baking sheet with aluminum foil to prevent the chicken from drying out.
Step 4. Preheat the oven
Set it to 220 ° C to 245 ° C. The preheating time varies depending on the oven, so make sure the oven has reached the correct temperature before placing the chicken in the oven for reheating.
Step 5. Heat the chicken to 75 ° C
Once the oven is hot, put the chicken in the oven. If you cut it into small pieces, it might only take a few minutes to warm up completely. If you are reheating large pieces such as whole whites, you may need to wait longer.
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature inside the chicken and make sure the center of the meat is not cold
Step 6. Take out the chicken and serve it
Protect your hands with pot holders when you take the chicken out of the oven and protect your table from the heat of the container with a trivet.
If you have large pieces of chicken, let the meat rest for a minute or two before cutting it. This will allow the juice to redistribute so that the chicken is not dry and tough
Method 4 of 4: Reheat a store-bought whole roast chicken
Step 1. Preheat the oven
Set the oven to 175 ° C and let it preheat well. The preheating time varies depending on the oven, so make sure the oven has reached the correct temperature before placing the chicken in the oven for reheating.
Step 2. Prepare a roasting pan
Since the chicken is already cooked, you don't really need a dish with high sides, as the chicken will not release any juices. However, a roasting pan is still a good size dish for reheating roast chicken.
- Oil the surface of the dish or rub it with butter to prevent the chicken from sticking.
- Place the whole roast chicken in the pan.
Step 3. Heat the chicken to 75 ° C
Place the dish in the well preheated oven, making sure to place it on the middle plate so that the heat is evenly distributed. Depending on the size of the chicken, you may need more or less time, but it should take about twenty-five minutes for the chicken to heat up thoroughly.
- Start checking the temperature a few minutes before the end of the time indicated, especially if the chicken is rather small.
- Do not overcook the chicken, as it will become dry and leathery (especially white meat).
Step 4. Let sit and serve
Remove the chicken from the oven using pot holders to protect your hands and a trivet to protect the table from the hot pan. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for about five minutes before carving it up. This will allow the juice to be redistributed throughout the chicken to keep it moist when you serve it.
- Microwaves tend to heat the outside of the food first, especially if it is "thick" food like a whole chicken. Be sure to cut up any leftover chicken before reheating in the microwave.
- Microwaves are faster, but ovens heat meat more evenly.
- Before handling leftover chicken (or any other food), be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soapy water. If you have a cold or have allergies and are likely to cough or sneeze, be careful not to do this when handling food. Staphylococcus is a bacteria often found in the nasal cavities and on the skin. It is a major cause of food poisoning when it comes in contact with food and multiplies.
- Note that there is a degree of controversy over the plastic wrap issue: some argue that plastic wrap, even though it is microwave resistant, is not good for food because toxins get into the food. when you put it in the microwave. Others disagree. The same questions arise for the use of plastic containers in the microwave. You can find information on alternatives to both on the internet.
- Even well-cooked food can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella. Be sure to discard items such as marinades the chicken has rested in and do not use them for other foods.
- Bacteria are much more likely to settle on the surface of food than inside. Be sure to cover any food before putting it in the refrigerator to avoid surface contamination. Allow food to cool before putting on an airtight lid and refrigerating it, as hot or lukewarm food placed in an airtight environment can also grow bacteria.
- Never put aluminum foil in the microwave!