How to reheat chicken in the microwave

We all love chicken on our menu. After all, it’s the most versatile of meats. But, when those late-night cravings drop by to say hello, that leftover chicken can make for a great midnight snack, or depending on your preferences, it can even work as lunch for the next day.

A head-scratching moment might pop up when you think, “How do I reheat it?” You could try heating it in the microwave, but if done incorrectly, you will find yourself with not-so-promising results and turn your chicken into rubbery leather.

This is why you need to learn how to properly reheat chicken. Read on to find the best ways

for reheating chicken and we’ll have you saying winner, winner chicken dinner in no time.

What is the best way to reheat chicken?

Nothing worse than heating your delicious dinner, only to find out that you’ve reheated it the wrong way to be left with either dry breasts or soggy breadcrumb coatings.

Yes, my friends, that is quite the likely possibility! And trust me when I say that I’ve learned this the hard way.

Once I popped a roast chicken breast in the microwave, drooling over the thought that I would enjoy a sandwich made out of it later, only to reheat it for a tad bit too long. By the time the microwave dinged, the breast had dried out.

So after a lot of trial and error on my part, I’ve learned a lot about the foolproof ways you can use to reheat your chicken, depending on what cut it is or in what style it’s cooked.


One of the fastest methods to reheat the chicken, but unfortunately not recommended with breaded chicken, since it can leave it soggy. Also, easy to overcook with this method.


One of the slowest methods to use for reheating, but it is great for bone-in pieces of chicken.

Air fryer

The best method to restore crispiness to breaded pieces of chicken, but requires special equipment (Airfyers)

How to use a microwave to reheat a chicken?

Undoubtedly the quickest and most convenient way to reheat food, but at the same time, if done incorrectly, it can be very easy to dry it out as well. Follow these tips to minimize your chances of reducing your chicken to rubbery strands (These tips work best for non-breaded styles)

Prep your plate: Arrange the chicken on a plate in a single layer, spread out in such a way that the thicker pieces are towards the outer edge of the plate and thinner ones are towards the center.

Manage the moisture: Cover the chicken with a damp paper towel or brush with a little oil to prevent the chicken from drying out.

Cover and zap: Add a microwave lid cover or a plate on top to prevent moisture loss from direct contact with heat.

Rotate: Halfway through the cooking process, make sure you flip the bird (the one you are cooking) aka turning your chicken over so it heats up evenly from all sides.

Same-sized meat: Make sure all the chicken pieces are more or less the same size so that they can get heated at the same time.

Different sized cuts mean the bigger pieces will take longer to heat than the smaller ones, which could dry out the smaller pieces.

If that’s not possible and you still have uneven-sized pieces, then zap at one-minute intervals to check and remove the ones that have been heated through.

Set the chicken out before reheating: For best results, it is always better that you let the chicken come to room temperature before reheating it in the microwave.

Putting it in the microwave directly after taking it out from the refrigerator will create non-uniform heat distribution, resulting in hot and cold pockets in various places.

How long should you reheat chicken in the microwave?

A microwave oven can be easily classified as the best invention for the kitchen in making all our lives a bit easier, but knowing how to use it correctly actually makes all the difference between a moist and juicy chicken to an overdone and dry meal, that would get Gordon Ramsay’s blood boiling.

For an average-sized chicken’s leftovers, it would normally take around 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side.

This number, however, can vary depending upon the size of your chicken and microwave power. Lower wattage microwaves will take longer than higher wattage microwaves, so adjust accordingly. The times given here correspond to a 1000-watt microwave.

Similarly, bigger-sized pieces of chicken will heat up slower than smaller sizes, so always keep these two important factors into account.

As always, remember to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking process. How do you know when chicken is done reheating in the microwave?

For accurate knowledge, use a meat thermometer. The internal reading should be at 165 F, and the chicken should be visibly steaming, with the strong aroma of cooked chicken. That’s when you know your chicken has been reheated properly.

Is it dangerous to reheat chicken in the microwave?

No, most definitely not! Chicken reheated in the microwave is 100% safe to eat, provided that it was refrigerated within 2-hours of the initial cooking and it has been reheated thoroughly.

However, you should aim to eat the leftovers in one sitting, because any consecutive reheating in the microwave after the first time will result in a drier chicken each time.

Final thoughts:

There are an unlimited number of ways you can choose to use your favorite chicken leftovers, heck there are even times when I made extra servings on purpose just so I can enjoy my food the next day too. But to enjoy them properly, you need to know the nitty-gritty of how best to handle the reheating process. Following the tips above is a sure-fire way to get it right every time.

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