Chicken is the most common meat that is consumed by people all over the world.
It is packed with nutrients & is readily available in packaged form as well as freshly cut in markets nearby.
It is delicious & can be roasted, grilled, minced, fried & made into an endless number of appetizing dishes.
Cooked chicken is highly perishable & the USDA recommends refrigerating it at temperatures lesser than 40°F within 2 hours of cooking.
It needs to be reheated for further consumption & using a microwave the right way will give the desired results in no time without any change in flavor.
So, here’s an article that aims to answer any questions that you might have regarding how to reheat chicken in the microwave.
- Quick Answer: How to Reheat Chicken in the Microwave?
- How to Prepare the Chicken for Reheating in a Microwave
- How to Reheat Chicken in a Microwave
- Tips to Remember while Reheating Chicken in a Microwave
- How to Reheat Chicken Thighs in the Microwave
- Alternate Ways to Reheat Chicken
- How to Store Reheated Chicken
- How to Reheat Chicken Leg in the Microwave
- How to know When the Chicken is Properly Reheated in the Microwave
- Bottom Line
How to Prepare the Chicken for Reheating in a Microwave
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator & bring it to room temperature before reheating it. Then cut it into several small pieces to prevent drying .
Drizzle a few teaspoons of water or chicken broth/vegetable broth & edible oil on the chicken pieces to add moisture & flavor.
- A microwave-safe dish, preferably glass or ceramic ware
- A food thermometer
- Wet paper towel
- Edible oil
- Water/Vegetable or chicken broth
- A vented lid
- Kitchen flipper or tongs
- Oven mitt
- Prepare the chicken to be placed in the microwave – Keep cooked chicken out of the refrigerator, at room temperature for around 30 - 60 min.
Cut the chicken into pieces & drizzle some water/vegetable or chicken broth & edible oil on it.
If you want to skip the drizzling part then make sure to place a cup of water beside the chicken inside the microwave while reheating it.
You can also take 2 pieces of bread, pour some water or broth over it & place the chicken on it & then microwave it to prevent it from drying & becoming chalky.
You can also check out this video where Chef Rahul Akerkar from ‘Scroll.in’ channel tries to reheat chicken in the microwave without drying it:
- Place it inside the microwave – Keep the chicken pieces apart in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, preferably glass or ceramic ware .
Avoid using any kind of plastic containers as high temperatures can leach the chemicals into the food.
Keep the smaller pieces near the center of the dish & the larger ones near the periphery for proper distribution of heat.
Cover the bowl with a wet paper towel to lock in the moisture & maintain the texture. You can also use a vented lid if you don’t have a wet paper towel to cover it with.
- Microwave Settings – Keep the microwave at normal settings & start reheating the meat for 2 minutes initially .
Flip the pieces & reheat for another minute. Check every 30 seconds & add an increment of 30 – 60 seconds until thoroughly reheated .
- Flip the meat - Keep flipping the meat pieces every 30 - 60 seconds of reheating it to heat it evenly & to prevent burning or overcooking.
- Remove the chicken from the microwave – Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached 165°F & then remove it.
Do not overheat it as the chicken will get chewy & stiff. Use an oven mitt to hold the plate while removing it.
- Allow standing time – Once you stop reheating, do not immediately remove the lid or the wet paper towel. Let it rest for 1-2 min to allow the internal temperature to reach a safe value.
- Remove the lid – Be very careful while removing the lid as a gush of extremely hot steam will be coming out & it can cause severe burns on the fingers & hand.
Remove it slowly & try to keep a distance while doing this. Then the meat is ready to be consumed.
Tips to Remember while Reheating Chicken in a Microwave
Please follow the tips while reheating chicken in a microwave quickly & safely:
- Use microwave-safe containers – Use glass or ceramic bowls . Do not use any kind of plastic containers as they have a high chance of melting in high heat & the chemicals are hazardous for our health. Please check the bottom of the container to read labels that indicate whether it’s safe or not to use it in the microwave.
- Drizzle some liquid over the meat – Water/Vegetable or chicken broth & edible oil like olive oil should be used to sprinkle on the meat pieces. This adds moisture & prevents the meat from getting chewy or rubbery.
- Keep a cup of water along with the chicken – If you don’t want to add anything to your meat then keep a cup of water alongside the meat pieces inside the microwave when it is being reheated. This will help in adding moisture to the chicken.
- Use a damp paper towel – To keep the meat from drying up & losing its texture, use a damp paper towel. It will lock in the moisture & keep it tender & soft. It also ensures even reheating of the chicken. If a paper towel isn’t available a vented lid can be used instead.
- Refrain from using metal or foam – Do not use any metal container in the microwave, Do not use aluminum or tin foils or plastic wraps as they can cause fire or melt. Specially made microwave covers can be used instead.
- Keep flipping – Flipping the chicken every 30 seconds helps in distributing the heat evenly to every side of the chicken pieces & also prevents it from getting burnt or overcooked. This keeps the chicken from being chalky & rubbery.
- Check the temperature – The internal temperature of the meat should reach 165°F . This will ensure the absence of any microbes & the meat will be perfectly reheated at this temperature.
- Do not remove the cover immediately & allow some standing time – Even after stopping the microwave, the molecules in the food vibrate for a little while & due to this the internal temperature finally reaches a safe limit of 165°F. So, leave it for 1-2 min for resting. Remove the cover slowly while keeping your face away from the direct wave of steam & use an oven mitt to handle the container as it will be extremely hot.
How to Reheat Chicken Thighs in the Microwave
Keep the chicken thighs at room temperature for 30 – 60 min. Cut deep slits on the thickest part of both the sides & brush water & oil/gravy/broth/sauce all over it.
Wrap it with a wet paper towel & place it on a microwave-safe plate. Flip & reheat for 2-3 min till it
Prepare the chicken thighs before reheating in the microwave
Keep the chicken thighs out of the refrigerator, at room temperature for 30 – 60 min.
Take a knife & cut deep slits on the thickest part of the meat on both sides. Apply some water & edible oil like olive oil or any sauce or gravy or broth all over the meat.
This will provide juiciness to the meat & prevent any dryness. Also, cover the meat with a wet paper towel to keep in the moisture. Do not use plastic wrap or metal foil.
Place it in the microwave
Keep the chicken thigh on a microwave-safe plate, preferably glass or ceramic ware. If there is more than 1 piece, then make sure to keep them apart & do not pile onto each other.
Set the microwave to normal settings & start reheating for 1 min initially. Then flip the meat & reheat for another minute.
Keep checking every 30 seconds. Reheat for an increment of 30 seconds if the meat hasn’t reached the required temperature.
Check the temperature
It is advised for any leftover food to be reheated to 165°F for further consumption so that the food is free of microbes .
Take a meat thermometer & record the temperature. Allow some standing time for attaining the safe internal temperature.
Remove the chicken from the microwave
The reheated meat will be extremely hot to hold. Use an oven mitt to handle the plate & wait for some time to remove the wet paper towel from around the meat.
There the chicken thighs are ready to be served!
Alternate Ways to Reheat Chicken
A very efficient way to reheat chicken easily while keeping all the flavors & texture intact is to use an oven.
Keep the chicken out of the fridge, at room temperature while the oven preheats to 425°F-475°F. Cut the chicken into pieces for even heating.
Now, place the chicken on a baking dish or a cookie pan & fill a small layer of the pan with chicken stock/water.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil to let the steam work on the meat. Keep the baking dish on an oven rack for the hot air formed to circulate uniformly .
Reheat the meat for 1-2 min or till the temperature reaches 165°F. Bigger pieces of meat will take a little more time to reheat.
Use a food thermometer to record the temperature & allow standing time to attain the safe internal temperature. Then the meat will be juicy & succulent as a freshly cooked one.
Chicken can also be reheated simply on a stovetop just by using a non-stick frying pan .
You need to heat the pan on medium flame & when you feel the heat rising from the pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil or butter. You can skip the fat if you want & add water or broth instead.
Then place the already cooked chicken on the pan & reheat it till it’s evenly warm.
Keep flipping on every side so that the chicken doesn’t get burned or overcooked. Then wait for a while for the juices to settle & serve hot.
How to Store Reheated Chicken
Reheated chicken should be cooled to room temperature & stored below the temperature of 40°F to avoid any microbial growth or spoilage. It should be wrapped with aluminum foil & kept in an airtight container on the topmost shelf of the refrigerator to store for 3-4 days.
The temperature range between 40°F – 140°F is very dangerous for reheated food as it is suitable for any bacterial growth that may rot the food .
So, the reheated food should be cooled down & refrigerated within 2 hours of reheating. Make sure to not store it near raw meat & consume within 3-4 days .
How to Reheat Chicken Leg in the Microwave
Keep the chicken legs at room temperature for half an hour.
Put them separately on a microwave-safe plate & drizzle some water/broth & edible oil all over them & wrap every leg with a wet paper towel.
Cover the lid with parchment paper & then put a vented lid on it.
Reheat the meat on 50% power for a minute & turn the legs on every side so that the meat is uniformly reheated & keep heating till the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Return the cover after every flip. Allow some standing time & remove the juicy meat to be served carefully.
How to know When the Chicken is Properly Reheated in the Microwave
Checking the temperature with a food thermometer is the best way to know if the chicken is completely reheated or not.
In case, a food thermometer is not handy then visible rising steam from the surface of the meat & a distinct aroma of the meat can tell if the meat is properly reheated or not.
Try reheating chicken not more than once as exposing the meat to very high temperatures often can lead to spoilage & reheating it numerous times will also lead to loss of flavor, texture & juiciness of the meat.
Yes, it is safe. Leftover meat should be restored in the refrigerator after 2 hours of cooking it. It should also be brought to room temperature before refrigerating again.
After following the proper storage process, if the meat is reheated to 165°F then it is safe to consume it without worrying about any health hazards.
The USDA recommends consuming the leftover within 3-4 days.
Brushing oil/sauce/broth & water over the meat & covering it with a damp paper towel will keep it from getting dry.
You can also keep a cup of water beside the meat when reheating in the microwave. This will keep on adding moisture to the meat & prevent any chalkiness.
You can also take slices of bread & pour broth/water over them & then place the chicken on it to avoid dryness.
I hope this comprehensive article helped you in reheating chicken in the microwave easily.If you have any queries regarding the process, feel free to ask us.
Also, if you know any other methods or tips please let us know so we can add them to our article to make it even better!
Do share this with your family & friends who may want to reheat chicken in the microwave & help them out too.