How to Heat Up Crispy Chicken Tenders

How to Heat Up Crispy Chicken Tenders (Image: mphillips007/iStock/GettyImages)

Moist chicken tenders tucked inside a crispy, crunchy coating aren't just for kids. They're a quick and easy main dish and a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Leftovers need to be handled with care if you want to revive the crispy coating. The best way to reheat chicken tenders is in the oven, but most other methods work well too.

Reheat Chicken Strips in the Oven

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about a half hour before reheating. Room temperature chicken will reheat more evenly.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the leftover chicken on a wire rack set in a baking sheet. Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 120F, which should take about 10 minutes. Chicken pieces like breasts take about 15 minutes, while legs and thighs take about 10 minutes.

Placing the chicken on a wire rack will prevent the underside of the nugget from getting soggy. Reheat fries or other crispy sides like onion rings or hush puppies in the oven with the chicken.

Refrying Chicken Tenders

Bring the chicken to room temperature before reheating.

  • Fryer method: Heat unflavored oil like canola or vegetable oil in the deep fryer to 350F. Drop the chicken in small batches into the hot oil and let it reheat for two minutes. Immediately transfer the tenders to a wire rack to drain the excess oil.

  • Stove-top method: Heat about an inch of oil in a deep, heavy skillet to 350F. Cook the chicken in small batches in the hot oil for about six minutes, turning once. Immediately transfer the chicken to a wire rack.

  • Air fryer: Reheat chicken tenders in an air fryer by setting the fryer to 400F, adding the chicken and heating for about three minutes.

Don't crowd the chicken. This allows all of the coating to crisp evenly.

Chicken Reheating Tips

The microwave is the least desirable method for reheating chicken tenders. The coating will soften rather than crisp, and the chicken may not reheat evenly.

Don't wrap the chicken in foil or plastic wrap before reheating. The coating will steam inside the wrap rather than crisping.

Cool the chicken on a rack rather than on paper towels. The chicken will sit in its own grease on paper towels. Pay attention to the timing because if the chicken overcooks, it will become tough and dry.

Homemade Crispy Chicken Tenders

Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into evenly sized pieces. Soak them in buttermilk for about 15 minutes. Combine enough flour to coat the chicken with salt and pepper in a resealable bag. In a bowl, mix together two eggs and a couple of tablespoons of water. Put enough seasoned bread crumbs to coat the chicken in a separate dish.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and add it to the bag. Shake the bag to coat it. Dip the chicken in the egg wash and then coat it with breadcrumbs. Let the chicken rest on a wire rack so the coating has time to set.

Heat vegetable or canola oil in a heavy skillet until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the oil. Cook the chicken in the hot oil for a few minutes on each side and drain it on a wire rack.

References & Resources