Go ahead, sniff the shredded chicken that’s chilling in a container in your fridge. If it’s fresh, it probably doesn’t smell like much at all. And that’s the problem.
Cold meat just doesn’t smell or taste as flavorful as it does at room temperature or warmer. This is why chilled chicken, even on salads, isn’t as delicious as it could be. Warming that chicken before adding it to your salad would return it to its juicy, satisfying best. If you cook chicken ahead of time and chill it, be sure to let it come to at least room temperature before adding it to a salad.
“Flavor molecules—in fact, all molecules—are less mobile at colder temperatures, so instead of easily leaving the chicken and flying up your nose and across your taste buds, they tend to stay put,” says Paul Adams, science editor at America's Test Kitchen.