Reheated fried chicken is often a disappointment, featuring dried-out or unevenly heated meat and/or a coating that never adequately recrisps. Here's the best way to reheat it.
We make a lot of fried chicken recipes in the test kitchen, which means we have a lot of opportunities to have leftover fried chicken. To determine the best way to reheat fried chicken, we tried several approaches recommended by sources online, including wrapping the chicken in foil and baking it (this steamed the coating and sogged it out) and baking it after placing it in a paper bag (this wicked oil from the coating and toughened it). Microwaving was also a bust because the skin didn’t recrisp and the heating was uneven.
We had the most success when we allowed the chicken to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before rewarming it in the oven, which helped it heat more quickly and ensured that the odd-shaped pieces would heat more evenly. We placed it on a wire rack set in a baking sheet to keep the bottom from steaming and then baked it in a 400-degree oven, which quickly recrisped the crust before the meat had time to dry out. Heating the chicken to an internal temperature of 120 degrees, which took 14 to 18 minutes for breasts and 8 to 12 minutes for legs and thighs, gave us chicken at the perfect serving temperature.