Chicken tenders are extremely popular among adults and kids. They’re easy to make and taste divine, which is one reason why they should never go to waste.
You can reheat chicken tenders and make them taste as good as fresh, as long as you follow the tips we’re about to explain below.
What is the best way to reheat chicken tenders? The air fryer is the best way to reheat chicken strips as it keeps the crust crunchy. You can also use the oven or the microwave if you’re in a hurry.
The Best Ways to Reheat Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders are made of special meat attached to a muscle in the breast of the chicken. The meat is then coated with batter or breaded to be fried. They absolutely taste heavenly when they’re freshly cooked. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them on the next day or as a late-night snack.
As with many others, fried foods, reheating chicken tenders can be challenging because of the breading, which can easily become soggy or fall apart. For best results, it all starts with storing the chicken tenders properly. Before being fried, uncooked breaded chicken tenders can last up to 4 months in the freezer.
If you prepared too many chicken tenders or have store-bought tenders that you couldn’t finish with last night’s dinner, storing leftovers properly becomes all the more fundamental if you wish to reheat them later.
In the fridge, chicken tenders can last for up to 4 days as the cold temperature slows down the growth of bacteria. However, if you’re not planning to eat them within this period, it’s best to move them to the freezer, where they will last for about 3 months.
Storing chicken tenders while they’re still hot is not a good idea. The condensation from the hot chicken tenders will create too much moisture that eventually ruins your favorite dish.
If you’re keeping your chicken tenders leftovers in the freezer, move them to the fridge before reheating them. Leaving them in the fridge for one night will do the trick, or you can activate the defrost option on your microwave.
Now that your chicken tenders are ready, it’s time to find out the best way to reheat chicken tenders.
How to reheat chicken tenders in the air fryer
Reheating chicken tenders in the air fryer is one of the best methods because the results make you enjoy tasty chicken leftovers that taste as good as new.
The trick is that the hot air from the air fryer heats up the fried chicken from all sides without leaving any cold spots. At the same time, it removes all the moisture, so the chicken doesn’t become soggy.
You should add a little oil when reheating chicken strips because it keeps the crust crunchy. It’s also a better dietary choice than using a deep fryer which adds too much fat to your precooked food.
For the best results, you need to leave enough space between the chicken pieces while arranging them in the basket to make sure that they’re heated evenly. You also need to turn the pieces to the other side to make sure that they’re hot and ready.
Here are the steps to reheat chicken tenders in the air fryer:
- Take the chicken tenders out of the fridge or freezer. Make sure that they’re at room temperature.
- Use paper towels to soak any moisture.
- Arrange the chicken pieces in the basket while leaving enough spaces between them.
- Brush a little bit of vegetable oil over the pieces.
- Set the air fryer to medium heat or 350°F for 5 minutes.
- Check the chicken pieces, then turn them to the other side.
- Turn the fryer on for another 5 minutes.
- Remove them using tongs and serve hot.
Don’t overstuff the air fryer basket with too many chicken pieces or it will affect the final result. If there’s no room for the hot air to circulate efficiently, reheating chicken tenders in the air fryer will take more time.
Don’t be put off by adding oil. The best thing about using an air fryer is that it delivers the results of deep-frying with just a tiny bit of oil. The oil also prevents the chicken pieces from sticking together.
How to reheat chicken tenders in the oven
Don’t have an air fryer? No problem!
The hot air of the oven does the trick when you’re reheating chicken tenders. It forces the moisture out of your fried chicken, so your reheated chicken pieces won’t feel soggy or chewy.
However, this process is a little bit time-consuming. Unlike the air fryer, heating up fried chicken in the oven takes more time to ensure that all your chicken pieces have reached the desired temperature.
This time is crucially needed because nothing tastes worse than chicken strips that are hot on the outside and still cold in the middle.
For better results, it’s strongly recommended to let the chicken tenders cool down after removing them from the fridge. If they haven’t reached room temperature, there will be a risk of having chicken tenders that haven’t fully heated.
Here are the steps to reheat chicken tenders in the oven:
- Get ready by preheating the oven to 350°F.
- Arrange your chicken pieces on a baking sheet or an oven-safe dish.
- Brush just a little bit of oil on both sides before putting them in the oven.
- Allow the pieces to reheat for about 15 minutes.
- Once they’re heated, turn them to the other side.
- Increase the temperature to 450°F.
- Reheat them for another 10 minutes.
- Remove them from the oven and serve hot.
As you can tell, compared to an air fryer, it takes almost double the time to reheat fried chicken tenders in the oven. However, if this is the only option, you need to do it right.
Preheating the oven before heating up your chicken guarantees that it will be filled with hot air, which circulates to increase the temperature of your cooked chicken evenly. A convection oven would work best because it uses a fan to improve air circulation.
You can skip the oil if you feel that your chicken is too oily. Nevertheless, adding just a little bit of oil guarantees the crunchiness of your leftover chicken strips.
Although this process requires some patience, it’s incredibly easy and will work if you’ve got a little time to spare before dinner.
How to reheat chicken tenders in the microwave
Stuck in the office and crave those delicious chicken tenders leftovers? If there’s no access to an air fryer or oven, your microwave will do the trick and efficiently reheat chicken fingers.
The good thing is that microwaves already come with a reheat option which produces enough heat power to heat the food without overcooking it.
Moreover, there’s a defrost option that you can use in advance if you have frozen chicken tenders. This means that you don’t have to thaw your precooked chicken tenders in the fridge overnight.
However, the microwave should be your very last option. According to the way a microwave operates, it can easily make fried food become soggy and unpleasant to the taste, which is exactly the opposite of what you want for your lunch break.
This is why you need to be careful while using this method. The safest way to reheat breaded food with a microwave would be to use an inverter microwave because it uses advanced technology to make sure you get the best out of the reheating process.
Here are the steps to reheat chicken tenders in the microwave:
- Arrange your chicken tenders in a microwave-safe dish.
- Set the microwave to reheat. If you don’t have this option, pick a low-heat setting.
- Follow the recommended time of the reheat option or set the time to 5 minutes.
As you can see, it doesn’t get any easier or faster. The results are good, especially when there’s no other option. Moreover, you don’t have to add any oil.
Can You Reheat Chicken Tenders?
Definitely! And the good news is that there are multiple satisfying ways that can help you enjoy your tasty chicken tenders a few days or even months later.
The air fryer delivers exceptional results, mainly because this is how your chicken strips were cooked in the first place. Deep-frying them would also work, but this means that you will use too much oil, and your chicken tenders may turn out greasy.
If you have no air fryer, you can make use of your good old oven. The hot air in the oven does the trick as it heats up your chicken tenders without making them dry. At the same time, it keeps the crust crunchy and tasty.
No air fryer or oven? No problem. Your microwave will work just fine, especially if you have a reheat option that has been specifically made for reheating chicken leftovers.
As a matter of fact, you can also save time by activating the defrost option, which thaws your chicken tenders before reheating them. Enjoying reheated chicken tenders has never been easier.
Whatever your choice is, don’t let your chicken tenders go to waste. All you have to do is come with a big appetite and follow our step-by-step guide.