How to Reheat Chicken Without Drying It Out

Freshly cooked chicken is moist and delicious, but after reheating, that crispy, succulent chicken often becomes tough, dry and flavorless.

Enjoy your leftover chicken with these reheating tips to keep your dish moist and delicious. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/GettyImages)

Whether you're reheating a take-out rotisserie chicken from your supermarket or home-cooked chicken pieces, proper reheating in the oven or microwave retains the flavor and texture of the chicken.

No matter what reheating method you choose, the most important thing is to reheat the chicken safely. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil

  • Meat thermometer

  • Microwave-safe plate or dish

  • Sauce or coating mix

  • Microwave-safe plastic wrap

Reheating in the Oven

Step 1: Preheat and Prep

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil should be large enough to extend beyond the sides of the baking sheet.

Place the chicken in the center of the baking sheet. Pull the sides of the aluminum foil up and wrap the chicken tightly with the foil.

Step 2: Reheat Your Chicken

To help keep your reheated chicken skin crispy, brush your chicken lightly with olive oil prior to wrapping it in the foil and placing in the oven.

Place your baking sheet in the oven and reheat the chicken until the internal temperature of the meat registers at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a meat thermometer.

Reheating in the Microwave


Use only microwave-safe plates or containers when reheating food in the microwave. Avoid containers such as yogurt, margarine or cottage cheese containers, as the food may get hot enough to melt the container or start a fire.

Step 1: Prepare Your Plate or Dish

Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate or dish. If you are reheating pieces, place the largest, meatiest pieces toward the outside of the dish and the smaller pieces in the center. Food on the outer edge of the dish cooks faster.

Step 2: Prepare Your Chicken

Cover the chicken with a sauce such as barbecue, teriyaki or cream of mushroom soup. Alternatively, coat the chicken pieces with a prepared coating mix. Liquid or coating mix isn't required, but will ensure the reheated chicken is moist.

Step 3: Wrap Your Dish

Place a piece of microwave-safe plastic wrap over the dish. If you use regular plastic wrap, don't allow the plastic to touch the food as the plastic can melt and transfer chemicals to the chicken.

Step 4: Reheat Your Chicken

Reheat the chicken for two to three minutes, then turn the pieces over and stir the sauce. Resume cooking for an additional two to three minutes, or until the center of the thickest piece of chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking time varies depending on the amount and size of the chicken pieces, and the power of your microwave oven.


To use a meat thermometer, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Don't push the thermometer into a fatty area. Be sure the thermometer isn't touching bone.

Refrigerate cooked foods immediately to prevent growth of bacteria. If stored properly, cooked chicken is safe to eat and maintains its quality for three to four days. Cover the chicken securely with plastic or store the chicken in an airtight package to prevent the chicken from drying out.

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