Every day can be grilling season and reheating grilled chicken is an easy way to enjoy leftovers and use them in new dishes. Reheat grilled chicken for a quick snack or to add to new recipes.
Here in Texas it’s been grilling season right after the massive winter storm we had in February!
For some who lost power in the great Snowmageddon and grid disruption, they were grilling in the middle of the snowstorm so they could eat hot food. You bet our neighbors were pulling the chicken out and grilling it up.
You can practically make anything once you get the gist of how to warm up grilled chicken. And if you grill a big batch, you’ll end up with a nice container of leftover grilled chicken.
Think pot pie, chicken salad sandwiches, salads with leftover grilled chicken, tons of chicken pasta dishes, too heating the chicken can be slightly tricky. Without a proper reheating method, you might end up with dry grilled chicken.
How to reheat grilled chicken using a microwave
The microwave is an effective way to reheat grilled chicken if you are in a hurry because it heats the meat pretty quickly.
However, it is not the best option to reheat chicken because if it heats too long, it can result in rubbery and dry chicken. And it may heat up unevenly. Still, if you want to reheat leftover grilled chicken in a microwave, here’s how:
1. Place the chicken on the plate
Use a microwave-safe dish and avoid plastic or metal. Spread the chicken on the plate evenly. If you have chicken pieces or you’ve already shredded leftover chicken, ensure that the bigger pieces are placed on the outside, while the smaller ones are on the inside as they will heat up quickly.
2. Add some moisture
Sprinkle droplets of water or oil on the grilled chicken to prevent the chicken from drying up while it is being reheated. You can use a pastry brush if you want but spooning it lightly over each piece will also do the trick.
3. Cover and heat
Cover the plate with microwave-safe plastic wrap or a plate cover. (We love this one because it holds in moisture and keeps spatter from imploding in the microwave. It’s like $4.)
On high: Heat the grilled chicken starting at 20 seconds on high for a single breast (or about 4 oz.). Turn it over and give it another 20 seconds, especially if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable, but even if it does.
Then, check the chicken to see if it has thoroughly heated up. The “right” way would be to take it out of the microwave, cut into it and taste it for your heat preference, but you know we all just touch it and see if it’s done.
We’re in a hurry, you know? Who has all minute??
On low or using a microwave that has a reheating option: Our microwave has a lot of great bells and whistles, so I experimented a bit to try and keep leftovers from becoming
lava in the middle and ice-cold on one side.
The lower/reheat settings work best at the heating leftover grilled chicken that tastes more like fresh off the grill, but it takes a bit longer.
If you feel the chicken needs a bit more time, pop it back in the microwave for intervals of 20 seconds or so. (Remember, microwaves heat food up fast, so you may not need a full minute at one time.)
Pro tip: Heating leftover chicken too high too fast is the way to end up with dry rubbery chicken. Moisten it a bit and turning it at 20-second intervals is the way to best enjoy these leftovers.
Looking for how to reheat leftover rotisserie chicken? We’ve covered that too!
How to reheat grilled chicken using an oven
If you have grilled chicken that has bones, the best way to heat it is by using an oven as it thoroughly heats it on the inside. Here is how to warm up grilled chicken in an oven:
1. Preheat the oven and place the chicken on a sheet pan
Preheat your oven at 350 F, and while the oven preheats, place your leftover grilled chicken on a baking tray.
2. Add some moisture
Unlike with the microwave method, you will need to add some or chicken stock before putting the chicken in the oven.
You will also need to cover the chicken with foil or use a pan with a cover. (Classic Corningware dish here.) It will warm up through the steam produced from the liquid. You can even toss together this easy marinade and add it to your pan for more flavor.
3. Heat the chicken
Once the oven is preheated, it is time to place the tray in the oven. Keep checking the temperature of your chicken by using a meat thermometer. It should be properly heated once it has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
How to Reheat Grilled Chicken using a stove
Reheating grilled chicken can become trickier when you are doing it on the stove because it can dehydrate very quickly. To ensure your chicken is tender when reheating it on the stove, here is what you can do:
1. Remove the chicken from the bone
We recommend removing the chicken from the bone for stovetop heating (if it’s not boneless already) just because it will heat more evenly and faster. (Remember even heating is pretty important to keeping your chicken tasty.)
If your chicken is already boneless, cut it into 1-inch cubes, pieces or slices. Place in a frying pan or skillet with a cover with your stock, water, or marinade.
You don’t want to “wash away” the grilled flavor with too much water, but if it could use a flavor boost, this is your chance to add some.
2. Heat the leftover grilled chicken
On medium heat, give your skillet of chicken a good 10 minutes for bone-in, and 5 minutes for pieces or boneless, then turn the pieces. Continue reheating until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
If you’re adding things to your pan as the chicken reheats, start adding veggies or pasta at the halfway point.
How to reheat grilled chicken using an air fryer
Air fryers have become a handy, low energy way to cook and reheat food. It’s great for reheating boneless chicken but you just have to watch it carefully. Moisture is the most important part of reheating grilled chicken in an air fryer.
It’s possible to reheat bone-in chicken in an air fryer, but you need to keep turning it as you heat it up, on a very low setting.
Use an oil mister or a pastry brush to add a bit of fat to your chicken pieces. Preheat the air fryer to 350 for about a minute.
The low setting will help it keep from becoming too crispy too fast.
Lay the chicken evenly spaced and not touching each other on the basket. Start at 3 minutes, then turn the pieces with tongs.
Heat for another minute or two. Check for a sizzle on the chicken. Remove with tongs.
The bottom line
We reheat meats a lot because we hate to waste food and there are a lot of great recipes that use leftover chicken. I like to do a big batch of grilled chicken because it makes for great leftovers.
If your leftover grilled chicken just didn’t come out very good, we came up with a garlic sauce that makes everything sing. Try this remedy.
Have you already shredded your leftover grilled chicken or you need more recipes to get you going? We have 55 recipes here for you.
- Leftover grilled chicken
- Air fryer
- Pastry brush or spoon
- Preheat air fryer to 325F.
- Use an oil mister or a pastry brush to add a bit of fat to your chicken pieces.
- Lay the chicken evenly spaced and not touching each other on the basket.
- Cook for 3 minutes, then turn the pieces with tongs.
- After turning, heat for another minute or two.
- Check for a sizzle on the chicken.
- Remove with tongs to a heat-safe plate.