Fried Chicken: Tips for Proper Freezing & Reheating

by Ella

Fried chicken is a delicious and popular dish enjoyed by many. Whether you’ve made a large batch of fried chicken or have some leftovers from a meal, freezing can be a convenient way to preserve its flavor and freshness. However, freezing fried chicken requires proper techniques to ensure it retains its crispy texture and delicious taste when thawed and reheated. This article provides essential tips and step-by-step instructions on how to freeze fried chicken properly, as well as the best methods for reheating to maintain its quality.

Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

If you are a fan of fried chicken, you may wonder if it is possible to freeze your fried chicken and maintain its quality. The answer is yes. Depending on the size and shape, each part of the chicken may prefer slightly different ways of storing or packing.


1. Wings

Can you keep these wings in the freezer? Of course, chicken wings can be kept frozen. It is easy to find several frozen chicken wing products in supermarkets.


Freezing your chicken wings will keep them safe for six months. If the chicken wings constantly remain frozen at 32ºF all the time, they can stay great for an even longer time.


2. Cutlets

Fried chicken cutlets can be frozen and kept fresh for 3 months. When freezing cutlets, most people would use some sheets of cling film to fold them. One reminder is to separate your raw meat away from cooked meat, stopping the spread of bacteria.


3. Liver

Yes, chicken livers can be successfully frozen. One cooked chicken liver will stay fresh for 3 to 4 months in the refrigerator when being preserved at or below 40ºF. When you defrost the cooked chicken liver, it is unlikely that the liver would stay as fresh as it is but still edible.

4. Breast

Do not mistake chicken tenderloin for chicken breast. There are some differences between them. But is there anything to note about fried chicken breast or fried chicken tenderloin?

Overall, as long as your fried chicken, regardless of which part, is frozen at or below 32ºF, it will be safe indefinitely. For ideal freshness and taste, I suggest frozen chicken breasts should not be kept in the freezer for longer than 9 months.

See also: How Long Does Chicken Breast Last in the Freezer?

Temperature of Freezing Fried Chicken

Generally, fried chicken stored in the freezer at 32ºF will last up to four months. But maintaining a stable temperature in the freezer is of importance as it will directly affect your food once the freezer does not do its job probably.

Storing cooked chicken at a temperature above 32ºF and changes in the temperatures can shorten the shelf life of your chicken. Hence, when you open or choose the freezer, make sure to shut the door after your food is out.

Bacteria can grow quickly if ready-to-eat meat, for example, cooked chicken, is not kept refrigerated. The most suitable temperature to stop the proliferation of bacteria is 32ºF or below.

Preparing Fried Chicken for Freezing:

Before freezing fried chicken, it’s essential to prepare it correctly to ensure the best results when thawing and reheating. Follow these steps:

1. Allow the Fried Chicken to Cool: Let the fried chicken cool completely at room temperature after cooking. Avoid freezing hot or warm fried chicken, as it can lead to condensation, which may affect the crispy texture during thawing and reheating.

2. Remove Excess Oil: Blot any excess oil from the fried chicken using paper towels. This helps reduce the risk of freezer burn and preserves the chicken’s taste and texture.

3. Divide into Portions: Consider dividing the fried chicken into individual portions or family-sized servings before freezing. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only the desired amount, preventing unnecessary waste.

How to Freeze Fried Chicken:

Once the fried chicken is prepared, follow these steps to freeze it properly:

1. Use Airtight Containers: Place the fried chicken pieces in airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. Ensure there is minimal air inside the container to prevent freezer burn and maintain the chicken’s quality.

2. Label and Date: Label each container with the contents and the date of freezing. This helps you keep track of the storage time and ensures you use the oldest fried chicken first.

3. Store in Freezer: Place the sealed containers in the coldest part of the freezer, such as the back or bottom shelves, to ensure a consistent freezing temperature.

How to Thaw Frozen Fried Chicken:

Thawing fried chicken properly is crucial to avoid potential foodborne illnesses and maintain its flavor. There are three safe methods for thawing frozen fried chicken:

1. Refrigerator Thawing: The safest method is to thaw the fried chicken in the refrigerator. Place the container with the frozen chicken in the fridge and allow it to thaw slowly. This method may take several hours or overnight depending on the chicken’s thickness.

2. Cold Water Thawing: If you need to thaw the fried chicken quickly, you can use the cold water method. Place the frozen chicken in a sealed plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the chicken is thawed. Avoid using warm or hot water to prevent partial cooking.

3. Microwave Thawing: While microwave thawing is the quickest method, it is not recommended for large quantities of fried chicken. Use the microwave’s defrost setting and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to prevent uneven thawing or partial cooking.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken:

To maintain the crispy texture and delicious taste of fried chicken when reheating, follow these methods:

1. Oven Reheating: The oven is the best method for reheating fried chicken to retain its crispy texture. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the chicken pieces on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

2. Air Fryer Reheating: An air fryer is another excellent option for reheating fried chicken. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C) and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer. Reheat for about 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is heated through and crispy.

3. Skillet Reheating: If you prefer, you can use a skillet on the stovetop to reheat fried chicken. Add a small amount of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Place the chicken pieces in the skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side until heated through.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Storing Fried Chicken In The Freezer

Storing fried chicken in the freezer can have both benefits and drawbacks. Let’s explore them in detail:


1. Preservation: Freezing fried chicken is an effective way to preserve its flavor, texture, and quality for an extended period. It allows you to enjoy the delicious taste of fried chicken even after days or weeks.

2. Convenience: Freezing fried chicken allows you to prepare larger batches in advance, making meal planning and preparation more convenient, especially for busy schedules or special occasions.

3. Minimizes Food Waste: By freezing leftover fried chicken, you can avoid food waste and enjoy the leftovers at a later time.

4. Versatility: Frozen fried chicken can be easily reheated using various methods, such as baking, air frying, or skillet heating, providing flexibility in serving options.


1. Texture Changes: Freezing fried chicken can affect its crispy texture. Upon thawing and reheating, the chicken may become less crispy and may not retain the original crunchiness.

2. Condensation: Improperly sealed containers can lead to condensation, which can result in soggy fried chicken when thawed and reheated.

3. Loss of Freshness: While freezing preserves the taste, fried chicken may lose some of its original freshness and flavor after being stored in the freezer for an extended period.

4. Freezer Burn: If not properly sealed, fried chicken is susceptible to freezer burn, which can negatively impact its taste and texture.

5. Health Concerns: Repeated freezing and thawing of fried chicken may compromise its safety and increase the risk of foodborne illnesses if not handled and reheated properly.

Tips for Freezing Fried Chicken:

To mitigate the drawbacks and ensure the best quality when storing fried chicken in the freezer, consider the following tips:

1. Allow the fried chicken to cool completely before freezing to minimize condensation.

2. Use airtight containers or resealable freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and maintain freshness.

3. Label and date the containers to keep track of storage time and use the oldest fried chicken first.

4. Reheat frozen fried chicken using methods that help retain its crispy texture, such as baking or air frying.

5. Avoid refreezing fried chicken that has been thawed and reheated, as it may compromise the quality and safety of the chicken.


Freezing fried chicken can be a convenient way to preserve its delicious taste and crispy texture. By following the proper preparation, freezing, and reheating methods, you can enjoy your favorite fried chicken even after storing it in the freezer. Remember to label and date your containers, thaw the chicken safely, and use a method that best retains the chicken’s crispy texture during reheating. With these tips, you can savor the delectable flavors of fried chicken whenever you desire, making meal planning and preparation more manageable and enjoyable.



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