The fact that you’re here means that you’re a member of the not-so secret society called “Die-Hard Chicken Wing Lovers”. Yes, we are a widespread and well-populated group.
A symptom of this is whenever we are at any restaurant, we immediately scan the menu for what chicken wing dished they offer and order at least a serving.
But sometimes, you just get too many chicken wings to devour in one go. And since you’re never supposed to throw them away (it’s like the #1 rule of chicken wings), you’re probably wondering how to reheat chicken wings in order to keep the same flavor intact.
Many of us are picky and like several of the many options available. You may be a solid fried chicken wing or buffalo wing aficionados. Some are the health-conscious baked chicken-wing crowd. And yes, there are those who love chicken wings saucy or stew-y as well.
Whatever faction you belong to, we all have the tendency to order too much or cook too many then end up with chicken wing leftovers. We all face the same dilemma – how do we bring our chicken wings back to the yumminess they had just the night before (or longer if you “accidentally” forget them in the recesses of your fridge). Let’s weigh the options carefully!
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Ways to Reheat Chicken Wings
First off, there has to be a caveat – your chicken wings must taste great right off the bat. The taste of the chicken wings when freshly cooked will set the tone for the taste when reheated.
Remember, chicken wings have a considerably lower meat to skin ratio and have a lot of bone, so the original cooking sets the tone to how far you can goon the taste meter when reviving them.
Another point is to do your best to have the wings defrosted or not straight out of the fridge. This will improve the results of your reheating process.
And as all other dishes, while we aim to recapture the glory of chicken wings when we reheat them, always bear in mind there is no equal to freshly cooked!
We will strive to come as close as the original dish when reheating them. That said, here are the different options you have available when it comes to reheating chicken wings:
1. Toaster Oven
This small kitchen appliance is a convenient and handy one. It usually comes with a timer and provides gentle heat.
It’s quite easy to use as well – just pop your chicken wings in the small try, set the level of heat then turn the timer on.
The toaster oven may prove to be quite slow in reheating. Many people tend to forget the time and the wings dry out in the oven. Make sure you won’t do this mistake if you go the toaster oven way (but there are better options!)
2. Air Fryer Reheating
Since these appliances have smaller hot-air fryer compartments, you must remember not to crowd them and reheat in smaller batches.
This is best for reheating crispy wings or fried wings. If you have saucy concoctions like buffalo-style you definitely have to consider another method.
3. Stove-Top Frying
While this seems to be the most logical method to reheat those fried chicken wings, it may not be the best.
The method is simple. Heat your frying pan on your stove top burner. Add oil then once it reaches a higher temperature, place the chicken wings in small batches. Expect some splashes and sizzles.
Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispiness is achieved. Remove then drain.
The draw back with this is that the high heat might burn the skin easily, so you must eyeball the entire process. Plus, overcooking is a big risk if you choose this method.
4. Microwave Oven Method
This kitchen staple may be the go-to for many chicken wing lovers when reheating. But because each microwave has levels on its own, it is difficult to come up with a sure-fire method to follow.
It is important that you are well-acquainted with the heating levels and recommended times for your particular brand and model to successfully reheat chicken wings.
You can do try heating using shorter times, check the result then “re-reheat” if the desired level has not yet been reached.
This is definitely the fastest method and probably one of your best bests when dealing with saucier chicken wings that need reheating.
5. Conventional Oven Reheating
“Just pop it in the oven” is music to the ears of many home cooks and people who don’t necessarily like to cook. Turn up the heat and shove it in then wait.
This has its own pluses and minuses but when done right, it might just be the solution to your chicken-wing reheating problems.
What’s the Best Way to Reheat Chicken Wings?
OK, so we have a bunch of options available when it comes to reheating… but what is the best one?
For every particular recipe of our beloved chicken wings, there will always be that specific way of reheating to make it shine.
But across the board, the best way to reheat chicken wings, is in the oven. It might be a quick process like the microwave, but this one sure-fire way will blow your mind on how on make them taste fresh.
Preheat your regular oven to 200°F or higher. We’re talking about either a conventional oven, a convection one, or an electric oven.
In a shallow baking pan or tin, pour a small amount of water. Put a wire rack or steamer basket where your chicken wings can be placed not touching the water.
Squeeze half a lemon or lime and throw in some anise flowers. Place at the center and heat until it achieves the doneness you want.
For buffalo-style chicken wings or wings that have been cook on the grill, just prepare a bit of basting sauce and coat the wings midway to refresh the flavor.
You can use premade barbecue sauce or whip up an easy one using some condiments. You will find that the spiced-up water combined with the sauce will make your chicken wings taste brand new.
For fried chicken wings, simply brush them with a little lemon spruced up with some garlic powder, onion powder or simply salt and water then pop it in until crispy.
You may want to put a little less water because it is when the liquid dried up that the skin starts to crisp.
Yes, you do not need to refry and make the chicken wings rock-hard and stiff (not to mention the excess oil on the skin).
If you have the smaller toaster ovens, we can wing it (yes, I did!) by putting a few tablespoons of water into the pan and a few drops of lemon with your chicken wings then cover it with aluminum foil to reduce the chance of drying.
While microwave cooking is much quicker, the uneven heat and briskness of the process doesn’t allow for defrosted or reheated wings to regain their tenderness. It’s like zapping them dry.
And not all microwave ovens are created equal, so if you’re quite close to your microwave and it tells you all its secrets, you can very well reheat chicken wings perfectly in them.
Or alternately, you can do trial and error yourself on your piece of equipment. Just don’t ever put aluminum foil into your microwave- never ever!
“I’m not really an oven or even microwave kind of person. Do my leftover chicken wings have any hope?”
If you have a wok, shallow saucepan, or any cookware of that nature (read about non stick ceramic vs teflon here) – you can do the same trick. Make sure that your pan has a tight lid and you have a wire rack or any heat-resistant device that can elevate your chicken wings from the water.
This method may take a bit of more time but once you’re used to it, you can always preheat then food your leftover chicken wings while you take a quick shower or do some household chores.
The beauty of it is that slow, steam reheating will not burn or overcook easily. The steady reheating allows the meat’s tenderness to be restore, and simply cook a bit longer if you want some crisp and crunch to the skin.
Whatever method you choose to reheat chicken wings, always remember that baseline is to make sure that what you consume is safe.
USDA Leftovers and Food Safety Guideline recommends that you reheat food, temperature reaches at least 165° F (74° C) or higher.
Just Winging It
The diversity of the recipes that chicken wings are prepared is simply extensive. Reheating not only requires technique but timing as well.
And just like in dancing, some people just don’t’ have the beat. We can always wing it and evolve our leftover chicken wings into a simple recipe like chicken wing teriyaki and sesame which would entail just throwing a bit of teriyaki sauce and simmering the wings.
Or add them to some vegetable stir-fry as the meat component and savor the yummy flavor making it an instant full meal.
No matter which method you prefer, there is one thing for sure. For us chicken wing lovers, it is simply hard to put any of it down. There is no sense into letting any piece of it fly down the to the bin uneaten (pun intended).
Now just make sure that you do some proper dish washing so that your dishes won’t smell bad afterward, and you’re all set!