Can You Freeze Fried Chicken? 3 Ways + Reheating Tips.

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The problem with frying chicken is that it uses an absolute ton of oil and makes a mess. If you’re going through the trouble of making it, then in my humble opinion, you might as well make A LOT. 

Freezing fried chicken is a viable option if you’ve got some to spare. But how you do it matters.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the proper method, benefits, and limits of freezing fried chicken. Thawed food is never quite as good as fresh, but you can still get a good taste, texture, and crispiness if you follow this method. I’ll also provide some recommendations on how to reheat frozen fried chicken.

Fried chicken wings in a foil pan.

How To Freeze Fried Chicken

Before getting started, make sure your chicken has cooled to room temperature. If it’s still hot, allow it to set at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Once the chicken has cooled, there are 3 ways to pack and freeze it. I’ll cover each of them below.

Irrespective of the method you use, make sure that you divide the fried chicken into manageable portions and that the chicken pieces do not overlap.

Freezer-Safe Bag

You can freeze fried chicken in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.

Fill only half the bag with the chicken and lay it flat. Then remove all the excess air and ensure the pieces are not overlapping. Don’t stack the bags on top of one another to retain the pieces’ shape. 

Once frozen, you can keep the bags vertically to save space.

Baking Sheet

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chicken pieces in a single layer. Then keep it in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer them to an air-tight container or Ziploc bag and return to the freezer.

Plastic Wrap

The third way is to individually wrap all the chicken pieces. This method works best for freezing fried chicken on the bone. 

Plastic wrap each piece of chicken, followed by aluminum foil. Then transfer all the wrapped chicken into an air-tight container and store it in the freezer.

Food Safety Tips

Before freezing, always make sure the chicken has been cooked properly.

If not, all your effort in planning and freezing fried chicken will be wasted. Here is a quick guide on the ideal internal temperature for chicken.

When cooling, don’t allow the fried chicken to cool for longer than two hours. If you keep it at room temperature for longer, the chicken won’t be fit for consumption, as per the USDA food safety guidelines

It’s a good idea to check your freezer’s internal temperature periodically before placing the chicken there. If it isn’t cold enough, that’s a problem. Zero degrees Fahrenheit is the proper temperature for a freezer. The fried chicken should be fully frozen within 2 hours at 0°F.

Labeling the storage container with the date of freezing is also good practice. When you open this container in the future, knowing when and where it came from is helpful.

How Long Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

Deep frying causes the meat to release a lot of moisture. It also kills the harmful bacteria that may be present on the surface of raw or partially cooked chicken. This makes it more suitable for freezing than raw or partially cooked chicken. 

You can freeze fried chicken for up to 4 months. 

It’s a great way to reduce food waste and save money. Remember that it will only last that long if frozen and stored correctly. 

There are also a few downsides to freezing fried chicken. Primarily, thawed food never tastes as good as it does fresh.

You may notice a change in the flavor of the chicken, and you’ll see some discoloration of the chicken meat. It may also be less juicy when you bite into it. Freezing any food product leads to a change in its nutritional profile. So keep these things in mind when considering freezing fried chicken. 

How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken

To keep the skin crisp without drying out the meat there are two methods I recommend:

Oven + Air Fryer (Preferred)

In this method we use the oven to bring the chicken to the proper internal temp and then use the air fryer to crisp up the exterior for some crunch.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Set your chicken on a wire baking rack atop a baking sheet. Make sure you have at least an inch between pieces.
  3. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Aim for an internal temp of 150°F.
  4. Preheat an air fryer to 400°F.
  5. Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes flipping once.

Oven

If you don’t have an air fryer, using just an oven will work just fine. Same principle here as above. We start at a lower temp to get the internal temp to about 150°F before cranking up the heat for a crispy finish.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Set your chicken on a wire baking rack atop a baking sheet. Make sure you have at least an inch between pieces.
  3. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Aim for an internal temp of 150°F.
  4. Turn the heat up to 400°F for 10 minutes to crisp up the skin.

If you’d like some tips on how best to reheat bacon, read here.

Related Reading

Freezing Fried Chicken FAQs

Can you freeze cooked fried chicken on the bone?

Yes. You can freeze cooked fried chicken on the bone. You only need to cool down the freshly fried chicken to room temperature. Then pack it appropriately and store it in a freezer-safe container or bag. The only drawback is that bone-in chicken takes up more space in the freezer, but it is entirely safe. 

Can fried chicken be frozen and then reheated?

Yes. You can definitely reheat frozen fried chicken. You first need to thaw the frozen chicken in the oven, refrigerator, or under cold water. Then reheat it in the oven or microwave. You can reheat it in a frying pan or air-fryer to bring it back to its crispy glory.

What is the best way to freeze fried chicken?

In most cases, the easiest way to freeze fried chicken is to break it into small pieces and freeze it in a half-filled Ziploc bag.

Author

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  • Savini

    Savini Gauri is a trained chef from the Culinary Institute of America, and a culinary expert at Kitchen Ambition. She has a passion for dietary restrictive cooking and alternative cuisine. Savini loves to work with simple ingredients with an aim to make cooking and baking an accessible skill for everyone. Her life's goal is to taste and try as many global cuisines as possible.

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