Should you be reheating chicken breast in microwave? Or, will you be better off heating it on a stovetop?
Every part of the chicken—the breast, the thigh, the drumstick, and even the whole roasted bird—holds a special place in our weekly meal plans.
But, what if you prepare more than what you can eat in one sitting? Can you freeze and then reheat chicken breast in microwave?
Yes, you can definitely reheat chicken breast in the microwave, but you need to remember a few things to ensure you do not have a bland piece of poultry.
The Super Versatile Chicken
One of the numerous advantages of chicken is its adaptability. And there are dozens of ways to utilize any leftovers.
In fact, any leftovers may be repurposed into a wide variety of dishes, such as:
- Pot pie
- and so on!
In fact, if you know how to reheat chicken properly, this is one situation where you will not hear groans when serving up last night’s dinner.
The Idea of Reheating Chicken Breast
Chicken is a wonderful and inexpensive option for dinner, but it often loses its moisture when reheated.
Some safe and easy reheating methods exist for previously cooked chicken that will not “re-cook” the flesh by exposing it to high heat, like frying will.
However, before you go any further, understand that reheating is not always the best choice, especially if you have no clue when you stored a chicken breast or shredded chicken in the refrigerator.
Before reheating chicken, it is a good idea to rely on your other senses, specifically smell and sight, as secondary markers of freshness.
Tip: The USDA suggests consuming cooked chicken within three to four days if refrigerated at no more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finding the Best Way to Reheat Chicken Breast
There is no universally accepted method for reheating chicken; rather, it is largely a matter of personal preference and partially about the cut you have.
However, you can always consider using the following reheating methods:
- Oven: Use an oven for large, bone-in pieces, including chicken breast.
- Stove: Use this method if you are dealing with boneless, skinless chicken.
- Microwave: Use this method when you are in a hurry but try not to overdo it.
- Air Fryer: Use it when you have more time and want to restore the crispiness of the chicken.
What to Know about Reheating Chicken Breast in Microwave?
When you are interested in reheating chicken breast using the microwave is usually a safe bet.
Before you can do it, understand that it can cause the meat to become a bit dry.
That is why it makes sense to add in some moisture before reheating. Sometimes, simply covering the meat with a damp cloth may also help.
You need to remember that reheating in the microwave is a good idea only when you have stored the leftovers properly and under 40F.
Tip: No matter how you really cook the chicken breast, you should never reheat it twice in a single setting.
Steps to Follow to Reheat Chicken Breast in the Microwave
It should not be tricky to reheat chicken breast in the microwave, but the main concern is about getting the meat a bit too dry in the process.
Here are the steps to follow to avoid any issues:
Cut Smaller Pieces
Overheating causes chicken to become dry, especially the breast meat.
But, the good thing is that chicken will retain its moisture and flavor better if you cut it into smaller pieces before reheating it.
Place on a Plate
Spread the chicken out in a single layer, making sure the pieces do not touch each other.
Putting some distance between them ensures consistent cooking.
Be sure to get a plate safe to use in the microwave. Alternatively, you can use simple tableware, disposable plates, or even jars of some kind.
It is important to remember that it is never a good idea to heat plastic in the microwave.
Many of the fears that microwaves could cause cancer in plastic have been debunked by research.
However, you face the risk of plastic leaching into your meal.
Cover the Chicken
Throw a wet paper towel over the chicken before cooking. The reason is that the chicken will not dry out if you cover it with a damp paper towel.
Regular plastic wrap could melt and ruin your meal. Avoid using tin foil as well, since any resulting sparks could damage your microwave.
Tip: To prevent the chicken from drying out, you can add a splash of liquid, such as water or chicken broth.
Once everything looks organized, simply turn on the heating. Here, you might be wondering how long to reheat chicken breast in microwave.
Well, the time it takes usually depends on how much meat you want to reheat.
Still, you should turn the chicken over once while reheating for a total of 1.5-5 minutes.
And consider the size of the meat to decide on reheating time. For instance:
- Start with 1.5 minutes on the standard setting (typically 1,000 watts) to reheat a modest amount.
- Start microwaving for 2.5-3 minutes if you have a lot of chicken.
Carefully turn the chicken over halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking. You can simply touch it or take a small bite to confirm if it is warm enough.
In case, it is not done yet, reheat it in 30-second intervals until it reaches the desired temperature.
Get it Out of the Microwave
Now, take the dish out of the microwave and set it aside for a few minutes.
Remember, you do not need to remove the cover yet. Be sure to handle it wearing oven mitts or else you might end up burning your hands.
Once it cools down a little, you can remove the cover and serve.
A Recap of Reheating Chicken Breast in Microwave
- Cut the chicken breast into small, manageable pieces.
- Place it on a non-plastic, microwave-safe plate.
- Cover the pieces using a dampened paper towel.
- Turn on the heat and continue for a couple of minutes.
- Stop and flip the pieces and reheat for another 60 seconds or so.
- Take it out of the microwave, let it cool, and serve.
Points to Know When Reheating Chicken Breast in the Microwave
When reheating, how you organize the place matters. You have to divide the meat into smaller and larger sections.
Now, ensure that the larger section stays on the edges, whereas the smaller meat section stays in the center of the plate.
Similarly, you can prevent your meat from drying out by drizzling it with olive oil, if you are not in favor of using a damp paper cloth.
And of course, keep in mind that you should be reheating the meat until the internal temperature is around 165F.
Reheating Chicken Breast in the Oven
Reheating chicken breast in the microwave usually works just fine so long as you pay attention to certain guidelines.
But, ultimately, using the oven makes a lot more sense, especially when dealing with breaded chicken leftovers.
In case you want to try the oven, here is how to proceed:
- Begin by preheating your oven to at least 400F.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and wait until it comes to room temperature.
- Take a wire rack and fit it properly over a baking sheet.
- Spread the chicken in a single layer on the rack.
- Bake it for at least 15 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature and stop once it hits 165F.
In most cases, you have to follow these steps to reheat the chicken, but sometimes, you may not like how crispy it becomes, which is often borderline dry.
If that is the case, you simply need to take a few tablespoons of chicken stock and spread a layer in the pan before transferring chicken pieces to it.
To be sure you reheat it to perfection, consider using a double layer of foil to cover the pan.
Tip: Maintain some space between the chicken pieces to ensure enough hot air circulates around them to create a super-crispy crust.
Reheating chicken breast in microwave does not have to be very tricky. In fact, it is the fastest way to bring your chicken breast to the table.
Of course, the size of the chicken matters a lot, but you will usually be done in five minutes.
But, if you want the chicken to be super-crispy, going with the oven makes a lot more sense.
And you will also be able to reheat the chicken in about 15 minutes. So, decide on what works for you and stick to that method.