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How To Reheat Chicken Tenders – I Test 4 Methods [Pics]

Got a few leftover chicken tenders, and you just can’t bear to see them go uneaten?

No problem.

Chicken tenders are easy to reheat, and in no time you’ll be enjoying their succulent centers and golden-crispy coatings once again.

I’ve tried four different reheating methods and settled on a few good ways to reinvigorate these well-loved dinner treats.

Two methods, in particular, will have your tenders tasting as good as new.

A note on my experiment

Last week I made a big batch of chicken tenders to enjoy with friends over dinner.

In a shocking turn of events, I ended up with leftovers!

I was unwilling to let them go to waste (or send them as takeaways), so I stored them in the fridge to reheat the next day.

Disclaimer: I take my chicken tenders very seriously, which is why I experimented with four different reheating methods before settling on my favorites.

These included:

  • Reheating chicken tenders in the oven (best results if you don’t have an air fryer handy)
  • Reheating chicken tenders in a skillet (lovely and crispy but can go greasy)
  • Reheating chicken tenders in the microwave (worst results)
  • Reheating chicken tenders in an air fryer (best method overall)

I cannot fault the oven method for producing consistently good, delightfully crispy results.

Pan-frying works well but can be a bit touch-and-go on the grease front.

I wouldn’t recommend the microwave unless you’re prepared to suffer through a soggy coating.

My favorite results were from the air fryer. My tenders quite literally tasted freshly made.

Reheating chicken tenders in the oven

Set your oven to 400°F (200°C). Take your leftover chicken tenders out of the fridge and let them reach room temperature while the oven warms. Spread your tenders out on a wire rack or a preheated baking sheet. Warm them for 10 minutes, turning them at the halfway mark. Serve immediately.

If you want some extra crisp on your tenders, pop them under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes at the end of the heating process.

Alternatively, crank up the oven’s heat up to 450°F (230°C) for the last few minutes to finish them off.

How to reheat chicken tenders in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Remove your leftover tenders from the fridge and let them reach room temperature while the oven warms up.
  3. Spread your chicken tenders out on a wire rack or a preheated baking sheet (preheat as the oven warms).
  4. Heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway (not necessary if using a wire rack).
  5. Optional: Crisp under the broiler for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or turn up the oven’s heat to 450°F (230°C) to finish them off.

The oven’s high heat should keep your tenders’ coating crisp while also retaining their succulent insides (no one wants dry chicken).

Taking your tenders out of the fridge before warming them up will allow them to reheat more evenly.

Pop them in a toaster oven instead of a regular oven if you’re in a hurry but keep an eye to make sure you don’t scorch them (same goes for the broiler!)

This method works great for larger portions of tenders, but ensure you leave enough room between them for air to circulate.

My verdict

This is an excellent and reliable method for reheating chicken tenders, second only to the air fryer (if you have one).

So long as you don’t overheat them, your chicken tenders will come out nice and crispy on the outside and deliciously moist and fresh on the inside.

The oven also works well for chicken tenders served or stored in a sauce.

Reheating chicken tenders in a skillet

Take your chicken tenders out of the fridge and let them warm to room temperature. Heat 1 to 2 inches of oil in a skillet until it reaches 350°F (180°C). Carefully place some tenders in the hot oil. Heat them for 2 minutes, turning at the halfway mark. Drain them off on a paper towel and serve hot.

If you’re warming large or chunky chicken tenders, pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds before frying to warm up their centers.

How to reheat chicken tenders in a skillet:

  1. Let your chicken tenders warm to room temperature (out of the fridge) before frying them.
  2. Heat 1 to 2 inches of oil to 350°F (180°C) in a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Place chicken tenders carefully into the hot oil.
  4. Heat for 60 seconds, flip, and then heat for a further 60 seconds.
  5. Drain your tenders of excess oil on a piece of paper towel.
  6. Serve immediately.

Your oil temperature is very important when using this reheating method (for any fried foods, really).

Too hot, and you’ll burn your tenders. Too cold, and they’ll soak up oil and turn greasy.

Use a cooking thermometer to test if your oil is hot enough (350°F/180°C).

If you don’t have one, you can use the breadcrumb test. Drop a breadcrumb into the oil, and if it sizzles immediately, it means your oil is ready for frying.

Another testing option is to insert the end of a wooden spoon into the hot oil.

If a multitude of small bubbles forms around the handle, the oil is ready. Too many bubbles mean it’s too hot.

If you’re deep-frying your chicken tenders, there is no need to turn them at the halfway mark.

My verdict

This method gave me the crispiest results, but the tenders were a little too greasy for my liking.

However, my partner loved them, so it may be a question of preference.

This is a great option if you’re experienced and adept at frying. If not, consider using an alternative method (it’s easy to get this wrong).

Reheating chicken tenders in the microwave

Line a microwave-safe plate with a paper towel. Spread your chicken tenders out on the plate and microwave them in 30-second increments until hot. If you want, you can crisp up the outer coating by popping them under your broiler for a minute or two or by pan-frying them in a skillet.

How to reheat chicken tenders in the microwave:

  1. Line a microwave-safe plate with a sheet of dry paper towel.
  2. Spread your chicken tenders out on the plate.
  3. Microwave the tenders on medium heat in 30-second increments until piping hot.
  4. Optional: Crisp the coating of your chicken tenders under the broiler for a minute or two, or pan-fry them in an oiled skillet.
  5. Drain on a paper towel (if fried post-microwave) and then serve immediately.

Lining your plate with a paper towel will soak up any excess grease from the tenders, making them less oily.

The longer you microwave the chicken tenders, the soggier the breadcrumbs will become. 

I’d take the tenders out as soon as they’re warm enough for you to avoid them becoming too soft.

My verdict

The results from the microwave were disappointing, and I wouldn’t recommend this method unless you have no other option.

The chicken coating was soggy and unpleasant (although marginally saved by the broiler).

Top tip: to avoid soggy breadcrumbs, remove the coating before you microwave the chicken and just eat the meat.

Reheating chicken tenders in an air fryer

Before reheating, take your chicken tenders out of the fridge and let them reach room temperature. Set your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Spread your tenders in a single layer in the fryer basket and heat them for 4 to 5 minutes. Once they are hot, remove and serve immediately.

To prewarm chicken tenders’ centers, blast them in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds on medium heat.

How to reheat chicken tenders in an air fryer:

  1. Let your chicken tenders reach room temperature out of the fridge (or zap them in the microwave for a few seconds).
  2. Set your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Spread your tenders out in the fryer basket in a single layer.
  4. Heat them for 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Serve once hot.

Make sure you don’t overcrowd the fryer basket because this will impede air circulation and prevent the tenders from crisping up.

Air frying is quite an intense and direct heating method. As a result, the outside of your tenders may feel very hot while the inside is still cool.

To test if your chicken tenders are warmed all the way through, insert a fork and feel how hot the tines are when you pull it out.

Spray your chicken tenders with a light coating of oil before frying for ultra-crispiness.

My verdict

This was my favorite method, hands down.

It’s quick and convenient and crisped up my chicken tenders perfectly, leaving them tasting almost as good as new.

How to store chicken tenders

Before storing your chicken tenders, allow them to cool to room temperature. Line an airtight container with a paper towel and place the tenders in the container, not touching. If they are in a sauce, scrape off as much of it as possible. Chicken tenders can last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Lining the container with a paper towel will soak up any excess grease or moisture.

Never store cooked food while it is still hot. This will cause a build-up of condensation on the walls of the container that will turn your chicken soggy and unpleasant.

Keep any leftover sauce in a separate container. If you leave the chicken resting in its sauce, the coating will very quickly become mushy.

Can you freeze chicken tenders?

Chicken tenders are great for freezing. You can keep them frozen for up to 6 months. They should be flash-frozen individually first and then transferred into a freezer bag with the air removed (vacuum-sealed is even better). Always reheat chicken tenders directly from frozen. Thawing them will turn them soggy. 

How to freeze chicken tenders:

  1. Allow your leftover chicken tenders to cool to room temperature.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Spread your leftover chicken tenders out on the baking tray.
  4. Place them in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours or until they harden.
  5. Transfer them into a heavy-duty freezer bag.
  6. Remove the excess air with a straw and seal tightly (or vacuum seal the bag).
  7. Use within six months of freezing.

If your chicken tenders are in a sauce of some kind, scrape off as much of it as possible before flash-freezing them.

The process of flash-freezing prevents them from sticking together and makes it easy to access a single portion when you want to reheat them.

Removing air from your freeze bag helps to prevent premature freezer burn.

A cool trick for removing excess air is to dunk the open freezer bag in a bowl of water. The water will force the air out, and you can seal the bag.

How to reheat frozen chicken tenders

It’s best to reheat your chicken tenders directly from frozen to avoid the crumb coating turning mushy. Set your oven to 400°F (200°C) and bake them for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are crispy on the outside and warm to the center. Use a wire rack and coat them lightly with oil for extra crispiness.

Test your tenders with a fork or thermometer to ensure they’re warmed through.

You can also use an air fryer or fry the chicken tenders in some oil. A final option is the microwave, but I wouldn’t recommend this as it will turn your tenders soggy.

The BEST Way To Reheat Chicken Tenders

Got a few leftover chicken tenders, and you just can’t bear to see them go uneaten?
No problem.
Chicken tenders are easy to reheat, and in no time you’ll be enjoying their succulent centers and golden-crispy coatings once again.
I’ve tried four different reheating methods and settled on a few good ways to reinvigorate these well-loved dinner treats.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person
Calories 299 kcal

Equipment

Wire rack

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion chicken tenders

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Remove your leftover tenders from the fridge and let them reach room temperature while the oven warms up.
  • Spread your chicken tenders out on a wire rack or a preheated baking sheet (preheat as the oven warms).
  • Heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway (not necessary if using a wire rack).
  • Optional: Crisp under the broiler for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or turn up the oven’s heat to 450°F (230°C) to finish them off.

Notes

Taking your tenders out of the fridge before warming them up will allow them to reheat more evenly.
Pop them in a toaster oven instead of a regular oven if you’re in a hurry but keep an eye to make sure you don’t scorch them (same goes for the broiler!)
This method works great for larger portions of tenders, but ensure you leave enough room between them for air to circulate.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 299kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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