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Exactly How To Reheat Chicken Wings – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

There’s no savory snack staple quite like chicken wings.

These saucy treats are loved worldwide, especially when they’re hot, tender, and just a little spicy.

But what happens if you have leftovers?

Is it possible to restore their signature taste and texture?

The answer is yes – and in this article, I’ll take you through all the different ways I’ve explored to reheat wings to perfection.

I’ll also share some tips on storing them to keep them fresh and succulent.

In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best way to reheat chicken wings is in an air fryer. Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C). Spread out your room temperature wings in the air fryer basket, leaving sufficient space for air circulation. Spritz them lightly with oil to crisp up their skin. Reheat the chicken wings for 5-10 minutes.

A note on my experiment

5 chicken wing reheating methods compared side by side

I love wings so much that I don’t even use game-day as an excuse to make them.

And when I do, boy, do I produce them in bulk.

Over time, I’ve tried different ways to reheat wings, to varying degrees of success, including:

  • In an air fryer (best method overall)
  • In the microwave (worst method overall)
  • In an oven/toaster oven (good for large portions)
  • In a skillet (can be inconsistent and messy)
  • Under the broiler (good for adding crispiness)

The air fryer and microwave come in first and last, respectively.

Air-fried wings taste pretty much as good as new. 

In the microwave, they turn soggy and chewy.

The oven is a close second to the air fryer, suitable for large quantities but not as crispy.

The skillet method isn’t bad but sometimes heats unevenly.

As for the broiler – it’s more of a saving grace for adding crispiness to microwaved or oven-warmed wings rather than a good reheating method on its own.

Tips for reheating wings

Here are a few tips for reheating wings, so you can get the best result possible. 

  • Order your wings un-sauced and have the glaze packaged separately (or store the sauce and wings separately if you’re making your wings yourself). Unsauced wings will be much more crispy when you reheat them. You can toss them in the sauce just before serving. 
  • If your wings are already sauced, an alternative is to blot them dry with a paper towel for crisping and add your extra glaze later.
  • To check heating progress, invest in a meat thermometer. It can be hard to tell when the wings are up to temperature (165°F/75°C). Using a thermometer basically eliminates your risk of overcooking them.
  • Before reheating wings, bring them to room temperature. They’ll warm up faster and spend less time in direct heat, keeping them succulent and tender. They also tend to steam if heated from fridge-cold, making it harder to get them crispy.

Reheating wings in an air fryer

Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C). Spread out your (room temperature) wings in the fryer basket, leaving sufficient space for air circulation. Spritz them lightly with oil to crisp up their skin. Heat for 5-10 minutes, checking regularly to prevent them from burning.

Toss your wings in extra glaze or sauce before serving if you have some available.

How to reheat wings in an air fryer:

  1. Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Bring your wings to room temperature.
  3. Spread them out in your fryer basket, not touching.
  4. Spritz lightly with oil (optional).
  5. Heat for 5-10 minutes, checking every 2-3 minutes. Give the basket a shake halfway through to re-position the wings.
  6. Once hot and crispy, add any extra glaze you have and serve.

Air fryers work by circulating hot air around a small space.

If your air fryer is overcrowded, this prevents the air from circulating properly and will lead to uneven heating, plus soggy wings.

If you have a lot of wings, heat them in batches.

Spritzing your wings with oil makes them deliciously crisp, and the fat layer helps keep the flesh moist. 

If the wings have been previously fried, you can skip the oil because there’ll be enough residual oil leftover in the coating. 

My verdict

This was by far the best method. 

My wings had crispy skin and weren’t dry – they tasted almost fresh!

Plus, the air fryer is quick and convenient.

One caution is that the sauce can get very hot, so take care biting straight into your scrumptious wings.

Reheating wings in an oven/toaster oven

Preheat your oven/toaster oven to 350°F (180°C) or 375°F for a non-convection oven. Place your room temperature wings on a wire rack over a drip tray. Heat for 10-20 minutes in a regular oven or 5-7 minutes in a toaster oven. 

Serve when the thickest part of your wings has reached 165°F (75°C).

Glaze or toss your wings in leftover sauce if you have any. Otherwise, just dish them up as is.

How to reheat wings in an oven/toaster oven:

  1. Bring your wings to room temperature.
  2. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350°F (180°C). If you don’t have a convection oven, up the temperature slightly to 375°F (190°C)
  3. Spread your wings out on a wire rack over a drip tray.
  4. Heat in the oven for 10-20 minutes (or 5-7 minutes if you’re using a toaster oven).
  5. Once hot, toss in leftover sauce (if you have some) and serve immediately.

The time it takes for your wings to heat up will depend on how many you’re warming and whether they’re straight out of the fridge or at room temperature.

You can speed up the heating process by popping your wings in the microwave for 30 seconds and then finishing them off in the oven.

This is an excellent trick for large portions and prevents them from drying out.

I recommend using a wire rack so that your wings can crisp up evenly from all sides.

If you don’t have one, you can use a baking sheet. Just make sure to flip the wings once or twice during the heating process.

Turn your broiler on for the last minute or two for an incomparable crisp.

My verdict

This method comes second to the air fryer but still delivers a nice crunchy skin.

It’s also much more convenient for heating dozens of wings at once, like, for example, ahead of a game day.

You just need to be careful that you don’t overheat them and dry them out, turning the flesh tough.

Reheating wings in the microwave

Spread your wings out on a microwave-safe plate and cover them with a piece of damp paper towel. Stick to heating 3-4 wings at a time for best results. Warm your wings in 30-second intervals until piping hot. Allow them to stand for a minute before adding extra sauce and serving.

How to reheat wings in the microwave:

  1. If possible, bring your wings to room temperature.
  2. Spread 3-4 wings out on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. Cover the plate with a piece of damp paper towel.
  4. Heat your wings in 30-second intervals until hot.
  5. Allow the wings to rest for a minute before tossing in extra sauce (if you have it) and serving.

Covering your wings with a damp paper towel will help lock in moisture and keep the meat from drying out.

Don’t heat too many wings at one time, or you’ll get uneven heating and end up with some very overcooked spots. 

Top tip: you can also use the microwave method to “preheat” your wings ahead of crisping them under your broiler or in hot oil.

Heat them until they’re warm to the touch rather than hot, then finish them off using another method. 

My verdict

This method didn’t really do it for me. 

My wings were chewy, a little soggy, and overall, just not good.

However, the microwave can be useful to speed up other methods, like broiling.

Reheating wings in a skillet

Bring your wings to room temperature. In the meantime, heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add your wings and fry them for a few minutes on each side, turning and moving them about frequently. Rest the wings on a paper towel for a minute before serving.

How to reheat wings in a skillet:

  1. Bring your wings to room temperature.
  2. Heat a thin layer of oil (two tablespoons) in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add your wings to the pan and fry them for a few minutes on each side, turning often.
  4. Once they are warm to the center with crispy skin, remove them from the pan and rest them on a paper towel for a minute before serving.

Your oil must be hot before you add your wings to the pan, or they’ll get greasy quickly.

Use some chili oil instead of regular oil for a flavor boost. 

Or fry some garlic in the pan before you add the wings.

This method works better with un-sauced wings, as glazes tend to come off in the pan or burn.

My verdict

I was sort of neither here nor there about this method.

It works well but is much better for flat wings rather than drumstick wings, which are awkwardly shaped and unwieldy in a pan.

The drums didn’t crisp evenly. 

The results are delicious, but it almost seems like too much effort for the outcome.

Reheating wings under the broiler

The broiler doesn’t work well for wings on its own but is an excellent complement to other methods for creating crispy skin. Once your wings are sort of warm already, pop them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes for the perfect outer texture. Flip them halfway to make sure they don’t burn.

How to reheat wings under the broiler:

  1. Bring your wings to room temperature, or warm them first in the microwave or oven.
  2. Spread out your wings on a wire rack over a drip tray.
  3. Heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  4. Once crispy, serve immediately.

Ensure there are a few inches between the broiler element and your wing tray, or you risk them burning (especially if they’re covered in a sugary sauce).

The drip tray is there to catch any run-off of fat or sauce to make cleaning easier.

As mentioned, this method works best as a finisher for already-warm wings rather than a fully-packaged process.

If you heat cold wings under the broiler, there’s a risk you’ll dry the meat out before the middle is hot. 

But for small wings, this is less of an issue.

My verdict

The broiler worked really well to crisp up wings that I’d microwaved for 30 seconds.

It was fast, but meant  I ended up with two different things to wash up!

chicken wings in 5 different vessels

How to store wings

You can store leftover wings in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure they are cooled to room temperature before storing to prevent condensation build-up. If possible, store them un-sauced. This will keep them crispier when you reheat them.

Separate layers of wings with parchment paper and store any leftover sauce or glaze separately.

For unsauced wings, line the container with a paper towel to absorb moisture and keep the skin as crispy as possible. 

If your wings are already sauced, consider dabbing off the sauce before storing them. I advise having extra sauce on hand for reheating if you do this, or the wings will be pretty plain.

Can your freeze wings?

You can freeze chicken wings c for up to 6 months. It’s better to freeze them un-sauced, but it’s not the end of the world if this isn’t possible. Sauced or unsauced, it’s a good idea to have a little extra glaze on hand for when you reheat them. Wrap the wings tightly to prevent freezer burn. 

How to freeze wings:

  1. Cool your wings to room temperature.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread out your wings on the tray and freeze them for 2-3 hours until solid.
  4. Transfer your wings into a zip-lock bag and remove as much air as possible.
  5. Mark the bag clearly and use within 6 months.

Flash-freezing your wings before bagging them prevents them from sticking together and makes it easier to grab the portion you want to reheat.

Use parchment paper to stop the wings from sticking to the baking tray – I learned this the hard way.

Removing excess air from the bag keeps them fresher and reduces freezer burn.

Use a vacuum sealer if you have one. Alternatively, suck the air out with a straw, or dunk the open freezer bag in a bowl of water to force the air out. 

Leftover glaze or sauce can be frozen separately in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container (or even an ice cube tray).

How to thaw and reheat frozen wings

The best way to thaw frozen wings is in the fridge overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can submerge them (sealed) in a cold water bath until they soften. Change the water every 30 minutes. Avoid using your microwave’s defrost setting, as this will dry them out or cook them.

Once thawed, reheat your wings using any of the methods outlined above.

I don’t recommend reheating wings from frozen. They will take too long to warm up and end up dry and unappetizing.

Exactly How To Reheat Wings

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover chicken wings.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken wings, reheat chicken wings
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 portion chicken wings buffalo, crispy, bbq, grilled, any style!

Instructions

  • Set your air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  • Bring your wings to room temperature.
  • Spread them out in your fryer basket, not touching.
  • Spritz lightly with oil (optional).
  • Heat for 5-10 minutes, checking every 2-3 minutes. Give the basket a shake halfway through to re-position the wings.
  • Once hot and crispy, add any extra glaze you have and serve.

Notes

Air fryers work by circulating hot air around a small space.
If your air fryer is overcrowded, this prevents the air from circulating properly and will lead to uneven heating, plus soggy wings.
If you have a lot of wings, heat them in batches.
Spritzing your wings with oil makes them deliciously crisp, and the fat layer helps keep the flesh moist.
If the wings have been previously fried, you can skip the oil because there’ll be enough residual oil leftover in the coating.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 288kcal

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