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How To Reheat McNuggets [I Test 6 Methods]

This article was updated on 17th August 2023 for clarity and to incorporate new insights.

If you’ve recently been defeated by a “sharing portion” of McDonald’s nuggets, you might be wondering how to keep them and bring them back to their former glory.

In this article, I personally test every possible method of reheating McNuggets to find out which method rules supreme. In a rush? Here’s the short answer.

The best way to reheat McNuggets is in the oven. Place the nuggets on a wire rack and heat at 350°F (180°C) for 10-15 minutes. For best results, lightly spray the nuggets with oil. Avoid placing the nuggets directly on a baking tray as this causes the bottom of the nuggets to go soggy.

How we tested reheating McDonald’s nuggets

After seeing so much conflicting advice online, I decided to put each McDonald’s nugget reheating method through its paces.

I ordered a few boxes of McNuggets, left them in the fridge overnight (in a locked box so no one could steal them), and then set about reheating them the next day.

I tested each reheating method using 3 individual McNuggets. Here are the methods I tested:

  • Oven or toaster oven: A good, reliable method.
  • Skillet: Great for extra crisp.
  • Air fryer: Perfect if you have one.
  • Microwave: Avoid this method!
  • Grill (UK) / broiler (USA): A little fiddly.
  • Toaster: Use as a last resort.

Once the nuggets were warm, I taste-tested them. I was looking for a nice crispy outside and a still-moist inside.

Is it safe to reheat McDonald’s chicken nuggets?

Yes, it’s safe to reheat McDonald’s nuggets as long as you refrigerate them within two hours of ordering them, and you reheat them to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F/74°C (as recommended by the FDA). Only reheat the nuggets once.

How to reheat McNuggets in the oven (& toaster oven)

Time: 10-15 minutes
Rating: 7/10

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Optional: spray the nuggets with a very light coating of cooking oil. This really elevates the crust and helps to mimic that ‘fresh-out-of-the-fryer’ texture.
  3. Place the nuggets on a wire rack* in the middle of the oven.
  4. Cook the nuggets for approximately 10-15 minutes (5 minutes less in a toaster oven), or until they’re piping hot to the touch.
  5. Let the nuggets rest for at least 60 seconds before serving.

*If you don’t have a wire rack, crumpling up some tin foil so that the nuggets don’t sit completely flat will do the trick. You just need something that allows airflow around the whole nugget instead of letting it rest on a baking tray where the bottom will get soggy.

If you only have a baking tray, you’ll need to flip the nuggets halfway through cooking.

Psst… If you have a toaster oven, use it. It’ll be faster and the nuggets will be crispier.

Results: The oven was my favorite method for reheating McNuggets. The process was simple, effective, and I was genuinely surprised by how good the McNuggets tasted after being reheated. They were crispy and not too dry.

How to reheat McNuggets in the skillet

Time: 2-3 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Fill a skillet with approximately 1 inch of oil
  2. Heat oil to 350°F (180°C). If you don’t have a thermometer to measure with – stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you see bubbles form around the wood that then float to the top, your oil is ready.
  3. Carefully place the nuggets into the oil, making sure not to crowd the pan.
  4. Cook the nuggets for approximately 5 seconds on each side, turning once.
  5. Remove the nuggets from the oil and let them cool on a paper towel for at least one minute.

Note: you can also opt for less oil and ‘flash fry’ the nuggets instead of shallow frying.

It’s really easy to overcook the nuggets using this method. So err on the side of caution and check on the nuggets every few seconds while they’re frying.

If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, I would definitely consider investing in one (seriously, they’re so useful). If the oil is too hot and you overdo the nuggets, they’ll turn rock hard with an incredibly crunchy and unappetizing crust.

If the oil is slightly too cold, the nuggets will soak up all the oil and become greasy.

Results: The nuggets turned out better than I expected, they had a great crunch (more so than the oven nuggets) and were still moist. But there was a slightly greasy aftertaste… and I tried not to think about the extra calories.

For extra crispy nuggets…

If you have a spare 5 minutes, dip your nuggets in egg wash and then coat them in panko breadcrumbs before frying them. The layer of breadcrumbs will make the nuggets even crispier than they were the first time! Full credit to YouTuber ‘ItsJamesandMark’ for this life hack.

How to reheat McNuggets in the air fryer

Time: 5-7 minutes
Rating: 9/10

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Optional: lightly spray the McNuggets with cooking oil to get the ‘fresh-out-the-fryer’ feeling.
  3. Cook the McNuggets for 4-6 minutes, giving the basket a shake halfway through.
  4. Let the McNuggets rest for 60 seconds after air frying.

The main thing to watch out for when you’re using the air fryer is overcrowding. Like with the oven, each nugget needs good airflow around it to crisp up efficiently. If the nuggets are all piled on top of each other, you’ll get soggy patches.

You can be very light-handed on the oil with this method because the whole idea of the air fryer is that it gets food super crunchy without oil!

Results: An air fryer is another excellent choice for reheating McNuggets. It’s quicker than using the oven and you get a better crisp without the need for much oil. But there’s one major downside… you need an air fryer in the first place.

How to reheat McNuggets in the microwave

Time: 1 minute
Rating: 4/10

  1. Let the McNuggets come to room temperature before microwaving. This ensures that they cook evenly, improving the end result.
  2. Sprinkle the nuggets with a small amount of water.
  3. Cook the McNuggets on full power, checking them every 15 seconds.
  4. Once the McNuggets are piping hot, remove them from the microwave and let them sit for 60 seconds.

I don’t recommend this method if you want crispy nuggets, but I know sometimes the convenience of it is hard to resist.

Beware that any crunch the McNuggets may have had will disappear when using the microwave. And if you overheat them, they will turn into cardboard (literally). This is why I suggest checking on them so often, so you can take them out as soon as they’re hot enough.

Once you remove the McNuggets from the microwave you’ll need to eat them ASAP too. As soon as they start to cool down, they’ll start drying out.

Results: Lots of websites suggest using the microwave to reheat McNuggets, but I honestly question whether they have ever tried this method themselves. I was left with soggy, chewy, and rubbery McNugget-like lumps. There’s no denying it was fast though.

If a microwave is your only option

I would suggest investing in a microwave crisper pan. They’re clever-yet-simple pieces of metal that transform the microwave energy into conductive heat – similar to what happens on the stove. This microwave crisper is great as it has a ridged bottom, meaning the bottom of the McNuggets don’t get too soggy.

How to reheat McNuggets under the broiler

Time: 2-3 minutes
Rating: 6/10

  1. Preheat the broiler/grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Optional: microwave the nuggets for 30 seconds*
  3. Optional: spray the McNuggets with a light coating of cooking oil.
  4. Place the McNuggets on a wire rack and grill/broil for 2-3 minutes (4 minutes if you didn’t microwave them first).
  5. Turn halfway through cooking to ensure an even cook on both sides.

* wondering why I would suggest microwaving the nuggets when I’ve just told you to avoid it?!

Well if you combine the convenience of the microwave with the crisping power of the grill, you have a winning reheating method.

The microwave heats up the inside of the nugget and then the heat of the broiler crisps them up. You can skip the microwave step, but then there’s a (very small) risk the outside of the nugget will burn before the inside is piping hot.

Psst… broiling is called grilling in the UK, which is why I use both terms here.

Results: The nuggets were good using this method, I can’t fault the results. But it was a bit fiddly using the microwave first and then also having to flip the nuggets halfway through the grilling process. Just using the grill is decent too.

Bonus method: reheating McNuggets in the toaster

The toaster should be a last resort option for reheating McNuggets, but it is possible.

Because the McNuggets are so small, you need to have a plan of how you’re going to remove them from the toaster. You could potentially use a wooden skewer to hold a few McNuggets together while toasting, but this sound a bit awkward!

Another (better) option is to invest in some toaster bags. The bag will make it super easy to retrieve your nuggets, and it’ll catch any fat drips (which would otherwise cause lots of smoke). Perfect!

Results: I managed to toast a few McNuggets with average success. In my opinion, the extra work needed for something that appears ‘simple’ isn’t worth the end result. The nuggets were dryer and less appetizing using the toaster method.

How to store leftover McNuggets

The best way to store McNuggets is to keep them in a shallow container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Line the container with a paper towel to soak up any excess grease. And separate layers of nuggets with parchment paper or more paper towels.

Make sure the nuggets are completely cool before you store them, otherwise, condensation will build up in the container and leave them soggy.

You can reheat the nuggets once before you need to discard them. Don’t try to save them again after reheating because the quality of the nugget will degrade too much.

Can you freeze McNuggets?

You can freeze McNuggets for up to 2 months, but they won’t be anywhere near as crispy when you reheat them, so it’s not always worth it.

To freeze McNuggets, let them cool to room temperature and then spread them out on a parchment-paper-lined baking tray. Place the baking tray in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. Then put the semi-frozen nuggets into an airtight freezer bag and put them back in the freezer.

The pre-freezing step stops the nuggets from sticking together in the bag.

Always remove as much air as possible from the bag before you put it in the freezer. I like to dunk the open freezer bag in a bowl of water. This forces the air out and then you can easily seal the bag. But you can also suck the air out with a straw.

If you don’t have a freezer bag, you can wrap the nuggets in foil or plastic wrap instead. I’d avoid using a container because this will allow for too much airflow around the nuggets.

When you want to eat the McNuggets, reheat them straight from frozen in the oven, skillet, or air fryer. You can follow the instructions above, just allow extra time.

How To Reheat McNuggets [Tested Methods]

Reheating these crispy pockets of joy can be a little tricky. It’s a fine balance between getting the coating just right and crispy while not completely drying out the inside.
So I tested 6 different reheating methods to see which one worked best.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: McNuggets, nuggets
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 250kcal


  • Wire rack
  • Tin foil
  • Oven


  • 1 portion McNuggets
  • 3 sprays Cooking oil spray


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Optional: spray the nuggets with a very light coating of cooking oil. This really elevates the crust and helps to mimic that ‘fresh-out-of-the-fryer’ texture.
  • Place the nuggets on a wire rack in the middle of the oven.
  • If you don’t have a wire rack, scrumpling up some tin foil so that the nuggets don’t sit completely flat will do the trick.
  • Cook the nuggets for approximately 8-10 minutes.
  • The nuggets should be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
  • Let the nuggets rest for at least 60 seconds before serving.



Serving: 95g | Calories: 250kcal

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