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How to Reheat Chicken in Microwave

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Conveniently and quickly reheat chicken in the microwave. Not only is it the easiest method, but also the best way to reheat chicken quickly.

How do you reheat chicken in the microwave? It is best to start with room temperature chicken, placed on a microwave safe plate with a tablespoon of water and a cover or damp paper towel over then top. Microwave for 2 minutes per pound, check the doneness, and flip, rotate and continue reheating with 30 second intervals until the internal temperature has reached 165°F.

Caution must be used as microwaving can make your chicken dry and rubbery, but with the right techniques it can be done effortlessly. Here are tips for you to use a microwave to reheat your chicken if you have no time to wait. 

The information provided in this write-up will help you with the best ways to reheat chicken in microwave. Covered below are the answers to frequently asked questions, along with microwave tips to ensure your reheated chicken doesn’t dry out and become chewy.

Can you reheat chicken in the microwave?

Yes, you can reheat chicken in the microwave. Monitor the time and temperature carefully as overcooking can cause the chicken to dry out and become chewy.

It is safe to reheat chicken in the microwave only once, regardless of how it was been initially cooked. This is to avoid the growth of bacteria that can lead to food borne illnesses.

Moreover, you will have to consume chicken in one sitting as a second reheating is not guaranteed to be safe. Furthermore, the chicken will lack tenderness and most likely be extra dry at that point.

Is it safe to reheat chicken in the microwave?

Yes, it is safe to reheat chicken in the microwave if it has been stored properly after cooking it and before reheating it.

According to the USDA, chicken is a perishable food that must be frozen or refrigerated within two hours of cooking it to be considered safe to reheat. In addition, the initial temperature must be reduced below 90 degrees Fahrenheit within one hour of being cooked in accordance with safe food handling procedures. 

The chances of growth and multiplication of food borne bacteria like salmonella, clostridium perfringens, and campylobacter can increase if left out for a longer period of time.

How long do you reheat chicken in the microwave?

Normally, it takes 2 minutes per pound to reheat chicken inside the microwave if it is on a plate with a cover over the top.

The time taken to reheat chicken in the microwave depends upon the wattage of the microwave as well as the weight and thickness of the chicken to be reheated.  

Check whether it is ready to eat or not just by taking the internal temperature with a thermometer, 165 degrees Fahrenheit is this correct temperature for reheated chicken. 

Turn the chicken over every 30 seconds to expedite the reheating process and reduce the exposure to hotspots. 

How do you know when chicken is reheated in the microwave?

You will know when chicken is reheated in the microwave when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degree Fahrenheit. Additionally, the chicken will start to smell cooked, feel hot to the touch and be steaming.

Check whether the chicken is reheated in the microwave every 30 seconds after the initial reheating time period of 2 minutes. After each duration, flip the chicken over to reheat both sides evenly, and continue reheating it for 30 second increments until reheating is done properly.

How to store cooked chicken?

Cooked chicken can be stored by wrapping it well or putting it in an airtight container and keeping it on the top shelf of the fridge or in the freezer.

You should cool down the cooked chicken and wrap it properly within two hours of cooking it. When stored in the refrigerator, it should not be stored near the raw chicken and should be consumed within 3 to 4 days.

If you want to preserve cooked chicken for 2 to 6 months, then you can freeze it. Package it in an airtight container, freezer wrap, or a freezer bag to minimize damage from freezer burn. 

To help you remember when the chicken was frozen, it is helpful to label it so that you know when to reheat it before expiring. Before reheating the cooked chicken, check for cold spots or frozen burns. 

If the previously cooked chicken passes the initial inspection, reheat it in the microwave with confidence. If the chicken is frozen, then you must defrost the chicken before proceeding to reheating.

Tips to reheat chicken in the microwave

Easily reheat chicken in the microwave by following the tips discussed below:

  • Make small pieces of the chicken. The process is much easier to reheat the chicken in a short time if it is cut into small pieces. It will also help in avoiding the tendency of the chicken to dry out when reheated.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature. There is much less disparity in temperature if you allow the chicken to come to room temperature before heating. When coming from the fridge, below 40°F, the temperature range to 165°F is far away, let alone if it is frozen and starting at 0°F. If the chicken is frozen, it is extremely important to defrost first before reheating.
  • Put chicken pieces on a microwave-safe plate. All the pieces of chicken should be arranged in a single layer on a glass or ceramic plate to heat them evenly. Plastic containers are not recommended for this purpose as they can melt at high temperature and leach harmful chemicals into your food. Microwave safe containers are effective for storing cooked chicken and reheating it when desired.
  • Cover with a lid. A microwave cover works well to insulate the chicken from dry heat. The lid traps steam inside the dome to maintain moisture and minimize opportunity for the chicken to dry.
  • Use a damp paper towel to cover the chicken. If you do not have a cover or lid for the dish you are using, then avoid drying out of the chicken by covering it with a damp paper towel. You should not use aluminum foil or plastic wrap for this purpose as they are unsafe for usage in your microwave. You can also maintain moisture in the chicken by putting a tablespoon of water or chicken broth on the plate before reheating.
  • Flip and reheat chicken. Reheat chicken in the microwave for 2 minutes per pound, depending upon the quantity of chicken to be reheated and the wattage of your microwave. Check the doneness after each minute and flip it over to reheat evenly from all sides. After the initial 2 minutes and check its doneness after every 30 seconds to avoid overcooking.
  • Let the chicken rest after removing the plate from the microwave. Use potholders or oven mitt to hold the plate while taking it out of the microwave as it will be very hot. Now before serving the reheated chicken you should allow it to sit for 1 minute without removing its cover, this will allow the juices to settle inside the chicken and further balance the internal temperature.
  • Remove the cover. While removing the cover, be careful as a large amount of steam can be released from under the lid. Steam has a high heat transfer rate so it can burn you easily if you are not careful.
How to reheat chicken in microwave

Best way to reheat chicken in the microwave

The best way of reheating chicken in the microwave is to cut the chicken into smaller pieces and spread a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Place the smaller pieces at the center and larger ones near the edges, cover with a lid or damp paper towel and nuke for 2 minutes per pound.

To avoid drying out of the chicken, add some moisture to the microwave-safe plate like a tablespoon of water, olive oil, or chicken broth. Not only will it improve its flavor, but it will also help in keeping it moist. 

Check the doneness of the reheated chicken after the initial 2 minutes. If the internal temperature has not reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then flip the chicken to reheat it evenly from all sides and continue with 30 second increments until the correct temperature is reached.

Reheating Chicken in Microwave: Final Thoughts

Quickly and easily reheat chicken in microwave, but it can become dried out if not reheated carefully. Follow the straight forward tips for juicy and delicious reheated chicken.

Use a microwave safe plate made from glass or ceramic. Plastic is not recommended as it can melt, warp or release harmful chemicals into your food.

Reheat it on a tightly covered plate to retain its flavors and moisture. The lid traps steam that heats up the chicken quickly and retains the natural juices inside the meat.

Don’t over heat the meat. A long extended time in the microwave is not beneficial as the chicken will overcook, dry out and become rubbery.

Always reheat chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which is accordance with the FDA safe handling procedures. Use 30 to 60 second durations, flip and rotate the meat after each interval to ensure even heating through the previously cooked chicken.

There you have it, the best tips for reheating chicken in the microwave. Follow these tips and guidelines for perfect results every time.  

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Nageswara Reddy.k

Friday 14th of July 2023

Very good information. Thanks.