How to Reheat Chicken Tenders – 4 Best Ways

You should never discard leftover chicken tenders. You can freeze and reheat it later.

Maintaining a crispy yet succulent touch is the primary goal when reheating chicken tenders.

Poorly reheated chicken tenders turn out soggy, mushy, dry, or rubbery.

Here is how to reheat chicken tenders for the best results. You can also read how to microwave chicken breast in our other article. 

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders

It is easy to reheat chicken tenders and restore their freshness. You can use an air fryer, oven, microwave, or frying pan to reheat chicken tenders.

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders In an Air Fryer

Using an air fryer to reheat chicken tenders is fast and guarantees maximum moisture retention.

It takes less than 5 minutes to effectively reheat your tenders if you allow enough hot air circulation within the basket, meaning you allow enough space between the tenders.

The heating time, however, doubles if you deal with frozen tenders. You should thaw our tenders first before air frying for excellent results.

Hot air in the air fryer ensures the tenders heat from all sides eliminating uneven hot spots. It also dries off excess moisture giving the tenders a crispy coat.

Here are the simple steps of reheating chicken tenders in an air fryer:

  • Thaw your chicken tenders and bring them to room temperature to ensure thorough, even heating and to reduce the reheating time.
  • Use a paper towel to soak in excess moisture (melted ice).   
  • Arrange the tenders on the air fryer, ensuring adequate space between them.
  • Use a kitchen brush to spread some oil on the tenders to make them crispy.
  • Turn on the power and set the heat to medium.
  • Heat for 5 minutes and pause to flip them.
  • Heat for another 5 minutes, remove and serve as desired.    

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders In an Oven

Reheating chicken tenders in the oven is as convenient as using the air fryer; however, it takes twice the time.

Reheating chicken tenders in an oven gives the best results because:

  • Oven-reheated chicken tenders are succulent since they retain their original juices, thus tender and flavorful.
  • The oven allows even heating, thus no dry or unevenly heated spots in the tenders that can burn your mouth.
  • Low oven heat gives the tenders crispy coatings and succulent centers.         
  • Here is how you reheat chicken tenders in an oven:
  • Preheat your oven to 400℉. Preheating the oven allows hot air circulation before the tenders are placed.
  • Don’t allow the tenders to sit in the oven as the temperatures rise because they end up overcooked.
  • Thaw frozen chicken tenders and allow them to reach room temperature to reduce reheating time and allow even heating.
  • Get a baking sheet and line it with a layer of aluminum foil.
  • Place your thawed chicken tenders as a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Avoid stacking; otherwise, they won’t heat evenly.
  • Ample space between the chicken tenders allows them to heat quickly and evenly.
  • Let the chicken tenders heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove, serve, and enjoy.   

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders In a Microwave

Microwaving chicken tenders is the least preferred method. It is convenient, but the results could be better.

The only good thing about the microwave method is that it allows you to defrost your frozen tenders without leaving them in the refrigerator overnight.

Here is how to reheat chicken tenders in a microwave:          

  • Get a microwave-safe plate that can withstand high microwave heat without warping, like glass or ceramic ones. Avoid plastics at all costs.
  • Line the plate with a microwave-safe paper towel to absorb excess moisture that will otherwise render the tenders soggy.
  • Space out the chicken tenders to allow proper circulation of hot air.
  • Set our microwave on high power for one minute. You can also press the reheat button if it’s available.
  • Frozen chicken tenders take about 3-4 minutes to reheat. You can opt to defrost them first and then proceed to reheat them.
  • Flip the tenders at 30 seconds intervals to ensure all sides are heated.
  • Remove and serve while still hot.

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders In a Skillet              

The Skillet method entails reheating chicken tenders on a frying pan as follows:

  • Thaw the chicken tenders and bring them to room temperature.
  • Wipe off any water droplets from the melted ice to avoid splattering when placed on a frying pan. Put some oil on a frying pan and let it heat up.
  • Once the oil starts to sizzle, place a few tenders but don’t overcrowd them. Leave ample space for turning them.
  • Cook for two minutes and flip them to allow the other side to heat.
  • Cook for an extra two minutes and remove the chicken tenders.
  • Make sure to place the hot tenders on a plate lined with a paper towel. The paper towel absorbs excess oil.
  • If you are warming huge chunks of chicken tenders, microwave them for 20 seconds and then complete the process on a frying pan.
  • The Skillet method is considered greasy and messy to reheat tenders; however, it is just effective.

Related: Can you microwave broccoli?

How to Reheat Chicken Tenders Without Drying Them Out.

Poorly reheated tenders lose their moisture and have a dry coating. These tips will help you keep your tenders moist:

  • Heating conditions will determine how your chicken tenders come out. Observe the cooking time to avoid overcooked bunches of chicken tenders.
  • Cook under medium or low heat because excess heat causes them to lose moisture and dry. High heat will also burn your chicken pieces.
  • Cover your chicken with a pan, paper towel, or aluminum foil, depending on the method you choose to reheat them.
  • To keep them moist, you can also splash some liquid (water, sauce, or broth).
  • Start reheating the chicken tender from room temperature to minimize the exposure time.         
  • Leaving frozen chicken tenders in the refrigerator overnight is the best method to thaw them.

How Do You Reheat Chicken Tenders To Make Them Crispy?

The method you choose to reheat your chicken tenders will determine the results you obtain.

  • For a crispy coat on your chicken, keep it off the microwave. Microwaved chicken tenders tend to be soggy and mushy.
  • Reheating chicken tenders in an oven or air fryer guarantees the best results.                              
  • Ensure sufficient space between the chicken tenders regardless of the method you choose to reheat them. Stacked tenders come out wet or soggy.
  • Smear a little oil on the tenders to give a more crunchy crust.


How to Store Cooked Chicken Tenders

Reheating tenders effectively begins with storing them properly.

Follow these tips to store cooked chicken tenders and maintain their quality, tenderness, taste, and flavor:

Leave the chicken to cool down completely to avoid bacterial growth. Condensed moisture, too, could cause the breaded crust to fall off.

Too much moisture ruins the original taste and makes the tender mushy.

Use air-tight containers to freeze cooled, cooked chicken tenders. Vacuum-sealed bags are ideal; use your hand to expel any trapped air.

Your chicken will be fresh for up to 4 days if stored in a refrigerator and up to 6 months if frozen.

Choose the best method to reheat the frozen chicken to attain a safe internal temperature. 165℉ is the safest protein temperature.

Can You Reheat Chicken Tenders?            

Yes. You can use several methods to reheat a frozen chicken tender.          

You can use an air fryer, oven, or microwave to reheat your chicken tenders, provided you follow the tips recommended above.

The air fryer method outsmarts all the other methods in speed and excellent results.

Using a microwave is the least preferred method since it exposes the tenders to high heat, causing them to dry on the outside and remain cold in the middle.

General tips that apply to all chicken tender reheating methods are:

  • Proper storage ensures you get the best results when you reheat a frozen tender; therefore, ensure the tender cools off properly before freezing it.
  • Thaw frozen chicken tenders overnight in the refrigerator before reheating them to ensure it heats evenly.
  • Bring thawed tenders to room temperature to reduce the heating time.
  • Use a paper towel to dry off melted ice on the surface of the chicken tenders, which could otherwise render them soggy.
  • Arrange chicken tenders by spacing them out to allow circulation of hot air. It also ensures the tenders heat evenly.
  • Brush a little vegetable oil on the surface of the tenders to give them a crispy finish.
  • Use low heat to avoid burning or drying off your chicken tenders.

How Do You Make Dry Chicken Tenders Moist Again?

You can use any of the following remedies to moisten a dry chicken tender:

  • Marinate the chicken tenders overnight to make them tender and flavorful.
  • Splash a sauce, water, broth, or gravy.
  • Coat them with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and fry them.

Final Thoughts                 

Reheating chicken tenders can be tricky because of their breaded crust. You don’t want it soggy.

Choosing the proper method to reheat chicken tenders guarantees a fresh, crispy touch.

You should follow the tips detailed above whether you choose to reheat tenders in the oven, air fryer, or oven.

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