How to Keep Fried Chicken Warm and Crispy – The Ultimate Guide

Rating: 3.7/5 - (8 votes)

Fried chicken is best enjoyed hot and crispy, straight out of the fryer, but sometimes you have to keep batches warm or have leftovers to reheat later. So it is essential to know how to keep fried chicken warm and crispy, and here are our five methods:

  1. Using a conventional oven
  2. Using a toaster oven
  3. Using a roaster or slow cooker
  4. Using a chafing dish
  5. Using a microwave

How to Keep Fried Chicken Warm and Crispy

Use a conventional oven

One of the simplest and most popular methods is using a conventional oven. All you need to do is preheat the oven to 200°F, the lowest temperature setting on most ovens. This low heat allows steam to escape without overcooking the chicken. Place the fried chicken pieces on a wire rack over a baking sheet. This allows hot air to circulate freely around each piece. Leaving space between them also prevents pieces from steaming each other. Check occasionally, and your chicken will stay deliciously warm and crispy for up to 30 minutes.

A convection oven works even better, as the circulating hot air keeps the chicken warmer for longer without drying it out. You can keep the chickens for up to an hour before they start to lose some crunch. Regardless of oven type, resist the urge to cover chicken pieces, as it will cause unwanted steaming.

Toaster oven

Much like a regular-sized oven, preheat the toaster oven to 200°F and add the chicken pieces spaced out on a rack over a baking sheet. However, toaster ovens heat up faster, so monitor the chicken closely and expect a shorter warming time of about 15 minutes. Also, loosely place a sheet of aluminum foil over the chicken to prevent burning from the closer heating element. Despite its smaller size, a toaster oven helps keep 2-4 pieces of fried chicken warm at a time.

keep fried chicken warm using oven

Roaster or slow cooker

Whether using a roaster oven or slow cooker, preheat the appliance to 200°F and position a rack inside for the chicken pieces. While the chicken remains warm, neither the air nor the oven circulates. Still, spacing pieces apart allows some ventilation to prevent sogginess. Either option works for larger batches, though chicken pieces around the edges may dry out faster. Check periodically and rotate pieces as needed.

Chafing dish

If serving chicken outdoors, a portable chafing dish comes in very handy. Simply light the fuel cells, place a rack over the dish, and arrange chicken pieces on top. Maintain the temperature at 200°F by adjusting the fuel. A sheet of foil overhead protects the chicken from sparks while allowing steam to escape. Chafing dishes keep 8-10 pieces of fried chicken warm during an outdoor party or potluck.


Microwaves are convenient but not great for maintaining crispiness in fried chicken. However, there’s a trick to warming 2-3 portions without making the chicken soggy. Cover the chicken pieces with a slightly damp paper towel and microwave on low heat for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. This method prevents the coating from getting soggy and helps retain some of the crispy texture. Monitor closely and reheat in short intervals to avoid overcooking.

The Secret to Crispy Fried Chicken

The secret to maintaining that much-loved crispiness in fried chicken lies in two fundamental elements: air circulation and moisture drainage. Ignoring these factors often results in a disappointing, soggy exterior. Steam released from the chicken’s interior and lingering oil on the exterior are usually the main culprits behind a less-than-crispy outcome.

warm Crispy Fried Chicken

A straightforward solution is to reheat your fried chicken in a low-heat setting that promotes good ventilation. An oven is particularly effective for this, but the principle also applies to other reheating methods. Using wire racks over baking trays can drastically enhance this process. Place the chicken on the racks to allow heat to circulate from all directions. This way, the chicken reheats evenly, maintaining its original crispness.

Additionally, using a wire rack helps with moisture drainage, addressing the second culprit of sogginess. As the chicken heats up, the excess moisture and oil can freely drip onto the tray below, preventing them from reabsorbing into the coating. This is a simple yet effective way to keep that delightful crunch intact.

So, whether you’re using an oven, a microwave, or even an air fryer, remember to prioritize these two elements: air circulation and moisture drainage. Doing so will ensure that your reheated fried chicken retains its initial, mouthwatering crispiness.


How to keep fried chicken warm for a picnic?

Allowing chicken pieces to fully cool after frying is necessary so steam doesn’t build up when contained. Once cooled, the chicken should be wrapped tightly in brown paper bags or paper towels and stored in an insulated bag or cooler. This breathing room with ventilation and the positioning of warm packs helps to keep ambient heat to maintain chicken perfectly warm during transport and time at the picnic site.

How to keep Kentucky fried chicken warm?

The best way to reheat leftover fried chicken while keeping its famous coating crunchy is in a preheated conventional oven at 375°F. Spraying both sides with oil and placing breaded pieces on a rack set over a baking sheet allows hot air circulation for about 15 minutes. This will keep your chicken internally warm without saturating the exterior.
An air fryer can similarly crisp pieces in just a few minutes. Microwaves may seem convenient, but they lack consistent heating, often resulting in soggy spots. Proper low-heat convection reheating is the surefire way to resurrect KFC’s deliciousness.

How long can you keep fried chicken warm?

With proper handling, fried chicken pieces can stay warm for 30-60 minutes in an oven set between 170-200°F depending on quantity and appliance used.


WikiHow –

Leave a Comment