How to Reheat Chicken Wings: The Best Methods and Step by Step Instructions
I absolutely love chicken wings, even though I don’t eat them all that often. When I do make chicken wings, it’s usually for a special occasion, and I tend to make a ton – it’s just easier that way. When it comes to chicken wings, my eyes are nearly always much larger than my stomach.
So what do I do with all those leftover chicken wings after everyone has had their fill? Store them away in the refrigerator, obviously! Reheating chicken wings is simple and can be nearly as good as freshly prepared wings.
Can you reheat chicken wings the next day?
As long as the chicken wings have been properly refrigerated in the interim, you can absolutely reheat chicken wings the next day. In fact, reheated chicken wings are often just as good as they were the first time around.
How good your reheated chicken wings taste will of course depend on a few things. And the most critical factor that will determine taste is the method you go with for reheating.
While it’s not always practical to fire up the deep fryer again – if you even have one, who’s to say that you didn’t just order takeout – some reheating methods are still better than others.
For example, you can put chicken wings in the microwave, but they will pretty quickly lose their crispiness. Instead, I like to use either an oven or toaster oven or, more recently, an air fryer. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, but regardless of what you’re working with at home, there will be an easy method to reheat chicken wings that works for you.
How to reheat chicken wings
As they say, there is more than one way to reheat a chicken wing. Actually nobody says that, but they should, because it’s true. Chicken wings are really versatile, and reheating them is pretty simple.
All of the following are perfectly acceptable methods for reheating chicken wings:
- Reheating chicken wings in the oven.
- Reheating chicken wings in a toaster oven.
- Reheating chicken wings in an air fryer.
- Reheating chicken wings in a microwave…yikes…but yes, you can do it.
How to reheat chicken wings in the oven
It’s absolutely possible to reheat chicken wings in the oven, though it might not be the most efficient use of power. That’s because, well, ovens are so large, and chicken wings are so small.
But if you don’t have a toaster oven or air fryer, then the oven may be the way to go. You’ll still get crispy hot wings that taste just as good as they did the day before.
Before we get into it, here are a few tips for reheating wings in the oven:
- Always reheat wings at a high temperature, and for less time. Reheating your wings for too long, especially in the oven, will dry them out. Instead, you want to heat them quickly.
- Spread the wings out on a sizable baking pan or tray, making sure they aren’t touching each other. Just like with most cooking methods, you don’t want to crowd your chicken wings. The goal is to maximize the exposed surface area on each wing.
- Line your baking sheet with lightly oiled aluminum foil, or an oven safe parchment paper to reduce the mess and help with clean up.
Take advantage of the time that your oven is on, and use the remaining space to cook something else. I always do this, because ovens really do consume a lot of power and they make your kitchen hot hot hot.
If I’m reheating something in the oven, I usually take advantage of a hot oven to simultaneously roast some vegetables, potatoes or garlic. These are always nice to have on hand anyway.
Now that you’ve got a sense of best practices when it comes to reheating things in the oven, it’s time to dive right in to heating up those wings.
STEP ONE – Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, I have seen other people advise preheating to 350 for this, but I like to go a bit hotter for the reasons specified above. Cooking hot and quickly will prevent your wings from drying out.
Also, make sure your oven is completely preheated before popping those wings in. Putting them in early will extend the time the wings will need to reheat, causing them to – you guessed it – dry out.
STEP TWO – While the oven is preheating, arrange your wings in one single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet or tray. If you want, you can add a layer of aluminum foil or an oven safe parchment paper between the tray and wings. This is a matter of preference, and relates only to clean up.
The important thing here is that you spread the wings out evenly. Again, it’s important that the wings aren’t touching, or touching as little as possible, to expose as much wing surface area as you can.
STEP THREE – Once your oven is sufficiently preheated, place the tray of wings on the center rack, in the middle of the oven. Close the oven door immediately and set a timer for 8 minutes.
But here’s the thing – depending on how many wings you have, they may take longer. It’s always better to undercook than it is to overcook when it comes to reheating (since the wings are in theory already cooked all the way through).
STEP FOUR – When your timer goes off, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature on the fattest wing you can find. It should read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
STEP FIVE – If your chicken is reading 165, then you’re good to go. Remove the chicken wings, turn off your oven, and allow the wings to cool.
If the chicken wings have not yet reached 165 degrees, place the tray back into the oven and set a timer for an additional three minutes. Check the temperature every three minutes until the chicken has reached 165.
How long does it take to reheat chicken wings in the oven?
If you’re reheating chicken wings in the oven, you should cook them fast and at a relatively high temperature. A standard serving of chicken wings, spread out evenly and placed in a 375 degree oven should take approximately 8 to 12 minutes to reheat.
That’s of course not taking into account the amount of time that your oven takes to preheat. Don’t forget, always preheat your oven and don’t put the wings in too early, as that extends their cook time and leads to dry-as-a-bone wings.
So, factoring together both the preheating time (about 10 minutes) and the cook time (about 8 to 12 minutes), you’re looking at a total time commitment of anywhere from 20 to 22 minutes.
How to reheat chicken wings in a toaster oven
Toaster ovens can be tricky, but if you’ve got one then you probably know it inside and out. The thing is, these little devices are all slightly different, which makes it hard to give specific time and temperature recommendations when it comes to using them.
Toaster ovens are small, but they can get very hot, very quickly. This actually makes them ideal for reheating chicken wings, since again, we want to heat those little guys up quickly.
But be forewarned if you were just reading the section on ovens – 375 degrees in an oven and 375 in a toaster oven mean completely different things. If you put your chicken wings in a toaster oven and set it to 375, they will almost certainly burn.
Before step by step instructions, here are some tips for reheating wings in a toaster oven:
- Get to know your toaster oven. What I mean by this is, toaster ovens are all a bit different, and the temperature settings really mean different things from what you might anticipate from cooking in an oven.
The more you use your toaster oven, the more intuitive it will become when it comes to selecting the appropriate time and temperature settings.
- Wrap your toaster oven’s interior tray in aluminum foil, changing it out after every few uses. You don’t have to change the aluminum foil after each use, but changing the foil occasionally will both aid in cleaning up and prevent your food from touching grimy, hard to clean spots in your toaster oven’s interior.
- Start your food at a lower temperature than you might think you need for reheating, and work up from there. Toaster ovens are super small, which means that they heat up quickly.
I have found that running my toaster oven at 275 or even 250 works well for food that I would otherwise cook at 350 in a conventional oven.
Once you’ve gotten a feel for your toaster oven it’s time to reheat those wings:
STEP ONE – Remove the baking tray from your toaster oven and heat the oven to 275 degrees. You do not need to preheat a toaster oven like you do a conventional oven, so only turn the oven on once you’re completely ready to go.
I am also suggesting you start at 275 and work up from there, for the reasons I have detailed above.
STEP TWO – Lightly oil your aluminum foil covered baking tray, using a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
STEP THREE – Arrange your wings in one single layer on the lightly oiled tray. Try to spread the wings out evenly. Again, it’s important that the wings aren’t touching, or touching as little as possible, to expose as much wing surface area as you can.
This is especially true for toaster ovens, which heat up quickly and will add a nice crisp to your wings.
STEP FOUR – Place the baking tray back in the toaster oven, and set a timer for 8 minutes, flipping your wings about halfway through.
STEP FIVE – When your timer goes off, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your fattest, hopefully still juicy wing. If the temperature reads 165 or above, you’re good to go.
If the internal temperature has not yet reached 165, place the wings back in the toaster oven for an additional three minutes, checking the temperature again every three minutes until they are done.
How to reheat chicken wings in an air fryer
If you need to reheat chicken wings, using an air fryer is by far the best method. Air frying chicken wings is fast and efficient, and best of all, it keeps the wings nice and crispy without drying out the meat.
If you don’t have an air fryer, and you have the space, you should really consider getting one. There is a lot of hype around air fryers these days – there’s no denying that – but much of it is actually well deserved. And if you’re having trouble selecting the right air fryer for you, I’ve got an entire post covering the best air fryers on the market.
Because air fryers are such a new technology, there are bound to be plenty of questions about their operation, safety concerns, and tips for getting best results:
- Read your owner’s manual. I know, obvious right? But the thing is, air fryers are new and manufacturers are still tinkering with design and features, which means you’ll want to get well acquainted with whatever model you’re using.
- Feel free to put aluminum foil in the fryer basket – this will help with cleanup, and prevent crumbs from falling through the basket into the lower chamber of the air fryer.
There are a few rules to follow when placing aluminum foil in your air fryer. For a complete overview, please review our article on aluminum foil and air fryers.
- Stop the air fryer halfway through cooking to shake up the food contents, ensuring that each side of whatever it is you’re cooking crisps up evenly.
- Space your food appropriately, and try to avoid crowding. If you can place the items in the basket such that they aren’t touching, even better.
For best results on large quantities, it’s sometimes even more time efficient to cook in two batches.
Alright, with our best practices in order, let’s move on to air frying those chicken wings. Keep in mind that the following instructions are for reheating chicken wings in an air fryer, not cooking frozen or even thawed wings (which is also possible, by the way).
STEP ONE – Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on your air fryer model, this may only take a minute or two. Let the basket get nice and hot.
STEP TWO – Once your air fryer has been on for a few minutes at 375, remove the fryer basket and place your wings in the bottom, making sure that they are spaced evenly. My air fryer will comfortably hold about 6 – 8 wings at a time.
Set a timer for four minutes.
STEP THREE – After your four minute timer has gone off, remove the basket and give the wings a shake, or alternatively, use a pair of tongs to flip each wing. Return the basket to the air fryer and set your timer for another four minutes.
STEP FOUR – Once the timer goes off, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your fattest wing – it should read 165 degrees. If the temperature reads 165 or above, you’re good to go.
If the internal temperature has not yet reached 165, place the wings back in the air fryer for an additional three minutes, checking the temperature again every three minutes until they are done.
How to reheat chicken wings in the microwave
Alas, we come to the microwave – old faithful. We know it works, if perhaps with some stigma, and we know its limitations. If you’re reading this, it means you don’t have a toaster oven or an air fryer.
If you do have either of those appliances, might I suggest skipping this section altogether and heating your wings in one of those. For instructions on that, see above.
But microwaves will work to reheat chicken wings, and they can even work well so long as you follow a few simple tips:
- Use a microwave safe plate – no aluminum foil – and spread out your wings evenly.
- Make sure to cover your wings with a damp paper towel. If you don’t use a damp paper towel, you risk drying out your wings. But the downside is that in doing this, your wings won’t crisp up too well.
Unfortunately, there is no great way around this in a conventional microwave.
- Place the wings around the exterior of your plate, so that they aren’t lumped in the center. A lot of microwaves actually heat more efficiently around the edges, rather than the center of the microwave plate. If you know you’re microwave well, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Alright, on to nuking those wings:
STEP ONE – Place the chicken wings on a microwave safe plate, such as ceramic, glass or paper. Arrange the wings around the exterior of the plate, spacing them appropriately. If you have more wings than will fit comfortably on a single plate, plan on reheating them in two or more batches.
STEP TWO – Cover the wings with a damp paper towel. This will both keep the chicken wings from drying out, and protect the inside of your microwave from chicken wing splatter.
STEP THREE – Place the chicken wings in the microwave, and set them to cook for two minutes on full power.
STEP FOUR – When your timer goes off, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is anything less than that, continue to microwave, for an additional minute at a time until they are done.