Fried chicken is a classic southern food staple here in the United States. Some people choose to make their own fried chicken, while others prefer to swing by fast-food restaurants such as Chick-fil-A or Kentucky Fried Chicken. All of these options provide you with the salty and absolutely delicious taste of fried chicken. We will talk about “how to freeze fried chicken the right way” in this article below.
If you are like me, you might like to make your fried chicken in batches and save the leftovers for later. Especially if you have small children whose go-to lunchtime food is fried chicken with French fries. The problem is, fried chicken can only last in the refrigerator for a few days. The freezer seems like a good storage option, but I do not want to the fried chicken to end up becoming soggy. So, can you freeze fried chicken? Absolutely! Here’s the correct way to freeze fried chicken.
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How to Freeze Fried Chicken
Anyone who has made fried chicken knows that the process of making the fried chicken is not necessarily short. Although fried chicken is one of my favorite foods, that doesn’t mean I enjoy the steps it takes to make it. Means, I prefer to cook fried chicken and batches and store the rest in the freezer. But how do I keep it from drying out or becoming soggy? The key is taking the extra steps to freeze it the right way, and then making sure you take your time when thawing it.
Here’s how I do it!!
- If you plan on freezing some of your fried chicken right away, you must let it cool down completely.
- Choose an airtight container to store the fried chicken it. It is also recommended that you wrap each piece individually in freezer wrap or aluminum foil to lock in the moisture and prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn is the quickest way to spoil your fried chicken. If you choose to forgo individually wrapping each piece of fried chicken; you can also choose to place the chicken into an airtight baggy and lay it flat in the freezer. Make sure that the chicken is not touching each other, and do not place anything on top of the chicken. Otherwise, the chicken will become smooshed over time.
- Place a label on the container that includes the date the chicken was frozen. Fried chicken can usually last in the freezer for up to 4 months.
That’s it! Even though the process of making fried chicken can be fairly long, the process of freezing it and preserving it is extremely easy. The key is removing as much air as possible from the container and making sure that the chicken does not become freezer burned. That is half the battle in freezing fried chicken.
How to Thaw Frozen Fried Chicken
There are several options for thawing frozen fried chicken. My preferred method is letting the chicken thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If you plan on using the refrigerator, keep in mind that it takes 6 to 8 hours to completely thaw the frozen chicken. If you are in a crunch for time; you can also try placing a bag of frozen fried chicken in a bowl of cold water. This won’t take near as much time as the refrigerator; but this also means that you have to reheat and eat the chicken right away. The most important part is to never try to reheat chicken that is still frozen. You will not be able to heat it all the way through; and you will likely end up with an overcooked exterior and a frozen interior.
How to Reheat Frozen Fried Chicken
Once you have completely thawed the frozen fried chicken, you can start the reheating process! The tastiest reheating method is using the oven; but you can also choose to use the microwave if you aren’t interested in waiting on the oven to preheat. Here’s how you do it:
- Oven (Recommended): Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking mat or a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Do not spray the sheet with oil or butter. During the reheating process, the chicken will produce enough liquid to keep it moisturized while also not becoming soggy. Once the oven is heated; place the pan of chicken in the oven and cook them for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through and crispy.
- Microwave: The microwave method is by far the fastest reheating method; but it also comes with the added risk of your fried chicken becoming soggy. You will have to use some precaution if you choose this method. Rather than just placing the chicken on a plate and sticking it in the microwave; try wrapping each piece in a paper towel. Then, place the chicken on a plate and heat it in the microwave for 20 to 30 second intervals. In between the intervals I like to flip my chicken over to make sure it is cooked evenly. You will know when your chicken is done once it has been cooked all the way through; but bear in mind that the chicken will not have a crispy exterior.
The next time you plan on making fried chicken for dinner; feel free to make an extra batch and place it in the freezer! Then when it comes time to eat it, you can choose whatever heating method you prefer. If you enjoy a crunchy exterior, choose the oven. If you do not mind softer breading, the microwave is for you.
You also might be wondering how you would be able to tell if your chicken has gone bad. The easiest and most obvious way will be the smell. If the chicken has a sour smell, it has most likely gone bad and should be thrown away. It may also have a slimy texture, and that means it is not safe to eat. However, if you follow the freezing methods mentioned above; your fried chicken can be preserved in the freezer for up to 4 months! When it comes time to thaw and heat it, your fried chicken will taste just as delicious as it did the day you made it.