Although most well-known as a southern comfort dish or soul food, fried chicken is a staple dish in many American households across the country.
But often, people want to match huge batches of them at once, either for an event, for a big family gathering, or because it’s simply easier to fry several all at once.
But if you need to wait a while to serve people, or there are leftovers that people might want in a few hours, you might wonder how to keep fried chicken warm so it doesn’t lose its delicious flavor and lovely, crispy crunch.
I’ll detail why it’s important to keep fried chicken warm for the best tasting experience and then provide seven ways you can keep it warm.
Why You Might Want To Keep Fried Chicken Warm
Almost every meat eater in America loves fried chicken now and then. But not all fried chicken is of the same quality. To cook good fried chicken — with a juicy, tender interior and a crispy, flaky exterior — takes skill, time, and attention.
If you’re able to get it right, you don’t want your hard work to go to waste by leaving the fried chicken out for too long and allowing it to go cold and get soggy.
Cold, soggy, fried chicken is not as tasty and satisfying as crispy, hot fried chicken. And reheating fried chicken is not the easiest task either.
If you follow the methods below to keep your fried chicken warm, you can avoid the process of reheating altogether, and your fried chicken will retain its original form and flavor for longer.
7 Ways To Keep Fried Chicken Warm
Below are seven methods for how to keep fried chicken warm. These methods will help you preserve your fried chicken’s taste, texture, and overall quality so that everyone can enjoy it at its best.
1. Put It in an Air-Tight Container
The first method to keep fried chicken warm is to put it in an air-tight container. An air-tight container will help keep the heat in and prevent the fried chicken from drying.
However, you don’t want to keep it in a container for too long, as the moisture will build up and may lead to the chicken becoming soggier than you would prefer.
2. Wrap It Tightly in Foil
Another way to keep fried chicken warm is by wrapping it tightly in aluminum foil. Aluminum foil is an effective conductor of heat, so it will help to keep the heat in.
As with an air-tight container, you don’t want to wrap the chicken too tightly in foil, as this will lock in moisture, cause condensation, and make the fried chicken soggy.
3. Store It in the Oven
If you are making multiple batches of fried chicken and want your first batch to remain as warm and crispy as the last, consider storing it in an oven that is warm but turned off.
To do this, heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and turn it off before setting the fried chicken on the oven rack. This method will help keep the heat circulating and prevent the fried chicken from drying without overcooking the chicken (which would be the case if you left it on).
You can also use the same method if you have a toaster oven or small countertop oven.
4. Use a Slow Cooker
If you have a slow cooker, you can also use this to keep fried chicken warm. To do this, place a layer of paper towels at the bottom of the cooker, and then place the fried chicken on top.
Set the slow cooker to low, and the heat from the cooker will help to keep the fried chicken warm without drying it out.
A chafing dish will work similarly, but many people don’t have a chafing dish at home, so a slow cooker or roaster oven tends to be more convenient.
5. Place It Under a Heat Lamp
If you’re catering an event or cooking for a large group of people, you can keep fried chicken warm by placing it under a heat lamp.
This is a common method used in restaurants and is effective in keeping the fried chicken warm.
6. Use a Thermal Bag
If you’re transporting fried chicken, a thermal bag — otherwise known as an insulated food carrier — will also keep it warm. To do this, place the fried chicken in the bag and then close the bag tightly.
The insulation will keep the heat in, and your fried chicken will remain warm until you’re ready to eat it.
7. Use Flameless Warming Pads
Warming pads are innovative pads that people often use to keep their hands and feet warm in the winter. There are multipurpose flameless pads that are safe to use for food items. Plus, there are food-specific pads you can purchase as well, just to be safe.
To use flameless warming pads to keep your fried chicken warm, place the chicken in aluminum trays and place the pads on the underside of each tray.
Keep in mind that the bottom of the tray will likely be quite hot, so be careful when you go to take the chicken back out!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions about how to keep fried chicken warm, here are some answers to common questions.
How do restaurants keep fried chicken warm?
Restaurants typically use heat lamps to keep fried chicken warm and toasty.
If you’re catering an event or cooking for a large group, heat lamps are a convenient way to keep fried chicken warm, although they aren’t as accessible and convenient as, say, an oven you may already have in your home.
How long can you keep fried chicken warm?
Ideally, you would want to eat fried chicken within 2 hours of it being cooked.
It is possible to keep chicken warm for longer. Although, it’s best to eat it within 4 hours. After that, the fried chicken will start to dry out and won’t be as good.
Can you reheat fried chicken?
Yes, you can reheat fried chicken. However, it is best to reheat chicken in the oven rather than the microwave, as this will help to keep it crispy.
Can you keep fried chicken in the fridge?
Yes, you can keep fried chicken in the fridge for up to 2 days. However, I recommend reheating it in the oven rather than the microwave to ensure it stays as crispy as possible instead of soft and soggy.
How do you reheat fried chicken in the oven?
To reheat fried chicken using the oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the fried chicken on a wire rack over a baking pan and reheat for 10-12 minutes.
How do you keep fried chicken warm for a picnic?
If you don’t have easy access to the tools and devices you usually use to keep fried chicken warm, you can wrap fried chicken in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag.
The plastic bag will help temporarily insulate the chicken, and the paper towel will capture moisture, so the chicken does not get too soggy.
If you have ever wondered how to keep fried chicken warm, you now have seven effective methods for doing so.
Whether you’re cooking a large batch of chicken for a party, wanting to take fried chicken along with you for a picnic, or are just wondering what to do if you’ve cooked them too early and it’s not yet dinner time, you can ensure your fried chicken remains crisp and steamy.