Soggy nuggets are the worst. Even that phrase “soggy nuggets” is cringe-worthy. Unfortunately, that’s what you get if you don’t reheat chicken nuggets correctly.
The good news is that you can easily reheat chicken nuggets in a number of ways so that crispy, crunchy exterior is preserved, and the chicken inside doesn’t get rubbery.
You can reheat chicken nuggets using an oven, air fryer, toaster oven, or microwave. The best method to reheat chicken nuggets without burning or drying out is to use the oven. We’ll go over all of these methods below.
A quick tip for all of these methods: take your chicken nuggets out of the fridge and let them sit for 10-15 minutes until they come to room temperature before you heat them up. This prevents them from drying out while reheating!
Using an oven to reheat chicken nuggets is the preferred method. This will ensure they get nice and crispy, perfect for dipping in your favorite sauce.
While your chicken nuggets are out of the fridge, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you set your oven rack in the center of your oven before you turn it on!
Place your chicken nuggets on an oven-safe wire rack, and set the rack on top of a baking sheet. This allows heat and air to reach the underside of the chicken nuggets, allowing for a crispy exterior all around.
If you don’t have a wire rack, put your chicken nuggets on top of parchment paper. This can also help keep them crispy!
Bake the chicken until it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 minutes.
If the edges of your chicken nuggets start to burn before they are heated inside, lightly place a piece of foil on top of your chicken nuggets. This will still allow heat to reach them while protecting them from burning.
Remove your chicken nuggets from the oven and serve with your favorite sauce.
Air Fryer Method
Air fryers are great for when you don’t have the time to spare to preheat your oven, you still want an even reheat, and you don’t want to risk your chicken nuggets going soggy in the microwave.
If you want to avoid more of a mess, put foil in the air fryer basket. That will catch any crumbs and grease from the chicken nuggets and will make it easier for you to clean up.
If you have an air fryer that needs to preheat, turn the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, skip to step 2.
Spray or grease your basket with a tiny bit of oil to prevent your chicken nuggets from sticking. Because chicken nuggets are usually fried in oil, you will only need a small amount.
Place your chicken nuggets in your air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching. You may need to reheat your chicken nuggets in batches, depending on how many you have.
If you overfill your air fryer basket, your heat will not distribute evenly. You will also risk burning parts of your chicken nuggets while other parts don’t reheat.
Reheat your chicken nuggets in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes, turning them halfway. Do not touch the chicken nuggets with your bare hands as they will be extremely hot.
Remove the chicken nuggets from the air fryer with tongs when they are finished reheating. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, and then serve with your favorite sauce.
Toaster Oven Method
Reheating chicken nuggets in a toaster oven makes them even crispier than if you would use a conventional oven or an air fryer. It doesn’t take very long to reheat them, which is an ultimate plus!
Cover your toaster oven baking sheet with foil. You really want to avoid any crumbs or grease falling onto the bottom of the toaster oven, as they can start to smoke.
Set your toaster oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or medium heat. You may need to allow your toaster oven to preheat.
While your toaster oven is preheating, place your chicken nuggets on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for no more than 30 seconds.
Transfer your chicken nuggets from the plate to your foil-covered baking sheet. Toast in your toaster oven for 2-3 minutes, allowing for your chicken nuggets to get nice and crispy. You may need to go through two toaster cycles to ensure crispiness.
If you want to skip Step 3 and the microwave altogether, do the following:
- Follow Step 1.
- In Step 2, preheat your toaster oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Skip Step 3, and directly reheat your chicken nuggets in the toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. Cover your chicken nuggets loosely with a piece of aluminum foil at minutes 5 or 6 to prevent them from burning.
Allow your chicken nuggets to cool for a minute or two after reheating, and serve with your favorite sauce.
Microwaving food is a quick and convenient method by all accounts, however, it is not preferred when reheating chicken nuggets. This is due to the microwave causing the outside of the chicken nuggets to get soggy while drying out the inside.
That said, if you don’t have an alternate option, you can still microwave your chicken nuggets and have them be delicious.
Bring your chicken nuggets to room temperature. This is imperative for this method of reheating chicken nuggets. If 10 minutes isn’t long enough, take your chicken nuggets out of the fridge and leave them for 30 minutes.
Place a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate. Put your chicken nuggets on the plate, ensuring that they are not touching one another. Cover your chicken nuggets with another sheet of paper towel.
The paper towels in this step serve to absorb the excess moisture that comes from the chicken nuggets as they reheat in the microwave.
Microwave your chicken nuggets in 15-second intervals for 30 seconds. Check your chicken nuggets after each interval to make sure they aren’t getting too dry or rubbery. If you need to keep microwaving, cut your intervals down to 10 seconds.
Bonus – How to Reheat Frozen Chicken nuggets
The methods listed above are for chicken nuggets that have been refrigerated. This method is best for leftover chicken nuggets that you froze.
For pre-cooked store-bought frozen chicken nuggets, it’s best to follow the directions of the manufacturer in order to reheat.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your oven rack is in the center of the oven.
Prepare your baking sheet and wire rack just as you did with the oven method.
Using the microwave method mentioned above, thaw your chicken nuggets until they reach an internal temperature of 125-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you don’t have a food thermometer, gauge this by whether or not you can break apart the chicken tender and the inside is cool or warm, but not frozen.
Reheat your frozen chicken nuggets in the oven for between 5-7 minutes until their internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your chicken nuggets are not touching one another.
If the battered outside of your chicken nuggets begins to burn, cover them loosely with foil.
Your frozen chicken nuggets may reheat unevenly from one another, and at different speeds. Check your chicken nuggets after 5 minutes to confirm they’re done.
Once your chicken nuggets have reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit with crispy skin and warmed inside, they’re done!
Let cool and serve with your favorite sauce.
There are multiple satisfying ways to reheat your chicken nuggets – whether it’s after a few days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. Whichever method you choose, just don’t let those chicken nuggets go to waste!
It’s good to note that you shouldn’t reheat your chicken nuggets more than once, otherwise your meat will be tough. That said, these methods of reheating will make your chicken nuggets so delicious, you shouldn’t have any leftovers to do so!