The Super Bowl is around the corner and many of us are looking forward to eating chicken wings by the dozen. (And maybe also feel that way about wings year round.) But in the event you cook up or order more wings than you and your friends can put away, what should you do with the leftovers? Enjoy them the next day, of course…but only if you know how to reheat chicken wings the right way. Read on for a full guide from a culinary expert and not a single wing will go to waste.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings the Right Way, According to “The Wings Guy”
For best results, start preheating the oven
Meet the Expert
Deepak Ballaney, also known as “The Wings Guy,” is an Indian American chef who, after receiving his certification at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, poured his passion for flavor into redefining and perfecting America's beloved staple food, chicken wings. He is the founder and head chef at International Wings Factory, a NYC gem that’s renowned for serving up wings with an emphasis on quality and global flavors.
How Long Do Chicken Wings Last in the Fridge?
The expert tells us, and the USDA confirms, that any type of cooked chicken will stay fresh in the fridge for three to four days. That said, if the plate of leftover wings from your Super Bowl party was left languishing at room temperature for more than two hours then it’s best to throw them out, since you’ll have a food safety issue on your hands before the wings even hit the fridge.
What’s the Best Way to Reheat Chicken Wings?
When it comes to reheating chicken wings, you’ve got options—they’re just not all created equal. Here are the pros and cons to each method.
- Oven: Per Chef Ballaney, the best way to reheat chicken wings is in the oven, as this method “helps maintain crispness and ensures even heating.” The only con, if you need one, is that it will heat up your house in the summer and it takes a little more time than some of the other methods.
- Stove: This method is faster than the oven method and, if you have a cast iron pan, Chef Ballaney says you can get a nice char. However, it’s harder to achieve an evenly heated finished product without overcooking the wings, so the margin for error is greater than with the oven method.
- Microwave: The key benefit of the microwave is that it’s fast, so if you’re famished and feeling lazy, this will do. However, the microwave is by far the worst way to reheat chicken wings if you care about maintaining their integrity, since the wings will lose their crispness and are at risk of becoming rubbery, too.
- Air Fryer: The air fryer can achieve very similar results to the oven if done correctly and Chef Ballaney says it ranks second to the oven in terms of preferred methods. The main drawback is that you’re at greater risk of overcooking the wings. In other words, although an air fryer will get the job done quicker, it requires more attention and if you mess it up, your wings will be dried out.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings in the Oven
As previously mentioned, the oven is your best bet for reheating chicken wings so that they’re crisp on the outside, and juicy and warm on the inside. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Arrange the wings on a baking sheet in a single layer. (Ideally, they won’t be rubbing elbows with each other, so to speak.)
Step 3: Heat on the middle rack of the oven for roughly 15 minutes, or until they’ve reached your desired crispness. For saucy wings, Chef Ballaney recommends basting the wings with extra sauce halfway through the reheat.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings on the Stove
Though not the preferred choice, you can achieve good results using the stove instead of the oven if you follow these steps from the expert.
Step 1: Heat a skillet over medium heat. (Cast iron is best, but any skillet will do.)
Step 2: Once hot, place the wings in the skillet. Be careful to avoid overcrowding and reheat in batches if necessary.
Step 3: Use tongs to occasionally turn the wings until they are heated through, and serve.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings in the Microwave
Again, the microwave is decidedly not the best way to reheat chicken wings. That said, there are some steps you can take to optimize the outcome if you’re in a pinch. Here’s what to do.
Step 1: Place no more than 10 to 12 wings on a microwave-safe plate. (Always reheat the wings separate from anything else you’re serving them with.)
Step 2: With your microwave set to low power (around 50 percent), reheat the wings in 20 second intervals, twice. It’s recommended that you check the wings between intervals to prevent overheating and rearrange them as needed if uneven heating is evident.
Step 3: Once heated through, remove the wings from the microwave and dig in.
How to Reheat Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer
Air fryers are effective at reheating chicken wings and ideal for fried wings, in particular. Read on for the steps to reheating wings in an air fryer—just keep in mind that air fryers work fast and have a heating element that’s closer to the food than a traditional oven, so you’ll need to keep a close eye to avoid overcooking.
Step 1: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
Step 2: Arrange the wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
Step 3: Once the air fryer is up to temperature, heat the wings for five to seven minutes, flipping halfway through for even crisping. Then, serve and enjoy.