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How to Store Fried Chicken – The Ultimate Guide

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Fried chicken is a staple dish in many homes. It’s one of those meals that just screams home cooking to many of us. Whether you love fried chicken because you have precious childhood memories of your grandma’s home-fried chicken or you simply have recently tried fried chicken, you know that it’s delicious. 

Fried chicken can take some time to put together and make so many people make it in large batches. But how do you store fried chicken after the fact? Are there things you should know to ensure it is properly stored? How do you use it after it’s been stored?

All of these questions are essential things to consider and be aware of. It is because of this that you are most likely here to go through this guide. We have all of these answers for you. 

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of storing your fried chicken from start to finish and even cover multiple storage options so you can determine which you prefer. We will be there with you every step of the way. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about fried chicken, storage of fried chicken, and more. 

The Ultimate Fried Chicken Guide

How do you make your fried chicken? Do you use a beloved family recipe? Do you make your own breading? Do you bake it instead of frying it? 

These may seem like silly questions but the truth is, every little thing could make a difference in how you ultimately choose to store your chicken in the end. To give you an idea of what we’re working with, here are several variations of fried chicken. 

  • Deep-fried chicken in an electric fryer
  • Fried chicken in oil/grease on the stovetop
  • Fried chicken in the air fryer (gasp!)
  • Fried chicken that’s actually baked in the oven
  • Fried with various sauces
  • Fried in typical homemade breading
  • Fried in store-bought breading mix
  • Fried in crushed chips, cereal, or cracker breading

As you can see, there are numerous factors that might affect your fried chicken process and each of these could essentially make a difference in the end. But guess what, your end result is still fried chicken. 

That is the point we are trying to make. No matter which method you follow to get fried chicken, you can essentially follow the same guidelines when it comes to storing your fried chicken. 

There are no heavily detailed steps that vary based on the cooking means or the breading types, essentially you can use these storage tips and methods across the board. No need to worry about getting it right just because you make your fried chicken multiple ways! 

Fried Chicken Process

We’ve already covered that there are numerous ways to make fried chicken. However, you should be aware of basic items typically involved in the fried chicken process so you understand how those ingredients could later be affected by storage. 

To give you a basic idea, we’re going to walk you through making your everyday homemade fried chicken. Even if you make your fried chicken with variations in the recipe, chances are the majority of the elements shared here will remain the same. 

store fried chicken
  1. The most common fried chicken has a standard batter that consists of salt, pepper, season to taste, and flour. Recipes can vary from this, remember this is just a general example. 
  2. Most fried chicken recipes are made with chicken that is not frozen – thaw or defrost your chicken for the best results. 
  3. Beat eggs. 
  4. Dip your raw chicken into the eggs and coat. 
  5. Then move the egg-dipped chicken to your flour and seasoning mixture and turn the chicken around to thoroughly coat it. 
  6. Once your chicken is coated you would then move to your chosen means of frying.
    1. If using the stovetop or an electric fryer, begin by heating your grease or oil to approximately 375 degrees. Fry a few pieces at one time, typically 7-8 minutes on each side of the chicken. 
    2. If using the oven, cover a pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Cook in the oven at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, turning at least once halfway through (but you can turn at 7-minute intervals also for even cooking). 
  7. If you fried your chicken in hot grease, you will need to place the finished product on a towel or paper towel to absorb some of the excess grease before serving. 

It’s really that simple. However, between prep and the actual frying process, it can be both messy and time intensive. If you’re making fried chicken, be prepared for all of the responsibility it requires – from preparation to the finished product and the cleanup afterward. 

How to Store Fried Chicken – Prepping It for Storage 

There is more than one method for storing your fried chicken, but when it comes down to it you will ultimately either store the fried chicken in the refrigerator or a freezer. But you need to know the process and you need to know how to prepare for that process.

It’s really quite simple. Chicken cannot be left at room temperature for extensive lengths of time. In fact, it’s recommended that your fried chicken not be left at room temperature for more than 30-60 minutes. 

Keep in mind, that your fried chicken will take time to cool completely before it actually reaches room temperature. You don’t have to worry about rushing about to get it stored immediately after cooking. 

Your fried chicken needs to cool before you try to prep it for storage so that you don’t mess with the integrity of the breading. 

Here are the steps for preparing your fried chicken for storage. Use these tips no matter which storage method you will be utilizing. 

Almost no matter what though, you’re going to want some airtight glass Tupperware, like this one from Amazon.

  1. Allow your chicken to cool to room temperature. This should be complete within about 30 minutes from the completion of cook time. 
  2. There are several ways you can wrap or prepare the chicken for storage, which will be detailed below.
    1. Seal the chicken in an airtight manner. 
    2. If you seal the chicken in a dish, use a shallow dish that will not have excessive space remaining in the dish when you close it for storage. 
    3. Wrap each piece of chicken individually in foil – heavy-duty foil is preferred. Or, even better, use a reusable food wrap. I personally use these organic beeswax ones from Etee.
    4. Store the chicken in a freezer bag. If you use this method, it is still recommended that you wrap each chicken individually as well. 
  3. Once your chicken is cool and is wrapped and ready to store, you are ready to move on to the storage of your chicken. 

Refrigerating Fried Chicken

Once you have prepped your chicken for storage, you’re ready to determine how you want to store it. If you prepared a big batch and you plan to use what you stored later for a full meal, you should plan to freeze your chicken. 

If you know right away you are freezing your chicken, you can proceed to the section that specifically discusses freezing fried chicken and get to your specific needs. 

fried chicken in fridge

If you’re just looking for the best ways to store your leftovers for a few days, you are in the right place. 

We hope you took us up on that recommendation to either wrap in foil or seal in an airtight container. The thought behind this recommendation is the elimination of excess moisture from your storage, which will preserve your breading when you reheat it (or eat it cold). 

Here are some basic steps for refrigerating your fried chicken. 

  1. Prep your fried chicken for storage – when refrigerating you can skip the freezer bag and either store it in a shallow airtight container or wrap each piece in foil. 
  2. Get your fried chicken to the refrigerator within 2 hours of your finished cooking time. 
  3. Place your fried chicken in the refrigerator. 
  4. Store fried chicken in the refrigerator up to 5 days. 

We will discuss reheating methods and serving fried chicken after storage later in this guide. 

It’s truly that simple! Prepping your fried chicken for storage is half the struggle, but if you just follow these tips you shouldn’t have any issues. 

Freezing Fried Chicken

Freezing your fried chicken is the way to go if you made a big batch of fried chicken with the intention of making multiple meals. And guess what, this is a great way to prep meals ahead of time. 

Frying your chicken and then freezing it will work just fine. If you follow the recommended steps you should not have any concerns about whether your breading will be affected or whether it will turn out soggy. 

You absolutely can freeze your fried chicken and then enjoy crisp and delicious fried chicken again. You just have to follow the steps provided for you. After all, this is why we are here right?

Here are the steps to freezing your fried chicken:

  1. Prep your fried chicken for freezer storage, following the guidelines and tips shared previously in “Prepping Fried Chicken for Storage”. Use either a shallow airtight container or wrap individually in foil and place in a freezer bag. 
  2. Get your fried chicken prepped and moved to the freezer within about 2 hours of finishing cooking the chicken. 
  3. Place fried chicken in a freezer – recommended freezer storage is 0 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  4. Store fried chicken in the freezer up to 12 months, if stored at 0 degrees. If frozen at a lower temperature, use within 6 months of freezing. 

Again, it truly is so simple to store your fried chicken. If you’re going to go to the work to make fried chicken, you should be willing to put in the work to store your fried chicken properly. Trust me, your stomach and your schedule will thank you later! 

Reheating Fried Chicken

Now that you understand how to make fried chicken, how to prep fried chicken for storage, and how to both refrigerate and freeze your fried chicken – let’s talk a little about using your fried chicken after you store it. 

reheating fried chicken

Here’s a side thought for you – if you refrigerated your fried chicken you can always just eat it cold right out of the fridge. You might be amazed to find out that this is one of the most popular ways to eat stored chicken. However, we don’t recommend this if you froze your chicken. 

Here are some steps for reheating fried chicken after storage:

  1. If you froze your fried chicken, it will be necessary to allow the chicken to thaw before proceeding to warm it. For thawing purposes, you should unwrap the chicken and let it thaw at room temperature. 
  2. The best way to reheat fried chicken is either in the microwave or the oven. Refrying the chicken could cause it to get an overcooked flavor or make it slightly soggy.
    1. Microwave – Wrap individual pieces of fried chicken in a paper towel and microwave in 30-second intervals. If it is not warmed sufficiently, turn it over and warm another 30 seconds.
      Wrapping the chicken loosely in a paper towel will help to preserve the breading during the reheating process. 
    2. Oven – layer a baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil. This will help keep the breading crisp. Place your fried chicken in a single layer on the foil. For best results, cover the top of your pan with aluminum foil as well.
      Warm in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

You can use whichever method will work best for you. The best way to maintain the crispness of the fried chicken is to use the oven. However, we understand that an oven may not always be available for reheating purposes. 

Related Questions

We hope that you have found this guide to be informative and that the information fully encompasses everything you need to know about storing fried chicken. 

We have provided some common questions in a question-and-answer guide and we invite you to review these for further information that could be useful to you. 

How Can You Tell if Your Fried Chicken Has Gone Bad?

Chicken usually has obvious telltale signs when it starts to spoil. If the chicken smells sour, it is most likely bad and you should dispose of it and clean any exposed area thoroughly to prevent cross-contamination. 

Additionally, you might be able to tell that the chicken has gone bad by looking at it. If it has developed a slimy texture or the color looks odd you should again dispose of it immediately and clean exposed areas. 

How Can I Keep My Breading from Falling Off When I Fry My Chicken?

Frying chicken often boils down to an art. When you are preparing the chicken for frying there are some minor steps that can make a major difference. 

If you soak your chicken in buttermilk prior to breading, you should pat it dry enough that the buttermilk is not dripping when you coat it. When you coat your chicken in the flour mixture, you should shake off excess flour. It is often this excess flour that will cause the breading to fall off because it does not adhere to the chicken. 

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