When someone speaks about chicken and chicken dishes like cutlets, chicken breasts, chicken dishes with veggies, or wings, my mouth instantly becomes watery and, really, I can’t help myself much. This is especially the case when someone mentions fried chicken.
When I think of that golden brown color, crispy texture, and that incredible juiciness, I can not do anything else than head to the grocery store, buy some pieces of chicken, i.e. chicken wings or chicken breasts, marinate them in buttermilk, and deep fry them. And I do not live in Kentucky.
But, for me personally, there is nothing better than to enjoy one good chicken dinner with crispy fries and a bottle of Coca-Cola. But, there are times when I go overboard with the amount of fried chicken and I wonder what I can do with all that extra chicken?
When that first happened to me, the first question I asked myself was “Can you freeze fried chicken?”. Fortunately, I have a lot of culinary literature about chicken and how to freeze fried food and I found that the answer is positive.
Let me share with you what I have found about freezing, defrosting, and reheating fried chicken, as well as some other related pieces of information. So, if you want to find out more about this important topic, I warmly recommend you to continue reading.
Quick Answer: Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?
Yes, you can freeze fried chicken. In order to do that properly, you need to let freshly fried chicken cool down to room temperature first.
After that, you must wrap the pieces properly, package them in a freezer bag or container, label them, and finally place them into the freezer.
Fried chicken will remain fresh for 6 months in the freezer.
Can Fried Chicken Be Frozen?
So, the most frequent question that people tend to ask about storing fried chicken is “Can I freeze fried chicken?”. And my answer is “Yes, fried chicken can definitely be frozen. Just like freezing cooked chicken or raw chicken, freezing fried chicken is definitely legitimate as well.
Even more, the process of frying makes chicken release moisture and kills those bacteria, and that makes it more suitable for the freezing process than raw or cooked chicken.
Also, by freezing you won’t waste any of your leftovers, and you will be extending the shelf life of your fried chicken.
Freezing fried chicken will also save you some time in the kitchen. You can make a big batch of fried chicken, store it properly in the freezer, and use the exact needed amount by simply defrosting them when you want.
That is certainly a quicker and more easy way than to deep fry your chicken each time again, especially on those busy days. Those are all the benefits of freezing your fried chicken.
However, there are some downsides to this process and you must be aware of them. First, there will be a change in the color and flavor profile. There will be a certain discoloration of your chicken pieces and they won’t taste that good as well.
They will also lose their freshness, i.e. instead of being juicy and crunchy, they will be less moist and crispy. Although this is the case in almost every type of frozen food, I also had to mention it.
And finally, there will be certain changes in nutritional profile. Consuming fried chicken frozen and defrosted won’t provide you the amount of protein fresh chicken would.
How To Freeze Fried Chicken Properly?
If you eventually decide to freeze your fried pieces of chicken, you definitely have to know how to do that properly. Here, I will show you the 5 easy steps to follow in order to freeze your fried chicken the right way.
• STEP 1: First things first, cooling your freshly fried chicken pieces is an essential step. In order to do that, it is best to let your fried chicken reach room temperature. That process will take you roughly 30 minutes.
However, if you don’t want to freeze it immediately, you can transfer your fried chicken to an airtight bag and put the bag into the fridge. That way, your fried chicken will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 days.
• STEP 2: Your second task is to pack fried chicken properly before freezing it. However, there are several ways to do this, and, here, I will explain them all to you. Before I do that, you must know that the essential thing is to prevent fried chicken pieces from overlapping.
1. Flash-freeze fried chicken pieces. You must line the chicken pieces in a baking pan, plate, or parchment paper and transfer them to the freezer. After they are frozen, you must put those pieces into an airtight container, and then you can freeze them.
2. Wrap your fried chicken pieces individually. Use cling wrap (or plastic wrap) to wrap each piece of fried chicken. Then wrap them in another layer, this time using aluminum foil. Then, those wrapped pieces are ready to be transferred into an airtight container before freezing.
3. The final way to prepare your fried chicken for freezing is to put all your fried chicken pieces into the ziplock freezer bag, but make sure that they don’t overlap.
Make sure that you takeout all the remaining air, or as much air as you can to avoid freezer burn. If you choose this method, I would suggest you wrap each piece of fried chicken individually as well.
• STEP 3: After you’ve cooled and properly wrapped your fried chicken pieces, it is time to move them to the freezer. Take note that you must do that in the time frame of 2 hours, or else you will be risking spoilage.
• STEP 4: Make sure that your freezer’s internal temperature is 0 degrees F.
• STEP 5: Finally, you can label the bag or container with fried chicken pieces and freeze them for up to 6 months at the internal temperature of 0 degrees F. This is the kind of freezer storage that is perfect for your fried chicken.
How To Defrost Frozen Fried Chicken?
Thawing food in general is also very important to do properly. The same thing goes for fried chicken as well. There are several ways to defrost fried chicken and here I will briefly explain each and every one of them.
1. Thaw Your Fried Chicken In The Refrigerator
If you have some extra time, in my opinion, this is the best thawing method that you can use. You just have to put that freezer bag with the fried chicken pieces from the freezer in a large bowl and place that bowl in the fridge.
So, when the ice melts, this will assure that the water does not spill all over the refrigerator. Once you place your frozen fried chicken in the fridge, expect it to be defrosted after about 24 hours.
2. Use The Cool Water Method
If you don’t have one whole day to wait for your fried chicken to defrost, you can use a quicker method. This method is the cool water method. If you use it to defrost fried chicken, the process will be over in just 1-2 hours.
All you have to do is to place your fried chicken pieces into a plastic bag and place that plastic bag with chicken pieces into cold water.
Within the process, make sure that you change the water every 30 minutes because the heat transfers onto the frozen pieces and the water becomes even cooler.
And when it becomes too cool, it can not keep heating the chicken.
3. Use Your Oven
Using the oven to defrost fried chicken won’t take you as much time. One important thing that needs to be emphasized here is that you need to preheat the fried chicken a little bit more in order for it to be crispier.
Place it on a baking sheet and set your oven to 375-425 degrees F. Your chicken will be thawed after about 30 minutes.
Just take note that it is not good to preheat fried chicken too much because it will get too dry. Here, you need to find a balance where your fried chicken will get crispy, but not dry.
In order to know that, just take a look at its color. It needs to be golden brown in color.
I wouldn’t recommend you to take the shortcut and use an instant pot because some people tend to do that. Also, do not use the slow cooker.
NOTE: You can also defrost chicken in the microwave but there’s a risk of drying it out.
What Are The Best Ways Of Reheating Frozen Fried Chicken?
After making, freezing, and thawing your favorite pieces of fried meat, it is time for the final process and that is the reheating process. There are several ways to reheat fried chicken and I will briefly explain them below.
1. Use Frying Pan To Reheat
I will start with the frying pan reheating method. If you don’t have much time for this process, you should definitely pursue this method because it will take no more than 5 minutes of your precious time.
The first thing you need to do is to cut the fried chicken into pieces to reheat each of them individually. Then, you will place the frying pan on the stovetop and add a bit of oil to the pan to retain moisture.
Finally, transfer the chicken pieces to the pan to reheat them. It is advisable to flip those pieces frequently to avoid burning them. When you notice that they are crispy and hot, it is a sign that the process is over.
2. Reheating Fried Chicken In The Oven
This is probably the best reheating method for your fried chicken when it comes to the quality of meat. It will take a bit more time, but you won’t regret it.
First, you need to let your fried chicken stay at room temperature for about 45 minutes in order for it to reach room temperature.
During this time, you can layer a pan or a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and when your fried chicken reaches room temperature, place it on a single layer of foil.
Before transferring it into the oven, I would also suggest you cover the chicken with aluminum foil for even better results.
Warm your oven to 400 degrees F and heat for about 20 minutes.
3. Use Your Microwave
In my opinion, this is the last method that you should choose. Your chicken meat will have the lowest quality if it is reheated in the microwave. Still, a lot of people, in the absence of time, use this reheating method.
In order to do it right, you first need to wrap each piece of fried chicken individually using a paper towel and microwave it in 30-second intervals. Wrapping it loosely will help to preserve the breading during the process.
If you notice that it does not have that characteristic color or that it is not hot and crispy enough, you can turn it over and microwave it for another 30 minutes.
That way, you will be sure that your fried chicken is done.
4. Use An Air Fryer
And finally, there is an air fryer. It is one of the quickest ways to reheat your fried chicken, and it is a very simple process as well.
All you have to do is to place your thawed fried chicken in the basket and spread a bit of olive oil over it to prevent it from sticking to the pan.
Then you can place the basket in an air fryer and set it to 320 degrees F. Your fried chicken will be ready after about 8 minutes.
How To Know That Fried Chicken Has Gone Bad?
The clear chicken spoilage signs are slimy texture, foul smell, and discoloration. If you notice any of these signs, it is best to discard your chicken immediately.
You certainly don’t want to use spoiled chicken in your fried chicken recipes because that can be fatal for your health.
How Long Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?
You can freeze fried chicken for up to 6 months at an internal temperature of 0 degrees F. If you are constantly keeping it at that temperature, your fried chicken could stay in the freezer even longer.
I would suggest you not to keep the fried chicken in the freezer for too long (read: more than 9 months) due to quality reasons, as stated by the USDA.
What Is The Difference Between A Deep Fryer And A Skillet?
First, you use a deep fryer for deep frying and you use a skillet for pan frying. When deep frying, you use a lot of oil for cooking and you completely immerse the food in that oil.
On the other hand, when pan frying in the skillet, you use a little oil on the surface area of the skillet.
Also, a deep fryer does not expose food to air and that enhances quick cooking. On the other hand, when pan frying, the food is exposed to air, thus, taking much longer to cook.
What Kind Of Chicken Is Best For Frying?
Drumsticks are considered to be the best part of the chicken for deep frying.
Using cornstarch alongside salt, pepper, and other seasonings, as well as buttermilk, vegetable oil, and some hot sauce, you will achieve some very delicious, hot, and juicy fried chicken drumsticks.
Freezing Fried Chicken
I am sure that you all, at least once, found yourself with some extra chicken pieces that you didn’t know what to do with, but at the same time didn’t want to throw in the trash.
In this article, I tried my best to explain what to do with fried chicken pieces in that kind of situation and whether you can freeze fried chicken. If you read the text, you could see that you can definitely freeze fried chicken and extend its life by about six months.
But in order to do that properly, you need to follow the steps of freezing, defrosting, and reheating and you will have one hot and crispy fried chicken that you won’t be able to resist.Follow these steps, test kitchen abilities of yours, and make a difference with your delicious fried chicken.