Fried chicken is a very popular recipe, especially among youngsters. Fried food is very enticing due to its crispiness and enhanced flavor, but it can also be detrimental to your health in high doses, as it may increase your risk of cardiovascular problems owing to the presence of saturated and trans fats and bad cholesterol, among various other factors. Nonetheless, if you can live with that for the sake of enjoying the moment, then it might all be worth it. Now, if you’re found in a situation in which you just made too much fried chicken, and don’t want to see your family gobbling so much fried chicken in one sitting due to all those health concerns, you may be wondering these questions. Can you freeze fried chicken? How long will fried chicken last in the fridge?
In short: yes. Frying helps a lot in releasing moisture and killing bacteria, which makes it easier for preserving food in the freezer. Make sure that your fried chicken does not stay at room temperature more than 30 minutes after frying, to avoid bacterial growth and compromise quality. If you follow the steps correctly, you can rest assured that it won’t spoil.
Just like freezing cooked chicken, the best way to do it is by putting it in an airtight bag or container, or simply wrap it very tightly in foil. Next, you place that wrap or container in a freezer bag. Finally, store the bag in the freezer and keep it at 0 F or below. Avoid air or gaps when packaging.
Assuming you followed the method laid out above, there should be no discernible difference in taste and quality. Nevertheless, some of the fried chicken’s original crispiness will be lost inevitably.
You can refreeze it as long as it has not gotten to a temperature higher than 40 F. It’s not recommended once reheated, as bacteria would have already gotten to it before you had a chance to store it again, apart from the ice crystals forming and degrading the texture quality.
In the fridge at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the fried chicken will be able to endure 3 or 4 days before spoiling.
If stored in the freezer at temperatures below 0 degree Fahrenheit, the fried chicken can last around 4 months with no considerable quality decrease.
This is the tricky part. When defrosting, there is a good chance that the chicken might get soggy and unattractive if not done properly. It’s not advisable to thaw it by leaving it on the counter at room temperature. You can either submerge the container in cold water or leave it in the fridge overnight. It might take longer depending on the size. On the downside, the moisture generated during that time will affect the overall texture of the breading.
The best option for optimal results is the microwave’s defrost function, as it doesn’t give moisture enough time to accumulate around the surface and damage the coat.
There is a way to cook it from its frozen state without thawing, but it will need a convection oven for best results. You only have to preheat the oven to 350-370 F, place the chicken on a pan and bake it for about 1 hour. Sometimes it’s recommended that you leave the chicken at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before putting it in the oven, so as to not lose too much moisture (you wouldn’t want a completely dried out chicken, either), in which case you can leave it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. That way, you’re able to restore much of the crispness and crunchiness it had when first fried!
As a last resort, you can reheat it directly in the microwave, though it will inevitably get soggy and, at the same time, it will dry in the middle. To reduce that distasteful effect, you can wrap the pieces with paper towel that is microwave safe before proceeding.