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Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

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By Ollie Cartwright

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Did you get a little carried away with cooking fried chicken, and don’t want to throw away those leftovers? Well, have you considered whether you can freeze it or not?

Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze fried chicken for up to 4 months. Once it has thoroughly cooled, wrap it up and then bag it up before popping it into the freezer.

Does Fried Chicken Freeze Well? Yes

Can You Refreeze Fried Chicken? Yes

How to Freeze Fried Chicken

Freezing cooked, fried chicken can be a lifesaver for those busy weeknights. Here’s how I go about it:

  1. Cool
    Allow your fried chicken to cool completely at room temperature. But don’t leave it out for more than two hours. Ideally, you’d move on to the next step when it cools.

Use a Cooling Rack

Spread the pieces out on a cooling rack over a baking sheet for even cooling and to avoid sogginess. The last thing you want is a soggy, mushy coating.

  1. Prep
    Wrap each piece of chicken in aluminium foil or plastic wrap. This helps preserve the chicken’s flavour and texture and prevents it from drying out.
  2. Pack
    After wrapping, place the pieces in airtight freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
  3. Freeze
    Label the bags with the date and pop them into the freezer. Fried chicken can be frozen for up to 4 months.

How Long Can You Freeze Fried Chicken?

Fried chicken can be frozen for up to 4 months without a noticeable loss in quality.

When you freeze food, the main objective is to preserve its taste, texture, and nutritional value. With proper storage, most foods retain these qualities for a certain period.

For fried chicken, this period is usually around 4 months.

The high-fat content in fried chicken protects against freezer burn, helping to lock in the flavour and moisture. However, the chicken’s quality will degrade over time due to oxidation and the gradual evaporation of moisture.

Although the chicken may still be safe to eat after 4 months in the freezer, you may notice a change in its texture and flavour. The meat might become slightly drier, and the fried crust may lose its distinctive crispiness.

How Long Does Fried Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Fried chicken can last for 3-4 days in the fridge when stored properly in an airtight container, but for the best taste and texture, it’s recommended to consume it within the first 48 hours.

How Do You Defrost Fried Chicken?

Defrosting fried chicken properly is crucial to maintaining its texture and flavour. Here are the different methods you can use:

Fridge Thawing

This is the safest and most recommended method to thaw fried chicken (or most meats, to be honest with you).

Move your frozen chicken from the freezer to the fridge and let it slowly defrost. This can take up to 24 hours, depending on the size of the chicken pieces, so plan ahead.

One advantage of this method is leaving the defrosted chicken in the fridge for a day or two before reheating if needed.

Cold Water Thawing

If you’re short on time, you can use the cold water thawing method. Keep the chicken in its airtight bag and submerge it in a bowl or sink full of cold water.

Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and to speed up the thawing process. Small pieces might defrost in an hour or so, while larger pieces or whole chickens will take 2-3 hours.

If using this method, do not be tempted to use hot water!

Can You Defrost Fried Chicken in the Microwave?

You can. This is the quickest method but should be used with caution. Microwaving can make the chicken’s texture rubbery and might not defrost the chicken evenly.

Remember, safety is key when defrosting chicken. Never leave chicken to thaw on the countertop, as this can lead to bacterial growth. Once your chicken is thawed using any of these methods, reheat it thoroughly.

Can You Refreeze Fried Chicken?

Technically, it is safe to refreeze fried chicken once it has been defrosted, as long as it was correctly thawed in the fridge and has not sat at room temperature for more than two hours.

However, from a quality perspective, refreezing is not recommended.

Every time you freeze, defrost and refreeze food, you change its structure, which can result in a loss of texture and flavour.

In the case of fried chicken, the moisture in the chicken may turn into ice crystals during freezing. These ice crystals melt and can drain away upon thawing, taking some of the chicken’s natural juices with them.

When you refreeze and thaw the chicken again, this process is repeated, leading to a drier and potentially tougher piece of chicken. The crust or breading on fried chicken can also lose its crispiness.

Does Fried Chicken Freeze Well?

Fried chicken does freeze well, provided it’s stored correctly.

Freezing allows you to enjoy your fried chicken at a later date while retaining much of its original taste and texture.

Remember, proper storage is critical. The chicken should be cooled, wrapped well, and placed in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing to protect it from air exposure, which can lead to freezer burn and flavour changes.

When it’s time to eat the chicken, proper defrosting and reheating methods (like thawing in the fridge and oven) are crucial to restore the fried chicken to its original crispy glory.

So yes, with some care and attention to detail, fried chicken can freeze exceptionally well.

Sources

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