Can You Reheat Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket?
Leftover chicken from the supermarket can be a great convenience for people who are short on time or do not like to cook. They can be easily reheated and served for a quick and food meal. However, there are many concerns about reheating cooked chicken from the supermarket. In some cases, it can be unsafe to eat if you store and reheat it improperly.
The Dangers of Reheating Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket
The main concern with reheating cooked chicken from the supermarket is the risk of food-borne illnesses. Some of the most common bacteria that can cause illness are:
- Salmonella: This is commonly found in poultry and can cause symptoms such as fever, cramps, and diarrhea.
- Campylobacter: This is one of the most common causes of food poisoning and can come from undercooked poultry or cross-contamination.
In order to avoid these health risks, it’s important to follow safe handling procedures for cooked chicken before reheating it.
Handling and Storage of Cooked Chicken Before Reheating
Properly stored chicken should be refrigerated below 40°F(4°C) within two hours of cooking. Take care to cover the container tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer to an airtight container. Make sure there is enough space in your refrigerator so that air can circulate around containers well.
If you’re looking to reheat leftovers from a larger amount (such as a whole rotisserie chicken), break it down into smaller portions before storing. Doing so will reduce possible bacterial contamination during slow cooling.
Prior to reheating, check the best by-date before you buy and place it in a freezer (if needed) as quickly as possible. Do not leave cooked chicken out longer than 2 hours.
How to Safely Reheat Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket
There are several ways to safely reheat cooked chicken. Here are the safe reheating methods according to recommended temperature guidelines:
- Oven: If you’re reheating a larger amount, this is your safest choice. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with foil before putting on a middle shelf. Whole bird chickens should be placed with right side up. Larger pieces of chicken such as thighs or drumsticks may stay bone side down and break apart into smaller portions if necessary.
- Stovetop: This is best for small portions of sliced or cubed chicken breast. Heat a small skillet on medium heat, and next place your chicken slices onto it until they’re heated through. Add some olive oil to prevent dryness while heating.
- Microwave: If you’re short on time, use a microwave oven to reheat cooked chicken (with a turntable). Cook on full power for 2 minutes at least , make sure it heats up all the way through.
Tips for Properly Reheating Cooked Chicken
To ensure that your reheated chicken is safe and tasty, follow these tips:
- Make sure that the center of the thickest part of your chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (73°C) before you consume it or combine it with other foods
- Arrange the reheated chicken in a single layer on the baking sheets and avoid stacking them.
- If using aluminum foil or plastic wrap, avoid wrapping the chicken too hard. Loosely cover to distribute the warmth throughout and prevent steam from causing moisture damage.
- Add some extra liquid (juice, broth soy sauce) if needed but not too much so your chicken become soggy
Alternatives to Reheating Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket
If you’re looking for alternatives to reheating cooked chicken from the supermarket, there are several options available:
- Cold salads: use light olive oil drizzled on them to add flavor. carrot chips and hummus dip are a great accompaniment
- Sandwiches: Slice up precooked chicken breast and place it between two slices of bread. Add some sauceon top like mayonnaise , pesto or tatziki. Add some fresh herbaceous leaves(not iceberg lettuce).
- Make your own chicken dishes: Freshly cooked chicken is delicious in countless recipes like stir-fry dishes, baked casseroles or savory soups that can be served hot or cold.
Common Reheating Mistakes to Avoid
Making some common mistakes when reheating cooked chicken from the supermarket can lead to bacterial growth or drying out of your food. Here are some things to avoid:
- Using improper containers or plastic wraps:Avoid using plastic containers that are not microwave-safe. For a safer microwave thawing method, use only a glass jar.
- Not thawing frozen chicken correctly before reheating:
Chicken should be thawed in the refrigerator – which may take a bit of time. Do not leave uncooked chicken out on the counter, as this could lead to bacterial growth.
- Ignoring the “best eaten by” dates on packaging:Consuming cooked chicken past its expiration date increases your risk of foodbourne illnesses.
Ingredient Varieties and How They Affect Cooking and Reheating Times
The cooking and reheating times for different types of chicken products can vary. The size, weight, cut, and whether it is bone-in or boneless can all play a role in how long it takes to cook or reheat your chicken.
As you cook or reheat chicken, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of your chicken cut.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Reheating Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket
Reheating cooked chicken has both benefits and drawbacks:
- Pros: Convenience for those with busy lifestyles; saves time spent cooking
- Cons: Chicken that is not properly stored or reheated can cause illness; reheated leftovers will never taste quite like freshly cooked ones
Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Reheating Cooked Chicken from the Supermarket
Safety is paramount when reheating cooked chicken from the supermarket! Failure to follow safe handling procedures can increase your chances of coming down with a foodborne illness such as salmonella or camplyobacter. However, properly reheated chicken can also be delicious and convenient. Whenever reheating cooked chicken, follow all of the proper handling and storage procedures to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
When you’re ready to dig in, use your meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken before eating it. And remember, if you have any leftover chicken that you aren’t planning to eat right away, be sure to store it safely–away from other foods and at cold refrigerations temperatures.
- USDA Food Safety – Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart
- Safe Handling of Poultry factsheet (CDC)
- Internal Cooking Temperatures (FDA)
- Camplyobacteriosis factsheet (CDC)
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to reheat cooked chicken from the supermarket?
Absolutely! It is safe to reheat cooked chicken from the supermarket as long as you follow proper food safety guidelines.
Can I reheat cooked chicken in the microwave?
Yes, you can reheat cooked chicken from the supermarket in the microwave. Just make sure to cover the dish and rotate it frequently to ensure even heating.
How many times can I reheat cooked chicken?
You should only reheat cooked chicken from the supermarket once. Reheating it repeatedly can increase the risk of harmful bacteria growth and food poisoning.
What’s the best way to store leftover cooked chicken?
To ensure your leftover cooked chicken from the supermarket stays fresh and safe to eat, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to label it with the date so you know when it was made.