Everyone loves fried chicken. Who wouldn’t? There’s the crisp exterior that gives way to a soft and sweet interior. Fried chicken is great and has been an all-time favorite chicken dinner. Be it takeout or homemade, the feeling of eating them is exhilarating.
Homemade fried chicken takes a lot of time investment. Although takeout fried chicken or store-bought ones try to convey that feeling, it can’t compare. So, if you can’t make fried chicken during the week, or you have limited the number of times it appears in your meal plan. How can you preserve it when you manage to make it in a large batch?
Can you freeze fried chicken? Yes, you can. Fried chicken can be frozen and kept safe to eat for a duration of 4 to 6 months. The traditional way of making fried chicken is by making a bread coat around it with flour and eggs, so your concern when you freeze is mostly about the shape and keeping the bread in the chicken. The chicken is mostly not affected by the freezing.
When you preserve your fried chicken, it doesn’t only help you space it out through your meal plan. You can also use this method to preserve leftovers, or keep them away from your kids. Eating cold chicken from the fridge might be easy. But with frozen fried chicken, it’s harder.
How to Freeze Fried Chicken
Fried chicken can be frozen very easily. But you can just put them in the freezer without some sort of preparation. While your chicken might not be affected by the harsh conditions in the freezer, the bread around it can get soggy or fall off.
Freezing breaded fried chicken could also mean that you lose that crisp that you so much like, but proper reheating would see it go back to its previous crisp state.
Step 1: Follow The Recipe and Cool The Chicken
You must have had some kind of recipe that you are following so that you can make your fried chicken as pleasing to your taste buds as possible. Follow your recipe and if you are not following one, cook as you normally would. Then, let them cool down.
Bacteria that are usually present in chicken can grow at a very fast rate at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 90°F. So, this means that leaving your chicken out for too long wouldn’t be great for your health. You should freeze your chicken no more than 2 hours after cooking.
Step 2: Storage
There are several ways you can go about storing your fried chicken to preserve them for the long run. For the sake of completeness and to give you multiple choices, we are going to talk about every one of them.
The first way to keep your fried chicken from sticking together as they freeze is to flash freeze them. If you are not a newbie to freezing, you should know what flash-freezing entails.
Get a baking sheet and line it with cling film, spread the fried chicken out on the lined sheet, and put it in the freezer to freeze for a few hours. After the chicken has frozen solid, then you can pack them into Ziploc bags or freezer-friendly containers.
Another sure way to do this is to wrap each piece of fried chicken with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Aluminum foil works better though. If you don’t have that, you can wrap it using several layers of plastic wrap.
After wrapping each piece individually, you can now place them into any freezer-friendly container of your choice.
You can also freeze your fried chicken directly in your containers, just make sure that you have them laid in a single layer without touching each other. Then, lay it flat in the freezer without stacking them till they freeze solid. Of course, this method isn’t great if you don’t have plenty of freezer space. If that is the case, just go with the other methods above.
For your containers, it advisable to use shallow containers to minimize the amount of air trapped in them after placing your chicken in there. Always remember to press the bags flat before you seal them if you are using freezer bags.
Step 3: Freezing
Before you place your container into the freezer to freeze, label them with the date of the freeze. This would help you know how long you have stored it in case you lose sight of it in the freezer.
How to Thaw Frozen Fried Chicken
The best way to thaw fried chicken is to thaw it in the refrigerator. The refrigerator keeps the chicken at a temperature where the bacteria cannot grow. Asides from that, you can leave your thawed chicken in there, for the next 3 to 4 days. If you can’t stand the wait, then you can turn to your microwave.
Microwave thawing can increase the risk of bacteria growth if you do not keep an eye on it. Place the unwrapped frozen fried chicken in a microwave-safe dish and use your discretion to reheat it.
You can also thaw your frozen fried chicken using a cold water bath. This method works best if you have plenty of time to monitor it. Once your chicken is fully thawed, cook it immediately.
How to Recognize Spoiled Fried Chicken
If your chicken starts to give off an odd smell or begins to look discolored. Then, you should give it a closer inspection and check if it is slimy, or has mold on it. If it does, then you should throw it out. It is unhealthy to eat spoiled food. It can be harmful to your well-being.