Tasty, succulent, and portable, boneless chicken wings make a great addition to any social gathering. Because their preparation requires a watchful eye, it can be difficult to prepare the perfect batch while trying to socialize at the same time. Fortunately, you can grill up your boneless wings in advance and reheat them once the fun is about to start. Here are our tips on how to reheat boneless wings so that they retain all of the qualities that make them so delicious.
About Boneless Chicken Wings
The first thing you need to know about boneless wings is simple: They’re not really wings. Despite the name, they’re actually chunks of breast meat that have been trimmed and shaped so that they resemble the popular bar-menu staple. This means that boneless “wings” are naturally lower in fat, although any nutritional bonus points may be negated depending on your preparation technique. They also cook more quickly than traditional wings, which is good news if you’re throwing a large party and need to turn out a lot of them at once.
Because each chicken has only two wings, it can be difficult for supply to keep pace with demand. That’s why boneless wings popped up as a viable alternative. In addition to being both tasty and convenient, they make cleanup a lot easier, as there are no bones left behind on the plates when everyone has had their fill.
Finally, boneless wings are markedly less expensive than their authentic counterparts. This is what makes them so appealing to restaurant owners—they can offer a wing-like product (complete with dipping sauces) at a far lower price. That’s good news for home chefs as well—it means you’ll be able to procure a hearty supply without breaking the bank.
When cooking and reheating boneless wings, it’s important to remember all the protocol for food safety.
First of all, don’t leave the cooked chicken at room temperature for longer than two hours. The meat is prone to dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella and E-coli, that may take up residence if the chicken isn’t consumed or refrigerated before then.
If you’re preparing the wings to be reheated later, allow them to cool, then wrap them in foil and place the packets in an airtight container. Refrigerate until you’re ready to begin the process of reheating and serving them.
For best results, the chicken should be reheated and consumed within two days. If you need to keep it any longer than that, we would recommend freezing it in tightly sealed Ziploc bags for up to four months. Be aware, however, that reheated frozen chicken will have a slightly different texture than freshly cooked meat. The freezing and defrosting process will also cause it to lose a great deal of moisture.
If you’re thawing frozen boneless wings that have been cooked off in advance, place them in the refrigerator overnight. Don’t be tempted to speed the process by thawing them at room temperature, as this provides the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Once you’ve taken them out of the refrigerator, they should be reheated within 10 minutes.
Remember that boneless wings are basically chicken nuggets, which means that they’re not always uniform in size. Smaller pieces will reheat more quickly than the larger chunks, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on them to ensure that they don’t burn.
One final point: When reheating boneless wings, make sure the internal temperature has reached at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
Take a look at this video tutorial for more tips on how to store and handle chicken.
Is Reheating Boneless Wings Different From Reheating Regular Chicken Wings?
When it comes to reheating wings, there’s really no difference between the boneless variety and the real thing. We would recommend keeping a close eye on boneless wings to ensure that the meat doesn’t dry out, but otherwise, the methods would remain largely the same.
Is it Safe to Reheat Boneless Wings More Than Once?
It is safe, but we wouldn’t recommend it. The more times the chicken is reheated, the more flavor and texture you’ll lose as a result.
Instead of storing and reheating the wings several times, try to prepare only the amount that you’ll need at any given time. If you have leftovers that need to be reheated again, just make sure that they’re heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit each time.
How To Reheat Boneless Wings: Tips & Techniques
Now that you’ve followed all the safety protocol for cooking and storing your boneless wings, it’s time to decide how you’ll reheat them.
Before we get started, we should point out that it’s better not to apply any sauce to the wings until you’re ready to serve them. Otherwise, the sauce will either soak right into the meat or bake off when you attempt to reheat them. Even worse, it might compromise the texture, which is precisely what you’re trying to preserve.
In the Oven
This is the ideal method for reheating fried boneless chicken wings, but it’s effective no matter how they were prepared.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two, depending on how many wings you have) with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the wings on the tray in a single layer, making sure they’re evenly spaced.
Use a spray bottle to spritz the wings with a bit of water. Brush the tops with melted butter to add an extra dose of fat and moisture.
Place the prepared wings in the oven and allow them to heat for 8-10 minutes. Flip them over using a pair of heatproof tongs, then return them to the oven. Reheat for about 8 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the wing reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the wings start to char during the reheating process, check the internal temperature and remove them if they’re hot enough. If they’re still too cold in the middle, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to reheat them until they reach the 165-degree threshold.
Toss the wings in a generous supply of whatever sauce you desire, if any, then set them on a clean platter and serve at once.
In the Microwave
This is by far the quickest and most carefree method, but it can result in soggy chicken if you’re not careful. By following our instructions, you can help the boneless wings retain their texture so that no one will ever guess they spent time in the microwave.
To get started, place the wings on a dish that’s been lined with absorbent paper towels. If the dish has a lid, use it to cover the wings. If not, cover them with an additional layer of damp paper towels or a sheet of plastic wrap. This will help the wings to retain their moisture.
Set the plate in the microwave, making sure it’s placed a bit off-center so that it rotates evenly. Otherwise, the wings may spend too much time in either the hot or cold spots, giving you chicken that’s burned in some places and cold in others.
Fill a small microwave-safe bowl with water. Place the bowl in the microwave, around the center of the plate of wings.
Heat the wings on medium heat for two minutes. Alternatively, you can use high heat for just one minute, but we prefer to take it slow to ensure even heating.
Remove the plate from the microwave and test the wings to see if they’ve reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If they have, it’s time to apply the sauce and serve the wings. Otherwise, turn them over and continue to microwave on medium heat until they’ve had a chance to heat through.
Sauce the wings as desired, place them on a serving platter, and enjoy.
On the Stovetop
A cast-iron pan is the best choice for this method, but you can also use a stainless steel skillet if you prefer. No matter what your chosen pan is made of, it needs to be equipped with a tight-fitting lid in order for this technique to work.
Add a tablespoon of neutral oil (such as canola or peanut) to the pan, then set it over medium-low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the wings and cover the pan. Let the chicken heat up for 6-8 minutes.
Remove the lid and use a set of heatproof tongs to turn the wings. Replace the lid and allow them to heat for another 5-6 minutes. Depending on the pan you use, you might want to turn the wings every couple of minutes to keep them from sticking.
When the wings are golden-brown all over, test the internal temperature to make sure it’s reached 165 degrees. If you prefer your wings well done, keep them on the heat for a few minutes longer, flipping them every minute or so.
Remove the wings from the pan and let them cool on a paper towel-lined plate for a few minutes. Use another paper towel to blot away any excess cooking oil.
Apply your chosen sauce and serve the wings on a clean platter.
Alternatively, you can apply the sauce a few minutes before taking them out of the pan. Just don’t add it too soon, or the sugars in the sauce will burn, giving the wings a bitter, acrid flavor.
On the Grill
Unsurprisingly, this is one of our favorite methods for reheating boneless wings—especially if they were prepared on the grill in the first place. It also comes in handy if you’re hosting an outdoor gathering, as it allows you to socialize while you prepare the wings.
Set a gas grill to low, or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill and allow the coals to die down until you can hold your hand just above the cooking grate for over 10 seconds.
Place the wings on the cooking grate and allow them to heat through for 8-10 minutes. Use a set of heatproof tongs to flip them over. Continue to heat the wings for 10 minutes more. At this point, they should be a pleasant golden-brown color. If the meat begins to char, move them to a cooler section of the grill.
When the wings have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove them from the grill. Toss them in whichever sauce you prefer, arrange them on a platter, and enjoy.
Under the Broiler
The broiler provides another alternative for heating boneless wings.
Place a wire oven rack about 10 inches away from the heating element, then set the broiler to high. Ideally, you’ll want to wait about 15 minutes before adding the wings.
While you’re waiting for the broiler to reach the optimal temperature, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the wings on the sheet in a single layer, making sure that none of them are touching.
Set the baking sheet on the oven rack and broil for about 5-6 minutes. Flip the wings using a set of heatproof tongs, return the sheet to the oven, and broil until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 5 minutes more.
Remove the wings from the oven and allow them to cool on a paper towel-lined plate for a few minutes. Toss them in sauce, set them on a clean platter, and enjoy.
In the Deep Fryer
We would recommend this technique only if the wings were breaded and deep-fried to begin with. If they were grilled or baked, this method will toughen the meat. Also, be aware that frying the wings will increase their fat content, so this isn’t the most health-conscious option.
Set the deep fryer to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a heavy cast-iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Just make sure that the pan is filled with at least 3 inches of neutral cooking oil.
Fry the wings until they’re crisp and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Test to ensure that they’ve achieved an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the wings from the oil using the fryer basket or a slotted spoon. Allow them to briefly drain on a paper towel-lined plate before serving. When using this technique, we would recommend serving the sauce on the side.
In the Air Fryer
If you have an air fryer, this is another quick and easy method for reheating boneless wings.
Allow the wings to come to room temperature for about 5 minutes before adding them to the air fryer. Make sure not to crowd the wings or overload the frying bin.
Set the air fryer to 400 degrees and heat the wings for 5-10 minutes, or until they’ve reached the desired temperature. Remove them from the frying bin and let cool briefly before applying your chosen sauce. Serve and enjoy.
Do Boneless Wings Need to Be Reheated?
While we believe that it’s important to learn how to reheat boneless wings, we should also point out that it isn’t strictly necessary.
As long as the meat has been handled properly, it’s perfectly acceptable to consume cold chicken right out of the fridge. In fact, it will retain most of its flavor and moisture if you eat it this way. Just remember not to leave them at room temperature for longer than two hours.
Ideas for Reheated Boneless Wings
Reheated wings are excellent when eaten as is, but this isn’t your only option. Here are a few other ideas for making the most of these repurposed delicacies:
- Chop the meat and use it to make a hot sandwich topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Use the chicken to fill warm flour tortillas on your next taco night.
- Make a baked potato bar with chopped boneless chicken wings, crumbled bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and minced scallions.
About Reheating Wings With Sauce
If your wings are already coated in sauce, we would recommend using the oven method to reheat them. This will help them retain their moisture and preserve the integrity of the meat. You can also use the grill method, but be careful to keep the heat low so that the sugars in the sauce don’t have a chance to burn.
Now that you know how to reheat boneless wings so that they retain that lip-smacking goodness, your next get-together is sure to be a carefree and jovial affair. Don’t forget to serve extra sauce on the side—and keep plenty of napkins on hand.
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Best of luck, and happy grilling!