If you have prepared one big batch of sweet and sour chicken, it would be a shame not to consume it all at one time. A lot of food is thrown away, so it’s time to start rethinking our choices.
When it comes to foods that don’t taste the same when reheated, we understand the skepticism. Luckily, sweet and sour chicken is not one of these dishes, and can easily overheat.
Which the best way to reheat sweet and sour chicken? The best way is to use an air fryer, although you can also heat it up in the microwave, in a saucepan, or in a slow cooker, and we’re sure it’ll work! you will enjoy the end result!
The Best Ways to Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and sour chicken is undoubtedly one of the most popular dishes in Chinese cuisine, and something many of us opt for when ordering Chinese takeout. However, it can be just as delicious – if not even better – if made from scratch.
This popular Chinese dish is a beautiful blend of aromas and flavors, and as the name suggests, it combines two completely different flavor notes – sweet and sour – in one delicious dish, with crispy yet tender chicken.
If you have leftover sweet and sour chicken and want to store it in the fridge, be sure to place it in an airtight container and not store it there for more than 3 days, as it will likely spoil.
On the other hand, if you don’t think you’ll eat it in 3 days, maybe the best option is to freeze it. If you choose to freeze the sweet and sour chicken, you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months and reheat it as needed.
You have to freeze this dish by putting it in a heavy-duty freezer bag and making sure to squeeze out the excess air and close it well. Also, it is recommended to store the sauce separate from the chicken pieces, so that the chicken does not absorb all of it.
Also, if there are peppers in the sauce, as well as other similar vegetables, you may consider removing them before freezing, as they can become soggy and mushy when reheated.
By storing the sauce and chicken separately, you will not only prevent the chicken from absorbing all the sauce, but it will also retain its crispy-tender texture on the inside. In addition, the sauce will retain all its flavors and aromas.
Let’s take a look at the best way to reheat sweet and sour chicken, whether you reheat it whole or separate the sauce from the meat.
How to reheat sweet and sour chicken in an air fryer
If you own an air fryer, we’re sure you’ve already used it to reheat all kinds of food, as it’s efficient, convenient, and incredibly easy to use. When it comes to reheating the food, you will notice that it does not dry it out, but rather preserves its oils and juices.
If you want to reheat Chinese sweet and sour chicken in an air fryer, our recommendation is to separate the chicken from the sauce (unless you frozen them together). This way, you’ll get the most out of both ingredients, as they require different reheating.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it will really only take a few more minutes. If you decide to reheat them together, you may end up losing all the sauce, as it will most likely evaporate, and adding more water will likely dampen the flavor.
Reheating them separately will leave you with a tasty, aromatic and sticky sauce that you love on your sweet and sour chicken. At the same time, you’ll be reheating the chicken just enough to release its flavors and make it crisp.
Here are the steps to reheat sweet and sour chicken in an air fryer:
- If you haven’t already done so before putting the dish away, separate the chicken from the sauce and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Pour the sweet and sour sauce into an ovenproof dish and cover with a piece of aluminum foil. This way it will heat up without evaporating.
- Reheat the sauce for about 10-15 minutes at 350°F.
- When the sauce is done, preheat the air fryer to 390°F and add the chicken.
- Reheat the chicken for about 2-3 minutes, long enough for it to retain that crunch.
- Let the chicken rest for a minute before combining it with the sauce you reheated earlier.
How to reheat sweet and sour chicken in the oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, or just don’t feel like separating the chicken from the sauce and going through all those extra steps, you may want to use a method that allows you to reheat the sweet and sour chicken entirely.
While we still believe you’ll get the best results by storing and reheating them separately (since the chicken will stay intact and not soak up the sauce), reheating this dish in the oven is the best solution if you want to heat them together.
What will keep the chicken from drying out and the sauce from evaporating is a piece of aluminum foil on top of the pan, so don’t forget this step. Also, it is a good idea to try the dish afterwards and see if it needs any additional seasoning, especially if it has been frozen.
Here are the steps to reheat sweet and sour chicken in the oven:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Transfer the sweet and sour chicken from the airtight container or freezer bag to an ovenproof dish or small tray.
- Cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil to protect both the chicken and the sauce.
- Put the sweet and sour chicken in the oven and reheat it for 15-20 minutes without removing the foil.
- If you choose to reheat the chicken separately, add the sauce to an ovenproof dish, and reheat the chicken pieces on a separate sheet pan on the top rack of the oven without the foil on top.
- If you reheated the chicken separately, let it rest for a minute before tossing it into the sauce, or pouring the sauce over it.
How to reheat sweet and sour chicken in the microwave
When it comes to reheating food, we’re not exactly the biggest fans of the microwave. While it’s a good solution for liquid dishes like soups and sauces, it often makes solid foods like meat soggy and mushy, which is the last thing you want.
That being said, the microwave is a great option for reheating your sweet and sour sauce if you’ve removed the chicken. For example, you could use it for sauce, while preparing chicken in an air fryer, or using some other method.
However, if you don’t feel like going through all of these steps and want to use the microwave to reheat the entire meal, follow our instructions for the best possible results.
Here are the steps to reheat sweet and sour chicken in the microwave:
- Place the sweet and sour chicken on a microwave-safe plate.
- Cover the dish with a piece of perforated plastic wrap or a splash guard to retain heat and allow the sauce to cook well without evaporating.
- Reheat the plate on full power for 60-90 seconds. You can also stop mid-cooking to stir it to make sure it’s heating up consistently.
- If you prefer the chicken to be crispy, use the microwave for the sauce only, and reheat the chicken pieces using another method (like air frying).
How to reheat sweet and sour chicken in a casserole
With this method, just like the ones we’ve mentioned above, we recommend separating the chicken from the sauce and reheating it one by one. This will not only preserve the crunchiness of the chicken, but it will also preserve the unique flavor of the sauce.
Also, when you think about it, meat and sauce don’t require the same cooking time or reheating time, so it makes perfect sense to treat them separately. However, if you don’t feel like treating each ingredient separately, you can reheat them together.
To prepare the chicken for reheating separately, remove it from the sauce (unless you already did this step when storing), and pat dry with paper towels. The sauce, on the other hand, does not require any preparation.
Here are the steps to reheat sweet and sour chicken in a saucepan:
- Add a little oil or butter to the bottom of the pan and let it heat up for a minute.
- Add the chicken, lowering the heat and stirring constantly to avoid burning.
- Flip the chicken around in the pan until it is golden brown on the outside.
- Set the chicken aside until you make the sauce.
- Add the sauce to the same saucepan (unless the chicken pieces are stuck to it).
- Heat over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Scoop the sauce out of the saucepan and pour it over the prepared chicken.
How to reheat sweet and sour chicken in a slow cooker
A slow cooker is not only a great appliance for reheating sweet and sour chicken, but it is also the best option for making your own homemade sweet and sour chicken. This type of cooking allows the meat to soften and the sauce to release all its flavors.
When reheating sweet and sour chicken, if you want the chicken pieces to be crispy, you can simply prepare them in an air fryer, or fry them in a saucepan/skillet until golden brown.
Once the chicken is done, you can add it to the sauce and reheat it some more, combining all the aromas, or reserve it and combine it with the heated sauce later, as you prefer.
Here are the steps to reheat sweet and sour chicken in a slow cooker:
- Remove the chicken from the sauce and add the sauce to the slow cooker.
- Dry the chicken pieces and reheat them in an air fryer, in the oven, or in a skillet over medium-high heat to get a golden brown crust. book it.
- Cook the sauce over high heat for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the desired level of thickness.
- Add the chicken to the pot and cook for a minute or two, or remove the sauce from the slow cooker and pour it over the chicken.
- You can also reheat the chicken and sauce together, but the chicken won’t have that unique crispy texture.
Can sweet and sour chicken be reheated?
Yes, you can reheat sweet and sour chicken without the sauce evaporating and the chicken losing its characteristic crunch. The bigger question though is: can you reheat the sauce and the chicken together?
The answer would still be yes for most of the methods we have mentioned. However, for the vast majority, except for baking, we would recommend separating these two ingredients, and the same goes for storage.
If you use an air fryer or oven, you’ll probably still be satisfied with the result even if you combine the sauce and chicken in the same pan, but the chicken won’t be as crispy. It is also recommended to heat them separately if using a saucepan.
Both the microwave and slow cooker are good options for heating and thickening the sauce, but the chicken will likely become mushy and soggy if you leave it in the sauce.