Chicken is a popular protein in many meals and it’s no surprise that sometimes we may have leftovers. But when it comes to reheating chicken, many people wonder – can you reheat chicken twice? While reheating cooked chicken may seem harmless, there are some potential risks to consider. In this article, we’ll explore the different factors that determine whether it’s safe to reheat chicken twice and discuss the best practices for reheating cooked chicken. So if you want to learn more about reheating chicken, read on.

Can You Reheat Chicken Twice?

Chicken is a staple in many households, and it’s often cooked in large batches to save time and effort. But what happens when you have leftover chicken and you want to reheat it? Is it safe to reheat chicken twice? This is a common question that many people have, and the answer is not a simple yes or no.

The Potential Risks of Reheating Chicken Twice

Before we can determine if reheating chicken twice is safe, we need to understand the potential risks involved. One of the main concerns with reheating chicken is the potential for foodborne illness. Chicken is a protein-rich food that can harbor harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli. These bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, making cooked chicken an ideal breeding ground if not handled properly.

When you cook chicken, you kill off most bacteria that may be present on the meat’s surface. However, if the chicken is not stored or reheated correctly, bacteria can multiply rapidly and cause food poisoning. This is especially true if the chicken has been left at room temperature for an extended period or has been reheated multiple times. Additionally, reheating chicken can also lead to a loss of nutrients and changes in texture and taste.

Best Practices for Reheating Cooked Chicken

Now that we know the potential risks, let’s look at some best practices for reheating cooked chicken. These guidelines will help minimize the risk of foodborne illness while retaining the chicken’s quality and taste.

  • Cook the chicken thoroughly the first time. To ensure the chicken is safe to eat, it’s essential to cook it thoroughly the first time. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • Store leftovers promptly. If you have any leftover chicken, make sure to refrigerate or freeze it within two hours of cooking. Bacteria can start growing at room temperature, so storing leftovers promptly is crucial.
  • Cool the chicken properly. Before storing leftover chicken, make sure to cool it down quickly. You can do this by placing the chicken in shallow containers and putting them in the fridge or freezer. Avoid leaving the chicken on the kitchen counter to cool down as this increases the risk of bacterial growth.

Can You Reheat Chicken Twice?

Now, let’s answer the main question – can you reheat chicken twice? The short answer is that it’s not recommended. Reheating chicken multiple times increases the risk of food poisoning and can lead to a loss of quality. However, there are some exceptions where it may be safe to reheat chicken twice.

If you have reheated the chicken once correctly and stored it in the fridge, it’s generally safe to reheat it one more time. Make sure to heat the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F to kill any bacteria that may have multiplied during storage. Additionally, the chicken should be consumed within three to four days after cooking and reheating once.

Another exception is if the chicken was initially cooked at a high temperature. If the chicken was cooked at a temperature of 375°F or higher, it may be safe to reheat it twice. This is because the high heat kills most bacteria that may be present on the meat’s surface.

However, it’s crucial to note that these exceptions are not foolproof and still carry some risk. The safest option is to only reheat chicken once, ensuring it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before consuming it.

Tips for Reheating Chicken Safely

To reduce the risk of foodborne illness when reheating chicken, here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a food thermometer. To ensure the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature, use a food thermometer to check.
  • Reheat chicken separately from other foods. When reheating chicken, always do it separately from other foods to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Use the right method of reheating. The best methods for reheating chicken are in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Avoid reheating chicken in slow cookers or steam tables as they may not reach a high enough temperature to kill bacteria.
  • Cut or shred the chicken into smaller pieces. If you have a large piece of chicken, it’s best to cut or shred it into smaller pieces before reheating. This allows for more even reheating and reduces the risk of bacteria surviving in the center of the meat.
  • Avoid reheating chicken more than once. As mentioned earlier, it’s generally not recommended to reheat chicken multiple times. It’s best to only reheat it once and then consume it within a few days.


In summary, reheating chicken twice is not recommended due to the potential risks of foodborne illness and loss of quality. However, there are exceptions where it may be safe to reheat chicken twice if done correctly. It’s crucial to follow proper food safety practices when handling, storing, and reheating chicken to minimize the risk of illness. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and only reheat chicken once.

In conclusion, while it is safe to reheat chicken once, reheating it a second time can increase the risk of foodborne illnesses. This is because the reheating process can create the perfect conditions for bacteria to multiply. It is important to follow proper food safety guidelines and best practices when reheating cooked chicken, such as ensuring it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F and is consumed within a certain time frame. Additionally, using alternate methods of storing and reheating chicken, such as freezing and using a microwave, can also help reduce the risk of foodborne illness. By being aware of the potential risks and following proper precautions, you can safely enjoy reheated chicken without worry.

By Kitty Smith

I am a Ohio living blogger with a penchant for all things pretty. You can typically find me roaming around my neighborhood of Long Island with latte in my hand and with an iPhone raised above my head to capture the majesty of it all. I mostly post fashion content to Kitty's Lifestyle and I also post recipes on my cooking blog Kitty's Kitchen Recipes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *