Leftovers can be a real pain to use up, especially if you are running low on food inspiration and are struggling to find new recipes to keep your tastebuds interested. Luckily leftover chicken is one of the most versatile proteins you could have in your fridge after a big dinner.
But how far can you push the boundaries of leftover chicken?
Everybody knows that the best chicken has a perfectly crispy breaded coating. That’s just the facts! So can you enjoy the delicacy of breaded chicken using your leftover, pre-cooked chicken?
While it is very easy and doable to bread cooked chicken in a crispy breaded coating, you are almost guaranteed to end up with a dry piece of chicken as you will have to cook the chicken again.
Binding Agents for Breading Cooked Chicken
To keep it plain, the less time your pre-cooked breaded chicken has to spend cooking, the better.
You do not want to have to wait longer than a few minutes at most for your bread coating to cook completely, as it will only lead to an even drier piece of chicken.
That is why you should coat your cooked chicken with egg followed by a quick coating of breadcrumbs that only cover the whole chicken.
The egg will cook very quickly, and you will not have to wait for multiple layers of breadcrumbs to get crispy while knowing that your chicken is drying out.
You should avoid using flour or a batter to bread your precooked chicken as these take much longer to cook. Moreover, the flour will not stick well to cooked chicken, so you will have difficulty getting that crunchy coating on your chicken pieces.
How To Make Cooked Chicken Moist Again
Depending on how much effort you want to put into breading your pre-cooked chicken, you could always try injecting some extra moisture.
There is no guarantee that your chicken will not still turn out dry once it is cooked again, as you will have to recook the chicken at a high enough temperature to ensure that the breaded coating gets deliciously crispy.
But the extra moisture will give the chicken a better texture than if you were to leave it as it is.
One way to add moisture to your cooked chicken is to make the egg mixture you plan to coat the chicken with wetter. You could do this by adding a little water to the egg or a splash of chicken or vegetable stock if you have it to hand.
Try Adding Condiments
Alternatively, you can serve the chicken with various condiments once it has been breaded and cooked.
This will not necessarily make the chicken itself any less dry, but it will reduce the feel of the dryness when you bite into it.
The same concept can be applied to a glaze if you wish to coat the breaded chicken in barbeque sauce, teriyaki sauce or something of the like.
Likewise, how you use the breaded chicken in your meal can help to reduce the effect of its dry texture.
For example, if you plan to use your breaded chicken in a sandwich or salad, you can make sure to include plenty of other ingredients that can make up for the dryness, like lettuce or cucumber.
How To Properly Bread Chicken
No matter if you want to bread cooked or raw chicken, there is a certain finesse to ensuring that the chicken pieces are fully coated in the breading and that the coating will not simply fall apart as soon as the chicken hits the pan – a more common mistake than you would think.
To impress your family with perfectly coated, crispy breaded chicken, here is the best method to use:
- Make Breadcrumbs
You could use panko if you have some to hand, but seeing as panko is not as popular in the UK, you will need to make your own breadcrumbs to bread your chicken with. Do this by simply blending up a couple of pieces of bread.
- Ready The Egg
Crack 1-2 eggs into a bowl and then use a fork to give the eggs a good whisk, ensuring that the yolk and the whites are fully combined.
- Season The Flour
When you are breading raw chicken, you will want also to use plain flour along with the breadcrumbs to add an extra layer to the chicken and better ensure a successful coating. In a separate bowl, add some flour and season the flour to your taste.
- Season The Breadcrumbs
You will want to skip the flour if you are breading cooked chicken. Instead, lightly season the breadcrumbs with some salt, pepper and your herbs of choice.
Place a piece of your chicken in the whisked egg. Use a fork or your hands to ensure that every part of the chicken is thoroughly covered in the egg.
Then quickly transfer the egg-coated chicken to the flour bowl, also covering the chicken entirely. Tap the chicken on the side of the bowl to knock off any extra flour. Again, if you are breading cooked chicken, skip this step.
- Egg And Bread
Place the chicken back into the egg mixture and cover it once more. Then move it to the breadcrumbs and use your hand to stick the breadcrumbs to the entirety of the chicken firmly.
Set the breaded chicken aside to rest while you work on breading the rest of your chicken.
Now you have perfectly breaded chicken to cook however you want!
Breading Cooked Chicken FAQs
Do you still have questions about breading cooked chicken? Then check these common queries out:
Breading chicken raw is a far better approach to making breaded chicken. Primarily to prevent the chicken from overcooking.
One of the main causes is not using chicken that has warmed up a little. If you use fridge-cold chicken then this will drop the temperature of your pan, preventing a decent sear.
Acacia may be a freelance writer by day, but they are a food fanatic by night. They are always trying out new recipes or finding different ways to elevate classical dishes. But their biggest culinary aim is to educate others on the basics of the kitchen so that they too can enjoy delicious food.