How To Reheat McDonald's Chicken McNuggets Back To Perfection

The chicken nugget, or McNugget, that golden parcel of fried deliciousness, is a ubiquitous item on the McDonald's menu, beloved by both children and former children (For an example of McNuggets' nostalgic appeal, witness how McDonald's relaunched the McNugget Buddies in 2023). However, like most fast food, once they become cold it is difficult to bring them back to their former, crispy glory.


Microwaving McDonald's chicken nuggets tends to leave them soggy or heated unevenly, and even throwing them in the oven has its drawbacks. Do you really want to heat up your entire kitchen — possibly your entire house — by turning the oven on, especially in the summer months?

The secret to reheating chicken nuggets to get them closest to their original, fresh-out-of-the-fryer state is to pop them in your air fryer. Yes, the appliance that can do everything from hard-boiling eggs to reverse searing a steak comes to the rescue once again to fix your cold fast food.

How to reheat McNuggets in an air fryer

To reheat your McNuggets, air fry them for three to four minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This seems to be the sweet spot for getting your chicken nuggets re-crisped but not overcooked or burnt. If you know your air fryer runs hot, you can play around with lower temperatures by starting at the three-minute mark and adding 30 seconds until you reach your level of desired doneness. Alternatively, you could try 400 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes if you prefer a higher cooking temperature. You should place your nuggets in a single layer, when possible.


The reason the air fryer works so well on fried fast food is the way hot air is circulated around the basket. The baskets or trays are perforated for maximum hot air contact with the food items, which effectively removes moisture from the food and crisps it up.

Chicken McNuggets aren't the only McDonald's food that can go in the air fryer for a spell and come out like new. Toss in your fries for a few minutes on 375 or 400 to revive them. You can reheat your Big Mac or McCrispy for two to four minutes at the same temperature as well; just make sure you take off the top bun, air fry the lower portion for a minute or two first, and then add the top bun back on and air fry for about 30 seconds more.


What to do if you don't have an air fryer

While air fryers are growing more and more popular in kitchens all over the U.S., not everyone has gotten on this particular appliance train. You might be wondering what the second-best way to reheat your McDonald's nuggets is, and the answer will likely surprise you.


If you were thinking about the oven, you're close — it's the stove. Add one to two teaspoons of any oil you have on hand to a large pan and let that heat up. Then place your nuggets in a single layer in the pan and let them cook for a few minutes on each side, or until they reach your desired crispiness.

The one drawback of this method is that it's not a set-and-forget deal like most air fryers — you have to hover over your stove to prevent burning. But on the plus side, nearly every household has a stove and pans, and with this trick, you can really get your chicken nuggets nice and crispy once again.