Chicken wings are a big hit at parties and other gatherings, so preparing a large batch of them the day before is an excellent way to get ahead of the game and spend less time cooking and more time hanging out with your guests. Whenever you’re preparing food ahead of time, you need to pay attention to proper food storage and reheating techniques to get the most out of your hard work.
Cooking and Cooling
Regardless of whether you’re grilling or baking your chicken wings, you need to get them back into the fridge and cooled down as quickly as possible. Perishable food left out for more than two hours can hit the temperature "danger zone," the range between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria in food multiply the most rapidly. Keeping food out of this temperature range reduces the chances of foodborne illness.
Storage for Success
If you’re cooking a large batch of chicken wings, store them in separate, shallow containers and store them, uncovered, or with a loose covering that can vent steam, in the refrigerator. Once they’ve cooled completely, you can cover them more tightly to prevent them from drying out.
Reheat Chicken Wings in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet or pan with foil and place the wings on top of the sheet in a single layer. Heat the wings for about 15 or 20 minutes, or until heated all the way through. You don’t need to cover the wings while they reheat, doing so could make them soggy and less appetizing. Check the temperature of the meat in the wings has reached 165 F before serving.
Serve 'Em While They're Hot!
Serve the wings immediately after heating, or use a buffet dish to keep them warm -- above 140 F. Any wings that remain uneaten should go back into the refrigerator within two hours, or one hour if the room temperature is above 90 F.
Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.