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That Leftover Fried Chicken Is Perfect For An Elevated Chicken Salad

chicken salad sandwich
chicken salad sandwich - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

If you've ever considered chicken salad to be boring, bland, or one-note, you've got to breathe some new life into it by using fried chicken. Instead of steamed or boiled chicken simply slathered in mayo, chop up a few pieces of that leftover takeout fried chicken from the night before. The temptation to eat it cold straight from the refrigerator in a hungered frenzy may be strong, but the fried chicken becomes elevated in a salad.

Leftover fried chicken works equally well in any chicken salad recipe or chopped up for a bit of protein on top of an ordinary salad. The crispy, battered skin adds an element of texture that is otherwise lacking in a traditional chicken salad or could complement your leafy greens. And if you wanted to add a little variety to change up the leftover chicken, you could first toss the chicken pieces in a sauce or delectable dressing.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Preparing Leftover Fried Chicken For Chicken Salad

fried chicken strips on board
fried chicken strips on board - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

While leftover fried chicken is perfectly acceptable to add on top of a salad straight from the fridge, you can reheat the chicken first for some temperature contrast. You could simply pop those leftover pieces of fried chicken into the microwave, but often, the microwave turns fried chicken's crispy outer texture into slimy mush. Instead, preheat the oven to 400 F and cook the chicken on a sheet pan for about 12-15 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to keep the chicken crispy and juicy without making it too dry. If you have one, you can also pop it into an air fryer at 375 F for just under 5 minutes. But if you're making a chicken salad recipe instead of using the fried chicken as a topping, you can keep the chicken chilled.

If you're making a chicken salad using your fried chicken, you can substitute some other traditional ingredients to take your chicken salad to the next level. Add some buttermilk to your mayonnaise mixture to mimic the buttermilk batter of the fried chicken. This is also a perfect opportunity to spice things up by adding a few dashes of hot sauce into the mix. This spices up the creamy chicken salad, creating a nice flavor balance with the mayo or buttermilk. And instead of celery, why not throw in some chopped pickles for extra crunch?

Serving Your Fried Chicken Salad

fried chicken salad sandwich
fried chicken salad sandwich - Instagram: @austinfoodheads

One of the keys to elevating chicken salad is to simply turn it into an irresistible sandwich -- all you need is the right bread. Potato rolls are a beloved choice for chicken salad sandwiches because of their sweet taste and chewy, fluffy texture. But you could also use slices of potato bread and toast them up if you prefer more crunch. Slather a pat of butter on the toasted bread and layer on your chicken salad, and you've created layers of crispy texture and flavor.

If you still have a bit of bird left over after creating your chicken salad, it's time to get even more creative. There are plenty more ways to use up leftover fried chicken, like shredding the chicken to make a quick chicken noodle soup or a homemade buffalo chicken dip. You can chop up the chicken and add it as a protein to more than just your salad -- it brings a nice chewy crunch to a burrito bowl, fried rice, or even a bowl of pasta. Although leftover fried chicken is delicious as is, think outside the box and your lunchtime favorite will be elevated.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.