Did you make too much turkey this year? Congrats! You now have leftover turkey to enjoy in the weeks to come.
But how do you reheat turkey without drying it out? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answer!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, you will learn:
- How to reheat turkey
- How to store leftover turkey
- Tips for reheating turkey
- And much more!
Jump To A Section
Reheating Leftover Turkey
Turkeys are large birds and it can be difficult to predict how much meat you need, especially for a holiday dinner or other large family gathering. This typically results in leftover turkey as it is always better to have too much than not enough.
While turkey is amazing when smoked and freshly oven roasted, it is a more dry meat, meaning it needs to be reheated in a certain way in order for the meat to retain its moisture. Otherwise you will end up with dry and stringy leftover turkey that isn’t very nice.
The best way to reheat turkey is on the stove or in the oven with a bit of added liquid to help keep the meat moist. You can reheat turkey in the microwave but this is the least preferred method and liquid must still be added to help the turkey retain moisture.
Want to learn the exact method for reheating turkey? Read on and we will cover all of the basics so you can have some delicious reheated turkey.
What You Need to Reheat Turkey
As mentioned above, there are several ways to reheat turkey, and the exact supplies you need will depend on the method you choose. Either way, before reheating turkey, grab the following supplies.
- Chicken stock
- Aluminum Foil
- Skillet/Oven Pan/Microwave Safe Dish
Several of the ingredients can be swapped out. For example, if you have gravy, you don’t need chicken stock. As long as you have one or two of the food ingredients on hand, you will have no problem reheating turkey.
How to Reheat Turkey (3 Easy Methods)
There are three methods for reheating turkey, we recommend the oven method as it results in the most juicy turkey meat. The skillet is our second choice. Avoid reheating turkey in the microwave unless it is your only option.
Method 1: In the Oven
The oven method is best used for turkey which was smoked or baked in the oven to begin with. It will not, however, yield crispy skin. For crispy skin, use the skillet method.
Step 1: Preheat
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Step 2: Prepare the Turkey
Place the turkey in an oven pan or casserole dish and spoon some chick stock or gravy over the meat. Add a pat of butter to the top.
Step 3: Cover and Bake
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the turkey for 30 to 45 minutes. Check that your turkey is warmed all the way through then remove from the oven and enjoy!
Method 2: Skillet Method
Step 1: Prepare the Turkey
Put the turkey in a skillet and add chicken stock until there is about half an inch in the pan.
Step 2: Simmer
Put the lid on the pan and use medium heat to bring the turkey to a simmer.
Step 3: Wait
Allow the turkey to simmer for 2 or 3 minutes or until heated all the way through. Remove from the heat and serve.
Editor’s Note: If you want crispy skin, simply dump the liquid after the waiting step and sear the turkey in a bit of oil for 3-5 minutes.
Method 3: The Microwave
Step 1: Cut the Turkey
Leftover turkey reheats best in the microwave when it is cut into small pieces that are equal in size.
Step 2: Prepare the Turkey
Place the turkey in a microwave safe dish with a small amount of chicken stock and some butter.
Step 3: Cook
Cover the dish with a lid and cook on 70% power for one minute. Check the turkey. If it is heated throughout, serve, if it is not, continue to cook at one minute intervals until it is.
How to Have Juicy Leftover Turkey
Using any of the above methods will help your leftover turkey to be juicy and hot, but you can help the process along by storing your juicy leftover turkey properly to begin with.
First of all, your leftover turkey needs to be stored covered. Do not just stick the plate in the fridge. This will ruin your leftovers.
We recommend putting the turkey in a sealed container, or a plastic ziploc bag. Only put leftovers that you plan to eat within 5 days in the fridge, the rest should be frozen to help the meat retain its quality.
Tips For Reheating Turkey
Reheating turkey is almost as much of an art form as making the turkey the first time around. Here are our tips to give you the best results possible.
1. Start with Even Sized Pieces
Although it is required for the microwave method, it is always a good idea to start reheating your turkey by cutting it into equal size pieces. This will prevent small pieces from drying out while you try to get those large pieces hot all the way through.
2. Add Fat
You cannot just put turkey dry in your heating method. No matter which you choose you need to add some form of fat, either butter or gravy, to help the meat stay moist.
3. Cover the Turkey
You’ll notice that all turkey reheating methods require you to cover the meat. This keeps the moisture in while the turkey cooks rather than letting it escape into your oven or microwave.
4. Reheat Turkey in One Layer
We are assuming that you don’t need to reheat the same amount you cooked originally. Therefore it is best to reheat your turkey in a single layer no matter what method you choose. This will help the pieces of turkey heat evenly and finish cooking at the same time.
5. Don’t Eat Turkey that Looks Bad
This may be a given, but remember that turkey only stays good in the fridge for about 5 days after the original preparation. If you pull that bag of leftover turkey out of the fridge and it looks slimy, off color, smells, or has mold, it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw it out as consuming it could lead to foodborne illness.
Final Thoughts on How to Reheat Turkey
Leftover turkey is amazing, whether you put it on a sandwich, in a casserole, or eat it just as is! But in order to enjoy your leftover turkey, ensure you reheat it properly so that it won’t dry out.
Whether you choose the oven, skillet, or microwave method, adding a bit of fat and keeping the turkey covered should do the trick. Then you and your family can enjoy leftover turkey for days after the holiday!