Revitalize Your Thanksgiving Leftovers: Mastering the Art of Reheating a Turkey

How to Reheat a Turkey: The Ultimate Guide


Reheating a turkey can be a daunting task if not done properly. Whether you have leftovers from Thanksgiving or just want to enjoy the succulent flavors of roasted turkey on a different occasion, we’ve got you covered! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of reheating a turkey while ensuring its moistness and delicious taste.

Gather Your Ingredients and Tools

Before diving into the reheating process, it’s essential to gather all the necessary ingredients and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Leftover cooked turkey
2. Aluminum foil or an oven-safe dish with lid
3. Cooking oil or butter
4. Meat thermometer (optional but recommended)
5. Oven mitts

Safely Defrosting Your Turkey

If your leftover turkey is frozen, make sure to thaw it in advance before reheating for safe consumption:

1. Place the frozen turkey in its packaging on a tray in your refrigerator.
2. Allow approximately 24 hours of defrosting time per 4 pounds (1 kg) of meat.
3. Ensure that any liquids from thawing do not contaminate other foods by placing it at the bottom shelf.

Note: If time is limited, use cold running water to thaw your turkey more quickly; however, this method requires constant supervision.

The Oven Method: Step-by-Step Instructions

The oven method is widely considered one of the best ways to reheat whole turkeys without sacrificing flavor and texture.

1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
2a. For whole turkeys:
– Brush some cooking oil or melted butter onto every part of the turkey using clean hands.
– Place the turkey in an oven-safe dish with a lid or cover it tightly with aluminum foil to retain moisture.
2b. For turkey pieces:
– Place the individual turkey pieces in an oven-safe dish or wrap them securely in aluminum foil, ensuring no gaps for heat to escape.
3. Reheat your turkey based on its weight:
– For whole turkeys: Reheat for approximately 15 minutes per pound (0.45 kg).
– For turkey pieces: Reheat for around 10-15 minutes depending on their size and thickness.
4. To check if your reheated turkey is safe to eat, use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching any bone. Ensure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

The Microwave Method

If time is limited, using a microwave can be a quick option to reheat smaller portions of leftover turkey:

1. Place sliced or shredded leftover turkey on a microwave-safe plate.
2. Drizzle some broth, gravy, or melted butter over the meat to prevent dryness.
3. Cover the plate with a microwave-safe cover or cling film that allows steam to escape but prevents splattering.
4. Set your microwave’s power level at 50-70% and heat in one-minute intervals until reaching proper serving temperature.

Note: Be cautious not to overcook as microwaves can cause uneven heating and potentially dry out your delicious leftovers.

Serving Your Deliciously Reheated Turkey

Once you’ve successfully reheated your delectable bird, it’s time to serve and enjoy!

1. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the heated dish from either the oven or microwave.
2a. If using whole turkeys: Allow them to rest covered for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
2b If using slices/shredded meat: Transfer them to a serving platter or plate immediately.

Remember, your reheated turkey will taste best when accompanied by flavorful gravy, cranberry sauce, and other traditional side dishes!


Reheating a turkey doesn’t have to be complicated. By following this comprehensive guide, you can safely and effectively bring back the flavors of roasted turkey without losing its succulence. Whether using the oven or microwave method, be mindful of proper temperature checks to ensure your reheated turkey is both safe and delicious. Now go ahead and enjoy your meal!

Share this post: