How to Reheat a Whole Turkey Cooked the Day Before

Reheating a whole turkey that was cooked the day before can be a bit of a challenge, but with the right techniques, you can ensure that your turkey remains moist, flavorful, and safe to eat. Whether you’re preparing for a family gathering or simply looking to enjoy your leftover turkey, this guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of reheating your whole turkey to perfection.

Why Reheat a Whole Turkey?

There are several reasons why you might need to reheat a whole turkey that was cooked the day before:

  1. Leftovers: You cooked a turkey for a special occasion, and now you have delicious leftovers that you don’t want to go to waste.
  2. Preparation Ahead of Time: You want to prepare your turkey in advance to save time on the day of your event, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  3. Reheating for an Event: You’re hosting an event and need to reheat a whole turkey to serve to your guests.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to reheat your turkey properly to maintain its quality and safety.

What You’ll Need:


1. Preparation

  • Start by removing the turkey from the refrigerator and allowing it to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. This will ensure more even reheating.
  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).

2. Reheating

  1. Roasting Pan: Place the whole turkey on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Elevating the turkey on the rack allows for better air circulation and prevents it from sitting in its juices, which can make the skin soggy.
  2. Moisture: To help keep the turkey moist during reheating, pour a cup or two of cooking liquid (broth or gravy) into the bottom of the roasting pan. You can also baste the turkey with this liquid throughout the reheating process.
  3. Tent with Foil: Loosely tent the turkey with aluminum foil. This will help prevent the skin from over-browning while allowing the turkey to reheat evenly.
  4. Reheat: Place the turkey in the preheated oven and reheat it until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. The reheating time will vary depending on the size of the turkey, but a general guideline is approximately 15-20 minutes per pound.

3. Check for Doneness

  • To ensure your turkey is thoroughly reheated, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. It should read 165°F (74°C).

4. Rest and Serve

  • Once your turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil again. Allow it to rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute, keeping the meat juicy and flavorful.
  • Carve and serve your reheated turkey with your favorite sides and enjoy!

Tips for Success:

  • When reheating, avoid using a microwave for a whole turkey, as it can result in uneven heating and may dry out the meat.
  • Basting the turkey with cooking liquid during reheating helps keep it moist. You can also brush the skin with melted butter or oil for extra flavor.
  • If you have leftover stuffing, consider reheating it separately in the oven or on the stovetop to ensure it reaches a safe temperature.

Reheating a whole turkey that was cooked the day before requires some patience, but the result is well worth the effort. By following these steps, you can enjoy tender, juicy turkey with all the flavors you love. Whether it’s a holiday feast or a special family dinner, reheating your turkey the right way ensures a memorable meal.

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