How To Reheat Turkey Without Making It Dry

Grilled Turkey Meat

You are probably just coming down from the high of preparing a turkey and all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner. Now you are looking forward to leftover turkey and thinking about how many ways you can use it in different recipes. However, sometimes you just want to reheat a slice of turkey.

How To Store Leftover Turkey

To reheat turkey, you must store it properly. Turkey has a shelf life of 3-4 days in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re planning to store your turkey in the fridge or freezer; carve the turkey off the bone before you store it. You can save the carcass and make homemade turkey stock or discard it. In addition to this, you can also cut your turkey breast into slices, shred it, or leave it whole.

Place the turkey into an airtight container or resealable bag if you are storing it in the fridge. In contrast, if you are storing your turkey in the freezer, place it into a freezer-safe resealable zip lock bag, label it and store it in the freezer.

How To Reheat A Whole Cooked Turkey

If you have a whole turkey and do not wish to carve it, place the turkey in a roasting pan. Although you don’t perform the tedious task of carving the bird, it will take longer to reheat.

Pour 1/2-1 cup of chicken broth over the turkey. The broth will keep the turkey moist. Cover the entire turkey with foil and bake it in a 325ºF oven for45-60 minutes, until thoroughly heated. The exact reheating time will depend on the size of the cooked turkey.

How To Reheat Turkey

Reacting turkey is no harder than reheating brisket or crab legs. The secret is not to overheat the turkey, leading to dry, tough turkey.

How To Reheat Turkey In The Oven

The oven is best for reheating whole turkeys, turkey slices, or partially whole cuts of turkey, like the drumstick, breast, wings, and thighs.

To reheat your turkey in the oven, heat your oven to 275°F. Reheating the turkey low and slow heats the meat gently and decreases the meat’s chances of overcooked. Wrap the leftover turkey with aluminum foil. If you are reheating turkey breast slices, you can stack them on top of one another.

Tightly wrap the turkey leaving a small amount of air. This will help produce steam which will add moisture to the turkey as well as heat the meat up.

Place the leftover turkey onto a wire rack placed on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. The wire rack distributes the heat evenly and prevents the bottom of the turkey from heating before the top of the meat is heated.

Heat the turkey for 35-45 minutes until it has a temperature of 165°F. Additionally, the exact cooking time may take longer depending on the size of the turkey pieces. For example, a whole bird will take longer to heat than a turkey breast.

How To Reheat Turkey By Steaming It

Although it sounds strange, you can actually reheat turkey by steaming it. Steaming works best for reheating slices of turkey.

To reheat your turkey slices, fill a large pot with 1 cup of water. Set your steamer basket on top of the pot and set it over medium-low heat.

Once the water comes to a boil, place your turkey breast, thigh, or leg meat into the steamer basket. Cover the turkey and cook it for 5-6 minutes, checking it every 2 minutes until the turkey is heated and has a temperature of 165°F. The idea behind covering the turkey is to create a steam chamber that infuses the meat with moisture.

How To Reheat Turkey On The Stove

Next to the oven, the stove is the second-best way to reheat most foods. The stovetop method is best for slices of turkey. However, you can also reheat skin on pieces such as the turkey breast using this method.

To reheat your turkey on the stovetop, arrange the turkey in a skillet and add 1/4-1/2 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Cover the turkey and place it over medium-high heat.

Cook the turkey for 5-6 minutes until it is thoroughly heated. If you want to re-crisp the skin of turkey legs or wings, remove it from the pan and dry it with paper towels. Place one teaspoon of olive oil into the skillet and set it over a high flame. Add the turkey skin-side down and sear it for 3-5 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy.

How To Reheat Turkey In The Microwave

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t reheat turkey in the microwave. For example, microwaves heat foods unevenly. The microwave is so aggressive that even if you set your microwave to its lowest setting, your turkey will be dry if it is heated one second too long.

In addition to this, if you are reheating a whole turkey breast, the exterior of the meat will reheat faster than its interior. Furthermore, some microwaves cook faster than others, so you will have to use your discretion when reheating turkey in the microwave.

That being said, if you must reheat your turkey in a rush, the microwave is your best option. However, you should be extremely careful when reheating turkey in the microwave.

Cut your turkey into slices, then arrange it in a microwave-safe bowl. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of gravy, chicken broth, or water over the turkey and cover it with the lid.

Heat the turkey in the microwave in 30-second bursts until the turkey is thoroughly heated through.

Final Thoughts

For most home chef’s the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Yes, a beautifully cooked turkey is the hallmark of the day.

However, a plate of leftover turkey with all the fixings is the best way to relax after the commotion of turkey day. Luckily you know how to reheat turkey the right way.

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