How to Reheat Thanksgiving Turkey Without Ruining It

Dry turkey? No, thank you.

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You’ve worked so hard on your Thanksgiving turkey—picking it out, cooking it, packaging the leftovers to last for days. And you want it to stay good. Leftover turkey that becomes dried-out is a major let-down, especially after all the love and effort that went into this big bird. Ensure your poultry leftovers are just as delicious as the turkey was on Thanksgiving Day (or better) with these tried-and-true methods to reheat Thanksgiving turkey in the oven, microwave, and Instant Pot.

How to Reheat Thanksgiving Turkey in the Oven

The best part of reheating turkey in a warm oven is that you can use the appliance to reheat a slew of leftovers for a quick meal. Plus, the oven is a chef-approved method for reheating Thanksgiving turkey and takes very little effort, just preheating the oven.

“The best way to reheat turkey is in the oven,” says chef Jose Garces. “Slice the turkey, place it in a shallow pan, add some chicken or turkey stock, and cover tightly with foil. Heat at 300 or 325 degrees until the turkey reaches 165 degrees. The stock should allow the turkey to steam without drying out.”  

Want to make it a little fun? Garces has a hack that adds an extra level of coziness to leftover turkey. “Sometimes I like to just scoop turkey, leftover mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing into a tin foil packet, heat that up in the oven, and eat it with a spoon,” he says. Individual leftover packets for the whole family sound like a recipe for a cozy movie night.

How to Reheat Thanksgiving Turkey in the Microwave

If you’re short on time or just need a break from your oven (it’s done a lot of heavy lifting this season), the microwave is your go-to method. Garces recommends cutting your turkey into pieces, and removing any bones. “Then, drizzle with stock, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 15-second increments,” he says. When your turkey is steamy and ready-to-eat, you’re good. “It works in a pinch,” Garces assures. 

How to Reheat Thanksgiving Turkey in the Instant Pot

Should your Instant Pot be your preferred reheating method, you can use that too! Start by adding water to the bottom of the Instant Pot, then, place turkey slices in a pan above the water. “Cook on high for a few minutes until the turkey reaches your desired temperature,” Garces suggests. Start with just four to five minutes and go from there. You can also use leftover turkey as the base of many Instant Pot meals, like turkey broth, turkey soup, or turkey chili, no reheating required as the leftover turkey simmers with more ingredients. 

How to Reheat Turkey on the Stove

If you want to fire up your stove, there are a few methods to reheat turkey. You can pan-sear it in a pre-heated skillet with a bit of olive oil, or make use of that sous-vide machine. “To step it up a notch, you can vacuum-seal the turkey with gravy and sous-vide cook for about one hour,” Garces suggests.

More interested in slow cooking? Reheat your turkey pieces by braising them in stock, wine, or tomatoes. Garces recommends switching up the Thanksgiving flavor profile by creating a spicy braised turkey chili. “Slow-cook leftover leg meat with canned tomatoes, chipotle chiles, and black beans. Stew for about two hours,” he notes.

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