Find out how to reheat leftover roast turkey to stay juicy and delicious. With leftover turkey, you can do a myriad of things. It complements any dish that calls for chicken well, but because it’s such a lean meat, it might dry out, especially the breast flesh. Here, we’ll go over how to reheat turkey so you can eat it again, just as it was, and how to prevent this from happening in the first place.
We love leftover turkey for its convenience, but we prefer them when we can savor its flavor. Even a turkey cooked to perfection might easily overheat while being reheated. We tested turkey reheating in various ways, from a leisurely bake in the oven to a rapid microwave reheat, to make the most of a Thanksgiving meal.
What is Reheating?
Reheating is the thermal process of heating goods that have already been prepared and chilled in a restaurant. Correctly preparing food can eliminate many infections (disease-causing organisms). Potentially hazardous foods, sometimes called TCS foods, must be warmed to 165°F or higher for 15 seconds while being reheated for hot holding. TCS meals prepared and packaged in a commercial setting must be cooked to a temperature of 135°F or above before consumption. Hot-holding meals should be reheated in no more than two hours to maintain food safety.
Contamination hazards arise when food is held, cold, and reheated due to personnel, tools, procedures, and other variables. The risk increases with an item’s degree of processing. Food cooked and refrigerated passes numerous times through the temperature danger zone of 41°F to 135°F (the ideal range for bacteria to thrive).
How to Reheat a Turkey?
The best options for warming leftover turkey to serve immediately are those mentioned above.
Reheat Turkey in the Oven
The oven is your best choice if you need to reheat a large quantity of turkey at once.
- Oven temperature set to 180°C/160°F fan/gas 4
- Slice the turkey breast meat thinly, then remove the bone from the leg meat—place in a gratin dish or roasting pan. Fill the dish with chicken or turkey stock to a depth of about 5 mm. Small bits of butter should be covered with the dot (approximately 25g should do it, but more won’t hurt).
- Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, tightly covered with foil, or until it reaches a temperature of at least 75C on a cooking thermometer. Serve after letting the meat sit in the juices for a few minutes.
Reheating Turkey on Stovetop
This is our second favorite method. Although it takes less time than baking, microwave cooking results in less juicy turkey. It’s also a nice substitute if you’re reheating skin-on portions.
- Add the turkey chunks and 1/2 cup of chicken stock to a skillet. Cover the pan and simmer the contents over medium-high heat.
- Cook the turkey until it is well warmed, just a few minutes. If you want the skin to crisp up, drain the liquid and wipe the pan with a clean towel.
- In a small saucepan, heat a teaspoon of oil over high heat. Cook the turkey, skin-side down, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the exterior is crispy.
Reheating Turkey in the Microwave
A microwave is perfect when you only need to reheat one or two meals and don’t want to use the oven.
- Take the leg meat off the bone and slice the breast flesh thinly.
- Put on a dish or container that can be microwaved, then top with stock or gravy.
- Cook on medium-high for 2 minutes, then check. Cook in 30-second spurts until piping hot, if it’s not too heated. Before serving, allow it to rest for a short while.
How Long does a Frozen Turkey Last in the Refrigerator?
A frozen turkey can last in the Refrigerator for several months. But to avoid food poisoning, you must be careful about storing and handling the meat.
The USDA recommends that cooked and raw turkey be consumed within three to four days of being prepared. Leftovers can be kept in the Refrigerator for two to three days, but sliced turkey can last up to a week.
When freezing a turkey, the meat should be evenly frozen to prevent bacteria from growing. To prevent freezer burn, wrap the turkey in plastic wrap that has been removed. It’s important to thaw the turkey in the Refrigerator rather than in a microwave.
The time a raw frozen turkey can be stored depends on the type of protein it contains. Ground meat has a shorter shelf life than pre-packaged meat.
Can you Cook a Turkey the Day Before and Reheat it?
Absolutely! Thanksgiving won’t be stressful if you roast the turkey first and then let it rest as usual (or use our flavorful method for grilling turkey). Then, carve it and tightly wrap it in plastic or a lid before putting it in the Refrigerator. It is finished when you use one of the methods above to reheat dinner. In this situation, using the oven works out quite well because it fills your kitchen with the wonderful aroma of cooked turkey. Your dinner guests will think you worked in the kitchen all morning!
How Many Times can you Reheat Turkey?
Meals should be consumed as soon as possible after preparation because this is when they are at their freshest and tastiest. However, as long as you reheat food at the proper temperature and for the appropriate length, you can do so without endangering its safety. However, the Meals Standards Agency (FSA) advises against reheating food more than once, so if at all possible, heed their recommendation.
Make sure the dish is heated throughout if you are reheating it. This indicates that the bacterium has been eliminated and the meal has been cooked thoroughly. Be aware that depending on the food, the quality of the meal may deteriorate each time you reheat it. Unfortunately, pastries won’t have the same consistency or flavor as the initial serving.
Use of Leftover Turkey
When it comes to finding new uses for leftover turkey, the options are endless. Almost any dish that calls for a broth or sauce base can be made with leftover turkey.
Turkey is a delicious and healthy substitute for beef and pork. Use the leftover turkey to make turkey tetrazzini, pot pie, or enchiladas. For the ultimate winter treat, use leftover turkey in a creamy turkey curry or a Southwestern turkey soup. For breakfast, would you like some turkey? Sweet potatoes and turkey should be combined to produce a hash.
Mix the leftovers into a Thanksgiving salad or a cranberry turkey sandwich instead of reheating them. Even the non-cooks in the family can make both because they are so easy to prepare. Additionally, they’ll maintain the seasonal flavors.
How to Store Leftover Turkey?
Depending on how you intend to reheat or use your leftover turkey, prepare yourself for success by properly storing them. With as little air as possible, stuff leftover turkey into airtight containers or gallon bags. Carving a turkey into more manageable pieces before preserving it will save you time the following day and make it easier to fit into the Refrigerator.
Another method to guarantee flavor is to put the turkey bones in a slow cooker and make fresh turkey stock overnight. This can be used in upcoming recipes and to help to reheat.
What Temperature do you Reheat Turkey?
When reheating a turkey, you should preheat the oven to at least 325° F and cook the flesh until it reaches a temperature of 165° F inside. Use a food thermometer to check the interior Temperature of the meat. Add a little broth or water, then cover the meat with foil to keep it moist.
How to Defrost Turkey Safely?
Food security is always ensured by defrosting before cooking or reheating. Here are several secure methods for defrosting a turkey:
- Put the package in a big sink, bucket, or container filled with cold water. Replace it with new, icy water if it doesn’t feel cold. If the package isn’t sealed or is ripped, there could be issues because the water and anything it touches will contaminate the raw turkey juices. For every 1 kilogram of turkey, the process should take roughly an hour.
- Refrigerator: The USDA advises defrosting your turkey there. Please allow one day for every 4 to 5 pounds because it takes some time. The turkey was secure for another two days until it thawed.
- Use the weight-based defrost function. Remove the turkey from its outer packaging and lay it on a dish that can be used in a microwave to catch any liquids that may spill. When thawing a turkey in the microwave, most people are typically given 6 minutes per pound. During the thawing process, twist it numerous times and flip it. Set the defrost mode for 30 minutes, followed by another 5 minutes to ensure complete defrosting. As soon as the turkey has been removed, clean the microwave. It might take this approach an hour or more.
The turkey must be safely stored in the first stage. The quickest way to achieve a dry crust on meat is to expose it to air overnight, so don’t just throw it on a platter and put it in the fridge. Once the leftover turkey has cooled, keep it tightly covered or, better yet, in a sealed container.
As you can see from the abovementioned warming methods, the following step is adding moisture. The turkey should be covered while it reheats, we strongly advise. Use a skillet with a tight-fitting lid, a microwave-safe dish, or an oven-safe aluminum foil pouch. The leftovers will taste better if the liquids stay around the turkey meat rather than dripping into your kitchen.