How to Reheat Turkey without Drying it Out?

Given the size of turkeys, it might be challenging to estimate how much meat you’ll need, particularly for a holiday dinner or other sizable family gathering. Because it is always preferable to have too much than not enough, there will usually be a leftover turkey.

While turkey is fantastic when smoked and freshly oven-roasted, it is a relatively dry meat, necessitating certain reheating procedures to preserve the moisture in the meat. Otherwise, you’ll have stringy, dry, and unpleasant leftover turkey.

The best methods for reheating turkey are on the stovetop or in the oven, preferably with some additional liquid to help keep the flesh moist. The least popular way for reheating turkey is in the microwave, and liquid must still be added to assist the turkey in keeping moisture.

Turkey Meat

What is Turkey Meat?

The turkey is a sizable North American native bird. Both on farms and in the wild, it is hunted.

Its meat is incredibly healthy, and a well-liked protein source consumed all over the world.

The cut of the turkey affects its nutritional value. For instance, white meat tends to be a bit higher in protein than dark meat, typically found in active muscles like the legs or thighs.

Turkey’s skin also contains a lot of fat. Accordingly, cuts with the skin on contain more calories and fat than cuts without the skin.

For instance, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of turkey with the skin contains 169 calories and 5.5 grams of fat, compared to 139 calories and 2 grams of fat in the same quantity of turkey without the skin.

Remember that there is not much of a difference in calories. Additionally, fat can make you feel satisfied after meals.

How to Reheat Turkey without Drying it Out?

Except in emergencies, avoid reheating turkey in the microwave. The oven method yields the juiciest turkey meat out of the three methods for reheating a turkey, so we advise using it. Our backup option is the skillet.

Using the Oven

The turkey originally smoked or roasted in the oven responds best to the oven method. Crispy skin won’t come from it, though. Apply the skillet technique for crispy skin.

  • Warm up in step one.
  • Set the oven to 300 °F.
  • Next, get the turkey ready.

Put the turkey in a casserole dish or oven-safe pan and cover it with chicken stock or gravy. On top, spread a pat of butter.

  • Cover and Bake

The best methods for reheating turkey are on the stovetop or in the oven, preferably with some additional liquid to help keep the flesh moist. The least popular way for reheating turkey is in the microwave, and liquid must still be added to assist the turkey in keeping moisture.

Skillet Method

  • Initial Step: Turkey Preparation

Add chicken stock to the skillet with the turkey, filling it to a depth of about half an inch.

  • Simmer

Cover the skillet with a lid to simmer the turkey and cook it over medium heat.

  • Third step: wait

Until thoroughly heated, let the turkey simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. When ready to serve, turn off the heat.

Note from the editor: After waiting, discard the liquid and sear the turkey for 3 to 5 minutes in a little oil if you want crispy skin.

Using the Microwave

  • Initially, slice the turkey.

When sliced into uniformly sized, little pieces, leftover turkey reheats best in the microwave.

  • Next, get the turkey ready.

Butter and a tiny amount of chicken stock should be added to the turkey in a dish that can be heated in the microwave.

  • Last Step to Cook

Analyze the turkey. Cook for one minute at 70% power while covering the dish with a lid. Serve it immediately if it has been heated through; otherwise, cook it for an additional minute at a time until it has.

Some Tips for Reheating Turkey Meat

It’s almost as much of an art form to properly reheat turkey as it is to prepare it from scratch. Here are some recommendations to help you get the greatest outcomes.

Begin with Pieces of Equal Size

Cutting your turkey into equal-sized pieces before reheating it is always a good idea, even though it is necessary for the microwave method. While you strive to get those huge chunks hot all the way through, this will stop little portions from drying out.

Add Fat

You cannot just heat turkey in a dry state. Whichever you decide on, you must add some fat, like butter or sauce, to keep the meat moist.

Turtle Turkey

All techniques for reheating turkey call for covering the meat. This prevents moisture from escaping into your oven or microwave while the turkey cooks.

Layer Turkey When Reheating

We’re presuming you don’t have to cook the same amount of food again. Therefore, regardless of your method, it is ideal for reheating the turkey in a single layer. This will facilitate even heating and timely completion of cooking for the turkey portions.

Eat Only Turkey that Looks Good

Although it may seem obvious, keep in mind that after initial preparation, turkey only keeps well in the refrigerator for about five days. It’s better to be safe than sorry and throw away the bag of leftover turkey if you take it out of the fridge and it looks slimy, is the wrong color, stinks, or has mold since eating it could cause a foodborne illness.

How to Store Turkey?

It shouldn’t take more than two hours from when the turkey is taken out of the oven until the leftovers are put back in the refrigerator. The same holds for the gravy and stuffing. Bacteria counts may have reached harmful levels after two hours at room temperature.

The turkey should be destuffed before serving. Store it in an oven set to 200 degrees if you need to keep it hot.

After placing the turkey in the fridge, it should cool quickly. Not only should the stuffing be taken out, but the flesh should also be separated from the bones to cool correctly. Keep in mind that germs will grow until the meat reaches 40 degrees.

If you have a lot of leftover meat, divide it into numerous smaller plates rather than one large one so it can cool more quickly.

Freeze your turkey if you want to keep it for more than a few days. In the freezer, it can keep for up to three months. Freezer bags with zippers work great. To prepare the turkey for your family, cut it into serving-sized pieces. Slices should be frozen if you plan to use them for sandwiches. Cube the turkey if you plan to use it in soups and casseroles. Take out the ingredients you’ll need for a stir fry, casserole, or soup.

Can you Freeze Turkey After Three Days?

Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises against keeping roasted turkeys in the refrigerator for more than 3 to 4 days, in practice, turkey can be frozen after three days.

However, because freezing only preserves food for as long as it was fresh when it was put in, freezing a turkey three days after it has been roasted will result in the meat being more on the point of rotting than fresh.

Additionally, the thawing procedure hastens the growth of bacteria. Since your meat already had bacteria growing from three days in the refrigerator, your risk of food poisoning is considerably increased.

In light of this, I advise against freezing your roasted turkey beyond three days in the fridge. However, if you do, reheat your turkey from the freezer and serve it right away rather than letting it thaw first.

What are the Signs of Poor Quality in Turkey?

According to Today, your turkey meat has gone bad if you notice any unusual color, particularly a greying color or mold, and the meat looks slimy. Fortunately, it is usually pretty simple to determine whether a turkey has gone bad, and if you’re paying attention, the rotten ground turkey shouldn’t ever sneak past you. Fresh ground turkey should be light pink and look glossy and juicy.

Experts claim that rotten poultry has a distinctively sulfuric odor, and if you even catch a whiff of it, your turkey is not safe to consume. Its appearance will undoubtedly be unappealing, but the scent will rob you of everything you own and might even ruin your kitchen and fridge for an unsettlingly long time. To avoid swallowing ground turkey that displays any of these symptoms, ensure to wrap the meat airtight before discarding it (that stench is not to be trifled with).


Similar to how spoiled cooked turkey can get slimy when served, it can ruin raw turkey.

It is advisable to throw it away since bacteria can produce slime, which could make you and your loved ones sick.

Simply discard the cooked turkey rather than taste it to confirm your concerns.

Additionally, clean any surfaces and utensils that came into contact with the slimy turkey.


Your nose can alert you when a cooked turkey is bad, just like it can with raw turkey.

For instance, if you want to reheat a whole turkey that you prepared in advance, it should still smell like the herbs and spices you used to season it.

However, the turkey is unquestionably damaged when the seasoning aroma disappears and you detect a foul stench.

Additionally, since cooked turkey can pick up other aromas, discard it if it doesn’t smell seasoning- or sour-scented but has another aroma.

What are the Harmful Effects of Consuming Turkey?

Turkey is a nutritious food that is okay to eat. Folks who want to lose weight are frequently advised to do it. However, there can be some negative effects. People who are intolerant or allergic to turkey meat may face health hazards. Painful cramping in the abdomen could result from this. The following are a few of the milder negative consequences of eating turkey:

An amino acid called tryptophan enters the bloodstream from the digestive system and travels to the neurological system. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can cause drowsiness and fatigue, is then produced from it. Turkey contains tryptophan, so eating it could make you feel sleepy.

The consumption of turkey deli meat should be avoided while pregnant.

It may result in food poisoning, which could harm the unborn child. Food poisoning from turkey can result in flu-like symptoms and, in severe cases, even meningitis. If such symptoms manifest, it is crucial to see a doctor.

Turkey’s skin has a significant amount of fat and calories. One little bit of skin can provide up to 70 calories to your body. If the skin is eaten with the turkey, weight gain may result.

Turkey can cause nausea and vomiting if consumed in high quantities. Additionally, eating improperly prepared turkey may cause vomiting since it can cause stomach infections.

Reference: Polymerase chain reaction assay for identification of chicken in meat and meat products

This study’s objective was to create a PCR assay for precisely detecting chicken meat utilizing a specially designed primer pair based on the mitochondrial D-loop gene to amplify 442 bp DNA fragments from fresh, processed, and autoclaved meat and meat products. Restriction digestion using the HaeIII and Sau3AI enzymes for a specific cutting site in amplified DNA fragments was used to confirm the PCR result further. Cross-testing, the assay’s specificity with DNA from cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, guinea fowl, turkeys, and quail, revealed that only chicken amplified without cross-reactivity with red meat species.


The best way to reheat turkey without drying it out is to use a skillet and cover it with a lid. Heat the stock to almost a simmer and add the turkey slices. You should monitor the liquid level, and the turkey should be reheated in less than 3-5 minutes.

There are a few ways to reheat smoked or pre-cooked turkey without drying it out. The first method involves putting the turkey pieces in a skillet with 1/2 inch of chicken stock. Make sure the pan does not get too hot. Also, cover the turkey pieces with aluminum foil so the moisture can remain in the meat and not evaporate and lose its flavor.