The Best Way To Reheat Turkey Without Losing The Flavor

Have you ever had turkey leftovers?

In Canada and USA, turkey is served as the main course for Thanksgiving. Even though the history of the Thanksgiving turkey is a mystery, I'm sure that nobody has a problem with it.

In many other countries all around the world, it is served as the main course of Christmas feasts.

But, of course, it is also used for everyday meals, and sliced turkey is used as sandwich meat.

In my family, turkey is on the menu almost every week. Jack and the kids simply adore it, and I prepare it for dinner as often as I can.

However, I used to have one tiny problem with it.

We could never eat the whole turkey for one dinner, and when I had heated it, it wasn't as tasty as it had been at first.

Whenever I had heated it, it lost its flavor, and it became sort of dry. It just wasn't even close to being as good as it was the first time. My friend Amanda was the only person who decided to point out the dryness.

That is why I did a little research, trying to find the best way to heat the turkey so it can stay as tasty as it was when it was just prepared. I decided to ask my neighbor for advice. What she told me definitely changed everything.

And now, every time I reheat it, my family doesn't even notice that it used to be a leftover turkey.

That is why I've decided to share some of the tricks that I've learned from my neighbor and perfected over the years. And if you love preparing turkey as much as I do, you will surely find this article interesting.

The Most Common Mistakes

There are a couple of things that you should remember to avoid when reheating turkey:

  • If you are reheating lean breast meat or legs and thighs at a lower degree, you will get dry results, and your turkey will have flabby skin.
  • Another mistake is putting the turkey directly from the refrigerator to the oven. Because if you don't let it rest for about 40 minutes outside of the fridge, it won't reheat evenly.
  • Reheating it at a low temperature isn't a good choice, because low temperatures will warm up the meat too slowly, and that might not kill the bacteria. That is why you should always remember to use higher temperatures while heating.
  • Freezing it more than once is also a common mistake. If you already froze it, make sure that it is eaten or used after you take it out. The biggest mistake you can make is to keep it in the fridge for too long. If it's there for more than four days, you might as well throw it away.

Advice On Perfect Reheating

After you finish your meal, you shouldn't wait for the whole afternoon before putting the turkey in the refrigerator. You should refrigerate it at the first opportunity, within ninety minutes after it has cooled down because some bacteria can double in twenty minutes.

Before you put it in the refrigerator, remember to cover it. I like to put it between lettuce leaves before refrigerating it so that it won't dry.

Make sure that you have enough freezer bags and freezer-safe containers, and ensure that they all have a lid.

Don't try to stick an entire turkey in your fridge or freezer, and remember to remove the stuffing as well. Before putting it in the fridge, separate the bones from the meat. Pack them in several shallow containers.

You can use the bones for making stock, but if you won't going to do it right away, make sure that you pack it in the refrigerator. Remember, taking it apart means that you will have more space in your fridge.

You should keep the temperature in your fridge at forty degrees Fahrenheit or lower, and the temperature in your freezer should be at 0 degrees or below.

When you have packed your leftovers, make sure that you don't open the freezer door too much, until you're sure that they have had enough time to cool down.

Another thing that I feel like I should point out is that leftover turkey should be eaten within two to four days. Don't wait for those days to pass, if you don't think you will be able to eat it in time, you should put it in the freezer.

The amount of time you have after you store it in a freezer is three to four months. Sure, you can store it for longer, but it won't taste as good if it has been frozen for longer than four months.

I like to label my food containers so that I know what's in there, and when have I stored it.

You should remember not to reheat your turkey more than once.

The Best Way To Reheat Turkey

You Will Need:

  • Your leftover turkey
  • Chicken broth
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • Oven - preheated
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer

The first thing that you should do is take your turkey out of the refrigerator (as I said, I like to put it between lettuce leaves before putting it aside in the fridge). You should let it rest outside for about 40 minutes so that it can reach room temperature.

While your dish is resting, you should preheat your oven. I like to preheat it to 350°F.

When your oven has heated, and your turkey has reached the room temperature, you should pour chicken broth over your dish, creating a 1/2 inch bath of broth for your turkey. Put the aluminum foil over it and then put it in the oven.

It usually takes about 20 minutes to reheat, but you should check it regularly because different amounts take different time. You don't want it too cold, but if it gets too hot, it will most likely be dry.

After it's done, you should remove the foil and broil it for about a minute or two, so that the skin can get crispy.

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Alternative Ways To Reheat Turkey

If you don't want to reheat your turkey in an oven, you can always use a microwave or a stovetop.

Although reheating in an oven is my favorite way, I'm going to explain the alternatives as well.

Reheating Turkey In A Microwave

The procedure is really similar to reheating in an oven.

  1. Put the pieces into a glass or microwave-safe dishes.
  2. Just like with the oven, you're going to pour broth over your dish.
  3. You have to cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid.
  4. Be careful so that the plastic wrap doesn't touch the meat.​

If your microwave doesn't have a turntable, you should turn the dish every two minutes. It is ready to eat when it reaches 165°F on the meat thermometer.

Your microwave should have directions for the appropriate power level based on its wattage.

Reheating Turkey On A Stovetop

  1. Place the turkey pieces in a shallow skillet.
  2. Just like with the oven or the microwave, you have to pour chicken broth over your dish.
  3. Make sure that your turkey is in a broth bath of about 1/2 inches.
  4. Your stove should be turned on to medium to high heat.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid (if it doesn't have a lid - use aluminum foil) and cook the turkey until it is warm.
  6. You should test it by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the turkey. If the thickest portion is 165°F, then your meal is ready.

Enjoy Your Leftover Turkey!

Now you know that there is no science in keeping your leftover turkey moist.

And I hope that we can all agree that reheating in an oven is the best way.

Bon Appétit!

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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