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How to Properly Reheat Your Leftover Turkey

Reheated turkey doesn’t have to be dry and rubbery.

A properly prepared Thanksgiving turkey is moist and tender, but oftentimes will lose some of that juiciness and texture when it’s reheated. While leftover turkey can always be stashed in the refrigerator and served cold, sometimes you just crave a hot turkey meal. Reheated turkey doesn’t have to taste like rubbery leftovers. Here are a few tips for reheating your turkey so that it’s just as yummy and juicy as a freshly-roasted bird.

Reheating in the Microwave

Separate the bone-in and boneless piece of the turkey into separate glass or microwave-safe dishes. The key to reheating in the microwave is to retain moisture. One thing you can do is pour broth over the turkey pieces such that the meat is resting in about ½ inch of liquid. Cover in a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap and then reheat the turkey. Use short one minute bursts and stir/flip the dish until ready.

For side dishes such as sweet potato or green bean casserole, make sure to stir. While a microwave’s built-in rotating tray helps, it won’t do the entire job. Stirring will help evenly distribute the heat throughout the food. Using short intervals will let you check on the food’s progress so that it doesn’t overcook.

Reheating in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 275-325 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is to warm the turkey enough to be pleasant, but not so hot that you drive off all the moisture. If your turkey was refrigerated whole, carve it into smaller pieces before cooking, as this will allow for quicker and more even reheating. Place turkey into a shallow pan — a rimmed cake or casserole pan is a good choice. Try to avoid layering the meat. Instead, place pieces so they don’t overlap. You may need to use multiple pans if you’re heating a lot all at once. Timing will vary greatly based on the shape and size of your leftover turkey pieces. A crosswise-cut half breast will need about 35 to 45 minutes. For a crispier finish, place large skin-on pieces skin side down in a lightly oiled skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until the skin re-crisps.

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