How to Reheat Smoked Turkey

Knowing how to perfectly reheat a turkey is essential during the holiday season and special occasions, as a mouth-watering, tender turkey is the centerpiece when gathering family and friends around the table. Cooking a turkey can be time-consuming and require substantial preparation, so many may opt for pre-cooked turkeys or even an especially large one to have plenty of leftovers to enjoy in the days that follow. Regardless of your approach, it’s essential to know how to properly reheat your turkey, whether it’s the main dish or leftovers, to avoid a dry, unappetizing result.

In this article, we’ll focus on the best methods and tips to ensure your turkey stays moist and flavorful when you’re ready to serve it. These methods work for whole turkeys and leftover smoked turkey, while covering those frequently asked questions you might have. After mastering these techniques, you will be able to preserve the taste and tenderness of your turkey and create meals worth sharing with your loved ones.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover methods for preserving your turkey’s texture and flavor when reheating
  • Learn about reheating pre-cooked whole turkeys and leftover smoked turkey slices
  • Address common concerns and inquiries related to reheating turkey and serving it with side dishes

How to Reheat a Whole Turkey

Giving Your Turkey a Head Start

To ensure a successful reheating process, remove the whole turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for approximately an hour. Since the turkey is already cooked, this is a safe practice and will make it easier to reheat without drying it out.

Before placing the turkey in the oven, wrap it in foil to help retain moisture during the reheating process.

Choosing the Ideal Temperature

Selecting the right oven temperature for reheating your turkey is crucial to avoid drying it out. It’s better to use a lower temperature, even if it takes longer to reheat. Aim for an oven temperature of approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you’re pressed for time and want to speed up the process while still keeping the turkey moist, the highest temperature limit should be around 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monitoring the Internal Temperature of the Turkey

It’s vital to keep an eye on the internal temperature of the turkey as it reheats. Use a probe thermometer to check the temperature periodically without needing to remove the turkey from the oven.

While you’re not cooking the turkey from scratch, it still needs to reach a safe internal temperature to avoid any potential bacterial growth. Aim for an internal temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t exceed 150 degrees, or the turkey will become dry.

Estimating the Reheating Duration

The actual reheating time for your turkey will vary based on different factors. However, it’s helpful to have a rough estimate so you can plan your meal accordingly.

If you’re reheating the turkey at the recommended temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit, the process could take between 3 to 4 hours, so start early. If you choose to reheat the turkey at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, it will take around two and a half hours to complete.

Remember to allocate an extra 30 minutes after the turkey has been reheated to let it rest before serving. This resting time allows the juices to distribute evenly, ensuring a delicious and moist turkey.

By following these steps with patience, focus, and precision, you will have a perfectly reheated whole turkey to enjoy with your loved ones.

Reheating Leftover Smoked Turkey

In the Oven

The oven method is the top choice for reheating your smoked turkey leftovers and maintaining their original quality. To keep the moisture intact and prevent dryness during the reheating process, wrap your turkey pieces in foil.

Before you begin, add a spoonful or two of gravy or chicken stock to the turkey to not only enhance the flavor but also ensure the turkey stays juicy. Here are the specifics for reheating leftover turkey in the oven:

  • Temperature: Keep the oven at a moderate temperature (around 300 degrees Fahrenheit) to prevent the turkey from drying out.
  • Time: Reheating turkey leftovers may take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the oven temperature.
  • Internal Temperature: Use a probe thermometer, measuring around 165 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure each turkey piece is fully heated.

On the Stovetop

If you’re short on time, reheating your turkey on the stovetop is a faster method than the oven but yields better results than microwaving. Place the turkey pieces in a skillet, add chicken stock or broth for flavor and juices, and cover with a lid. Let it simmer on medium-high heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

In the Microwave

The quickest and most convenient method for reheating turkey leftovers is using a microwave. However, this method poses a higher risk of the turkey becoming dry. To avoid this, follow these tips:

  1. Cut the turkey leftovers into smaller pieces for even reheating.
  2. Place turkey pieces in a microwave-safe container and add ingredients like chicken stock or butter to enhance the flavor and moisture.
  3. Cover the container with plastic wrap to retain moisture.
  4. Reheat for one minute, and then check to see if it’s heated thoroughly. If not, reheat for another minute and serve.

Remember to add chicken stock for that rejuvenated flavor and juiciness. With these methods, your reheated leftover smoked turkey will taste just as delicious as when it was first cooked. To ensure food safety, only reheat the portions you plan to eat, and avoid reheating the leftovers multiple times. Keep leftover smoked turkey carefully stored so you can continue savoring those delicious turkey sandwiches and meals.

How to Reheat Smoked Turkey

Reheat smoked turkey easily
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 277 kcal


  • Smoked turkey
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking dish


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  • Remove the smoked turkey from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Wrap the smoked turkey tightly in aluminum foil, making sure there are no gaps or holes.
  • Place the wrapped turkey in a baking dish.
  • Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before unwrapping and serving.


Calories: 277kcal
Keyword how to reheat smoked turkey
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Frequently Asked Questions

How should I heat up smoked turkey in the oven?

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Use a baking dish with a lid or aluminum foil to cover the turkey.
  3. Add a tablespoon of water per pound of turkey into the dish to maintain moisture.
  4. Heat the turkey for 10 minutes per pound.
  5. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reached 165°F (74°C).

What’s the method for reheating smoked turkey legs?

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Wrap each turkey leg in aluminum foil.
  3. Place wrapped legs on a baking sheet.
  4. Heat for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Check the internal temperature for 165°F (74°C) before consuming.

How do I reheat frozen smoked turkey properly?

  1. Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.
  2. Follow the steps for reheating smoked turkey in the oven or smoked turkey legs, depending on what you have.

What’s the right temperature for reheating smoked turkey breast?

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
  2. Follow the reheating process for smoked turkey in the oven, just adjusting the time for turkey breast, which should be around 25 minutes for every pound.

Do I need to warm up smoked turkey before eating?

Although you can eat smoked turkey cold, it’s recommended to reheat it to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) as a safety precaution and for a better flavor.

Can I use the sous vide method to reheat smoked turkey?

Yes. Follow these steps:

  1. Set the sous vide machine to 150°F (65°C).
  2. Seal the turkey in vacuum bags.
  3. Submerge the bags in the water bath.
  4. Heat for 90 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size.
  5. Check the internal temperature for 165°F (74°C) before consuming.
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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