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How To Reheat Sliced Turkey – I Test 5 Methods [Pics]

Turkey meat has a reputation for drying out easily.

The key question here is, can you restore its moisture and flavor when reheating it?

Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

In this article, I test five different sliced turkey reheating methods in detail. I’ll also show you how best to store turkey to keep it tender.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

A note on my experiment

I love a good old turkey dinner (even outside of the holiday season).

Thanksgiving was coming up, and I knew I’d have some leftover turkey, so I wanted to do a trial run to find the best way to reheat it.

The techniques I tried included:

  • In the oven (slow but great for large portions)
  • In the microwave (okay if you’re in a hurry)
  • On the stove (keeps turkey tender and moist)
  • In a steamer (quick with good results)
  • In an air fryer (can be risky and leave you with dry turkey)

The stove method was my favorite for restoring and amplifying the flavor of my leftover turkey. The steamer was a surprise entry and resulted in super moist meat.

Note: it’s always best to slice your meat before reheating it. I conducted all these tests with sliced turkey. Reheating meat on the carcass is a sure-fire way to end up with dry meat.

Reheating sliced turkey in the oven

Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C). Let your meat come to room temperature while the oven warms up. Wrap your turkey slices tightly in foil after adding a few tablespoons of gravy, stock, or butter to the package. Pop onto a wire rack and heat for 10-15 minutes, or until hot.

Adding a dash of a liquid, like stock or gravy, returns moisture to the meat and prevents it from drying out.

How to reheat sliced turkey in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Add a few tablespoons of gravy, stock, cooking juices, or butter to your turkey slices.
  3. Wrap them tightly in foil, pressing out as much air as possible.
  4. Place the foil package on a wire rack in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on how much meat you’re reheating.

Letting your turkey come to room temperature before reheating isn’t essential but will help the meat heat more evenly.

In addition, using a wire rack instead of a baking sheet will prevent the bottom of your turkey slices from heating up faster than the top.

Low and slow does the trick. Too much heat too quickly will dry out your meat.

My verdict

The oven is a relatively slow method, but it’s great for big portions and delivers consistently good results.

The added liquid keeps your turkey soft and gives it a flavor boost.

If you’re reheating lots of slices at once, I recommend making a few separate foil packages to spread out the load and speed up the warming process.

Reheating sliced turkey in the microwave

Spread out a few slices of turkey on a microwave-safe plate. Drizzle them with some liquid e.g. stock, gravy, or cooking juices, and cover them with a piece of damp paper towel. Then, place your turkey slices in the microwave and warm them up at 50% power in 30-second intervals.

Using a medium to low heat setting (50% power) will make sure you just reheat the meat rather than cooking it.

How to reheat sliced turkey in the microwave:

  1. Spread out your leftover turkey slices on a microwave-safe plate.
  2. Drizzle them with a tablespoon or two of stock, gravy, or cooking juices.
  3. Cover the slices with a piece of damp paper towel.
  4. Set your microwave to medium-low heat.
  5. Warm up your turkey in 30-second intervals until hot, checking at each stop.

It’s best to stick to reheating one or two slices of turkey at a time.

If you pile too many pieces on one plate, you’ll end up with some cold spots and some overcooked spots.

If you don’t have a paper towel, you can use plastic wrap or a lid. Anything that traps the steam will work.

My verdict

The microwave is speedy, which makes it perfect for lunch for one.

But I probably wouldn’t use it if I was serving the turkey to guests because the results aren’t always consistent. You can end up with dry turkey, especially around the edges. 

Reheating sliced turkey on the stove

Place a few slices of turkey in a skillet and cover them with stock. Place a lid on the skillet and heat your turkey on a medium-low heat until the stock is nearly simmering and the meat is warmed through. Watch the liquid level in the pan. If it gets too low, add some more.

Depending on the portion size you’re reheating, this process shouldn’t take more than 3-5 minutes.

How to reheat sliced turkey on the stove:

  1. Place a few slices of turkey, spread out, in a skillet.
  2. Add enough stock (or water) to your skillet to cover the slices.
  3. Cover with a lid. If you don’t have a lid, you can use foil.
  4. Heat on medium-low for 3-5 minutes until your stock is nearly simmering and your turkey is hot.
  5. Serve immediately.

The thinner your turkey slices, the faster they’ll heat up, so keep a close eye to avoid overcooking them.

I recommend using stock as your liquid, but don’t feel limited by that.

You could also use gravy, leftover cooking juices, or even a fruit juice like cranberry juice!

Related: How To Sweeten Cranberry Juice

Note: you can also fry your turkey meat in a bit of oil or butter, but I find this increases the chances of dry, overcooked meat.

My verdict

I loved this method because of how succulent and moist it kept my turkey meat. Warming it in liquid reduces the risk of dryness almost completely.

I also enjoyed experimenting with different flavor infusions by using different types of stock.

Best of all, this method is fast and fuss-free.

Reheating sliced turkey in a steamer

Set up your steamer and fill the lower section with water or stock. Bring it to a gentle boil. Add a few slices of turkey to the steamer basket and cover with a lid. Allow your meat to reheat for 2-4 minutes, or until warm to your satisfaction.

How to reheat sliced turkey in a steamer:

  1. Set up your steamer.
  2. Add stock or water to the steamer’s lower level and bring it to the boil.
  3. Spread out your leftover turkey slices in the steamer basket.
  4. Cover with a lid and steam for 2-4 minutes or until warm.

Water works fine for this method, but I find stock adds a kick of flavor.

Keeping your slices to a single layer will speed up the process and prevent them from drying out.

My verdict

I highly recommend this method. It was super fast and kept my meat moist and tender.

Depending on the size of your steamer, it’s also possible to warm up quite a few slices at once.

Reheating sliced turkey in an air fryer

Set your air fryer to 300°F (150°C). Drizzle a few slices of turkey with butter, stock, or gravy. Wrap them tightly in foil and place them in your air fryer basket. Heat for 5 minutes, checking at the halfway mark. 

If possible, try to bring your turkey to room temperature before reheating it.

How to reheat sliced turkey in an air fryer:

  1. Set your air fryer to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of stock, gravy, or butter over your turkey slices.
  3. Wrap them tightly in foil.
  4. Place the foil package in your air fryer basket.
  5. Heat for 5 minutes, checking progress at the halfway mark.
  6. Once hot, serve immediately.

Keeping your temperature low will reduce the risk of drying out your turkey in the air fryer’s harsh heat.

Wrapping it in foil locks in moisture and means there’s no mess in your fryer basket.

Note: If there’s any skin on your turkey portion, remove it place it uncovered in the air fryer to crisp it up.

My verdict

This method is very touch-and-go. The harsh heat of the air fryer is not ideal for turkey meat and can quickly dry it out.

I would only recommend the air fryer if you’re generous with your liquid (and in a hurry).

How to re-crisp turkey skin

To re-crisp turkey skin, start by heating a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Take your already-warmed turkey portion and carefully press it skin-side down into the hot oil. Remove and serve immediately once the skin is crispy (after roughly a minute).

Alternatively, remove the skin from your turkey and pop it into your air fryer or under your broiler for a minute or two on high heat. Serve it with the rest of your turkey meat once crispy.

How to reheat turkey breast

Turkey breast is best reheated in the oven. Preheat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Place the breast in a baking dish with a small amount of broth and cover it tightly with foil. Heat your meat for 15 minutes per pound, or until it measures 165°F (75°C) internally with a thermometer.

How to store sliced turkey

To store leftover turkey, first, carve it from the carcass in slices. Then, allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, transfer your slices into a shallow airtight container or heavy-duty zip-lock bags and place the meat in the fridge. Consume within 4 days of storing.

Never leave turkey at room temperature for more than two hours. Slicing the turkey before storage ensures it cools down quickly enough.

Can you freeze sliced turkey?

You can freeze leftover turkey for up to 3 months before it starts losing quality. Slicing the turkey up and portioning it out makes it easier to store and thaw for later use. To freeze, simply wrap your turkey slices tightly in plastic wrap and then transfer them into heavy-duty freezer bags.

How to freeze sliced turkey:

  1. Carve and leftover turkey off the carcass and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Portion the turkey out and wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap.
  3. Transfer your various portions into zip-lock freezer bags.
  4. Vacuum seal or remove the excess air from the bags before sealing.
  5. Use your leftover turkey within 3 months.

You can also thaw big chunks of turkey instead of slicing it up, but this means you’ll have to plan ahead and make sure you take it out of the freezer on time.

Big portions of meat can take a long time to defrost. 

Wrapping your slices in plastic wrap and using a freezer bag reduces their risk of contracting freezer burn.

How to reheat frozen sliced turkey

To thaw frozen sliced turkey, place it in the fridge overnight to defrost. You can use your microwave defrost setting if you’re in a hurry, but this may dry out your meat. Once thawed, you can reheat your turkey slices in the oven, skillet, or microwave.

Avoid cooking the meat straight from frozen because this tends to lead to overcooked outsides and still frozen insides.

How To Reheat Sliced Turkey

In this short recipe, I show you the best way to revive and reheat your leftover turkey slices.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: reheat turkey slices, turkey slices
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 104kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 portion turkey sliced
  • 1 portion stock or gravy, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C).
  • Add a few tablespoons of gravy, stock, cooking juices, or butter to your turkey slices.
  • Wrap them tightly in foil, pressing out as much air as possible.
  • Place the foil package on a wire rack in the oven for 10-15 minutes. The exact time will vary depending on how much meat you’re reheating.

Notes

Letting your turkey come to room temperature before reheating isn’t essential but will help the meat heat more evenly.
In addition, using a wire rack instead of a baking sheet will prevent the bottom of your turkey slices from heating up faster than the top.
Low and slow does the trick. Too much heat too quickly will dry out your meat.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 104kcal

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