How To Reheat A Smoked Turkey And Keep It Tender

Turkey was known as a unique food on Thanksgiving day since 1621 by William Bradford’s note. At that time, turkey is big enough for a meal with full members in a family (6 ~ 10 persons).

Nowadays a family only include 3 ~ 4 people, so the leftover turkey after Thanksgiving day will be a headache for all housewife. So how to deal with it? 

However, not everyone knows how to reheat a smoked turkey without drying it out. Reheating smoked turkey is to process it with heat a second time.

It is easy to overcook it and take away all the tenderness and juiciness of a delicious turkey.

After a few failures, I gain some experience when warming smoked turkey, especially a whole one. I can tell you that it is not difficult to reheat a turkey and keep it tender. Here is how I do it.

What Do You Need To Reheat A Smoked Turkey?

Photo Credit: Another Pint Please… Via: / CC BY-NC-SA

There are several ways to reheat a smoked turkey. But after some experiments, my favorite one is to do it in an oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

This method requires more time to finish than some other ways. But it allows heat to go into the thickest part of the bird while keeping its tenderness.

Using an oven to warm a smoked turkey gives you time to prepare other food. When the oven does it job, you are free to deal with other dishes.

There is no particular requirement of tools to reheat a smoked turkey. Everything you need is already in your kitchen.

To reheat your smoked turkey, same as reheating other foods you need to prepare below tools:

  • A good pan to bake your smoked turkey. The size of the pan you should use for the turkey depends on the size of your turkey and oven
  • Cooking spray to moisturize the smoked turkey
  • A probe thermometer to check the inside temperature of the smoked turkey
  • Aluminum foil to tent the smoked turkey and keep it moist
  • Chicken broth to maintain the turkey tenderness
  • An oven

How To Reheat A Smoked Turkey Properly

1. Reheating A Whole Turkey

The process to reheat a whole smoked turkey consists of 4 steps. They are simple and easy to follow. The most important factors you should pay attention to are the temperature and time.

step by step guide to reheat smoked turkey
Resting a reheated smoked turkey (Photo Credit: snowpea&bokchoi Via: / CC BY)

Step 1: Thaw Your Turkey Before Reheating It

A smoked turkey is likely to be frozen. Thaw the turkey inside the refrigerator for at least one day prior to reheating it. Defrosting the turkey helps the heating process happen more quickly and keep the turkey delicious.

Reheating a frozen smoked turkey is possible. But from my experience, I’m against it. Doing so will impact the texture of the turkey meat. Most of all, it is hard for heat to reach all the parts of a frosted turkey.

Step 2: Prepare The Reheat

Place the smoked turkey in a roasting pan, with the breast side down. You can choose to reheat the turkey with or without an aluminum foil cover. No matter which one do you choose, you can avoid drying the turkey out.

If you choose the former, use the cooking spray on the skin of the bird then wrap it with foil. If you choose the latter, pour a layer of broth onto the pan.

These preparations are to keep the smoked turkey moist and tender.

Then, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and ready for the next step.

Step 3: Reheat A Smoked Turkey

Place the roasting pan in the oven. The total reheat time depends on the weight of your turkey. A simple formula you can use is every pound equals five minutes.

So, it will take approximately more than 1 hour for a usual size turkey.

Use the probe thermometer to check the inside temperature of the bird.

You will want to check the thickest part of the thigh. If it reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, your reheated smoked turkey is ready. Take it out of the oven before overcooking it.

Step 4: Let It Rest And Serve

Let the now warm smoked turkey rest for about 15 – 20 minutes after you remove it from the oven.

During this time, the meat absorbs the simmering juice and becomes juicy and tender. Then you can carve it and serve to your guests.

Resting your reheating smoked turkey makes it easier to cut later. Do not rush and destroy the delicious bird by cutting it right after getting out from the oven. A little bit patient is the only thing you need.

2. Reheating A Smoked Turkey Leg or Wings

Compare with whole smoked turkey, it is more simple when you want to reheat a smoked turkey leg or wings.

Using separate parts of the turkey for reheating is faster than a whole smoked turkey. But how to reheat it? Just follow my instruction below:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Thaw the smoked legs or wings by leaving it out at room temperature at least 4 hour before reheating.

Step 3: Put them on oven-safe dish. Add 3 or 4 spool of gravy or water depend on how big of your turkeys legs and wings. You can add some onions if you like. Then cover with the foil.

Step 4: Put the dish into oven about 40 minutes.

Step 5: Take it out and enjoy it.

Note: You can use the above instructions to cook the pre smoked turkey legs and wings or turkey breasts as well. But carefully to check internal temperature, the pre-smoked turkey will be done when it reach to 155 degrees Fahrenheit inside.

Some Extra Tips To Thoroughly Enjoy A Reheated Smoked Turkey

tips and hacks for reheating smoked turkey

You can always use some tips when try to reheat a smoked turkey depending on the particular situation. Here are some of them.

 Speed Up The Process

This is what you can do if you prefer a faster process and do not need to care about how the turkey presents: cut the turkey breasts, wings, thighs, and legs.

Reheating separate parts is faster than doing so to a whole smoked turkey.

 Stuff Your Smoked Turkey

If you want to stuff your smoked turkey, I would advise you to precook them before stuffing. Because method I introduce here is to warm the turkey not to cook, it may not cook the stuffing appropriately.

 Make The Gravy

The dripping on the bottom of the roasting pan is the answer for your love of gravy. Take the final mixture and use it for the gravy recipe you prefer. It may not be as perfect as usual gravy, but it is a good choice when you use a precooked turkey.

 Reheat Sliced Turkey

If you have some slices of turkey and want to reheat them, you can apply the above process. Pour some chicken broth over the meat and wrap it with foil to keep it moist and tender while reheating. Bake them for about 30 minutes.

FAQs About How To Reheat A Smoked Turkey

For further advice, here I will answer some FAQs when it comes to reheating smoked turkey. Hope these can solve your worries!

Can You Freeze A Smoked Turkey?

The answer is, of course, yes. Actually, most store-bought smoked turkey comes frozen. And it’s best to defrost it before reheating.

Can I thaw my frozen smoked turkey in the sink overnight? 

Yes, thawing in the refrigerator is not the only method. Thawing with water or microwave is also possible.

If you want to use water for defrosting, place the smoked turkey inside a close-tight bag. Prepare a casserole with full of cold water.

Then, put the bag in a sink of cool water. It usually takes about 4-7 hours to defrost, so you can also choose to leave it overnight.

Now, what if your frozen smoked turkey is like, floating and not fully covered by water? Don’t worry! Turn the turkey over frequently to thaw. Or simply put a heavy thing onto the turkey to make it sink into the water.

How Long Does A Smoked Turkey Last? 

You may concern about which is the longest time possible between pre-cooking and reheating smoked turkey.

Well, if you put the turkey in a plastic food container and store it in a refrigerator, it is safe to consume within 3-4 days and still keep the same taste.

Want to store the turkey for a longer time? Freeze it inside a well-sealed bag and it can last up to 4 months.

How To Serve A Smoked Turkey? 

Finally, after finishing reheating, now you may want to know what is the best way to serve your stunning smoked turkey.

Well, the choice is up to your interest. But to help you with that, I will give you a list of things that goes well with a smoked turkey:

  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Root vegetables
  • Cheddar cheese biscuits
  • Sausage and herb stuffing
  • Creamy garlic mashed potatoes


So now, the question “How to reheat a smoked turkey” is dead simple, right?. It ensures your success and saves time.

I find a smoked turkey very useful when preparing a big meal for a large number of people. I can buy it or make it before the day and use the saved time to cook other dishes.

The only thing you want to ensure is to reheat the smoked turkey to keep it as delicious as a freshly made one.

Below is what I collect from my trial and experiments. For me, the process is optimal for a simple, and tender reheated smoked turkey.

I would love to read your opinions and sharing on this topic. If you have any practical methods or tips, feel free to share with everyone to help and to learn.

If you use this tutorial at home, tell me if it works for you or is there anything you want to change.

14 thoughts on “How To Reheat A Smoked Turkey And Keep It Tender”

  1. I think your temperature is wrong. 325°C = 617°F I don’t think most commercial get that hot. Are you sure that’s not a typo and you meant to put 325°F?

  2. The package says “already cooked smoked turkey” but the reheating instructions say 15 minutes per pound. Your site says 5 minutes per pound. I am now trying to decide which to follow. It seems like 2.8 hours is more like how I would cook a turkey originally the very first time. So now do I cook it for 2.8 hours according to the package or do I follow yours and cook it for 57 minutes? Thats a huge difference!!!

  3. What about doing the turkey in a roaster? I know the time would be shorter. Also it has netting, leave on during cooking or remove before roasting?


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