January 13, 2021

Even though many people associate a smoked turkey with the holidays, there’s no denying that it’s the perfect meal for any occasion. 

A turkey-based dish dates back to centuries when it was popularly cooked for Thanksgiving. Regardless of the occasion, a smoked turkey is a delicious meal that goes well with a myriad of side dishes, but tastes absolutely perfect on its own as well. 

A smoked turkey dish typically serves a whole family, which is why the dish yields a lot of leftovers. 

Even preparing a smoked turkey dish is often rigorous and time-consuming. That is why most people resort to getting a pre-cooked turkey dish. Heating leftovers or pre-cooked smoked turkey can be tricky because most want to reheat it without letting it dry out. 

If a smoked turkey is on your menu for a dinner party, here’s a complete guide that will help you figure out how to reheat a smoked turkey, whether it’s whole or leftover or just a smoked turkey leg. 

Is a smoked turkey fully cooked?

When you buy a smoked turkey, it’s usually fully cooked. Store-bought smoked turkey is typically sold fully cooked so that you can store it in the refrigerator and take it out, reheat it, and serve it to your guests.

For that reason, it’s perfectly safe to slice the smoked turkey and eat it right out of the packaging as it’s already cooked thoroughly. 

How to keep a smoked turkey from drying out

You don't need to add butter or oil to your smoked turkey to help it retain its moisture. There are other ways you can keep your smoked turkey from drying out.

For example, you can brine your turkey before cooking it to lock in a considerable amount of moisture. Brining it overnight also helps keep the turkey tender after smoking it.

To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Place the turkey in a plastic cooking bag.
  • Immerse the bag in water so that it is completely covered with the water.
  • Add one cup of table salt or two cups of kosher salt to the water.
  • Close the bag and leave the turkey in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
  • Then, remove the brine and wash the turkey with fresh water.
  • Pat the turkey dry.
  • After this, the turkey is prepared to be cooked and smoked.

When you cook your turkey, make sure you don’t cook it for too long as excessive cooking will dry it out.

Also, keep checking the turkey's temperature and once it reaches the ideal temperature, remove it from the oven. 

How to reheat a whole smoked turkey

The best way to reheat a whole smoked turkey is to do it through an oven. This is largely because the oven allows the heat to reach all parts of the bird evenly, including the thickest parts. This way, the turkey remains tender and doesn’t dry out.

Here’s how you can reheat a whole smoked turkey using an oven:

  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for at least a day before reheating it.
  • Place the turkey on the pan with the breast side down.
  • Cover the turkey with a coat of cooking spray and then cover it with aluminum foil.
  • If you don’t have a foil, you can reheat the turkey without it. You will need to pour a layer of broth onto the pan to avoid the turkey from drying out when reheating it.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and let it reheat for an hour.
  • Keep checking the temperature of the turkey by using a thermometer; place it on the thickest part of the turkey.
  • If the thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, then the turkey is ready.
  • Turn off the oven and leave the turkey in the oven for 15-20 minutes. This will allow it to become more moist and tender before carving it and serving it to your guests.

How to reheat leftover smoked turkey

When it comes to reheating smoked turkey leftovers, the steps are slightly different. This is because you don’t need to keep it for long in the oven since you’re reheating parts of the turkey instead of the whole bird.

For this reason, it’s simpler if you want to reheat a smoked turkey leg or wing.

Here’s how you can reheat smoked turkey leftovers:

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Thaw the smoked turkey leftovers at room temperature for at least four hours before reheating them.
  • Place them in an ovenproof dish.
  • Cover the leftovers with a thin layer of water or gravy.
  • Put the dish in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • The leftover smoked turkey will be done when it reaches the temperature of 155 degrees.
  • Take out the leftovers and serve.

Tips and tricks

Here are some of the tips and tricks you can use when you are reheating smoked turkey:

  • Cut up the whole turkey into different parts, such as legs, wings, or breasts. This will allow the turkey to heat up faster.
  • If you want to add stuffing, you must cook it first separately before putting it in turkey as the reheating process will not cook the stuffing.
  • If you want to reheat slices of turkey, you can do so by adding a layer of gravy or broth and reheating them for thirty minutes.
  • You can also speed up the thawing process of the turkey by placing it in a bowl of water instead of leaving it in the refrigerator.

The bottom line

Now that you have read through this guide, you must know all there is to it on ‘how to reheat a smoked turkey?’

Whether it’s whole, leftover, or simply a smoked turkey leg, the only thing you need to do is follow the simple steps prepared above to ensure that the smoked turkey is fresh, tender, and heated evenly through before you serve it to your guests.

Good luck! 

How to reheat smoked turkey

How to reheat smoked turkey

Here's everything you need to know about reheating leftover smoked turkey without losing its tenderness and freshness!


  • Smoked turkey leftovers
  • Oven
  • Oven-proof dish


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. Thaw the smoked turkey leftovers at room temperature for at least four hours before reheating them
  3. Place them in an ovenproof dish
  4. Cover the leftovers with a thin layer of water or gravy
  5. Put the dish in the oven for 40 minutes
  6. The leftover smoked turkey will be done when it reaches the temperature of 155 degrees
  7. Take the reheated turkey out and serve.

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

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