The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days to open the fridge. It's filled with stack upon stack of leftover containers, brimming with possibilities. And though I'm prone to turning those leftovers into something else — say, lasagna or soup — there will be at least one meal of unadulterated leftovers enjoyed throughout that post-Thanksgiving weekend.
For a single plate of leftovers, the microwave does a fine job of delivering this leftover bliss, but when I'm reheating leftovers for two people or more, there are much better ways to get turkey, potatoes with gravy, rolls, and stuffing from the fridge to the table. Here we'll cover a basic timeline and methods for reheating Thanksgiving leftovers to bring them back to their original glory.
Reheating Leftovers the Best Way vs. the Fastest Way
Hands-down the fastest way to reheat leftovers is in the microwave, and there are many times when reheating a solo plate of leftovers will suffice. But I think we can all admit that the microwave does nothing for the crispness of stuffing or the moistness of turkey. In every cooking lesson included here, we've given the best method for reheating as well as microwave directions so that you can make your own leftover choices.
A Leftovers Dinner Timeline
Here's how I use the best reheating methods for each of these Thanksgiving leftovers if I'm heating up a large quantity for out-of-town guests lingering the weekend or just my family of four.
Get the rolls reheating first.
I love to use the slow cooker to reheat rolls because it keeps them soft and warm for up to two hours, plus frees up oven space for turkey and potatoes. Get the slow cooker going while you pull out leftovers.
Put the turkey and potatoes into the oven.
Move the turkey and mashed potatoes to oven-safe dishes, add a little stock to the turkey and butter to the potatoes, and cover and reheat them together for about 30 minutes at 350°F. You're winning the leftover dinner game right now.
More Reheating Details
Crisp up the stuffing on the stovetop.
The high-five of this leftover dinner is that you are going to fry your leftover stuffing in butter on the stovetop. I challenge you to not pick at the golden crispy bits of stuffing while you're cooking — its nearly impossible to resist.
Finally, warm up the gravy and serve.
Rolls are warm in the slow cooker, hot turkey and potatoes are resting comfortably on the counter to cool a minute, and you've moved that better-than-before stuffing to a serving dish. Now you can reuse the stuffing pan to reheat the gravy just before serving. Make sure the pan has cooled a bit and spoon the gravy into the pan. Set the heat to low and stir until simmering. You're a leftovers hero now.