The Best Way to Reheat Thanksgiving Leftovers

updated Nov 17, 2023
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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.

That’s where learning how to reheat Thanksgiving leftovers comes into play. For a single plate of leftovers, the microwave does a fine job. But when I’m reheating leftovers for two or more people, 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.

The Best Way to Reheat Thanksgiving Leftovers

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.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

How to Reheat Dinner Rolls

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.

How to Reheat Turkey and Mashed Potatoes

Next, you’ll want to get your turkey and potatoes into the oven. Transfer the turkey and mashed potatoes into oven-safe dishes, add a little stock to the turkey and butter to the potatoes, and cover both dishes. Reheat them together for about 30 minutes at 350°F. You’re winning the leftover dinner game right now.

More Reheating Details

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How to Reheat Stuffing

The high-five of this leftover dinner is that you are going to fry your leftover stuffing in butter in a pan on the stovetop. I challenge you to not pick at the golden crispy bits of stuffing while you’re cooking — it’s nearly impossible to resist.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How to Reheat Gravy

Rolls are warm in the slow cooker, hot turkey and potatoes are resting comfortably on the counter to cool for just 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.