How To Keep A Turkey Warm Without Drying It Out: 3 Easy Ways!


Everybody wants to give their guests the best Thanksgiving dinner possible. And, turkey is an essential part of every Thanksgiving meal.

Cooking turkey is still easy, the real challenge is keeping it warm without drying it out. So, how can you do that?

You can keep a turkey warm and moist without drying it in different ways. First, you can add a hot gravy to the turkey. Second, cover the turkey with foil and a towel. And last but not the least, do not carve the bird out immediately.

If you are interested in knowing more about these techniques, read on! In addition to it, we will answer some common questions about cooking a turkey that will make your dinner the star of the evening!

More: How To Know If a Turkey Is Done Without a Thermometer

Different Ways To Keep The Turkey Warm

So, let us now see in detail how you can use different methods to keep your turkey warm and juicy without drying it out:

1. Adding A Hot Gravy

At times when the turkey turns cold, the best way to make it warm and moist is by adding loads of hot and tasty gravy to it. So, pour a lot of gravy over the turkey on serving plates. That way, you do not have to reheat the turkey.

But, how do you make the perfect gravy for your turkey? Let’s see a quick recipe for it:

  • Collect the pan drippings of a turkey and sieve them. This will make sure that there are no solid parts left.
  • In a pan, add butter on medium flame. Once the butter melts, add flour and thyme and cook till its color changes to brown.
  • Then, add the turkey drippings slowly to the pan. Whisk it thoroughly and let it cook.
  • Turn the flame on and simmer and move continuously till it thickens. This will generally take 5-10 minutes.
  • Once done, you can add fresh parsley, salt, and pepper to the gravy. Add it to the turkey when it is hot. And you are done!


2. Do Not Carve Turkey Immediately

Do not carve the turkey right after taking it out as it will not stay remain for long. Furthermore, cutting hot turkey can burn your hands.

Many chefs leave the turkey for 20 minutes on a tabletop before cutting it. Not only does this make the turkey juicier, but also it is easier to carve the turkey out.

If you know your guests will be late, do not worry! You can keep your turkey for 20 minutes. You can also prepare your turkey keeping this in mind so that you do not get late in completing your dish.

3. Cover Turkey 

One of the most effective ways to keep the turkey warm is to increase the insulation value.

You can do this by covering the turkey with aluminum foil. Then, cover the turkey with a dishtowel. This way, you can keep the turkey at the same temperature before serving it.

Subsequently, you can cover the turkey and keep it at 200°F in the oven. On the bottom of the oven, place a pan with water so that the turkey bird stays juicy and tender for a longer duration.

Also check: Can You Brine A Frozen Turkey?

How Do You Keep Turkey Warm And Moist After Cooking?

Are you worried that your turkey will be cold and dry if you leave it like that? Well, you do not need to worry anymore. Apart from the above-mentioned tips and tricks, here are a few more things you can try.

Invest In Hot Plates

If you want to keep the turkey warm, buying hot plates for your guests is a good move.

The hot plates are small and portable cooktops that have gas burners. When serving your guests, you can use them to keep the turkey hot and tender.

Hold Turkey

If you have enough space in your oven or if you own a spare oven, keep your turkey there at 200°F. Make sure you cover the turkey to prevent it from drying out.


How Do You Keep Turkey Warm For Several Hours?

Sometimes you can cook turkey early as you miscalculated the cooking time. Other times, your guests or family members are running late for the meal. All in all, your turkey is ready before time but you do not know how to keep it warm.

If your turkey is done an hour early, you can keep it uncovered for around 30 minutes. For the next 30 minutes, cover the turkey with aluminum foil and a towel.

However, if your turkey is ready several hours in advance, keep the turkey for 20 minutes. And then, carve all the pieces of the turkey and cover them separately with foil.

When everyone is ready for dinner, take all the pieces and reheat them for 15 minutes at 325°F. This will make sure your turkey remains warm and juicy for the meal. 

Can You Keep Sliced Turkey Warm In A Crockpot?

Before adding sliced turkey to the crockpot, it is essential that you reheat the pieces in an oven or a microwave. You should not add cold food to the crockpot as it will become soggy.

Once done, you can add the turkey slices to the crockpot on the “Keep Warm” setting. For the first one and half hours keep it on low, then change the setting to warm.

Reminder: You can leave the turkey only for 2-4 hours in a crockpot.

More: How To Tell When Ground Turkey Is Done?

How Long Can You Keep A Turkey Warm After Cooking?

According to the USDA, you must not leave your cooked turkey for more than two hours at room temperature or one hour at a temperature above 90°F. If this happens, it is best to discard your turkey.

In general, you can keep a turkey warm after cooking for 1.5 hours. If you want to keep it warm for a longer time, you can try the above-mentioned techniques or reheat the turkey.


How To Keep A Turkey Warm While Traveling?

If you have cooked turkey and want to travel with it to another destination but at the same time keep it warm, you can do it. However, this method will only work for 2-4 hours. Thus, make sure your trip is no longer than that.

All you have to do is follow the simple steps mentioned below. 

  • Hold the turkey in the oven for as long as possible. The best thing will be to take out the turkey at the very last moment when you are just leaving.
  • Do not cut the turkey into pieces as they cool down faster this way.
  • Cover the entire turkey with aluminum foil to keep it insulated and warm. If you want to be sure, cover the foiled turkey with towels and hot water.
  • Then, place it in the cooler so that it remains warm throughout your trip.
  • Once you reach your destination, take the turkey out and serve it to your guests or family.

How Long Will A Turkey Stay Warm In Foil?

Covering a turkey with tin foil will trap the moisture and steam coming out from the turkey. This will make sure your turkey does not dry out.

However, you can keep the turkey warm in foil outside the oven for as long as two hours. So, make sure you plan your meal in a way that it is served within two hours of cooking it.

How To Keep Turkey Warm In An Electric Roaster?

Once you are done cooking turkey in an electric roaster, change the temperature settings to warm. This will turn the roaster on low heat and the turkey will stay warm till the time it is served.

However, there are two things you need to keep in mind. First, clean your electric roaster after every use. Second, do not add water or any other liquid while warming the turkey in an electric roaster.

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