Turkey cooked from the raw state and then stored in a refrigerator or freezer
for future use must be reheated to an internal temperature of 165ºF. It
must be reheated to this level with no interruption in the cooking or heating
Some turkey products are available from your supplier in the fully cooked
state, either chilled or frozen. When serving these products hot, they
must be reheated to an internal temperature of 140ºF. It's important
not to overheat these products. Overheating can result in moisture evaporation,
which can intensify the flavor of added seasonings as well as reduce
The temperature must be measured with a thermometer inserted into the
thickest portion of the product or between slices.
Do not attempt to achieve this temperature by heating cold products
in a steam table or by pouring hot gravy or sauce over cold turkey. Turkey
in sauce or gravy is most quickly heated in a steam-jacketed kettle,
usually requiring less than 30 minutes to reach 165ºF.
Other methods of reheating foods include:
- Reheat turkey alone or with sauce or gravy in pressure steamer.
- Reheat turkey with sauce or gravy in covered pans on range top or
in open pans in a preheated oven. This method is least preferred due
to the amount of time required.
- Reheat stuffing and other accompaniments in open, shallow pans in
a preheated oven.
- Heat turkey stock and gravy to boiling in pans on range tops or in
steam-jacketed kettles/tilt braising pans.
Holding Cooked Turkey
For best quality and for food safety, do not cook turkey ahead to hold
or to cool and reheat. Instead, cook progressively as needed (in batches)
for immediate service.
However, if it's necessary to hold cooked turkey, maintain at a temperature
of 140ºF or higher. We recommend a maximum holding time of 20 to 30 minutes
for quality and safety.
Check your local and state regulations for more information. For example,
some states have specific requirements for the serving temperature of