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The Ultimate Guide to Reheating Thanksgiving Sides

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If you’re like most people, you’ll probably have a lot of leftovers after Thanksgiving day. Here’s an ultimate guide to reheating all your favorite Thanksgiving sides after the holiday so they taste just as good as the first time around. ENJOY!

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What Are Some of The Best Sides to Have with Thanksgiving Dinner?

Thanksgiving dinner is undoubtedly all about the turkey (or arguably ham for some people), but let’s not forget about the delicious sides that come along with it.

Cranberry sauce adds a burst of tangy sweetness, mashed potatoes and gravy provide the ultimate comfort food experience, and green beans offer a vibrant pop of color on the plate.

One can’t forget about the quintessential staple – stuffing, with its savory combination of herbs and bread.

Another crowd favorite helps to balance out all of those rich flavors – a simple yet satisfying side salad.

And finally, no Thanksgiving feast would be complete without a selection of mouthwatering seasonal pies for dessert. From classic apple pie to pumpkin spice, there are endless options to satisfy every sweet tooth at the table.

But after you finish making all these delicious Thanksgiving foods, you’re likely going to end up with more than just a plate of leftovers. Here’s what to do with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and the rest of the sides.

How to Reheat Thanksgiving Leftovers

When it comes to reheating Thanksgiving sides, you have to be careful to not reheat them for too long so that it dries out or burn. You want to reheat the leftovers just long enough so it retains the flavor and texture that each of the sides had when it was first made.

In order to do this, there are a few different methods you should use in reheating all the different Thanksgiving sides.

I like to reheat some things in the microwave, some in the oven, and others on the stove.

Reheating Thanksgiving sides in the microwave will typically be fastest, but it doesn’t always yield the best results.

Reheating Cold Turkey Leftovers

Turkey is the typical Thanksgiving main course that can be made in a variety of different ways, including traditional roasted to smoked to deep fried.

But regardless of how you prepared the turkey on Turkey day, the main thing about reheating leftover turkey is to not overcook it when you are reheating. This will help ensure that you have a moist piece of turkey for your meal.

Here’s the best way to reheat Thanksgiving turkey leftovers:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place the turkey meat in a single layer in an oven-safe dish or pan.
  3. Add a little bit of broth in the pan (about 1/2 inch).
  4. Cover it with aluminum foil. Make sure to cover tightly to prevent steam escape.
  5. Reheat it in the oven for 15-30 minutes for smaller pieces like carved turkey breast meat. If you’re reheating a whole turkey, it will need to stay in the oven longer. Your turkey is reheated when a food thermometer stuck inside the thickest part reads an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit.

Still have questions? You can call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline to get answers to any of your food safety questions.

RELATED: Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe (Pavochón)

Reheating Leftover Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish that can be made in a variety of ways. You can add garlic, black pepper, cheese, or herbs to your mashed potatoes to give them extra flavor. You can also make mashed sweet potatoes or even a cauliflower purée for a slightly different twist on this traditional dish.

Regardless how you make your mashed potatoes, reheating the leftovers is fairly simple and straightforward.

To reheat mashed potatoes on the stove:

  1. Add the mashed potatoes into a large saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Add a splash of cream or milk.
  3. Stir until they are warm.

To reheat mashed potatoes in the microwave oven (the easy way!):

  1. Transfer the leftover mashed potatoes into a microwavable safe dish or ceramic dish.
  2. Add a splash of cream or milk. Stir to combine.
  3. Cover the potatoes with a lid to help preserve moisture, then heat at half power for 1 minute.
  4. Heat for a few minutes. Stirring them every so often to mix the cream in.

Reheating Stuffing or Dressing Leftovers

Depending on what part of the country you’re from, you will have either stuffing or dressing as one of the main side dishes for your turkey.

Sometimes people use these different dishes interchangeably but they are different in terms of ingredients and in how you cook them.

Stuffing is made with bread, onions, celery, and herbs. However, you can also add other ingredients such as sausage, nuts, or dried fruit. This mixture is typically “stuffed” inside of the turkey during the cooking process which is how it gets its name.

Dressing is typically made with cornbread, onions, celery, and herbs. The wet cornbread is mixed with these ingredients and then put into a pan to be baked separately from the turkey.

That said, you can use the same approach to reheat leftover Thanksgiving stuffing or dressing.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the leftover dressing or stuffing in an oven-safe dish. If it looks to be dry, add a splash of broth.
  3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15, or until hot and crisp.

Reheating Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a tart and sweet side that complements any Thanksgiving feast. You can either make your own fresh cranberry sauce from scratch or buy it pre-made at the store. Cranberry sauce is typically served alongside turkey and stuffing.

Technically, cranberry sauce can be served cold or warm. So you don’t necessarily need to reheat cranberry sauce.

If you prefer your cranberry sauce warm, here’s how to reheat cranberry sauce in the microwave:

  1. Transfer the leftover cranberry sauce to a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 30 second-increments, stirring constantly until it reaches your preferred temperature.

Here’s how to reheat cranberry sauce on stovetop:

  1. Using a small saucepan, heat the cranberry sauce over low heat.
  2. Simmer until you get it to your preferred temperature.

Reheating Leftover Green Beans

Green beans are a healthy and flavorful addition to any Thanksgiving meal. You can cook them in a variety of ways, such as steaming them, sautéing them, or roasting them in the oven. Green beans can also be flavored with a variety of seasonings or sauces.

To Reheat Green Beans on Stovetop:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, toss the leftover green beans with olive oil or melted butter on medium heat.
  2. Stir until they are heated through.

To Reheat Green Beans in the Microwave:

  1. Transfer the green beans to a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 30-second intervals until heated through.

Reheating Green Bean Casserole Leftovers

Green bean casserole is one of the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes that can be made ahead of time and reheated on the day of the meal. It is simple to make and can be easily doubled or tripled to serve a large crowd.

Here’s the best way to reheat green bean casserole:

Reheating Green Bean Casserole in the Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the leftover green bean casserole to an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake for 20-30 minutes until fully heated-through.

Reheating Macaroni and Cheese Leftovers

Macaroni and cheese is always a hit with kids and adults alike! This creamy and cheesy dish can be made from scratch or you can buy it pre-made at the store. You can also add other ingredients to your macaroni and cheese such as bacon, ham, or veggies.

The best way to reheat leftover mac and cheese in less time is to add a splash of milk or cream and microwave it in 30-second intervals until heated through, making sure to stir it as you go.

cooked mac and cheese

Reheating Leftover Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are a great way to add some extra flavor and nutrition to your Thanksgiving feast. Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and makes them extra tender. You can roast almost any type of vegetable, but some of the most popular ones include carrots, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.

When it comes to reheating roasted vegetables left over from Thanksgiving morning, we don’t recommend using the microwave as it can turn the vegetables too soft.

Instead, here’s the best way to reheat roasted vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the leftover vegetables on top. Spray with cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Roast for 5-10 minutes or until fully heated through.

Reheating Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie Leftovers

Pumpkin pie and pecan pies are classic desserts that are often served at Thanksgiving dinner.

We typically serve pumpkin pie and pecan pie at room temperature. But if you insist on warming it up, you can pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until it is warm.

RELATED: Grandma’s Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Reheating Leftover Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato casserole is a delicious and easy side dish for any holiday meal. The sweet potatoes are roasted in the oven until tender, then topped with a pecan streusel topping and served warm.

When it comes to reheating sweet potato casserole, the best depends on the recipe you used to make it.

If you went with the pecan streusel as we do, then you will want to reheat it in the oven for a few minutes much like the green bean casserole as this will help keep the crunch.

If you went with the marshmallow topping, then you can reheat it in the microwave or oven. It is your preference.

Reheating Apple Pie Leftovers

Apple pie is a classic American staple when it comes time to get together with family whether it is around the holidays or just because. Apple pie is made with a variety of different apples, sugar, spices, and a buttery crust.

For best results, reheat leftover apple pie in the oven to ensure a crisp crust and warm apple filling. Just place the pie slice on a baking sheet, cover with foil, then bake at 350°F for 5-10 minutes, or until warm.

For quicker reheating, place a single slice of apple pie on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 20-40 seconds until warm.

RELATED: Grandma’s Best Old-fashioned Apple Crisp (With GF/DF Options)

Reheating Leftover Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably have some leftover dinner rolls after Thanksgiving dinner.

But don’t worry, you can reheat them and they’ll be just as good as they did on Thursday. Here are a few tips for reheating your dinner rolls so that they come out nice and fluffy every time.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolls on top.
  3. Warm for about 10 minutes, or until they are softened warm.

For quicker reheat option, you can also microwave the rolls about 30 seconds. Just be sure to not overheat them as the rolls will get hard especially if you overdo it in the microwave.

Reheating Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts is a delicious and healthy side dish for your Thanksgiving feast.

Here’s how to reheat roasted brussel sprouts:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the leftover roasted brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until they are fully heated through.

DWELL – Reheating Thanksgiving Sides

Reheating Leftover Gravy

You might be wondering how to reheat gravy without it turning it into a watered-down mess.

Here is the absolute best way to reheat leftover gravy:

  1. Transfer the gravy into a small saucepan on low heat.
  2. Reheat the gravy slowly, while stirring frequently. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a bit of turkey stock, chicken broth, or water to thin the gravy.

If you need to warm it up faster, put it into a microwave-safe container and heat it up in the microwave for about 30 seconds at a time. Stir in between each microwave session to remove any clumps and mix well.

What Thanksgiving Sides Can Be Made Ahead?

What I love about reheating Thanksgiving sides is it’s not just for the day after.

To save you time on the morning of Thanksgiving, you can make several of these Thanksgiving sides ahead of time and just reheat them on the day of!

  • Mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole
  • Stuffing or dressing (can be prepped ahead of time and ready to bake)
  • Fresh cranberry sauce
  • Veggie Tray, cheese platter, other cold sides
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Desserts
  • And more!

What Is the Most Popular Side Dish for Thanksgiving?

Mashed potatoes are the most popular side dish for Thanksgiving and are a staple in homes throughout the world.

Mashed potatoes are a blank canvas and can be flavored in a variety of ways but there is just something about getting a bite of creamy mashed potatoes with a little bit of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

It’s also one of the easiest and most foolproof Thanksgiving sides to reheat!

Final Thoughts on Reheating Thanksgiving Sides

Reheating Thanksgiving sides is a great way to put those leftovers to good use.

One of the best things about Thanksgiving sides is you can even transform them into new meals, like Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole, Turkey Pot Pie, Stuffing Waffles, and more!

If you enjoyed this Ultimate Guide to Reheating Thanksgiving Sides, please drop a comment below! I’d LOVE to know what you think! Or take a picture and share it on Instagram by tagging @dwellbymichelle so I can repost it on my stories!

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