the a couple of hours, perhaps a job or 2 at many after Thanksgiving, and also you’re hungry. Or maybe you’re not hungry however you’re craving pecan pie. And turkey. And also mashed potatoes and also stuffing and green beans and Grandma’s corn casserole and cornbread and cranberry sauce. Friend know, the fixin’s. For this reason you go to the refrigerator or the freezer come grab a storage container pack to the brim with leftovers native Thanksgiving dinner and wonder, “is this safe to eat?” how long does leftover turkey last?

On this really site we’ve specialized a contest and also many, many articles to advice on just how to let all those Thanksgiving leftovers live their best lives—because eating leftover Thanksgiving turkey for whole week straight can wear down even the many avid the poultry fans.

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But we also turned to James Briscione, the director of Culinary development at the academy of Culinary education (ICE), just to make certain our freezer and storage methods for all our good leftovers to be sound. Learn exactly how to save Thanksgiving leftovers to keep them safe indefinitely...or till they all operation out (whichever comes first).


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exactly how to cook a Turkey perfectly


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just how to Carve a Turkey, follow to Knife specialists


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How to freeze Thanksgiving Leftovers

James’ advice is to be realistic—and not just freeze because that freezing’s sake. This boils under to keeping fresh what you can and freezing points that take to cold well, like purées, soups, sauces, and anything v a greater liquid content.

As for what no to freeze, this includes starches, like potatoes and cooked vegetables. When frozen, the water inside starch transforms to crystal and breaks the cells, drastically changing its texture. “Even mashed potatoes will shed so much water the end of your structure. They’ll be very dry and unappealing,” James says. No super-dry starches. Gained it. You additionally shouldn’t freeze soups or purées made v cream, as the dairy won’t reheat properly. It’ll type of curdle and also won’t blend right into a luscious liquid again.


How lengthy is turkey good in the fridge?

Leftover Thanksgiving turkey the is completely cooked will certainly last in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days. Together for the freezer, the expectation of your leftover turkey counts on the quality of stated freezer. “If you have actually a really an excellent freezer the maintains a temp that 0°F or below, that indefinite,” James says. If the temperature no waver, the food continues to be safe, essentially.

However, this is the bad news: Most consumer freezers no able to preserve temperatures of 0°F or below. They often don’t close solidly and, with regular opening and also shutting, the temperature fluctuates. In this case, store your leftover turkey in the freezer for 6 month max and also then discard that to prevent food poisoning.

So, how long will the rest of mine Thanksgiving leftovers last?

Back come those various other delicious Thanksgiving staples favor buttery biscuits, cooking vegetables, and also pies, pies, and much more pies. Ahead, uncover out how long space Thanksgiving leftovers good for.

Cranberry sauce: about 2 main in the fridge and also 2 months in the freezer.Stuffing: about 4 days in the refrigerator and a month in the freezer.Pies: A pair months in the freezer.Cooked vegetables, including eco-friendly bean casserole: us echo the "don"t freeze" emotion of the mashed potatoes.Bread, like rolls: about 3 months in the freezer. How long they"ll remain fresh out of the freezer relies on the type of bread.

But wait, what around the gravy—how long do dairy-based gravies last?

The difficulty with dairy-based gravies is the they nothing take well to freezing. The dairy, as soon as thawed, has a propensity to different (this no the case with stock-based gravy; view here). If you have lots of leftover dairy-based gravy and also don’t want it to walk to waste, her best selection for taste and safety is come 1) keep it in the fridge. 2) Every 3 days, take it it out and also bring it back to a boil. 3) Let the cool properly, end a bowl of ice. And also 4) rod it earlier in the fridge. It"ll last for a mainly (or more!) this way.

Bringing the gravy ago to a boil kills turn off bacteria. However, James stresses, just how you cool the gravy is very, really important. You want it come cool quickly—hence, the ice cream bath. The longer the gravy spends the end of the fridge, the better the likelihood the bacteria growth.

If you"ve defrosted something, yet don"t usage it all, have the right to you refreeze it? does this pose a security danger?

You can, but it’s not ideal. You’re just increasing the humidity loss in the freeze-thaw cycle.

As because that safety, “Bacteria isn’t really a issue then if you’re thawing it properly,” James says. Thawing food properly way that front to cooking you"re not enabling it to go over 40°F, when bacteria starts to multiply—fast. To thaw food safely, there room two choices (there"s additionally the microwave, however this really warrants a entirety other safety-related post): in the refrigerator and also in cold water. Come thaw in the refrigerator, be sure to plan ahead due to the fact that it"s going to take a when (overnight, many likely, relying on what you"re thawing). The faster option is come submerge your food (in the freezer bag, the course) in cold madness water and readjust the water every 30 minutes.

What"s the best means to avoid freezer burn?

First points first, James says: You desire to gain it frozen as conveniently as possible. However at the very same time, girlfriend don’t desire to put warm things in the freezer. This deserve to increase the inner temperature of the freezer and actually start to slightly defrost what"s already in there. Secondly, you want to minimize the exposure to air. James suggests storing food in freezer bags.

Is there any type of special scrap/extra seasonal food I can be conserving to use next year? Like, is it for sure to frozen leftover cranberries for 12 months?

Again, James says, this comes under to the high quality of your freezer. For many commercial freezers, the answer would certainly be no. It just doesn’t continue to be cold sufficient to keep food because that that lengthy (see the factors above).

Also: “Well, why? Why do you want to save it the long?” James says. Good point. Can we suggest these Cranberry Cookie Bars, then?

What"s the worst or scariest point you can do in terms of food safety with leftovers?

“Probably the worst point you can do is loss asleep on the couch and also leave things sitting top top the counter,” James says. Enabling food to sit out for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature is dangerous region in terms of bacteria growth.

Conversely, the much faster you can acquire things chilled, the more secure your leftovers are. Rather of waiting till after dinner to begin storing things, James says to begin chilling together you go. So, when you carve the turkey, put half of that in the fridge to get it chill as easily as possible. The very same goes because that everything, really: placed what girlfriend think civilization are going to eat right into a bowl or top top a serving platter and also cool the rest.

James" final piece that advice: “Trust your sleep as one indicator of quality.” If leftovers smell bad, nothing eat them.


If you don’t want to simply reheat a key of Thanksgiving leftovers or make a sandwich (with Monica Geller’s signature “moist maker” gravy-soaked part of bread, too, of course), right here are some various other recipes that make use of roast turkey and also side dishes. Yes sir a genius twisted on a turkey pot pie that uses precooked shredded turkey breast (though feel cost-free to usage both the light and also dark meat), plus fresh veggies like cremini mushrooms, leeks, carrots, and herbs. Because that dessert, skip a slice of pie and bake a coco cake utilizing mashed potatoes. Yes, friend heard the right. Mashed potatoes, people! they make coco cakes miraculously moist and also fudgy. You deserve to thank cooking recipes developer janeofmanytrade for the invention.

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1. Turkey Pot Pie for one more Day

Leftover turkey is pretty much a given after Thanksgiving, however even the many ardent turkey fans most likely don"t desire to eat it because that days and days on end after the holiday. A very tasty solution: Whip increase a couple of of this turkey pot pies, freeze them for as much as 2 months, and bake "em in the oven once you need a cozy, comforting dinner ~ above the fly.