it’s a few hours, maybe a job or 2 at most after Thanksgiving, and also you’re hungry. Or perhaps you’re not hungry but you’re yearn pecan pie. And turkey. And mashed potatoes and stuffing and also green beans and also Grandma’s corn casserole and also cornbread and cranberry sauce. You know, the fixin’s. For this reason you walk to the refrigerator or the freezer to grab a warehouse container pack to the brim with leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner and wonder, “is this for sure to eat?” exactly how long go leftover turkey last?

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

You are watching: How long is turkey good in the freezer


But we likewise turned come James Briscione, the manager of Culinary advance at the academy of Culinary education (ICE), simply to make certain our freezer and storage approaches for all our an excellent leftovers were sound. Learn how to keep Thanksgiving leftovers to store them safe indefinitely...or till they all operation out (whichever come first).


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just how to chef a Turkey perfect


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How to freeze Thanksgiving Leftovers

James’ advice is to it is in realistic—and not just freeze because that freezing’s sake. This boils under to keeping fresh what girlfriend can and freezing things that require to cold well, like purées, soups, sauces, and anything through a higher liquid content.

As for what not to freeze, this has starches, choose potatoes and also cooked vegetables. Once frozen, the water inside starch transforms to crystal and also breaks the cells, drastically altering its texture. “Even mashed potatoes will lose so lot water the end of their structure. They’ll be an extremely dry and also unappealing,” James says. No super-dry starches. Gained it. You also shouldn’t frozen soups or purées made with cream, together the dairy i will not ~ reheat properly. It’ll kind of curdle and also won’t blend right into a luscious liquid again.


How long is turkey an excellent in the fridge?

Leftover Thanksgiving turkey that is totally cooked will certainly last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days. Together for the freezer, the lifespan of her leftover turkey depends on the quality of claimed freezer. “If you have actually a really good freezer that maintains a temp that 0°F or below, the indefinite,” James says. If the temperature doesn’t waver, the food stays safe, essentially.

However, this is the negative news: Most customer freezers aren’t able to preserve temperatures of 0°F or below. They often don’t near solidly and, with frequent opening and also shutting, the temperature fluctuates. In this case, save your leftover turkey in the freezer for 6 month max and also then discard it to avoid food poisoning.

So, just how long will certainly the rest of my Thanksgiving leftovers last?

Back to those various other delicious Thanksgiving staples prefer buttery biscuits, cooked vegetables, and pies, pies, and an ext pies. Ahead, find out how long space Thanksgiving leftovers great for.

Cranberry sauce: about 2 weeks in the fridge and also 2 months in the freezer.Stuffing: around 4 days in the refrigerator and a month in the freezer.Pies: A couple months in the freezer.Cooked vegetables, including green bean casserole: us echo the "don"t freeze" emotion of the mashed potatoes.Bread, like rolls: around 3 months in the freezer. Just how long they"ll remain fresh out of the freezer relies on the kind of bread.

But wait, what about the gravy—how lengthy do dairy-based gravies last?

The trouble with dairy-based gravies is that they don’t take fine to freezing. The dairy, when thawed, has a propensity to different (this isn’t the situation with stock-based gravy; check out here). If you have lots that leftover dairy-based gravy and don’t desire it to go to waste, her best choice for taste and safety is to 1) keep it in the fridge. 2) Every 3 days, take it out and bring it ago to a boil. 3) Let the cool properly, over a bowl of ice. And also 4) stick it back in the fridge. It"ll last for a mainly (or more!) this way.

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

If you"ve defrosted something, however don"t use it all, can you refreeze it? does this attitude a security danger?

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

As because that safety, “Bacteria isn’t yes, really a worry then if you thawing that properly,” James says. Thawing food properly method that former to cooking you"re not enabling it to go above 40°F, when bacteria starts to multiply—fast. Come thaw food safely, there space two alternatives (there"s also the microwave, however this really warrants a totality other safety-related post): in the refrigerator and in cold water. To thaw in the refrigerator, be sure to setup ahead since it"s walking to take a if (overnight, most likely, depending on what you"re thawing). The faster option is to submerge your food (in that freezer bag, of course) in cold madness water and adjust the water every 30 minutes.

What"s the best means to stop freezer burn?

First things first, James says: You want to gain it frozen as quickly as possible. But at the same time, friend don’t want to put warm things in the freezer. This have the right to increase the internal temperature of the freezer and also actually begin to slightly defrost what"s already in there. Secondly, you desire to minimization the exposure come air. James says storing food in freezer bags.

Is there any special scrap/extra seasonal food I can be saving to use following year? Like, is it safe to frozen leftover cranberries for 12 months?

Again, James says, this comes down to the top quality of her freezer. For most commercial freezers, the answer would be no. It just doesn’t continue to be cold sufficient to save food for that lengthy (see the factors above).

Also: “Well, why? Why execute you desire to save it that long?” James says. An excellent point. Can we suggest these Cranberry Cookie Bars, then?

What"s the worst or scariest thing you can do in regards to food security with leftovers?

“Probably the worst point you deserve to do is autumn asleep on the couch and also leave things sitting ~ above the counter,” James says. Enabling food come sit out for 3 come 4 hrs at room temperature is dangerous territory in terms of bacteria growth.

Conversely, the quicker you can gain things chilled, the much safer your leftovers are. Rather of waiting until after dinner to begin storing things, James says to start chilling together you go. So, when you carve the turkey, put half of that in the fridge to obtain it chilled as quickly as possible. The same goes for everything, really: placed what you think world are going to eat right into a bowl or ~ above a serving platter and cool the rest.

James" last piece that advice: “Trust your nose as one indicator that quality.” If leftovers odor bad, don’t eat them.


If you don’t want to just reheat a bowl of Thanksgiving leftovers or do a sandwich (with Monica Geller’s signature “moist maker” gravy-soaked slice of bread, too, that course), here are some various other recipes that manipulate roast turkey and also side dishes. Yes sir a genius twist on a turkey pot pie that supplies precooked shredded turkey breast (though feel free to use both the light and dark meat), plus new veggies prefer cremini mushrooms, leeks, carrots, and also herbs. For dessert, skip a part of pie and bake a cacao cake making use of mashed potatoes. Yes, you heard the right. Mashed potatoes, people! lock make cacao cakes miraculously moist and also fudgy. You have the right to thank cooking recipes developer janeofmanytrade for that invention.

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1. Turkey Pot Pie for another Day

Leftover turkey is pretty lot a provided after Thanksgiving, however even the most ardent turkey fans more than likely don"t want to eat it because that days and also days on end after the holiday. A very tasty solution: Whip increase a couple of of this turkey pot pies, frozen them for up to 2 months, and also bake "em in the oven as soon as you need a cozy, comforting dinner on the fly.