Here’s How Long Thanksgiving Leftovers Last in the Fridge
Satisfy your holiday food cravings year-round by properly refrigerating and freezing your Turkey Day favorites.
It’s that time of year again: wandering through pumpkin patches, bundling up in scarves and hats, and whipping out trusted holiday recipes, like macadamia nut pie. There’s nothing like cooking up a full Thanksgiving feast for your family—and having plenty of leftovers for weeks to come. How long are leftovers good for? An especially important question is how long does turkey last in the fridge? Long enough if you follow this advice.
A good rule of thumb
Leftovers should be cooled down as quickly as possible and reheated only once. While the food will still be safe to eat, the more you put it through reheating, the more taste and texture it will lose. Our trick? Divide each item into individual servings before storing.
- Turkey: How long does turkey last in the fridge? The Thanksgiving stalwart lasts for three to four days in the fridge and two to three months in the freezer. Just make sure to carve it off the bone first. We like adding a splash of gravy to the meat to help retain moisture.
- Gravy: The good stuff doesn’t have a very long refrigerator shelf life: just one to two days, although it keeps two to three months in the freezer. To achieve a flavor that evokes fresh Thanksgiving Day memories, bring the gravy to a boil on the stove before serving. (This only refers to homemade gravy—like our classic turkey gravy.)
- Cranberry sauce: Stored in a glass or plastic container, your cranberry sauce will last for up to two weeks in the fridge. Put it in the freezer to last up to two months. While this certainly applies to the store-bought variety, there’s nothing quite as good as our favorite lemon cranberry sauce.
- Mashed potatoes and yams: Whichever you prefer, you’ll be able to keep mashed potatoes or yams in the fridge for up to five days or up to a year in the freezer. However, this doesn’t apply to ones that you bake—they won’t fare as well in the freezer. Before storing, place in a clean container separate from the one in which they were served at dinner. These foods were actually present at the first Thanksgiving.
- Pumpkin pie: Just because Thanksgiving is over doesn’t mean pumpkin pie season is. If you can resist eating a slice immediately after the big holiday dinner, leave it in the fridge for up to four days, or up to two months in the freezer. Be aware that the texture might change once reheated, but the flavor should stay the same. Of course, we’re fairly certain that with this spiced pumpkin pie, you won’t have leftovers. This is the worst time to travel on Thanksgiving.
- Apple pie: Pies aren’t created equally, especially when it comes to how you treat leftovers. America’s favorite pie will only last up to three days in the fridge and two months in the freezer. To make sure it retains its sweetness and crispness, wrap it tightly with either plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or secure it in a plastic bag.
- Bread: Though bread can last up to five days in the fridge, storing it there is not recommended and can leave it stale. If you’re not going to eat it immediately, you can keep it in the freezer for up to three months. Here are 11 genius, healthy ways to use up holiday leftovers.
- Stuffing: After it’s removed from the turkey, your stuffing can have another life in sandwiches or just as a snack. It will last for up to four days in the fridge and a month in the freezer. Mix up your usual recipes with this raisin-studded apple stuffing.
- Wine: Have a few too many open bottles lying around? If you’re anything like us, you know wine should never go to waste. Both white and red can last three to five days in the fridge, but you can freeze it for up to two months. Thawed wine is safe to drink, but the flavor might change; we recommend using it for cooking in sauces and stews. Just make sure you don’t make these 15 common Thanksgiving mistakes this year.
Turkey Day meals shouldn’t end just because the holiday’s over. Knowing how long leftovers last can help you store everything from pie to turkey to cranberry sauce for the following week or the months to come. The answers to “how long are leftovers good for?”and “how long does turkey last in the fridge?” all depends on storage. Next, check out these 20 kitchen tools that you can’t live without for Thanksgiving.