Skip Navigation
  • Text Size: A A A
  • Print
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Tweet
  • Share

What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

A turkey is probably the largest food most of us will ever cook. With all the side dishes and desserts that go along with the Thanksgiving meal, most of us will end up with leftovers. It doesn’t have to be a struggle to use up the leftovers. We’ve gathered some easy and nutritious recipes from the USDA Mixing Bowl Exit disclaimer to help you.

Your leftover plan actually starts right after the Thanksgiving dinner. Cut the turkey off the bone and refrigerate it as soon as you can, within 2 hours of the turkey coming out of the oven. Leftovers will last for 4 days in the refrigerator, so if you know you won’t use them right away, pack them into freezer bags or airtight containers and freeze. For best quality, use your leftover turkey within 4 months. Frozen leftover turkey is safe forever, but after 4 months it can dry out or lose flavor.

To make it easier to use the leftover turkey, pack it into meal-sized portions so that you can use just what you need. When it’s time to use the turkey, thaw it safely. If you will be slicing or cubing the cooked turkey for your new meals, leaving it partially frozen will make it easier to cut and will hardly affect the cooking time. When reheating cooked foods, be sure to use a food thermometer to make sure they have been heated an internal temperature of 165˚F.

Here are some recipes to use up those turkey leftovers:

If you have additional questions about using your leftovers safely, you can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at Exit disclaimer available from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, in English or Spanish.


Want to Comment on this Blog? Visit our Facebook Exit disclaimer or Twitter Exit disclaimer pages to share your thoughts and start a conversation.

Posted in: Holidays | SeasonalTagged: Thanksgiving | Leftovers | Holiday