After putting so much effort into beloved Thanksgiving recipes, you’ll want to make sure nothing goes to waste and that you have plenty of leftovers to enjoy over the rest of the holiday weekend.
When putting away cooked food, it’s important to practice proper food safety. First, do not leave any perishable food out for more than two hours, and keep your refrigerator set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and the freezer at zero degrees F. Secondly, trust your instincts and use your eyes and nose — if something looks or smells off, throw it out. Finally, follow these tips we've gathered from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on how long your leftovers should last.
Leftovers from your perfect holiday turkey will last only three or four days in the fridge and four months in the freezer, or up to six months when stored in broth or gravy.
Any chicken pieces, plain or fried — whether from last week’s busy weeknight dinner or Thanksgiving day — will also last three or four days in the fridge or four months in the freezer. Kid-friendly chicken nuggets will last just one to two days in the fridge or one to three months in the freezer.
Consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck that is then stuffed in a turkey, turducken will last three to four days in the refrigerator or longer in the freezer.
If your family enjoys eating the best Easter Ham on Thanksgiving too, slices will last three to four days in the fridge and one to two months in the freezer.
Any vintage meaty casserole dish can last up to three to four days in the refrigerator and two to three months in the freezer.
Placed fairly high in our Thanksgiving side dish rankings, mashed potatoes are often made with cream and butter. According to a food safety specialist with the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, mashed potatoes should be refrigerated and used within four days. If stored in a freezer constantly at zero degrees F, mashed potatoes will be safe to eat, although the quality may suffer.
Gravy, along with any other type of broth that’s made with meat, will last three to four days in the fridge, or one to two months if frozen.
According to Ocean Spray, cranberry sauce isn’t great for freezing. Instead, remove all leftover cranberry sauce contents from the can and then store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make sure to cook up all the dishes you can make with your leftovers while you can. Stuffing will last only three to four days in the fridge. In the freezer, it’s good for up to a month.
Arguably best made with canned green beans, a green bean casserole and other cooked casseroles will last four days in the fridge. Like with mashed potatoes, cooked casseroles are safe to eat out of the freezer, although quality will suffer, according to a food safety specialist at the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.
Corn is a common food that’s not what you think. If you have any leftover canned corn, it will last three to four days in the refrigerator so long as it is stored out of the can and in a glass or plastic storage container.
Gooey, creamy mac and cheese is always great for a quick heat-and-serve meal, and if you store it properly in the fridge, you can enjoy it for up to four days. Freeze it and it’ll be safe to eat for months.
Salads don’t have to be made with crisp lettuce and doused in dressing. Egg, chicken, ham, macaroni or tuna salads, store-bought or homemade, can last up to five days in the refrigerator but do not fare well in the freezer.
Although practically everyone has been baking bread at home this year, commercially baked breads and rolls can be stored for two to four days at room temperature or one or two weeks in the refrigerator. In the freezer, bread is good for three months.
Staying cozy on Thanksgiving is easy with a warm bowl of soup or stew. When refrigerated, soups and stews can last up to three to four days. In the freezer, this type of leftover lasts two to three months.
According to the FDA, homemade breads like cornbread should be consumed within three to five days. However, it can last two to three months when refrigerated.
After opening, a bottle of white or red wine will be good for one to three days. Unopened, a bottle of white wine will be good for one to two years. Unopened red wines are good for three to five years.
Apple pies and other fruit-filled pies can last up to a week in the refrigerator or eight months if stored frozen. Cream pies, however, are only good for three to four days if refrigerated and do not hold up well when frozen.
According to the FDA, pumpkin pie should be consumed within one to two hours or three to four days if refrigerated. In the freezer, pumpkin pie can last for one to two months. Pecan pie, another Thanksgiving favorite, can last just as long. Pecan and pumpkin are just two of the flavors among America’s most iconic pies.
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