How Long Are Thanksgiving Day Leftovers Safe to Eat?

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/ JodiJacobson)

Many homes will be overflowing with extra food this week as we pack up our Thanksgiving dinner goodies. So, we wonder, how long do the leftovers last? Is it okay to make a cold turkey sandwich later in the week? Or should we be freezing the goodies that we won’t be using within the next few days?

Most Cooked Thanksgiving Leftovers Will Last A Few Days In The Refrigerator

When putting away the Thanksgiving meal leftovers tonight consumers can expect the cooked turkey meat to last just fine for about three or four days in the fridge. These leftovers can also last as long as two or three months in the freezer. But only if they are prepped currently.

It is important to carve the turkey off the bone, allowing the meat pieces to freeze evenly. Also, food experts note that it’s a good idea to toss a splash of gravy in with frozen meat when de-thawing. This adds a delicious burst of moisture.

On this note, food experts recommend keeping prepared gravy in the fridge for no more than two days. Gravy will last well in the freezer, however, for about two to three months.

Will Those Holiday Sides Save Well After The Big Feast?

One of the most universally loved Thanksgiving day dishes is the traditional green bean casserole. This is one of those casseroles that will reheat well, too. But, how long will the green bean casserole keep after the Thanksgiving meal? It is recommended that the leftovers get gobbled up within about four days.

Another favorite Thanksgiving day tradition is…of course, the delicious pies! Food experts recommend refrigerating pumpkin pies after the meal. Here, the traditional dessert could last up to four days. Freezing the pie will extend the leftover life to about two months. However, this will likely change the pie’s texture.

Apple pie lovers are advised to gobble their goodies down. Since an apple pie tends to be higher in moisture than its pumpkin counterpart, this dessert won’t last quite as long. Experts recommend keeping the pie in the fridge for about three days. It’s also important to wrap the apple pie tightly when storing it to preserve moisture.