STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

The only Thanksgiving leftovers guide you need

Like an inbox filled with emails about Black Friday sales, the one thing you can count on the day after Thanksgiving is a fridge packed with leftovers....

Posted: Nov 29, 2019 9:06 AM

Like an inbox filled with emails about Black Friday sales, the one thing you can count on the day after Thanksgiving is a fridge packed with leftovers.

For many, this is easily the best part of the entire holiday -- but at a certain point, even the most devoted leftovers fans will question if that side dish is still OK to eat.

Some answers depend on your family traditions: If your relatives like to leave the Thanksgiving feast on the table for all to snack on during the football screen fest, you're already in trouble. Bacteria grow fast.

All of the food should be wrapped up or put in airtight containers and stashed in the fridge within two hours of serving to keep food fresh and free from bacteria, says the United States Department of Agriculture.

Make your snacks from the fridge, not the table, is the advice.

Then check the guide below to find out long you can keep common Thanksgiving leftovers in your fridge and when you should toss them out.

Turkey

Keeps for: Three to four days

Cooked turkey, chicken and duck (in case you are making a turducken) will last three to four days in the fridge according to Foodsafety.gov, the go-to place to get food safety information from various government health agencies.

Do: Freeze the leftovers in foil or airtight containers as soon as possible; the fresher the turkey is when it goes in, the better. They should be good for two to six months.

Don't: Store a leftover bird with stuffing still inside; it will take too long for the stuffing to cool and bacteria could grow. Instead, take the stuffing out and save it in a separate container before refrigerating or freezing the turkey meat.

Ham

Keeps for: Three to four days

Those popular spiral-cut hams or any store-wrapped cooked ham will last three to four days in the fridge. Cooked country hams will last a bit longer, up to a week.

Do: Wrap it up tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before refrigerating. If you choose to freeze, it will be good for one to two months.

Don't: Try to save any leftover ham that has a slimy texture -- that's a tell-tale sign it's gone bad.

Mashed and sweet potatoes

Keeps for: Three to four days

You'll likely have made them with cream and butter, so you'll need to put the spuds into the fridge within two hours of preparation. If stored in an airtight container, they will last three to four days in the fridge (this applies to any sort of cooked potato dish, such as potato salad or scalloped potatoes).

Do: Consider freezing your mashed potatoes or gratins in airtight containers or plastic freezer bags within three days; they should be good for up to a month.

Don't: Freeze any leftover raw potatoes that didn't make it to the table without blanching them first; otherwise, they'll be watery when rejuvenated.

Stuffing/dressing and gravy

Keeps for: Three to four days

It's all gravy: Any broth made with meat will last three to four days refrigerated and up to two months in the freezer. Same goes for that delicious dressing, if there's any left.

Do: Store it all within two hours of making, in an airtight container. If freezing, it will keep about a month.

Don't: Forget and leave your stuffing in the turkey. It's a breeding ground for bacteria.

Cranberry sauce

Keeps for: 10 to 14 days

You can keep adding that delicious homemade or store-bought cranberry sauce to your sandwiches for up to two weeks if it's been kept refrigerated in an airtight container.

Do: Refrigerate homemade cranberry sauce within two hours of cooking. If you want to make extra and freeze, it will last for up to two months.

Don't: Touch it if there's an off odor, flavor or appearance (especially mold).

Green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese and corn pudding

Keeps for: Three to five days

Green bean and corn casseroles and cooked pasta dishes typically last about three to five days when properly stored in the fridge. The same goes for roasted veggies, collard greens and other Thanksgiving dinner favorites.

Do: Be sure to store any dish containing mayonnaise within two hours of making or serving.

Don't: Freeze any macaroni salad (or egg, chicken, ham or tuna salads), says the USDA. They just don't taste good when they come back to life.

Bread, rolls and croissants

Keeps for: About a week

Do: Keep your leftover rolls and other Thanksgiving day breads wrapped in plastic in the pantry; they should be good for a week. To last longer, wrap tightly in foil and place in a freezer bag for up to three months.

Don't: Put breads into the fridge to help them last longer, they'll just dry out.

Pumpkin, pecan, fruit pies

Keeps for: Three to four days

Pumpkin and pecan pies -- or any other pie with an egg-based filling, such as chocolate pie -- will keep for three to four days if refrigerated within two hours of making or serving.

Fruit pies can sit out for two days before you cut and serve them. After eating, loosely wrap with foil or plastic before you put the pie in the fridge.

The rule applies to store-bought pies as well -- once you've cut it, it needs to refrigerated.

Do: Consider freezing pumpkin, pecan and fruit pies. Wrapped tightly in foil or plastic they will keep for almost three months. Defrost before warming to eat.

Don't: Freeze any 'airy' pies such as custard or chiffon.

Cakes and pastries

Keeps for: Up to a week in the fridge

Cakes and pastries can actually be left at room temperature on the snacking table for up to two days; you'll want to cover loosely with plastic wrap to keep them moist. Put into the fridge, they'll stay fresh for up to a week.

Do: Keep slices to snack on by freezing in airtight containers; they will last two to three months.

Don't: Keep any cakes or pastries with dairy-based frostings or fillings out on the table after dessert. They need to go immediately into the fridge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42808

Reported Deaths: 664
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9292163
Marion5929108
Washington583877
Umatilla337645
Clackamas317265
Lane241927
Malheur192738
Jackson17076
Deschutes113613
Yamhill100115
Linn81615
Polk65715
Jefferson6059
Morrow5457
Lincoln51713
Union4682
Benton4456
Klamath4173
Douglas3598
Wasco34816
Hood River2771
Columbia2691
Josephine2693
Coos2510
Clatsop2440
Baker1253
Crook1102
Tillamook700
Curry581
Wallowa462
Lake380
Harney340
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 914888

Reported Deaths: 17460
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3020777027
Riverside669931303
San Bernardino633671073
Orange589801454
San Diego55210877
Kern33928416
Fresno30969439
Sacramento25601491
Santa Clara24425392
Alameda23471462
San Joaquin21729489
Contra Costa18763242
Stanislaus17714398
Tulare17590288
Ventura14330165
Imperial12967336
San Francisco12189140
Monterey1141990
San Mateo11198159
Santa Barbara9827122
Merced9531155
Sonoma9494136
Kings826483
Solano744576
Marin7096129
Madera503774
Placer420757
San Luis Obispo417432
Yolo321959
Butte309552
Santa Cruz280825
Napa196616
Shasta195431
Sutter186512
San Benito144215
El Dorado13514
Yuba132310
Mendocino113621
Tehama8928
Lassen7661
Lake69816
Glenn6713
Nevada6238
Humboldt56810
Colusa5516
Calaveras34218
Amador33116
Tuolumne2754
Inyo23115
Siskiyou2050
Del Norte1801
Mono1802
Mariposa792
Plumas700
Modoc360
Trinity270
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
Brookings
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Grants Pass
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
Klamath Falls
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 34°
Cold morning, warm afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events