Try something new with your turkey leftovers


Adapted by Jessica Kovarik, RD, LD, former Extension Associate; Based on material by Susan Mills-Gray and Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialists, University of Missouri Extension

When cooking a turkey, there is usually leftovers. With a little creativity and safe food handling, you can enjoy turkey-based meals with little preparation and cooking.

Anytime you prepare, cook and store food, you must practice safe food handling methods to be sure your leftover turkey is safe to eat. During mealtime, do not let the turkey sit out for more than two hours after it has been cooked. For safe storage, remove the stuffing and de-bone the turkey. Store the turkey in shallow containers in the refrigerator because shallow containers allow the turkey to cool faster, preventing growth of harmful bacteria.

Unless you freeze the leftovers, be sure to use the turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days. Leftover gravy should be used within 1-2 days. Other cooked dishes can be stored up to 4 days.

Frozen leftovers should be stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below and used within 3-4 months. Turkey that is in gravy or broth, or other cooked turkey dishes can be frozen for 4-6 months. Stuffing and gravy can keep up to 1 month in the freezer.

Marking your leftovers with the date and name of the item will help you keep better track of them.

Lastly, when you reheat the turkey, stuffing or gravy, make sure it reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees.

Here are a few ideas for using your leftover turkey…

Find all of the recipes, including Turkey Chinese Casserole and Turkey and Potatoes Au Gratin, in the full version of this article at


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