*Still* Have Thanksgiving Leftovers? Here’s What You Can Eat, Freeze, and Toss.

published Dec 1, 2019
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You’ve made it through Thanksgiving and Black Friday — but have you made it through all your leftovers? Depending on what you were left with after you said goodbye to family and friends, you may still be digging your way through the rest of the stuffing and mashed potatoes. How much of it can you actually carry into the week, however, and how much needs to be tossed by now? We’ve got quick answers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What to Eat Right Away

  • Turkey: Any leftover meat is good for three to four days after Thanksgiving. So if you have anything left, finish it off by Monday.
  • Stuffing: Everyone’s favorite side (or is that just me and my family?) has the same shelf life as turkey — three to four days. So perhaps you should turn what’s left into fritters.
  • Most vegetable sides: Things like green bean and sweet potato casserole aren’t going to freeze well, but they can last up to five days. You have until Tuesday to finish them.
  • Pie: While some pies can technically be frozen, like apple and other fruit varieties, they only keep well in the fridge for few days. By Sunday, if you haven’t already frozen them, it’s probably best to use the last few slices as an excuse to make pie milkshakes.
Credit: Lauren Volo

What to Freeze

  • Mashed potatoes: Mashed potatoes are one of the best leftovers to freeze, particularly if they’re well-coated with butter and cream. Here’s how to do it. But get it in the freezer by Tuesday; it’ll only keep for about five days in the fridge.
  • Cranberry sauce: Cranberry sauce actually lasts quite a long time in the refrigerator — about 10 to 14 days — but it’s also useful in everything from oatmeal to baked goods, and, you can freeze it for up to two months. Here’s a smart trick for freezing cranberry sauce.
Credit: Lauren Volo

What to Toss

  • Gravy: Turkey gravy really only keeps well for one to two days after it’s made, so if you still have any leftover sauce on Sunday or Monday that you didn’t freeze (it freezes great, FYI), it’s safest to toss it.
  • Salad: This is sort of a given, but any salads or slaws are definitely going to be soggy by now.
  • Turkey carcass: If you stashed the turkey carcass away in the refrigerator with the best intention to make homemade stock but still haven’t done it yet, unfortunately it’s safer at this point if you don’t.