NewsCovering America

Actions

How long will Thanksgiving leftovers last in the fridge?

Oct. 27, 2013 PHOTO; FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES
Posted at 11:37 AM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 16:25:37-05

If you’re like many Americans, you’ll likely make too much to eat for Thanksgiving.

While you shouldn’t let food go to waste, these foods can quickly go bad if not consumed quickly.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has some guidelines on how long leftovers can last.

For most foods, leftovers can stay in the fridge for three to four days after being cooked. So this means that items like turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing should be consumed by Monday at the latest unless frozen.

“Use the Monday after Thanksgiving as a reminder that it is the last day you can safely eat leftovers. If you want to keep leftovers longer, freeze them within that four-day period. Frozen food stays safe indefinitely, though the quality may decrease over time (best quality if eaten within six months),” the USDA said.

The USDA also noted that leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees and sauces such as gravy should be brought up to a boil.

The USDA also says that food should be refrigerated within two hours after being cooked, otherwise bacteria can grow too quickly.

It is also recommended to cut food up into smaller pieces before refrigerating. The USDA also recommends making storage containers as airtight as possible.

“These practices help keep bacteria out, retain moisture, and prevent leftovers from picking up odors from other food in the refrigerator. Immediately refrigerate or freeze the wrapped leftovers for rapid cooling,” the USDA said.