Storing Leftovers &
Food Safety After
Rule #15: Never let the Thanksgiving meal linger.
Refrigerate the cooked turkey and other parts of the meal within 2 hours after cooking. Never store the stuffing and the turkey together.
Turkey Tip: Before serving the turkey, set out all your storage containers, foil, zipper bags, etc., so they are ready for filling with leftovers as soon as the meal is over. You'll not only store the foods more safely by minimizing their exposure out of the refrigerator, but you can more easily enlist extra pairs of hands to help out in the kitchen.
Use refrigerated turkey and stuffing within 3 days of cooking.
Reheat leftover stuffing to at least 165 degrees F. Bring leftover gravy to a rolling boil before serving. Cool foods rapidly by storing in shallow, small containers.
Turkey Tip: To keep the cut surface of the turkey breast from drying out, press a piece of plastic wrap or a damp paper towel next to it before covering and refrigerating.
- What size turkey should I buy?
- Is it better to buy one large turkey or two small ones?
- Should I buy fresh or frozen?
- What about turkeys that have been injected with fats and seasonings?
- What about turkey parts and frozen stuffed turkeys?
- How long can a whole turkey be kept frozen?
- How long can a fresh turkey be kept refrigerated?
- Thawing Rules
- Thawing Methods
- Turkey Thawing Charts
- Is it best to cook the stuffing inside the bird, or separately in a baking dish?
- If I do want to stuff the bird, what's the best way to do it?
- How much stuffing do I need?
- Do I need to close up the cavity after it has been stuffed?
- Preparations Step-by-Step
- Stuffing & Trussing
- Do I need to truss the bird's legs, or can I just roast it the extra effort?
- Roasting Step-by-Step
- How do I keep the breast meat moist when cooking?
- Use a Meat Thermometer
- My turkey comes with a plastic pop-up timer. Can't I use that instead?
- How accurate are "recommended cooking times"?
- How can I tell when the turkey is done?
- USDA Timetable for Turkey Roasted at 325 degrees F.
- Rules for Making Gravy
- Making the Basic Gravy
- Additions to Gravy
- Basic Carving steps
- Removing the Thigh, Drumstick & Wings
- Carving the breast
- Storing leftovers
- Reheating leftovers
- Back to Thanksgiving Headquarters
This page modified November 2006