How to store leftover turkey? 4 simple ways to enjoy fresh meat even after Thanksgiving!

Written by Kristiyana Burdeva

Preparing a turkey for Thanksgiving is probably the most important dish that a person cooks for the year! Some recipes can even take up to days rather the hours, and you would probably want to enjoy your delicious and challenging dish for as long as possible. Right? However, when Thanksgiving comes to its end, you can find yourself wondering how will you ever store all of this turkey meat in a fridge that’s clearly not big enough? I mean, you can’t make turkey sandwiches every day. But the feast took so long to prepare that it’s our job to make the most of it! Don’t you think? Let’s then find out how to store leftover turkey!

How to store leftover turkey?

thanksgiving dinner_storing turkey leftovers

Cooking the perfect roasted turkey for Thanksgiving is something that every home-maker strives towards. Each of us want to see the delighted faces of our family and friends as they first get a glimpse of the enormous and flavourful turkey we cooked for them. However, the size of the meal comes with a price, doesn’t it? Sometimes there really is no space for the turkey leftovers, along with the other Thanksgiving food. But we can’t let it go to waste, can we? Here are 4 ways on how to store and use your turkey leftovers!

1. Use plastic/silicone bags for storing

storing cooked turkey in fridge_how to store cooked turkey in fridge

How to store leftover turkey, you ask? The best possible way would be to do it in plastic or silicone bags! Before rushing to put the meal leftovers in the fridge, better first to place them in a plastic bag. Keep in mind that the turkey must be stored in the fridge immediately if more than 2 hours have passed since it was brought out! After two hours in the open, harmful bacteria can grow in the food, which can cause food poising. You can also store it in food containers, but they will take up much more space.

what to do with leftover turkey_leftover turkey storage ideas

Putting the turkey in a plastic bag will do best to keep the flavour and will take up the least space. If your turkey has already been sliced up, you can make it easier for yourself and your family, by placing the different meats in separate plastic or better yet, silicone bags. If you have a larger piece that has not been cut, better to keep it whole to preserve its fresh taste and its juices. Remember to keep the bags tightly sealed to preserve your turkey for the longest.

How long will leftover turkey keep in fridge?

According to experts, a cooked turkey can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days at 40 °F/ 4°C. After the fourth day, bacteria can cause the food to develop a bad taste or smell.

2. Store turkey leftovers in freezer

storing food advice_what to do with turkey after thaksgiving

You have eaten all you can, and you don’t want to bother with these turkey leftovers any more? What else can you do? Freeze them, of course! If turkey leftovers are frozen properly, they can be kept there for 2 to 3 months and still taste good when you decide to use them. When you are storing turkey in a freezer, don’t cut it up too much, but try to keep your bigger slices as they are. By doing this, you will preserve the freshness of the meat, as it will have been less exposed to air. Keep the meat on the bones. Put the leftovers in a vacuum seal or in 2-3 plastic bags one over the other. Make enough room in the freezer to place them.

3. Put leftovers in containers for guests

how to store leftover turkey_turkey leftover recipes

As any great Thanksgiving diner host, you have to send off your guests with some leftovers from the grand feast! And if that will in some way aid you in your storing troubles, well all the better, right? When you are wondering in what to store the leftovers for your guests, skip on the plastic and silicone bags. Go with meal containers instead. That way, you will also have enough space to put other leftovers, like the delicious cranberry sauce that you had to make ahead, the gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, etc.

4. Try recipes with turkey leftovers

loaded nachos recipe world cup food leftover turkey thanksgiving tasty and delicious

If you still feel like you have enough energy to cook, and you want to try some easy and simple leftover turkey recipes, then this is for you! Instead of freezing all the turkey, keep parts of it to experiment with different recipes. From nachos with turkey meat to turkey meat soup, there is an abundance of choices to go with! I personally am a big fan of Mexican food, so I am thinking of trying out the turkey meat nachos, or stuffing some tortillas or tacos with the meat and adding other Thanksgiving leftovers to them. Go wild with your ideas!

It feels so great when we don’t have to waste any of the delightful meals that we put our hearts and souls to cook! Now half of my turkey leftovers are in the freezer, and for the other I am currently thinking of which leftover turkey recipe to start with! Which one do you like?




Kristiyana Burdeva is a content writer interested in the latest trends when it comes to hairstyles, fashion, makeup, interior design and tattoos. She loves to travel, and often embarks on road trips with her friends. Kristiyana likes to spend time in nature, going on hikes and camping trips. Ever since she can remember, she has loved to share her personal thoughts and opinions through writing and enjoys reading classical literature works.   Experience 
  • Author at since 2022, Kristiyana has written over 300 articles on various topics related to hairstyles, fashion, makeup, interior design, tattoo art, healthy lifestyle and kitchen recipes.
  • Prior to working at, Kristiyana worked as a freelance writer for various projects.
  • Her interest in hairstyles started back in late 2016 when she first started experimenting with hair dyes, and has been dyeing her own hair and that of close acquaintances ever since
  • Kristiyana has experience in working for a beauty company that sells luxurious cosmetics, which sparked her interest in learning about and establishing a quality skincare routine.
  • When it comes to cooking, she loves trying out new recipes, especially ones with various kinds of spices and herbs, and enjoys cooking for her family and friends.
  • In her yearly years, Kristiyana was very fond of drawing and painting and went on to study Arts for a brief period, and follows many artists on social media till date, tattoo artists included.
Education  Kristiyana went on to study in a specialized high school for English and German, and her love for the languages continues to date. She obtained a bachelor's degree in English and American studies. During her studies, she wrote numerous essays, poetry works, short stories and translated different texts. She was also involved in many volunteering programs, where she helped to educate children that came from unstable communities, or projects connected with the European Solidarity Corps.

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