Storing Holiday Leftovers

Leftovers give you a few more days to savor your holiday creations. Make sure they're safely stored by following these pointers.


  • Toss any stuffing containing meat after three days.
  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure your fridge stays between 35 and 40 degrees F.
  • Cool hot leftovers in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
  • Keep leftovers at least 2 inches apart in the fridge to allow cold air to circulate.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately - within two hours of preparation.


  1. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water before handling leftovers.
  2. Remove stuffing from inside the turkey and store in a separate container. Use stuffing within three days.
  3. Wrap leftover roasts and turkey tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and eat within three to four days.
  4. Pour leftover gravy into a plastic storage container. Use within three days.
  5. Divide large amounts of leftovers like stuffing, mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole between several storage containers - smaller portions cool faster.
  6. Place leftover veggies in plastic storage containers and eat them within five days.
  7. Cover cranberry sauce and eat within a week. It's great on those leftover turkey sandwiches.
  8. Wrap leftover fish or seafood (and that oyster stuffing) tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and use within one to two days.
  9. Cover pumpkin, apple and pecan pies tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate and eat within five days.

Toss any leftovers that look or smell odd. But remember, contaminated food may look and smell fine. When in doubt, throw it out.

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