How long can you eat Christmas turkey leftovers?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you eat Christmas turkey leftovers?”, and how to store Christmas turkey leftovers?

How long can you eat Christmas turkey leftovers?

Christmas turkey leftovers last 3-4 days in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer. The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different Christmas leftovers. 

Item Pantry Shelf-life in the fridgeShelf-life in the freezer 
Turkey, Goose or Duck — whole, cooked3-4 days 2-3 months 
Ham — baked at home, leftovers3-4 days 3-4 months 
Gravy — homemade1-2 days 2-3 months 
Cranberry sauce10-14 days 1-2 months 
Stuffing — cooked3-4 days 1-month 
Mashed potatoes or yams; green bean casserole3-5 days 10-12 months 
Cookies — homemade or bakery-purchased2-3 weeks 5-7 days if frosting or filling contains eggs or dairy products8-12 months 
Fruitcake — baked1 month 6 months 1-year
Eggnog— homemade1 day 6 months 
Apple pie — baked2 days 2-3 days after pantry storage1-2 months 
Wine, red or white — opened bottle3-5 days 1-2 months 
Bread— soft-crusted4-5 days 2-3 months 
Hard-crusted 1-2 days 2-3 months 

General tips for storing Christmas leftovers 

To extend the shelf-life of the Christmas leftovers, they must be stored correctly. Follow the tips below to make sure your leftovers are safe and delicious during storage.

  1. Refrigerate leftover turkey, ham, goose, and other meats, stuffing, gravy, and other cooked dishes.
  1. Trim the leftover turkey meat off the bones before storing it in the fridge or freezer. The meat and stuffing should be stored in separate containers for an extended shelf-life.
  1. Use multiple shallow containers to store Christmas leftovers.

How to store leftover turkey?

  1. To avoid any airborne pathogenic bacteria from contaminating your turkey as it cools, c loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  1. When the turkey has cooled down, wrap it tightly with foil or cut into small parts and refrigerate it in air-tight containers.
  1. Store the cooked turkey away from uncooked meat to avoid cross-contamination. 

How can you tell if the turkey is bad?

Pay attention to the smell and texture of the turkey. Spoiled turkey develops a slimy film on its surface. If you notice discolored patches or spots on the turkey surface, it has gone bad. Similarly, if the turkey leftovers give off a putrid or rancid smell, they are done for.

How to freeze cooked turkey?

  1. When the turkey has cooled down, cut it into small pieces and divide the pieces into meal-sized portions. 
  1. Wrap the pieces tightly in foil and toss the wrapped meat in a ziplock freezer bag.
  1. To get the best of its shelf-life, freeze the turkey in the day it has been cooked within 2 hours of cooking. 
  1. Do not forget to put a clear label on the ziplock bag before chucking it in the freezer. This will help you keep track of the leftover turkey.
  1. Defrost the turkey overnight in the fridge to avoid deteriorating its quality during the thawing process. 

Advantages and disadvantages of freezing 

Frozen poultry have an indefinite shelf-life. But there is a limited time window during which the meat can maintain its peak quality. Usually, frozen turkey or poultry is best consumed within 3-4 months of storage. The longer you freeze the turkey, the tougher it gets and loses its flavor. 

How to safely reheat cooked turkey?

Generally, you can safely eat cold turkey straight out of the fridge within 4 days of storage. Refrigerated turkey can be thawed in the microwave, in the oven, or on the stovetop. Just make sure that the turkey is piping hot and reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (about 74°C).

How to make roast turkey pie using turkey leftovers?


  • olive oil
  • chestnut mushrooms 250g, quartered
  • leeks 2, trimmed and chopped
  • butter 25g
  • plain flour 2 tsp
  • strong chicken stock 300ml
  • crème fraîche 4 tbsp
  • cooked chicken 500g, cut into large chunks
  • flat-leaf parsley chopped to make 1 tbsp
  • ready-rolled puff pastry 320g sheet


  1. Grease a pan with 1tbsp olive oil. When the oil sizzles, stir in the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until golden brown.
  1. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set them aside. Then add butter and leeks to the same pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes. 
  1. When the leeks soften, stir in the flour and gently heat for about 2 minutes with constant stirring. Pour in the chicken stock. Bring it to a bowl and simmer for about 3-4 minutes until thick.
  1. Stir in the crème fraîche, mushrooms, chicken, and parsley. Transfer this to a baking pan.
  1. Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line the baking dish with the pastry, crimp the edges with a fork. Dig a steam hole in the center and bake for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Other FAQs about Turkey that you may be interested in.

Why do we eat Christmas turkey?

Can you eat a turkey that has been frozen for 2 years

What to Serve with Christmas Turkey


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you eat Christmas turkey leftovers?”, and how to store Christmas turkey leftovers?