How Long Do Turkey Leftovers Last?

Thanksgiving is an incredible holiday due to many reasons — obviously spending time with family is great (mostly) but how many other days in the year will you get to eat a full plate of poultry and sides without feeling at least a little bit guilty? If you're bringing Tupperware to the big event, you're probably wondering how long your turkey leftovers will last. After all, it's such a monumental occasion, that you kinda-sorta just want it to last forever.

But, unfortunately it can't. After all, cooked turkey definitely has an expiration date, and you don't want to risk getting sick. (Especially since Black Friday only comes once a year, and you're already eyeing those deals.)

The very best guideline for finding out when your turkey has turned is, probably, right in front of you. Both scent and touch can easily clue us in as to when meat has expired. If it doesn't smell very Thanksgiving fresh, or has a bit of a slimy feeling to it (which, yikes) it's better off in the garbage can than your stomach.

Yet, sometimes it's just so tough to tell. In that case, it's good to have a general ideas as to how long you can store your leftover bird. Of course, this is assuming that you're just using the meat — obviously if it's turned into soups, that's a totally different story, especially since reheating will be involved.

In general, if you store the turkey in the refrigerator, you have around three to four days before the meat becomes questionable. Depending on the turkey and the storage, it might last up to a week before it has to be tossed — but, again, food safety isn't really something you'd want to get adventurous with. If you have a ton of leftovers, the perfect thing to do is divide them up. By putting the amount in the fridge that you think you can get to within 3 days, and then freezing the rest, your turkey experience will last a lot longer. It's the perfect solution, really.

Of course, putting meat in the freezer won't make it last forever, but it will allow you to gnaw on some Thanksgiving turkey during New Years Eve with little fear. Meat that hits the freezer normally lasts about two to three months if properly stored.

Stuffing lasts about the same amount of time (but only about a month in the freezer) so when you're thinking of future meals, it's good to know that you've got the same refrigerator time limit for both. Since, what's turkey without stuffing?

It's best to enter Thanksgiving with a game plan. If you're a guest, ask the host beforehand if they'd like your help parting with some turkey. (Chances are, they will — turkeys are typically about 15 pounds, and one can only eat so many turkey sandwiches.) By bringing your own "transportation" for leftovers, divvying up the meat will be even easier. Plus, the host will be pretty grateful. And that's what Thanksgiving is truly all about.

Images: Darren Muir/Stocksy; Giphy (2)