Ask Marilyn – “How Long Does Leftover Turkey Keep”

by Marilyn Markel in Learn

Have questions about a recipe, cooking techniques, cooking tools or ingredients? Hosting your first dinner party or holiday gathering and need some ideas or tips?

Marilyn, our Cooking School Manager, is here to answer all of your cooking questions. We will protect your anonymity so feel free to ask anything, even the questions you never dared to ask about cooking. From novice to pro, this advice column is for food people, by food people.

Ask the questions you want answered!

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Reader Question:

How long does leftover turkey keep?
- Jane

Marilyn’s Answer:

I generally freeze the leftover turkey if it makes it until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so my rule is three to four days. The Department of Health would give it seven days, but my thought is that the turkey spends a lot of time at room temperature and outside of food safety zones, cold or hot. Food should not spend more than six hours at unsafe temperatures.  After you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal always refrigerate your turkey. When you want to defrost the turkey after freezing, thaw it in the refrigerator, and since it’s already cooked it will heat up very quickly.