Leftover turkey is good for 4 days in the refrigerator. Here are recipes and tips to save money and reuse that leftover turkey (and other leftover foods) without getting food poisoning (also called food borne illness).
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Recipes for leftover turkey
(These are also good recipes to use already cooked or roasted chicken.)
- Sweet Potato Turkey Hash
- Turkey Stew (has cost info)
- Turkey Salad with Orange Vinaigrette (has cost info)
- Polenta with Turkey and Mushrooms
- Blue Cheese Turkey Salad with Sliced Apples
- Turkey Tostadas (has cost info)
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Thai-Spiced Turkey
- Vegetable and Turkey Stir Fry (has cost info)
- Other ideas: Reinventing Thanksgiving and Cooked Turkey Recipes
Tips for using leftovers safely
Eating leftovers is a great way to save money and is better than letting the food go to waste, but be careful to prevent yourself from getting food poisoning:
- Keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
- Label leftovers with the date they were made, so that you can keep track of how long they’ve been in the fridge.
- Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius).
- Use an app like Is My Food Safe? (free for Apple and Android) or Leftovers ($0.99 in iTunes app store). These apps tell you how long food is good for, what temperatures they need reach when cooking and reheating, and information on food poisoning. Is My Food Safe also has a kitchen safety quiz and an Ask an Expert feature.
How long do leftovers last in the refrigerator?
This is a general list. Please use your common sense and best judgement – “When in doubt, throw it out!” If it doesn’t look, smell, or taste like it did when you put it in the fridge, it may be a good idea to throw it away.
- Meat, poultry, seafood: 3-4 days
- Soup, stew, chili: 3-4 days
- Packaged lunch meat: 3-5 days after opening
- Vegetable salad: 1-2 days
- Cooked vegetables: 2-3 days
- Pasta or potato salad: 3-5 days
- Rice, pasta: 2-7 days
- Stuffing: 1-2 days
- Pie: 2-3 days
For more information, read…
Do your leftovers add up to a safe meal?
Refrigerator Calculator Printable from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (very conservative on some foods, for example: rice is only listed as 1-2 days)
Food Safety: Foodborne Germs and Illnesses
FAQ page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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