What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers

Christine Illes
Features Writer

Thanksgiving dinner usually includes a turkey, but that turkey is usually too large, leaving lots of leftovers.

Thanksgiving leftovers—you either love them or you hate them. But in reality, they are not as bad as you think. Leftovers just need care. The problem that most people have with leftovers is that they have no idea what to do with them or even know how to store them. Storage of leftovers is extremely important, especially for safety reasons.
However, with proper storage, you can make sure they are still as delicious as they were on Thanksgiving Day. provides guidelines and tips for storing your leftovers. In order to stay safe and avoid food poisoning, you should keep these guidelines and tips in mind:
– Refrigerate turkey, stuffing, gravy and other cooked side dishes within two hours of serving

Turkey pot pie in a bowl.

– Carve turkey meat off the bones before refrigerating. Place the meat and stuffing in separate containers.
– Divide leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerate or freeze in covered, shallow containers for quicker cooling. To get the most taste out of your leftovers, you need to know the refrigerator and freezer life of your meals dishes. According to, these Thanksgiving foods can last you for quite some time.

Making your sweet potatoe leftovers into squares can create an interesting dessert.

– Turkey: Fridge life is 3-4 days. Freezer life is 2-3 months.
– Gravy (homemade): Fridge life is 1-2 days. Freezer life is 2-3 months.
– Cranberry Sauce: Fridge life is 10-14 days. Freezer life is 1-2 months.

– Stuffing (cooked): Fridge life is 3-4 days. Freezer life is 1 month.
Storage is the most important thing when it comes to taking care of those leftovers. But you may be wondering, “When I eat those leftovers, what can I do with leftovers to not make them so boring?”
Well, there are many possibilities. Food Network has an endless supply of recipes on their website, which will be sure to get rid of those annoying leftovers once and for all! If you go through the list, you will be sure to find a recipe that catches your attention. Some ideas are listed below.
Turkey recipes: Turkey potpie; Turkey Bolognese; Grilled Turkey, Brie, and Apple Butter Sandwich with Arugula; Turkey Soup
Side-Dish recipes: Sweet potato squares, Stuffing Frittata, Potato Croquettes, Deep-fried Cranberry-Sauce Fritters

To make leftover dessert, add pumpkin filling to frozen yogurt.

And are you looking for a creative way to spice up that pumpkin pie? Why not turn it into a parfait? Here is a quick ten-minute recipe to turn that pumpkin pie into something a little different (recipe courtesy of Robin Miller):
2 cups pumpkin pie filling (scooped from cooked pie)
2 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, softened
8 tablespoons whipped cream or whipped topping
4 tablespoons candied walnuts or pecans
Spoon 1/4 cup of pumpkin into 4 tall glasses. Top with 1/4 cup of ice cream or frozen yogurt. Repeat layers of pumpkin and ice cream. Top with whipped cream and candied nuts.
To view this recipe online and other recipes deal with Thanksgiving leftovers, visit