How long do leftovers last?

By Brandie Piper

Published Dec. 26, 2015 on Discover.Monsanto.com.

Big holiday meals usually mean a lot of leftover food. But do you know how long your leftovers will last?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a lot of popular holiday foods don’t freeze well, which means you’ll need to finish them quickly because they’ll only last a few days in the refrigerator.

Here’s a rundown of some common holiday foods and how long their leftovers last:

Fully- cooked ham

  • Whole – 7 days refrigerated, 1 to 2 months frozen
  • Half – 3 to 5 days refrigerated, 1 to 2 months frozen
  • Sliced – 3 to 4 days refrigerated, 1 to 2 months frozen

Turkey

  • Cooked, plain, and sliced – 3 to 4 days refrigerated, 4 months frozen
  • Covered in gravy – 3 to 4 days refrigerated, 6 months frozen
  • Cooked dishes with poultry, stuffing, and gravy – 4 to 6 months frozen

Stuffing

  • Cooked – 3 to 4 days refrigerated, 1 month frozen

Gravy

  • Cooked – 3 to 4 days refrigerated, 2 to 3 months frozen

Cranberry sauce and other side dishes

  • 3 to 4 days refrigerated

It’s important to always reheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

For information about food safety, visit the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service page or check out this FDA food storage chart.

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