How Long Does Turkey Last After Xmas (And Why)?

How Long Does Turkey Last After Xmas (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3-4 Days

Turkey meat is one of the popular meats which is largely consumed by people all around the world. They high in protein and also have vitamins and minerals in them. It is high in fat and calories as well. Yet, more than 10 lakhs of turkeys are sold every year. This is because turkey is quite popular among non-vegetarians, and turkey meat is used for making sandwiches. Thus, many people consume it on daily basis.

Have you ever joined an American family for Christmas or Thanksgiving? If yes, then you must know that their mandatory poultry dish for these occasions is turkey. For them, consuming turkey on Christmas and Thanksgiving is kind of their tradition. But what if the cooked turkey is too much to finish and you want to eat it the next day. How long can it last before it turns bad?

How Long does Turkey Last After Xmas

How Long does Turkey Last After Xmas?

At Room Temperature2 Hours
In Refrigerator3 – 4 Days
In Freezer2 – 6 Months

Christmas is one of the festive days which celebrates old traditions. Consuming turkey meat on that day is one such tradition. This was started by King Henry VIII. He decided to make turkey a staple for Christmas. This was because people did not want to kill their chickens and cows, as they were needed for obtaining eggs and milk. Thus, to have something different they started consuming turkey on Christmas. In this way, they could also save their chickens and cows.

One small turkey is more than enough to feed 6-8 people. Thus, it is common to have left-over turkey after Christmas. Usually, a left-over cooked turkey lasts for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. After you are done eating, you are supposed to refrigerate the left-over turkey within 1-2 hours. But it is quite important to cool down and cover the turkey before refrigerating it.

If you wish to store for a longer period, you also have the option to freeze the cooked turkey. In the freezer, cooked turkey can last for 2 – 6 months, if stored properly. To ensure that it is stored properly, you must put the turkey in the deepest part of the freezer. And when you wish to consume your left-over turkey, make sure that you defrost it first.

turkey meat

If you don’t want to refrigerate or freeze the left-over turkey, then you must consume it within 2 hours. The left-over cooked turkey can last for only 1 – 2 hours outside the refrigerator. If the turkey is left outside for more than 2 hours, then bacteria would start developing rapidly. Thus, it needs to be thrown away.

Why does Turkey Last That Long After Xmas?

As mentioned before, leftover turkey can be stored in a refrigerator or a freezer. But to maintain the edibility of the left-over turkey, you must store them properly.

If you’re storing it in a refrigerator, you should cool down the turkey first. But as you have to keep it inside the refrigerator within 2 hours, you can cut the turkey into pieces to fasten the cooling process. After it is cooled down, cover these meat pieces inside a foil to prevent any kind of bacteria to grow on it. Now keep these pieces in a container and then store them in the refrigerator. If you’ve stored the turkey in this way, then it will last for 3 – 4 days.

To store the cooked turkey inside the freezer, you should first cut them in smaller portions here as well. Afterward, you should wrap them up tightly in foil paper and keep them in an airtight container. Make sure to remember the date when you’ve stored it so that you can consume it before it loses its edibility. Once you’ve stored it, the turkey will last up to 6 months, but it’s recommended to consume it at the earliest. On the day when you’re going to consume it, defrost the turkey before reheating it and finish it within 24 hours.

turkey meat

To know whether your turkey is still edible, look for its smell and texture. If the turkey is no longer edible, then it will start giving out a strong sour smell and it will be somewhat slimy in texture. Throw out the turkey right away if you notice these symptoms.


Thus, if you are going to finish the leftover turkey in 4 days, then go for refrigerating it. If you want to store it for a longer period, then you can freeze it. But either way, you should not reheat the turkey more than once, which means you can store the turkey for only one time in the refrigerator or freezer.

You can also use this leftover turkey as an ingredient in other dishes. You can make a pie out of this turkey and bake it. Some even put the pieces of the turkey into a salad, along with other vegetables. You can even use it in sandwiches if you want. Therefore, you can turn this left-over turkey into another tasty meal.


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16 thoughts on “How Long Does Turkey Last After Xmas (And Why)?”

  1. The historical context provided about turkey’s association with Christmas is fascinating. It adds depth to the information about storage.

  2. The information about how long leftover turkey lasts in the refrigerator and freezer is very helpful. It’s a useful reference for holiday cooking.

  3. I appreciate the clear guidelines provided for storing leftover turkey. It’s a very informative piece.

  4. This article provides detailed information about the storage of leftover turkey, explaining the importance of proper storage to maintain edibility. It’s very informative.

    1. I appreciate the clear explanations provided regarding defrosting and reheating the turkey before consumption.

  5. The information about the smell and texture of leftover turkey to determine edibility is an important addition to this article. It’s very useful.

    1. I agree, it’s an important detail to include for ensuring food safety when dealing with leftovers.

  6. Leftover turkey is always a challenge after the holidays. Having this information about how long it lasts in the fridge and freezer is very practical.

  7. The explanation about why turkey became a staple for Christmas is intriguing. It complements the practical advice on storage.

  8. This article is a great mix of historical context and practical storage tips. It’s well-balanced and informative.

  9. The details provided about the turkey’s association with Christmas and proper storage methods make this article both informative and engaging.

  10. This article provides a clear and comprehensive guide to storing leftover turkey. It’s a valuable resource for anyone dealing with holiday leftovers.

    1. The explanations about maintaining the quality of the turkey when stored in the refrigerator or freezer are very practical. This is a well-written piece.

    2. I found the details about how to determine the edibility of leftover turkey very helpful. It’s solid advice for avoiding food waste.

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