Is This Still Safe to Eat? Basic Rules for Storing Leftovers

It’s that time of the year again when you’ll be looking in your fridge and debating if you should risk one more turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich. Before you take a bite, check out these general rules about storing perishables. (There are no leftover rules for pie because we all know that the last piece was your breakfast this morning!)

How Long Can I Keep It?

Refrigerate all perishable food within two hours, or one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Reusable glass storage containers are great for leftovers you want to reheat in the next day or so. These containers can go right into your microwave. If you plan to freeze your leftovers, wrap all food in foil or freezer-safe plastic wrap or use freeze-safe baggies.

Dairy – follow the use by or sell by dates – do not freeze
Eggs – good for 3-5 weeks in the refrigerator – do not freeze
Ground meat – lasts 1-2 days in the refrigerator, 3-4 months in freezer
Raw chicken – keeps 1-2 days in the refrigerator, 9 months in freezer
Beer – best within 110 days from the bottling date


Pizza – wrap in foil or plastic wrap, refrigerate, and use within 3-4 days. Lasts up to 2 months in the freezer.
Chinese Food – close the containers tightly, refrigerate and use within 2 days. Don’t freeze.
Fried chicken – wrap in foil or plastic, refrigerate and use within 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 4 months
Soup or Stew – store in a covered container, refrigerate and use within 3-4 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

For more specific Thanksgiving leftover rules, follow these guidelines by Remember to store each item in a separate container.

Turkey – 3-4 days in refrigerator
Gravy – 1-2 days in refrigerator, bring to boil before using
Cooked Stuffing – 3-4 days in refrigerator, remove from turkey before storing
Cranberry sauce – 10-14 days in refrigerator

For a more comprehensive guide to handling and storing food, check out this this post by Sam, our all-things-culinary expert.

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