Leftover Tips

Refrigerator (40 °F or slightly below)

Cooked Turkey: 3 to 4 days
Stuffing and Gravy: 1 to 2 days
Other Cooked Dishes: 3 to 4 days

Freezer (0 °F or below)

Turkey slices/pieces, plain: 4 mos.
Turkey covered with broth or gravy: 6 mos.
Cooked poultry dishes: 4 to 6 mos.
Stuffing and gravy: 1 mo.

Foods frozen longer remain safe but may become drier and lose flavor.

Accurate temperatures, both in the oven and the turkey are important for quality and safety. A meat thermometer is the best way to determine whether your turkey is done or not. Here are some guidelines to properly use a thermometer.

1. Check the oven thermostat and oven temperature to verify the oven setting. An oven that is too hot will dry and shrink the bird!
2. When purchasing a thermometer, look for an easy-to-read dial, made with stainless steel and a shatterproof clear lens.
3. Meat thermometers that can be calibrated for accuracy and digital thermometers are good choices. These types of thermometers are available at grocery, kitchen and hardware stores.

Instant-read and Digital Thermometers
These thermometers are not designed to stay in the food during cooking. If you use this type, pull the turkey out of the oven far enough to insert the stem about 2½ inches into the thickest part of the bird but not touching the bones or roasting pan. The sensing tip is a small indentation located about 1½ inches from the end of the stem and must be fully inserted into the bird. (Look for a tiny dimple on the stem.) The temperature should register in about 15-20 seconds. Wipe with a sanitizer after each use and before the next use.

Oven-proof Thermometer
This should be inserted into the turkey at the beginning of the roasting time and remain inserted in the bird throughout the cooking time. The temperature indicator will rise slowly as the turkey cooks. An ovenproof thermometer is ideal for the whole turkey and the turkey breast. Be sure to sanitize the thermometer before each use. Wash it; then immerse the stem in 170 degrees F. water for 30 seconds or wipe with a sanitizer. You may sanitize the stem with a mild solution of chlorine bleach and water or an antibacterial kitchen cleaner. Rinse with clear water before inserting into the turkey.

Pop-up Thermometers
These are commonly found in the whole turkey and turkey breast. The “pop-up” thermometer device indicates the turkey has reached the final temperature for safety and doneness. Experts suggest the temperature be verified with a conventional thermometer.