Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen?

Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen

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When talking about leftover turkey, I’m going to assume that you mean leftover cooked turkey – what is left over after everyone’s been served their helping of the bird on Christmas Day. It pays to be careful with raw meat, but you should also be super careful with cooked meat, too. Let’s find out the answers to: Can leftover turkey be frozen?

Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen?

Yes, leftover turkey can be frozen.

Providing you prepare the meat properly, store it appropriately, and your freezer is in good working order (obviously), you can freeze turkey to defrost and reheat at a later date, without any concerns.

How Long Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen?

Leftover turkey can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Leftover turkey meat, like other types of meat, will last longer in the freezer if you wrap it properly and/or store it in an airtight container. It is also recommended to flash-freeze single layers of turkey before then transferring them to space-saving container or bag.

Freezing Leftover Turkey Meat: The Rules

If you plan to freeze leftover cooked turkey, there are a few things you should know first. I call them ‘the rules’ because they are (for the most part) non-negotiable.

You will find a comprehensive guide right here: How to Freeze Leftover Turkey Meat. If you’re interested in an abridged version, you’ll find the turkey-freezing rules below:

Rule One: Cooling

First and foremost, you’re going to want to let the cooked turkey cool down before you transfer it to whatever you intend to freeze it in.

Rule Two: De-Boning

Once it has reached room temperature, remove all meat from the bone. You may also wish to separate the meat into two piles so they can be frozen separately: dark meat and light meat. I like to do that. My mother doesn’t. Everyone’s different.

Rule Three: Slice n’ Dice

Smaller pieces of meat will freeze quicker than larger pieces, and a container of all-small pieces will freeze quicker and more evenly than lots of differently sized chunks. I recommend slicing or dicing the turkey meat before freezing, but you will need to consider how you plan to use it later down the line.

Leftover Cooked Turkey Last in the Fridge

Rule Four: Label, Label, Label

Always label all leftovers you plan to store in the freezer. The label should contain what the food is (such as turkey) and the date of freezing. This reduces the risk of grabbing and eating something that has been sitting in the freezer for many months and is potentially no longer safe to eat. Time flies and all that.  

Will Freezing Leftover Turkey Meat Make It Dry?

Any kind of leftover turkey meat has the potential to turn dry, whether it is refrigerated or stashed in the freezer.

Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from drying out. One of the best tips I’ve come across is to add a little bit of the gravy to the meat in the containers before transferring them to the freezer.

If you’re planning on cooking the turkey meat in sauce or gravy when you take it out of the freezer, you likely won’t notice the dryness quite as much (in my opinion). Just a little food for thought.

Can Leftover Turkey Be Frozen

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By Buzzy Kitchen

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