The MRL Morning Show

Weekdays 6:00AM-10:00AM

Guessing how long leftovers are good for is a Thanksgiving tradition as old as the post-meal nap. But how about instead of relying on the sniff test, wouldn’t it be nice to actually know when you should officially throw out the food sitting in your fridge? Here’s what the experts have to say about the situation.

  • Two-Hour Rule. If your turkey, pie, or sides didn’t make it into the refrigerated or freezer within two hours after preparation, the Food and Drug Administration says they probably aren’t good. So if you know something sat out during all of the football games on Thanksgiving, there’s a good chance you should have already thrown it away.
  • Four Days in the Fridge. The rule of thumb when it comes to leftovers is that they should be eaten or thrown out four days after refrigeration. So in case you’re having trouble counting, today is technically you’re cut off for anything still lingering in your fridge. That includes turkey, stuffing, and gravy. But for many pies, especially fruit ones, their window of being eaten is actually more like just two days.
  • Frozen Food. According to the FDA, frozen leftovers tend to last about two to six months. It’s too late now but next year, your best bet is to divide leftovers into smaller portions and store them in covered shallow containers so they cool quicker. Then you’ve got until May at the latest to pull out those frozen mashed potatoes chilling in your freezer to have a mid-year Thanksgiving.