Pre-Cooked Turkey Dinners
Take-out Dinners Hot from the
Eating Within 2 hours?
Pick up the food HOT...and keep it HOT. Keeping foods warm is not enough.
Harmful bacteria multiply fastest between 40 and 140ºF.
Set oven temperature high enough to keep the turkey at 140ºF or above.
(Use a meat thermometer.) Stuffing and side dishes must also stay HOT.
Covering with foil will help keep the food moist.
Eating Much Later? Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavity immediately and refrigerate.
Cut turkey off the bone and refrigerate. Slice breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole.
Refrigerate potatoes, gravy and vegetables, too, in shallow containers.
It's not a good idea to try and keep foods hot longer than 2 hours. They will be safer and taste better if you:
Reheating a Whole Cooked Turkey is NOT Recommended
If you plan to reheat a turkey, cut the meat off the bone. Slice breast
meat. Legs and wings may be left whole. Refrigerate in shallow containers.
Reheat sliced turkey thoroughly to 165ºF until hot and steaming. Bring
gravy to a rolling boil.
In the microwave oven, cover food and rotate dish so it heats evenly. Follow the microwave manufacturer's instructions. Inadequate heating in the microwave or conventional oven can contribute to foodborne illness.
Exception: Cooked turkeys with the USDA inspection seal on the packaging have been processed under controlled conditions. Follow package directions for reheating and storing.
Reheating a Whole Deep-Fried Turkey is NOT Recommended
If you purchased a deep-fried turkey, the directions are the same. Unless
the turkey will be served within 2 hours, the turkey must be sliced
and refrigerated in shallow covered containers. A deep fried turkey
will always be best when it is fresh from the frying kettle and the
skin is still crispy.
Keep Cold foods COLD.
Refrigerate cold foods as soon as you get home (always within 2 hours). Serve your meal within 1 to 2 days.
Perishable foods should not be left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly in shallow containers. It is safe to freeze leftover turkey and trimmings -- even if you purchased them frozen. Wrap tightly for best quality.
Cooked Frozen Turkey; Side Dishes
Is USDA Inspection Seal Visible?
This seal on the label tells you the turkey was prepared in a USDA-inspected
plant. Read and follow package directions for thawing, reheating and
No Handling Instructions on Label? Follow these steps:Thaw the wrapped, cooked frozen turkey on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow about a day for every 5 pounds. Small packages such as stuffing, gravy or potatoes will thaw in less time. Side dishes can go from freezer to oven.
Once the cooked turkey thaws, eat it (either cold or reheated to 165ºF) within
3 to 4 days (stuffing and gravy within 1 to 2 days).
To reheat turkey, cut the meat off the bones. Slice breast meat. Legs and wings may be left whole.
Storage of Leftovers Refrigerator (40ºF or slightly below)Cooked Turkey...............3 to 4 days
Stuffing and Gravy...........1 to 2 days
Other Cooked Dishes......3 to 4 days
Freezer (0ºF 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.)