Freezing Leftover Turkey

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posted: 11/17/20

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Freezing leftover turkey is a great way to save it for fast easy dinners in the future. Follow these simple steps to keep your leftover turkey for months to come.

a plastic storage bag full of frozen turkey cut into bite sized pieces

When I get asked “Can you freeze leftover turkey?” the answer is always yes!

With families all over the country having smaller Thanksgivings this year, it is likely that you will have some leftover turkey. I’ve used this method to freeze both my Turkey Breast recipe and my Roast Turkey – it works great for both!

These simple and easy steps make it possible to keep turkey on hand for lots of great recipes. There is no need to get sick of turkey. Freeze your left overs and use them a month from now in leftover turkey recipes.

How to Freeze Leftover Turkey

Freezing turkey to have for later recipes is really simple. The key to is to flash freeze it in a single layer so you are able to pull out just one cup at a time in the future.

Step 1: Cut the turkey into bite sized pieces.

overhead view of a cutting board with turkey meat being cut up

I suggest that you freeze leftovers as soon as possible so you can get the maximum life span from them.

a cutting board full of cut up bite sized pieces of leftover turkey

Step 2: Spread the turkey into a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.

a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper with bite sized pieces of frozen turkey

Step 3: Freeze the cut up turkey for 1 hour.

This flash freezing is an important step. It will keep the turkey from clumping together when stored in the freezer. This way they freeze as individual pieces.

Step 4: Transfer the frozen turkey to a plastic bag.

a plastic bag being filled with bite sized frozen turkey

That’s it! Now you can store the bag of frozen turkey in the freezer for up to three months.

Leftover Turkey Recipes

If you are wondering what to do with leftover turkey after freezing it, I suggest some of these leftover turkey recipes (and I will have more coming next week).

With any soup or casserole recipe, you can add it to the recipe directly from the freezer. Just add a little more cooking time.

FAQ

How Long Can You Freeze Turkey?

This turkey will last in the freezer in a sealed container for 3 months.

How Long is Leftover Turkey Good For?

Leftover turkey will last in the refrigerator for 4 days and in the freeze for 3 months.

Do I need to Thaw Frozen Turkey Before Using It?

It depends on the recipe. For soups and casseroles you can put the turkey right from the freezer into the recipe and add a little more time. For recipes like the sliders and the grilled cheese, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

Does This Work for Chicken Too?

Yes! This is exactly how I freeze rotisserie chicken as well. This is perfect for recipes like my Chicken Noodle Casserole.

a plastic storage bag full of frozen turkey cut into bite sized pieces
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How to Freeze Leftover Turkey

(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Freezing leftover turkey is a great way to save it for fast easy dinners in the future. Follow these simple steps to keep your leftover turkey for months to come.

Ingredients

  • cooked leftover turkey

Instructions

  • Leftover turkey should be prepped for freezing as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of being cooked.
  • Cut the cooked and cooled turkey into bite sized pieces.
  • Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour.
  • Transfer the frozen turkey to a plastic bag or reusable and sealable container. Seal and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • For soups and casseroles, the turkey can be added to the recipe directly from the freezer. For other recipes, thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator overnight before adding to the recipe.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
a plastic storage bag full of frozen turkey cut into bite sized pieces

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How to Freeze Leftover Turkey

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Sharon Wagner says

    Your tips and recipes always are worth saving, if not today I know I’ll come looking for that one again. Thanks and have a wonderful holiday then a Merry Christmas.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you so much for this sweet comment, Sharon!

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