America's Test Kitchen LogoCook's Country LogoCook's Illustrated Logo

Which Thanksgiving Leftovers Freeze the Best? 

Here’s a list of what freezes well, well(ish), and not so well.  

Published Nov. 7, 2022.

Thanksgiving leftovers are inevitable.

There’s nothing wrong with leftovers. They’re delicious!

But after your third (or fourth) mile-high sandwich, you might consider freezing some leftovers for later. (You know, for that fifth sandwich you’ll crave in a month.)

Sign up for The Thanksgiving Success Series

Be Thanksgiving-ready with the help of the Test Kitchen experts.

1. Leftovers that freeze well for 1–3 months

  • Turkey: Be sure to remove the meat from the carcass before freezing. If you’re not in the mood to make stock just yet, freeze the carcass too!
  • Mashed potatoes: Using a large ice-cream scoop or a measuring cup, place 1-cup portions of mashed potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. Once the potatoes are frozen, transfer them to a large zipper-lock bag and put them back in the freezer. Here’s how to reheat them! 
  • Cranberry sauce: Just do yourself a favor. Don’t freeze it in the can.

2. Leftovers that freeze OK for 1–3 months

  • Stuffing: Stuffing is borderline indestructible, but you’ll lose some texture. Use your oven or toaster oven to reheat it and crisp the exterior. 
  • Gravy: Our flour-based make-ahead turkey gravy can be frozen for up to two months. Cream-based gravies, however, do not freeze well. 
  • Pie: Fruit pies freeze well. We don’t recommend freezing pumpkin pie—the texture doesn’t keep well—but we do have a foolproof method for freezing pecan pies without damaging them.
  • Rolls and biscuits: Rolls, yes. Biscuits, not so much. 
  • Red wine: Don’t freeze wine for drinking, but certainly freeze wine for cooking. Frozen red wine cubes lose some of their color, but the change in taste is undetectable.

3. Leftovers that don’t freeze well

  • Salads of any kind: Dressed greens are a frozen no-no. 
  • Green bean casserole: I hate to be the one to tell you, but GB casserole is a no. The beans turn to mush and the crispy onions sog out.

You’ll just have to hunker down and eat it all. There are worse things, right?

This is a members' feature.