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Love not waste your Christmas leftovers

Turkey and stuffing sandwiches, ham and mustard rolls, roast potato hashbrowns … Christmas dinner leftovers can be the ingredients for yummy lunches and dinners for the next 3 days. As well as reducing food waste and costs, leftovers are all about holding onto the glow of Christmas Day.

Storing leftovers

Leftovers should be covered and stored in the fridge or freezer within 2 hours of cooking. Don’t eat food that has been standing at room temperature for more than 2 hours. 

You can help leftover turkey, ham and other meat/poultry cool down by removing legs and cutting meat into smaller pieces. It’s important not to put food in the fridge or freezer when it is still warm, because it could raise the temperature and allow other foods to get too warm. 

When all the meat is removed, you can boil the carcass with some carrots, onions and herbs to make delicious stock for soup. 

When the meat has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and put it in in the fridge. Use clean dishes and utensils to prevent cross-contamination. Leftovers stored in the fridge should be eaten within three days. 

When freezing Christmas meats or stuffing, wrap them in heavy freezer wrap and put them in a container suitable for your freezer. Cooked meat will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

Reheating Christmas leftovers

Christmas leftovers, turkey and stuffing should only be reheated once. So only heat as much leftovers as you will eat straight away as you should not heat it again.  

Leftovers should be reheated until they are piping hot all the way through. And Leftover gravy should be brought to a rolling boil 

For more about planning to reduce food waste this Christmas go to 

Leftovers inspiration

Make the most of what’s left of your festive fare with these delicious leftover recipes.

Adrian Web’s leftover turkey curry with rice and naan bread

A tasty alternative recipe to use up leftover Christmas turkey.

Turkey curry with rice and naan bread

Christmas broth

A great way of using leftover turkey, as well as carrots and parsnips

Christmas broth recipe

Neven Maguire’s turkey, ham and potato pie

Combine your Christmas leftovers with a crème fraiche and mustard sauce for a comforting seasonal pie.

Turkey, ham and potato pie recipe

Neven Maguire’s turkey, rocket and pine nut pasta

Quick, easy and delicious – a Christmas leftovers favourite

Turkey, rocket and pine nut pasta recipe

Turkey and bacon hash brown bake

You might look at the remnants of your Christmas dinner and wonder what you can do with all this leftover food! This is a lovely recipe to use up leftover vegetables.

Turkey and bacon hash brown bake recipe

Turkey and butternut squash curry

turkey and butternut squash curry

A healthy recipe that contains 3 of your 5-a-day! This recipe featured on the RTE programme Operation transformation.

Turkey and butternut squash curry recipe

Turkey and leek pie

turkey and leek pie

This pie is a brilliant way to use up leftover turkey or chicken and really is very simple to prepare. You can also make individual pies in 300ml / ½ pint dishes; just decrease the cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Turkey and leek pie recipe

Turkey noodle soup


This super-healthy turkey broth from the Wonky Spatula is just what you need to warm you through on Stephen's Day.

Turkey noodle soup recipe

Turkey pie

This pie is a brilliant way to use up leftover turkey or chicken and really very simple to prepare.

Turkey pie recipe

More leftovers recipes from

Nut roast veggie couscous

This is a great accompaniment or serve as a main course with some grilled goats cheese. Can also be made using the left over nut roast.

Nut roast veggie couscous recipe

Bread and butter pudding


The traditional way to use up leftover or slightly stale bread. You can add a bit of cranberry sauce to give it a seasonal touch.

Bread and butter pudding recipe

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