Throw Your Leftover Stuffing Away Immediately If You Notice This

The only thing better than Thanksgiving dinner itself is all of the leftover turkey that you're blessed with for days — and maybe even weeks — after the big feast. Maybe you hosted a party of six but cooked enough food for a small nation. Or perhaps you visited Grandma and were sent home with Ziploc containers packed to the brim. Regardless, chances are high that you've spent the end of November eating turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers so you don't have to get bored of the same old, same old. For example, if stuffing is on your Thanksgiving menu, and thus your Thanksgiving leftovers menu, you can scramble it into a breakfast hash or turn it into waffles. However, like most anything else, leftover stuffing doesn't have an endless shelf life. Here's how to tell if it's gone bad by the time you're ready to use it.

Stuffing that's gone bad has a noticeable odor

So, you pull your leftover stuffing out of the refrigerator a few days post-Thanksgiving — but you aren't quite sure whether or not it's still safe to eat. Without any obvious signs (such as visible black, white, or green mold), it can be tricky to judge your stuffing's condition based on looks alone. For that reason, Eat By Date says to use your nose and take a whiff when you first open the container. "A common trait of bad stuffing is a sour smell, because the meat juices that soaked into the stuffing during cooking will begin to spoil first," the site cautions.

Knowing that, how long does stuffing last in the refrigerator? According to MarketWatch, leftover stuffing should last for up to four days if stored properly in the fridge. Note that the USDA does not recommend refrigerating stuffing that's still inside the turkey, per Taste of Home. And if you can't eat it all in a few days, you can also freeze cooked stuffing for up to a month.