If you buy a precooked turkey dinner, keep the food at safe temperatures before serving. For safety's sake, food must be kept below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees. Bacteria capable of making...

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If you buy a precooked turkey dinner, keep the food at safe temperatures before serving. For safety’s sake, food must be kept below 40 degrees or above 140 degrees. Bacteria capable of making a person sick multiply fastest between those temperatures.

• Food-safety experts recommend that if you buy a precooked turkey, the stuffing should be cooked separately; they advise against buying stuffed turkeys.

• It’s best to pick up the hot dinner just before it’s to be eaten. Drive directly home and keep it above 140 degrees while you’re adding the finishing touches. Eat it right away.

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• If you must pick up the turkey the day before, or more than an hour before it’s to be eaten, food experts recommend carving the meat from the bone and refrigerating it. (A whole hot turkey will take too long to cool down in a home refrigerator.) Slice all the turkey and refrigerate; or the breast meat, legs and wings may be left whole and refrigerated.

• When reheating, add a little broth to keep the meat moist.

• If consumers insist on reheating a whole, unstuffed turkey, they have to decide the safety risk they are willing to take, said Olga Fuste, Pierce County cooperative extension agent. If an unstuffed turkey were cooked, then chilled in a large commercial refrigerator to below 40 degrees within two hours of cooking and kept well-chilled, the risk would be less when reheating.

• When reheating gravy, bring it to a rolling boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

• Stuffing must be reheated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.