4 tips to store and reheat Christmas leftovers safely

‘Tis the season to preorder your deli meats at FairPrice — and know how to prepare, store and reheat any leftovers!

You could throw a few whole gammon ham or turkey slices and microwave it for a couple of minutes, but there are better ways to reheat and retain its flavour. We’ve taken the guesswork out for you, so get ready to keep feasting with these 5 tips to store and reheat Christmas leftovers safely*!

*Note: No oven at home? No problem! A toaster oven will do the same job.

Refrigerate food within 90 minutes

Cool down leftovers immediately and refrigerate within 90 minutes¹. They should not be in an environment at room temperature for more than two hours. This also includes ready-to-eat ham that can be eaten either cold or warm again.

Tuscany Truffle Ham

Reheating is recommended for deli meats that have been cooked. It will help to greatly improve its texture and flavour! Reheating time will vary, depending on the size of the deli meat and if the bone has been left in. To retain the most flavour, it should always be reheated the way it was cooked — whether that’s in the oven or on your skillet!

Gammon Ham (Bone In) Free Range

Heat the oven up to 180°C and cover with foil for 70 to 80 minutes, or until the core temperature reaches 75°C.

Smoked Duck Breast with Pepper
±900g before cooking

Heat the oven up to 160°C and cover with foil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the core temperature reaches 75°C.

Truffle Pork Ribs & Helix Sausage

Heat the oven up to 160°C and cover with foil for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the core temperature reaches 75°C.

Tip: If the deli meat has been glazed, do not leave it unattended or longer than necessary in the oven. Sweet glazes will caramelise and burn quicker!

Remove all the stuffings and trimmings

Whether it’s a cooked whole turkey or chicken, any stuffing in a bird’s cavity or all the trimmings should be removed to store in a separate airtight container³. This will remove excess moisture and help it to keep well in the fridge. After that, simply cover it with foil and reheat to consume within two days.

Traditional Roast Turkey
3.5kg to 4.5kg before roasting

Ready to reheat and eat? Cover with foil and place the turkey in the oven at 180°C for 80 to 90 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a food thermometer to measure until the core temperature reaches 75°C.

Seal freshness in with airtight containers 

As a general rule of thumb, always choose airtight containers that fit the size of the foods you’re planning to store. Limiting the space available will help to keep moisture in and bacteria out, as well as prevent odours from latching on to the leftovers.

Sausages: This popular deli meat should be stored in airtight containers lined with baking paper. Baking paper will absorb any excess oil effectively. All types of sausages last well in the refrigerator for up to three days².

Free Range Sausage Platter

German pork, Italian pork and
pork cheesy sausages (500g each)

To reheat, simply cover the sausages with foil and bake at 160°C for 20 to 30 minutes or until the core temperature reaches 75°C. If you’re reheating it in a skillet, the sausages should be fried until it’s crisp and nicely browned.

Tip: For extra crispy sausages in the oven, remove the foil halfway through cooking time and bake for a few more minutes!

Mix in a liquid to balance the fat-water ratio

If the fat from the butter or dairy in a dish has visibly separated in the refrigerator, don’t fret — its original creamy goodness can be restored! Simply stir in a tablespoon of warm full-fat milk to bring balance back into the fat to water ratio in the meat of cottage pies and macaroni & cheese.

Cover with foil and place both in the oven at roughly 180°C for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through⁶. The surface should be glossy and the edges should be sizzling. That’s when you know it’s time to eat!

Beef Cottage Pie
Country Food


Mac & Cheese
Country Food


It’s also important to note that plant-based alternatives of traditional meat dishes are just like any other meat. They can be stored and reheated with no unique food safety risks⁷.

Plant-based Seafood Chowder Gratin


Preheat the oven to 140°C, remove the packaging and heat up 15 to 20 minutes until hot.

Plant-based Quiche/Deep Dish
Impossible Foods


Preheat the oven to 140°C, remove the packaging and heat up for 15-20 minutes until hot.

We hope that you’ve learnt a new thing or two on how to store and reheat your favourite Christmas foods safely. No tummies were harmed in the making of this article!




¹ Hire, C 2021, How to reheat leftovers, BBC Good Food, Immediate Company Ltd., viewed 25 October 2021
² Baxter, K 2021, How to reheat sausages – the best ways, Eat Delights, viewed 25 October 2021
³ Food Network Kitchen 2021, Food safety: storing Thanksgiving leftovers, viewed 26 October 2021
⁴ Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) 2018, Store chicken and turkey the right way, viewed 26 October 2021
⁵ StillTasty 2021, Food storage – how long can you keep…macaroni and cheese – cooked, leftovers, viewed 26 October 2021
⁶ StopWaste 2021, Reviving mac & cheese, viewed 26 October 2021
⁷ Impossible Foods 2021, How should I store Impossible™ Burger?, viewed 27 October 2021

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