Nov 16, 2021

3 min read

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stasher bags, the survey also asked respondents about the best ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals. (Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash)

More than two-thirds of Americans think Thanksgiving dinner leftovers taste better than the original meal, new research suggests.

In a recent survey of 2,000 respondents who celebrate Thanksgiving, nearly seven in 10 said a next-day Thanksgiving sandwich tastes better than that day’s fresh dinner.

Half (49%) agreed that the main course makes the best leftovers — more so than the side dishes (23%).

Where traditional foods are concerned, 62% said that turkey makes the best leftovers, while 46% opted for mashed potatoes and stuffing/dressing.

While 45% cited pumpkin pie as the best for leftovers, 38% also declared that it shouldn’t be eaten any other time except the holidays.

People love their holiday meals so much, 35% usually eat them for five days or more after the initial meal.

However, nearly two-thirds (65%) said they wish they could eat stuffing/dressing more frequently.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Stasher bags, the survey also asked respondents about the best ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers into new meals.

Sixty-three percent have created an old-fashioned “leftover” plate out of Turkey Day dishes they didn’t finish, while 38% opted for a “franken-sandwich” or casserole.

Most (72%) usually prepare Thanksgiving dinner with the intention of having leftovers, which may be why 56% believe the holiday is ruined if there isn’t any food left at the end.

Popular ways to revive holiday leftovers included microwaving (64%) and baking (47%).

Half look to their own recipes for inspiration on how to reuse their holiday fare, while 45% rely on their parents/grandparents’ recipes — much more than food-related social media accounts (24%).

Who usually eats the most Thanksgiving leftovers? Forty-two percent pointed the finger at themselves, while 30% named their partner or spouse.

But unfortunately, eight pounds of Thanksgiving leftovers still make their way into the trash can every year.

The reason? Sixty-three percent said they were no longer edible, while 37% admitted they’d forgotten to save them properly.

“Our survey shows that people love — and even prefer — the taste of Thanksgiving leftovers, but don’t always store them properly to reuse them later,” said Hilary McGuigan, senior brand director at Stasher. “As a result, Thanksgiving meals can often result in quite a bit of food waste.”

Nevertheless, 64% said sustainability is important in their Thanksgiving celebration.

One way people are manifesting this is through their holiday menu; respondents said that on average, a quarter of their Thanksgiving leftovers are vegetarian/vegan.

“Making more planet-friendly choices for the holiday is about more than just selecting sustainably-sourced food,” noted Shannon Morgan Stearns, vice president of marketing at Stasher. “There are a variety of products like Stasher bags that help families keep their leftovers longer, reducing not only food waste but also single-use plastic waste that enters landfills and oceans.”

WHAT MAKES THE BEST THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS?

  • Turkey (62%)
  • Mashed potatoes (46%)
  • Stuffing/dressing (46%)
  • Pumpkin pie (45%)
  • Apple pie (41%)
  • Green bean casserole (37%)
  • Rolls (34%)
  • Candied yams (33%)
  • Gravy (32%)
  • Cornbread (29%)
  • Cranberry sauce (28%)

UNIQUE WAYS TO USE THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS

  • “Turkey Tetrazzini.”
  • “Reprocessing the rest into a barbecue is my favorite way.”
  • “With a dish from my country called bollos, and I use the turkey to put it inside bollitos.”
  • “Pot pies, soups, sandwiches.”
  • “Turning it into a casserole.”
  • “One of the easiest ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers is to stuff everything in an avocado and bake it.”
  • “Breakfast potato pancakes.”
  • “Pizza from the rest of the food.”
  • “Made a savory waffle!”
  • “Mix all leftover food into a pot and make soup. Or pan fry all mixed food.”
  • “In an omelette.”

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