Whether it’s a whole turkey or a couple of legs, whatever you do, don’t throw any of the goodness left in the pan because it’ll take your gravy and sauces to a whole new level – but how do you store it if you don’t want it right away?
Can You Freeze Turkey Drippings?
Yes, you can freeze turkey drippings for up to 6 months. Once you’ve collected, strained and cooled the drippings, portion the drippings into bags or containers, seal and then freeze them.
Do Turkey Drippings Freeze Well? Yes
Can You Refreeze Turkey Drippings? No
How to Freeze Turkey Drippings
If you need an in-depth explanation of how to freeze turkey drippings, here is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze turkey drippings:
Once your turkey is cooked, carefully remove it from the roasting pan and set it aside to rest. Then, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a large bowl or pot.
To ensure you don’t have any unwanted bits in your drippings, strain them through a sieve into another container. This will remove any solids.
If you prefer less fat in your drippings, you can remove it now. Allow the drippings to cool, then briefly put them in the fridge or the freezer. The fat will solidify on top, making removing it easy with a spoon. You could also use a fat separator if you have one.
Allow the strained, de-fatted drippings to cool to room temperature. This is an important step to follow before freezing anything, as placing hot food directly into the freezer can cause a rise in temperature, which may impact other frozen foods.
Once cooled, pour the drippings into freezer-safe containers, bags, or ice cube trays. Leave some space at the top, as the liquid will expand when frozen. Make sure you seal all containers fully. If using bags, push out as much air as possible.
Use a marker to note the date and contents on the containers or bags. This is especially important if you’ve frozen different types of dripping, fat and stocks.
Finally, pop your containers or bags of drippings into the freezer for up to 6 months.
That’s it! You’ve now preserved your turkey drippings for future use. Whether you plan to make gravy or add flavour to other dishes, you’ll be glad to have these on hand.
Freeze In Useful Portion Sizes
If you often use turkey drippings in certain quantities for specific recipes, consider freezing them in those portions. Ice cube trays or silicone muffin moulds work great for this. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a bag.
How Long Can You Freeze Turkey Drippings?
Turkey drippings can be frozen and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months while maintaining the best quality.
After 6 months, the quality will slowly start to degrade.
The drippings will still be safe to consume after this point, but you may notice a slight change in flavour or texture.
Proper storage also plays a critical role in the duration. Using airtight, freezer-safe containers or bags will protect the drippings from absorbing other flavours in the freezer and help prevent freezer burn, maintaining quality for longer.
Turkey drippings can last for between 3 and 4 days in the fridge when stored in a covered container.
How Do You Defrost Turkey Drippings?
When it comes to using turkey drippings that you’ve frozen, there are several options for defrosting them. You could defrost them in the fridge overnight or pop them into a water bowl.
However, the best thing to do is to use them from frozen.
Chances are, you’re adding them to hot dishes like soups, stews or for the base of gravies. The heat from the dish will gradually thaw, and then heat the drippings. Here’s how:
Remove the frozen drippings from the freezer.
- Break Up
You may wish to break or cut a portion off depending on the quantity you need. If you freeze the drippings in an ice cube tray, simply pop out the number of cubes you need.
- Add to Pan
Add the frozen drippings directly to your pan to create the base of your sauce or gravy. Start with a low heat to allow them time to thaw then turn the heat up.
Yes, you can defrost turkey drippings in the microwave. Place the drippings in a microwave-safe bowl and use short bursts of low power, stirring occasionally to ensure even thawing.
Can You Refreeze Turkey Drippings?
While technically it is possible to freeze turkey drippings, it’s not something I would do – whether it’s safe or not.
From a quality perspective, each time you freeze, thaw, and then refreeze food, you are disrupting the structure of that food.
This can cause changes in texture and flavour. Repeated refreezing cycles will give you bland and watery drippings – not what you want!
Do Turkey Drippings Freeze Well?
Yes, turkey drippings freeze well. The freezing process doesn’t significantly alter the flavour of the drippings, and they don’t have much texture in the first place, so there are no worries.
You may get a little separation when you freeze and then thaw the drippings, but as you’re heating them up and using them in the base of a sauce, you’ll never notice this in the finished dish.