The Best Way to Pack Up Your Guests’ Thanksgiving Leftovers

Photo: (Shutterstock)
Photo: (Shutterstock)

My love for plastic soup containers is well-documented. I think they are the perfect vessel for sending guests home with leftovers, Thanksgiving or otherwise. They’re clear, which means you’re more likely to eat what’s inside of them, but they’re also stackable, dishwasher-safe, and cheap enough that you don’t mind sending them home with guests.

You can pack each container with one kind of leftover, or you can layer in a little of each, creating a kind of leftover parfait. If, however, you are the type of person who doesn’t like their food to touch, soup containers may not be the best leftover storage system for you. If you need clear delineation between each casserole and starch, consider this clever hack from everyone’s favorite internet mom, Babs:

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Instead of piling various leftovers into one container, Babs suggests setting up a “leftover station” and having your guest pack their own leftovers into disposable cupcake tins. Lay out all the leftovers on a table, along with the cupcake tins and lids, and have each guest load up as little or as much they want into each divot.

Disposable cupcake tins are cheap, so you can buy as many as you need to accommodate your guest list; they are pre-portioned, so everyone gets a little bit of everything; and they are divided, so nothing touches. (Food touching has never bothered me—it’s all gonna touch in my belly—but it’s a real problem for some people!)

Disposable cupcake tins are also oven safe, which means your guests can pop their whole leftover tray right in the oven when it’s time to reheat (350℉ is a good reheat temperature for most dishes; heat until warmed through). Just make sure to remove the cranberry sauce before placing the tin in the oven. Nobody wants hot cranberry sauce.

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