How Long is Ground Turkey Good in the Freezer


Ground turkey can be a good protein solution for a healthier diet. It is leaner than ground beef or ground chicken. And freezing ground turkey is a good way to prolong its shelf life. But how long is ground turkey good in the freezer?

raw ground turkey
raw ground turkey

How Long Does Turkey Meat Last? 

In the freezer, ground turkey meat will last up to 3 months without compromising quality, if it’s prepared properly in a sealed package or container and the freezer temperature remains stable at a temperature about 0F degrees.

In the refrigerator, ground turkey meat that’s been cooked can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Raw ground turkey should be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days.

Can You Freeze Ground Turkey Meat?

Yes, you can freeze ground turkey whether it’s been cooked or is still raw. Following are our tips and step-by-step instructions for how to do so safely.

How To Freeze Ground Turkey Meat

Following are our step-by-step instructions for how to store ground turkey in the freezer. To freeze ground turkey meat, there are two preliminary things that you’ll want to consider.

First, you should check the best if used by date to make sure the meat hasn’t expired.

Second, you’ll want to freeze the ground turkey meat within 2 days of purchasing it. For the best results, cook or freeze it the same day it’s purchased.

Here’s how to freeze ground turkey meat regardless of whether it’s raw or cooked.

1. Allow the meat to cool if it’s just been cooked.

2. Place in a freezer safe airtight container or zipped freezer bag. Remove any excess air if using the bag method.

3. Label with the today’s date and the contents of the bag.

4. Place in the freezer.

Ground turkey can be frozen for up to 3 months for best freshness.

We recommend freezing it within 2 days of purchasing it, and no more than 2 days after the sell by date.

Raw turkey minced meat
Raw turkey minced meat

What Can Ground Turkey Be Used In?

There are many recipes that call for ground turkey or where ground turkey can be substituted in place of other ground meats, such as ground beef. Ground turkey is a healthier alternative to chicken and beef. Here are some ideas of ways to use ground turkey:


How Long is Ground Turkey Good in the Fridge?

The length of time that ground turkey is good in the fridge will be determined by its state. Is it cooked? Or is it still raw?

Raw ground turkey won’t last as long as whole meat cuts since more surface area is exposed to the air.

Allow raw ground turkey to sit in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days before cooking it or transferring it to the freezer.

For raw ground turkey, it’s best to cook it the same day you bring it home.

Cooked ground turkey can be kept in a 40F degree or less refrigerator for up to 4 days.

ground turkey with red pepper
ground turkey with red pepper

How To Tell When Ground Turkey Has Gone Bad

There are three main key indicators to look for to know if your ground turkey has gone bad. They are as follows:

Foul odor. If your ground turkey has a sour or foul odor, it has spoiled and should be thrown away.

Discoloration. Discoloration such as any hints of green, brown or gray color are signs of spoilage. Your ground turkey should be a nice light pink color. If it’s not, it should be discarded and not consumed.

Slimy texture. Any indicators of a slimy film or texture are also signs of spoilage. Throw away ground turkey that has a slimy texture.

How Long Does It Take to Defrost Ground Turkey?

It can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to defrost ground turkey, depending on the quantity. To properly defrost ground turkey, you should transfer it to the refrigerator overnight and allow it to thaw fully in the refrigerator.  

Can I Refreeze Ground Turkey After It’s Thawed?

The only time it would be okay to refreeze ground turkey after it’s been thawed is if it was kept in the refrigerator the entire time of defrosting.

Otherwise, the turkey will need to be used or thrown away. Turkey that has been thawed at room temperature cannot be frozen again.

ground turkey on round board
ground turkey on round board

Can You Cook Ground Turkey Without Thawing It First?

Yes, it is fine to cook ground turkey from a frozen state. The important thing is to maintain safe food handling. And in order to be safe to eat, the internal temperature needs to reach 165F degrees.

When cooking ground turkey from frozen, a good rule of thumb is to anticipate that it will take about 50% longer for it to get done.

How To Store Ground Turkey Properly

According to the USDA, ground turkey can potentially remain safe when stored in the freezer for up to 1 year, but it will begin to decline in quality over time and after 3 months.

How Long Can You Keep Turkey in the Fridge? 

Cooked ground turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, given that the refrigerator temperature is constant at 40F degrees or less.

How Long Does it Take for a Frozen Turkey to Thaw?

It can take anywhere from 12-24 hours for ground turkey to thaw, depending on the quantity as well as how it’s thawed.

Our recommended method for thawing ground turkey is to transfer it directly to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.

ground turkey on a cutting board
ground turkey on a cutting board

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how long is ground turkey good in the freezer. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

What happens if I eat spoiled ground turkey?

If you suspect that your ground turkey is spoiled, throw it away and do not risk eating it. Eating spoiled food has the potential of causing food poisoning and can present as a potential life-threatening illness. 

What should ground turkey taste like?

Ground turkey should have a good consistency and flavor.  Some describe it as being blander than ground beef, but its mild flavor allows it to pair nicely with a variety of herbs and other flavorings. 

Is it necessary to cover ground turkey in the fridge?

Yes, we recommend covering it tightly with plastic wrap or sealing it in an airtight container whether it’s been cooked or is still raw. This will help to keep it from drying out and will help prevent other flavors that are in the refrigerator from penetrating it. 

I stored my ground turkey in a sealed bag, but the bag was puffed up. What happens?

If your bag has become puffed, that means that bacteria is present, and it has started to grow. Bacteria has the potential of causing food poisoning. If you notice a puffed bag, you should discard that ground turkey rather than eating it. 

Is it okay to eat ground turkey after the expiry day?

We recommend paying close attention to the expiration date on ground turkey. It’s possible if your meat doesn’t show any of the key indicators of spoilage and is only a day or two past the best if used by date, it could still be okay to eat.

However, if any signs of spoilage are present or you have any doubts about its quality, throw it away instead of eating it.

When should you throw out frozen ground turkey?

You should throw out frozen ground turkey if you suspect any signs of spoilage. Key indicators include discoloration such as turning gray or green in color.

If your ground turkey smells off or has a slimy appearance it should also be thrown away. If it has been kept in the freezer for more than 3 months, chances are that you’ll want to discard it.


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ground turkey Pinterest Pin
ground turkey Pinterest Pin

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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