How Long Can Ground Turkey Be Kept In The Fridge?

If you wait too long to eat the ground turkey meat that you’ve left in your refrigerator and it spoils, cooking and eating it can make you sick. No one likes wasting food, and nobody wants to be sick either!

That’s why, within this article, we’ll talk about how long you should keep your turkey in the fridge, as well as signs that your turkey has spoiled (and shouldn’t be eaten!).

So, how long can you keep your ground turkey in your refrigerator?

Ground turkey can sometimes still be good to eat up to two days past the use-by date printed on the packaging – provided that you make sure to store it properly.

Storing meat – raw, or cooked, correctly is incredibly important, as storing meat incorrectly can lead to food waste and spoiling, as well as more serious things, such as cross-contamination and food poisoning.

Ground turkey shouldn’t be left out of the fridge too long. This is because room temperature is considered a ‘danger zone’ for the types of bacteria that contaminate and multiply on our food.

How Long Can Ground Turkey Be Kept In The Fridge

Temperatures lower than this, such as the fridge, are too cold for the bacteria to thrive, and by the same token, extremely high temperatures such as your oven will kill the bacteria.

The danger zone is considered to be between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so if your turkey is set out at this temperature for more than two hours, it might make you sick, and you should definitely throw it out in the trash instead of eating it.

If you get your turkey into the refrigerator within the recommended time, it should be good to eat for up to four days, as long as you’ve stored it appropriately.

If you know that you won’t eat it within this time, you might instead choose to store it in your freezer.

Provided that your freeze your turkey as soon as you can (whilst it’s still fresh, within three days), you can keep it in your freezer for as long as you need to, at zero degrees Fahrenheit!

However, we’d recommend that you use it within four months of freezing it, as the sooner you use it the better it will taste, and frozen foods don’t taste as good after a while.

If you choose to freeze your turkey, we’d also recommend that you don’t open it and keep it in the original packaging, as this will make it last longer.

How Long Do Leftovers Take To Spoil?

Unless directed otherwise on the packaging, you should throw most leftovers out within seven days of storing them in the fridge. This includes food that you have opened, as well as prepared.

If you would like to keep your leftovers for longer than seven days, you should probably freeze your leftovers instead of keeping them in your fridge.

How Should Ground Turkey Be Stored In The Freezer?

How Should Ground Turkey Be Stored In The Freezer

If you intend to freeze raw ground turkey, you should aim to freeze it within two days of buying it.

Also make sure to consider what you will use it for in the future, as the quality of frozen foods will decrease over time. You should definitely try to use any frozen ground turkey within four months of freezing it, for best results.

Try to remember not to open the packaging that your ground turkey comes in, as this will retain its quality for longer than repackaging it.

If you can, wrap the turkey (still in its packaging) in aluminum foil and a freezer bag, as this prevents cross-contamination and keeps its quality for a bit longer than without.

If you’ve defrosted your ground turkey overnight and in your refrigerator, you should store it in your refrigerator and use it within two days – but preferably, within one day.

If you use alternative methods to defrost your turkey, such as by using tap water or a microwave, make sure to cook it straight away.

Has My Turkey Gone Bad? How Do I Know?

Your turkey has spoilt if it has greenish/grey patches, or if it feels slimy to the touch. If your turkey has gone bad, it probably won’t smell very nice and might give off a rotten odor – the sort of odor that you won’t be able to miss.

If you notice any of these things, then your turkey is definitely not edible and should be thrown out. If your turkey is a considerable time (over two days) past its use-by date without being frozen, then you shouldn’t eat it as it may have gone bad.

How Should Raw Turkey Be Stored In The Fridge?

If you’d like to store your raw turkey correctly, you need to consider a few important factors: the temperature of your refrigerator, the best-by or sell-by date listed on your turkey, and the shelf-life of thawed turkey, as well as where you store it in your fridge.

We’ll get into these in more detail below!

The Temperature Of The Refrigerator

As we explained earlier, the ‘danger zone’ for food-borne bacteria is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, your refrigerator should be kept to a temperature below 4 degrees Fahrenheit in order to safely store turkey without bacteria growing.

Use Your Meat Drawer

If your refrigerator has a meat drawer, this is the optimal place to store your turkey. If not, you should put your turkey in a tray and place it on the lowest shelf in your fridge, as far back as possible.

This is where your refrigerator keeps food the coldest, which is why meat drawers are typically placed at the bottom. This also prevents any meat juices from dripping onto other items or parts of your refrigerator, meaning that it helps prevent cross-contamination.

Your Turkey’s Shelf-Life When Thawed

As mentioned previously, provided that you make sure to keep your turkey in its original, unopened packaging, after thawing, your turkey will be good in the fridge for a maximum of two days.

This is the case, whether your turkey is in portions or ground. If you suspect that your turkey is spoilt for whatever reason, such as smelling strange or feeling weird, you should throw it out, just to be sure.

What Is Your Turkey’s Best-By Date?

To make sure that you’re storing your turkey properly, you should always make sure to take a look at the best-by date that is listed on the turkey packaging.

This gives you a good indicator as to when you can expect your turkey to go bad, as turkey only lasts a maximum of three days past the date listed (when refrigerated). This date only applies whilst your turkey remains in its unopened packaging.

Jess Smith
Latest posts by Jess Smith (see all)