Ground turkey is a highly versatile meat that can be used in many delicious recipes. If you’ve recently bought a bunch from your local butcher, you may wonder: how long doees ground turkey last in the fridge?
Raw ground turkey is often used as a healthy replacement for beef and pork.
It typically lasts in the fridge for two to three days. If it’s already cooked, it can last up to four days.
Frozen ground turkey remains safe to eat indefinitely if it’s stored the right way. However, it’s recommended to thaw and cook it within four months of freezing.
How Long Does It Last In The Fridge?
Raw ground turkey typically lasts in the fridge for 2 to 3 days past its use-by date.
It can sometimes be safe to eat after 4 days if it’s tightly sealed and refrigerated, but make sure its still good before using it.
How To Properly Store
Make sure to store it properly by refrigerating the turkey meat in the original packaging if you plan to use it within the next few days.
Once you open the packaging, transfer any leftovers in an air-tight container and keep it sealed tightly in the fridge.
Exposure to oxygen makes your turkey go bad more quickly.
Keeping it in the fridge unsealed will make everything in there take on its smell. Blech!
You should refrigerate your ground turkey at a temperature below 40°F (4°C).
The best options for air-tight packaging include an air-sealed Tupperware container or a Ziploc bag.
How Long Does It Last In The Freezer?
If you’ve bought a large amount of ground turkey, you’re probably not going to use all of it within the recommended three days. So, your best and safest storage option is to freeze it.
Storing it in the freezer correctly extends its useful life almost indefinitely; however, you’ll get the best results if you use it within four months of its freezing date if you want it to have the same taste, texture, and freshness as the day you bought it.
How To Properly Store It In The Freezer
Make sure that your turkey is well sealed in an air-tight Tupperware container or a freezer bag at a temperature not exceeding 0 – 1℉. The colder the freezer, the less chance it will get freezer burn.
How Long Does It Last at Room Temperature?
Leaving your ground turkey out on your kitchen counter very long is a surefire way to have it go bad.
Room temperature provides the perfect conditions for bacteria and mold to thrive.
Therefore, ground turkey that’s been left out at room temperature anywhere between 40°F (4.5°C) and 140°F (60°C) for over two hours is almost always unsafe to eat. It’s just not worth the risk.
It’s also worth mentioning the risk of cross-contaminating other foods around your kitchen if you leave the ground turkey out uncovered.
How Long Does Thawed Ground Turkey Last In The Fridge?
The answer to this question depends on the method you’ve used to thaw your frozen ground turkey.
Thawing In The Fridge
One way to thaw some frozen ground turkey is to leave it in the fridge overnight.
This method is the most convenient as it allows you to keep it in the fridge for an extra day or two before it goes bad.
Thawing In The Microwave
This is the fastest method you can use to thaw it.
However, you need to keep a very close eye on it as it defrosts in the microwave because the microwave will start cooking it if you leave it in for too long.
If you decide to thaw it in the microwave, keep in mind that you’re going to have to cook it immediately.
Thawing In Cold Water
If you’re in a hurry but don’t want to use the microwave, another quick alternative you can use is cold water.
Placing a small bag of frozen ground turkey in cold water will have it fully defrosted in about 30 minutes.
If you use this method, you should also make sure you have the time to cook it as soon as it’s done thawing in order for it to be safe to eat.
One thing you should never do is let it thaw at room temperature. By doing so, you’re greatly increasing the risk of bacteria growth and possible food poisoning.
How Long Does It Last in Fridge If It Is Cooked?
If you’ve already cooked your ground turkey, you can keep it in the fridge for a slightly longer time.
It will typically remain safe to eat for three to four days if you’ve stored it in an air-tight container.
If you’ve cooked up a large batch, you can store it in the freezer for up to four months without it losing its quality.
This gives you the convenience of having ready-made meals that only need to be taken out of the freezer, thawed, and heated.
How Can You Tell If It Has Gone Bad?
It’s incredibly important to know the signs of raw turkey meat going bad.
Eating spoiled ground turkey is dangerous, and can lead to severe health problems.
This is because any kind of spoiled meat is a hotbed for harmful bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella.
Consuming foods infected with such bacteria is likely to cause intestinal infection, and severe stomach pain.
Eating moldy ground turkey can cause severe diarrhea, food poisoning, and respiratory issues, such as wheezing and coughing.
In order to avoid this, here’s how you can tell if your ground turkey has gone bad.
The first key indicator of meat freshness is the smell.
If it is odorless or has a very slight smell, then it’s an indicator that it hasn’t gone bad.
If you take a sniff of it when you take it out of the fridge and it has a strongly acidic or foul scent, it’s time to discard it.
The second thing you should look out for when deciding whether it is safe is its color.
The normal color of ground turkey is a light pink. Keep an eye out for any changes in color from when you first brought it home from the grocery store.
If you see much of it turning grey, you should definitely not risk eating it.
You should also look out for any green or blue spots on your ground turkey.
The presence of these colors is a telltale sign that your ground turkey has gone moldy.
Finally, check its texture before cooking it. Give it a poke and see if it’s sticky or slimy to the touch.
If you see or feel any of this, there’s a very good chance that it is no longer safe to eat.
Ground Turkey vs. Ground Beef: Which One Lasts Longer?
Compared to ground turkey, ground beef lasts a bit longer in the fridge.
While the cut-off point for refrigerated raw ground turkey being safe to eat is four days, raw ground beef can last up to six days in the fridge.
Easy Recipe Ideas To Use That Extra Meat
Ground turkey meat is excellent for making a variety of quick and easy meals, perfect for busy weekdays!
These air fryer turkey burgers are a lighter version compared to beef burgers and I can guarantee you won’t get any complaints from your family!
Of course, when you feel like BBQ-ing without breaking a sweat, grilled turkey burgers, and grilled Mexican stuffed peppers are some of the easiest grilling recipes you can enjoy.
It is extremely versatile and I use it as a replacement for ground beef or pork in practically any recipe.
If you have a smoker, I dare you to try this amazing smoked chili. We used ground hamburger meat, although ground turkey would work just as well.
It’s great for feeding a crowd and the smoky flavor will make everyone ask for seconds!
Ground meat, including turkey, is also excellent for effortless instant pot recipes like instant pot fettuccine bolognese, instant pot Spanish rice, and instant pot stuffed pepper soup.
As you can see, that extra meat has so many uses, I’m sure you won’t have any problems dealing with leftovers.
Now that you know how long ground turkey lasts in the fridge and freezer, whether raw or cooked, using it in your recipes will be worry-free!
Even if you’ve taken all the steps for proper storage and cooking, be sure to give your ground turkey a last inspection regarding smell, color, and texture, before using it.
When you have other meals planned for the following days, it’s best to freeze any leftover turkey meat.
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