Didn’t use your ground turkey as soon as you planned and want to know how long it will last in the fridge? We’re here to help!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, we’ll cover:
- How long ground turkey can last in the fridge
- The best way to store it
- And much more!
NOTE: This article was reviewed by Melissa Macher, Registered Dietician and Food Scientist for safety and accuracy.
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How Long Does Ground Turkey Last in the Fridge?
Ground turkey will only last in the fridge for 1-2 days when raw, or 3-4 days when cooked and it must be properly stored to reach these numbers.
This means you are probably better off not buying this meat in bulk, unless you use some of our tips for storing it. Read on to learn more about how to properly store ground turkey, and some tips for how you can make yours last longer.
How Long Does Cooked Ground Turkey Last in the Fridge?
With the popularity of preparing healthy meals in advance on the rise, you may be wondering if you can cook a bunch of ground turkey on the weekend and enjoy it all week long.
While this is a good idea, cooked ground turkey only lasts about 3-4 days in the fridge. It also needs to be stored in an airtight container to help keep it fresh.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare a bunch in advance, just be sure to only prepare what you can eat in 3-4 days!
How to Tell if Ground Turkey Has Gone Bad
Whether or not the expiration date has passed, you should always check ground turkey to ensure that it is still good before you cook it.
Start by looking the turkey all over to ensure it doesn’t have any grey or green patches. Ground turkey should be a light pink color. If the turkey is discolored at all, it has gone bad.
Next, lift the turkey to your nose. If it has an unpleasant, sour odor, then it has likely gone rotten. You should toss it directly in the trash.
If the turkey has passed the above two tests, the final test is to touch the ground turkey. If it feels slimy then it has gone bad.
Eating ground turkey that has gone bad can give you and your family food poisoning. Therefore, it is always better not to take the chance, and if you think your turkey might have gone bad, throw it away and make something else.
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How Long Does Ground Turkey Last in the Freezer?
Ground turkey lasts the longest when placed in the freezer. As long as it is stored properly in an airtight container before freezing and is frozen before the best buy date (or within a day of purchase) you can expect your ground turkey to last for up to four months.
How to Store Ground Turkey
For turkey to last the entire time before its expiration date, you will want to start by storing it properly. Raw ground turkey needs to be stored in a fridge that is set at a temperature below 40°F.
The turkey should also be placed in an airtight container. Ground turkey usually comes on a Styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic. Unfortunately, this can easily be punctured. Take the time to check for punctures to ensure the packaging will protect the turkey. If you spot any holes or tears, remove the ground turkey into an airtight container.
Ground turkey should be stored in the back section of your fridge, as far from the door as possible.
After turkey has been cooked, it is still essential to store it in an airtight container, however the placement in the fridge is less important as cooked turkey is more stable than raw turkey.
Related >> How Long Will Turkey Last in the Fridge?
How to Make Ground Turkey Last Longer
The best way to make ground turkey last longer is by freezing it. Raw ground turkey must be frozen within 2 days of purchase, but once frozen it can last for months.
It is not advised, however, to put the turkey in its original container in the freezer. Instead, you should transfer the turkey into freezer bags, or something else airtight before you put it in the freezer. This will not only keep your turkey safe, but it will keep it from dripping juices on the other items in your freezer as it freezes.
Turkey should be placed as far back in the freezer as possible, and it is recommended to thaw it before using it for cooking.
Is It Okay to Eat Ground Turkey that has Turned Brown?
Whether you store your ground turkey in the fridge or the freezer, if you notice it starting to turn brown then it is best to throw it out. While turning brown can be a sign of oxidation, it can also be a sign of spoilage and it is impossible to tell the difference.
It’s better to be safe than sick!
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How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Turkey Last?
Vacuum sealing is a process used to put food into airtight containers, which is accomplished by sucking all the air out.
While this is a nifty practice and a great way to store food, vacuum sealing your turkey will not make it last longer. The only way to extend the shelf-life of ground turkey is by freezing it. But you can always stick the vacuum sealed packages in the freezer!
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Final Thoughts on Ground Turkey Storage
Overall, ground turkey is not the most shelf-stable meat. Generally, it will only last until the expiration date, or about 1 or 2 days past it. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy a bunch of ground turkey though!
When you buy ground turkey in bulk do so with the plan of freezing it once you get home. Ensure you have airtight containers ready to go and put it in the freezer within a day of buying it. Just like that, you’ll have a supply of ground turkey to last you a few months!