Is Your Frozen Turkey Past Its Prime?

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If you’ve ever hosted a big family get-together or holiday dinner, you’re probably aware of how much food can accumulate after a feast. Moreover, you might have too much leftover turkey for your refrigerator, even though you can serve leftover pumpkin pie to guests in individual Tupperware containers. At this point, you may want to freeze these pieces to enjoy in the future. So, the question is, “How long is frozen turkey good for?” Fortunately, we have all the answers, so you won’t have to worry about throwing away any of the delectable turkey you spent so much time and effort making.

Depending on the kind of protein and its packaging, all raw, frozen meat, including ground beef and poultry like chicken, will keep in your freezer for different lengths of time. When you are working with already cooked Thanksgiving turkey or already made ground turkey burgers or meatloaf, things get a little trickier. But whether you’re freezing leftovers or purchasing and storing a frozen turkey to save for next year, we’ve covered all the rules you should know about and the actions to take to ensure you make the most of your turkey. Turkey may just become one of those staple items you keep in your freezer for all future use.

Gobble gobble! Thanksgiving is a time for family, feasting, and of course, turkey. But what if you have a turkey in your freezer that’s been there for over a year? Is it still safe to eat?

The Short Answer: Yes, it’s generally safe to eat a frozen turkey that’s been in your freezer for over a year. However, the quality of the meat may not be as good as a freshly frozen turkey.

The Long Answer:

The USDA recommends cooking turkeys within 1 year for the best quality. After that, the turkey may start to develop freezer burn, which can affect the taste and texture of the meat. Freezer burn occurs when the moisture in the food evaporates, leaving behind dry, discolored patches.

Factors to Consider:

  • Packaging: Was the turkey properly wrapped with no tears in the plastic covering? Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent freezer burn.
  • Freezer Temperature: Does your freezer maintain 0 degrees Fahrenheit? Most refrigerator freezing compartments cannot maintain 0 degrees Fahrenheit and should only be used for short-term freezer storage of up to one month.
  • Purchased vs. Home Frozen: A purchased frozen turkey would endure long-term storage better than a fresh turkey frozen at home, as it has been frozen rapidly.

Thawing and Cooking:

  • Thawing: Allow 24 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator for each five pounds of turkey.
  • Cooking: Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey. It should register 180 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Raw Meat: Once raw meat has thawed in the refrigerator, it can be safely refrozen within one to two days.
  • Cooked Meat: Most cooked meats are best refrozen within 1-2 days.

While it’s generally safe to eat a frozen turkey that’s been in your freezer for over a year, the quality may not be as good. Consider the factors mentioned above and decide if the turkey is still worth cooking. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and throw it out.

Additional Tips:

  • If your turkey has freezer burn, you can try to salvage it by cutting off the affected areas.
  • You can also use a marinade or brine to help improve the flavor and texture of the turkey.
  • Be sure to cook the turkey to a safe internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!

How long can you keep a turkey in the fridge?

is a year old frozen turkey still good

The best way to tell if turkey is still good is smell and texture. As points out, if the turkey has a sour odor and/or a slimy texture, it’s probably not good anymore — no matter what the date on the package says. So if you give your turkey a sniff and things seem a little off, then now’s the time to toss it and choose something else to cook for dinner or freeze.

How long will turkey stay fresh in the refrigerator if you just bought some and it seems to be of a decent texture and smell? This all depends on whether it’s cooked or not.

How long is frozen turkey good for?

is a year old frozen turkey still good

All meat is good in the freezer indefinitely, but only if it is stored at 0°F consistently. Meat that is kept at precisely 0°F without variation is subject to this rule; in order to prevent dangerous bacteria, the meat must be uniformly frozen at that temperature.

You should be able to eat your turkey whenever you choose after freezing it, even if it’s been frozen for two months, two years, or three years, provided it’s in good condition when you freeze it and you thaw it properly (more on that below). Just remember to keep that temperature at 0 degrees, and you’re good to go.

But according to the Globe and Mail, cooked turkey (as opposed to raw) should keep for up to two or three months in storage.

Is a 3 year old frozen turkey still good?


Is it OK to eat a turkey that has been frozen for 2 years?

According to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, you can keep a turkey stored in the freezer for up to two years, and it’s still safe to cook. You might, however, end up dealing with a not-so-tasty bird keeping it that long. It’s essential to store it correctly to avoid freezer burn.

How long can a turkey stay in the freezer before it goes bad?

In both cases, you’ll want to store the turkey in the deepest part of the freezer. When properly stored, raw turkey pieces should stay good in the freezer for up to 9 months, while whole raw turkeys last for a year when frozen. Cooked turkey pieces last in the freezer for 4–6 months.

Is a frozen turkey still good if you bought it last year?

I have a turkey in my freezer that is a year old — can I still use it? Large frozen meats, such as a turkey, can be safely kept in a home freezer for up to one year before thawing and cooking.

How long is a frozen Butterball turkey good for?

Storage Instructions Unopened: Store in freezer and enjoy within two years. Storage of Leftovers: Refrigerate leftovers within 1 hour of eating. Use leftover turkey within 3 days.

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