How long can you freeze a turkey?

This article will answer the question “How long can you freeze a turkey?”, and how to freeze turkey?

How long can you freeze a turkey?

Whole turkeys can stay fresh for up to a year in the freezer. Wings and drumsticks have a shorter shelf-life i.3 9 months. Ground turkey will only last 3-4 months. In other words, turkeys can be indefinitely stored in the freezer. But it loses its prime quality after a year.

How to freeze a turkey?


Do not take the turkey out of its original packaging. It protects the turkey against bacteria and other contaminants. Before buying the turkey, check for the integrity of the packaging. Do not buy a turkey with leaky or damaged packaging.

If the packaging is not available, pack the turkey in aluminum or plastic wrap. Put it in an air-tight bag and chuck it in the freezer. Your best bet is to use a vacuum-sealed bag for this purpose. If not available, just take a large garbage bag and squeeze the air out of it.


Turkey must be frozen below a consistent temperature of 0℉. Freezing temperatures preserve the turkey’s freshness so that you can keep it around for longer.

Freezing pre-stuffed turkey 

Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys must be frozen If they are not to be used immediately. They do not require to be thawed. You can remove it directly out of the freezer and put it in the oven for baking.

How to store ground turkey in the freezer?

Raw ground turkey should be frozen within 2 days of its purchase. The quality of the ground meat will deteriorate over time. 

Hence frozen ground turkey is best used within 3-4 months. If the ground turkey is still in its original packaging, wrap it with foil and toss it in a freezer bag. That’s it. 

Thawed ground turkey can be kept in the fridge for only 1-2 days. This only applies if the ground turkey was thawed overnight in the fridge. Ground turkey thawed by quick methods, such as in the microwave or under tap/cold water, should be cooked immediately after thawing. 

How to freeze turkey bacon?

Tightly wrap the cooked turkey bacon twice with either foil or cling wrap. Then toss it in the air-tight container or heavy-duty and resealable freezer bag. 

Thaw overnight in the fridge before use. If wrapped in foil, thaw directly by baking it in the oven at 180℃ for 20-30 minutes. 

How to refrigerate raw turkey?


Refrigeration temperature is very important to keep the turkey fresh. Turkey should be refrigerated at temperatures below 4℉ to keep the bacteria from growing.

Check for the best-by date 

Keep track of the best-by date printed on the plastic packaging of the turkey. The turkey will only last 2-3 days past this date. As long as the turkey is sealed in its original packaging, the best-by or sell-by date is your guide to the turkey’s shelf-life.

Shelf-life of thawed turkey

If the turkey is sealed in its original packaging and thawed, it can be kept for another 2 days. This also applies to the turkey portions and ground turkey meat. Discard the turkey If it feels or smells off.

Store in the meat drawer

Keep the turkey in the meat drawer of the fridge. If your fridge does not have one, you must place the turkey in a tray and keep it at the back of the lowest shelf. Since It is the coldest part of the refrigerator.

How to thaw a turkey?

In the fridge 

Thawing your turkey is the safest way to do it. However, this requires some prior planning so that you can pop the turkey in the fridge. All you have to do is place the sealed turkey onto a dish to catch the drippings and stick it in the fridge for 1-2 days. Turkey that is thawed in the fridge can be refrozen but the quality won’t be the same.

Weight Thawing time (allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds)
4-12 lb.1-3 days 
12-16 lb.3-4 days 
16-20 lb4-5 days 
20-24 lb.5-6 days 

In the microwave 

Turn on the defrost setting of your microwave and read the manual for thawing time. Remove the packaging before microwaving. Place the turkey on a microwave-safe dish and pop it in the oven. Cook the thawed turkey right away and do not refreeze. 


This article answered the question “How long can you freeze a turkey?”, and how to freeze turkey?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.