How long can you leave the ground turkey in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you leave the ground turkey in the fridge?”, and how to tell if the ground turkey is bad?

How long can you leave the ground turkey in the fridge?

Ground turkey lasts 1-2 days after the sell-by date if stored correctly. If the ground turkey has been sitting out for more than 2 hours at temperatures within the danger zone i.e 40 °F and 140 °F, discard the meat. 

Cooked ground turkey will stay fresh for 3-4 days in the fridge if stored correctly. Freeze the cooked ground turkey to extend its shelf-life up to 4 months. 

For prolonged storage, freeze the ground turkey while the refrigerator storage time has not passed yet. To extend the shelf-life of the ground turkey, do not tear its original packaging until you are ready to use it. 

Frozen ground turkey lasts indefinitely if stored at a steady temperature of 0°F. However, it is recommended to use it within 3-4 months for the best quality. 

How long do leftovers last?

Opened or prepared, all perishables need to be discarded after 7 days of refrigeration. Some foods go bad before 7 days. For prolonged storage, it is best to freeze the leftovers. 

Category Food Refrigerator(40 °F or below)Freezer(0 °F or below)
Salads Egg, chicken, ham, tuna, & macaroni salads3-5 daysDoes not freeze well 
Hot dogs Opened packageUnopened package  1 week 2 weeks 1-2 months 1-2 months 
Lunchmeat Opened package or deli-sliced Unopened package 3-5 days 
2 weeks 
1-2 months 
1-2 months 
Bacon and sausage Raw bacon Raw sausage made from chicken, turkey, pork, and beef 7 days 1-2 days 1 month1-2 months 
Hamburger and other ground meats Raw hamburger, ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb, and mixtures of them1-2 days 3-4 months 
Raw beef, veal, lamb, and porkSteaks ChopsRoasts 3-5 days 3-5 days 3-5 days 6-12 months 4-6 months 4-12 months 
Raw poultry Chicken or turkey, whole chicken or turkey, pieces 1-2 days 
1-2 days 
1 year 
9 months 
Soups and stews leftovers Vegetable or meat addedCooked meat or poultry Chicken nuggets or patties Pizza 3-4 days 
3-4 days 
3-4 days 
3-4 days 
2-3 months 
2-6 months 
1-3 months 
1-2 months 

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 tell If the ground turkey has gone bad?

If the ground turkey develops grey or green colored patches or spots over the surface, it has gone bad. Bad turkey meat feels slimy upon touching due to microbial growth. Spoiled ground turkey gives off a sharp rotten smell that can’t go unnoticed so you will know when the meat is bad. 

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.


In this article, we answered the question “How long can you leave the ground turkey in the fridge?”, and how to tell if the ground turkey is bad?


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.