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How Long Can You Freeze Ground Turkey?

If you are like me then you probably buy ground meat in bulk, portion it, and freeze it for later. Store it correctly and be sure to put a date on it because it won’t last forever. So how long can you freeze ground turkey before it goes bad?

two packages of frozen ground turkey on marble with yellow stripe and text "how long can you freeze ground turkey?"

I love cooking, just not every day. I try and meal prep on the weekends which means lots of dishes! But this also gives me a chance to use up any frozen meat I may have hanging out in my freezer. And keeps me from eating out last minute.

If you freeze anything, then you will definitely want to keep track of how long it’s been in the freezer. Like everything else, it has a shelf life. Waiting too long to use it can leads to freezer burned meat. When you freeze any ground meat, it is critical to do it the right way.

If your ground turkey is room temperature, then you already have to be careful. So, best practice with any raw meat means keeping it refrigerated until you plan to use it. Room temp means it has probably already been out too long.

That might be fine if you live in a super cold house and it is winter outside, but for most people, room temperature is already too warm to keep any sort of raw meats out. Keep that in mind if you are defrosting frozen turkey especially.

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small black bowl with ground turkey

How Long Can You Freeze Raw Ground Turkey?

Properly stored ground turkey will last 3-4 months! That’s good news because I like to buy in bulk. Raw ground turkey has a very short shelf life so it’s important to use or freeze immediately.

If you store raw ground turkey properly, then freezing up to two months is not a problem. By using a vacuum seal system, then three months is doable. It really comes down to how much air will get in.

For example, if you just wrap the ground turkey in a bit of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and toss it in, then don’t look for it to keep longer than a month.

With anything you plan to store in the freezer, always try to mark down when it went in and when to use it by. Things go missing in freezers. That helps you keep track to avoid any issues. My mom keeps a list on the front of her refrigerator with inventory and dates. She’s always so organized!

Can ground turkey go bad in the freezer?

If you place your turkey in a very airtight container, then you should be able to freeze it for up to two months. However, if any air gets in the container, then that is not ok. The air is what causes freezer burn.

To store raw ground turkey for freezing:

  • Use a container with a lid that seals tightly.
  • Freezer bags with zipping lock tops work well, but try to make sure to get as much air out as possible when you close the top.
  • A vacuum sealer bag system works great if you have one. They remove the air that causes all the problems. With a “seal-a-meal” you can get up to 3 months of storage.
  • Always make sure to mark the date it goes in and when to use it by. Organize your freezer shelves by categories.
  • Avoid storing ground turkey in the original packaging it came in if the seal is broken. If its seal is unbroken, then it is ok to freeze that way.

How to tell if ground turkey is bad after freezing?

Ground turkey is bad if it has any sort of smell or slimy texture. If you see a lot of frost formed on the frozen ground turkey then that means it is freezer burnt as well. Spoiled ground turkey is a hazard so do not eat it.

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two packages of frozen turkey on a a black marble surface

When should you throw out frozen ground turkey?

If you have any sort of questions about using your frozen ground turkey, then better safe than sorry. After the turkey thaws, then here is what to watch out for:

  • If the turkey seems slimy after you thaw it, then don’t use it.
  • When there is any sort of smell to the ground turkey, then that is also a bad sign.
  • Frozen turkey will lose the pink color of the fresh ground turkey, but that is ok as long as it doesn’t have the slimy texture or distinct stink. If you can’t smell it, and is a light beige then it is still ok. However, if it has turned grey upon thawing then that is too old.

More Kitchen Basics

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two packages of frozen turkey on a a black marble surface with text "how long can you freeze ground turkey?"

Ground Meat Recipes To Check Out

These recipes are very flexible to use ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork, depending on your preference.

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