How Long Does Ground Turkey Last in the Fridge? (7 Ideas)

Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

Ground turkey is a very versatile addition to my red meat-dominant recipes.

Even though I cook it often, I sometimes leave it in the fridge too long.

I verified what the USDA advises and spoke with my meat supplier to learn how long ground turkey can last in the fridge.

Here’s what I discovered.

Quick Summary

  • Ground turkey is very delicate and can only stay for a short time in the fridge.
  • You must follow safety tips to ensure that your ground turkey is safe.
  • Eating spoiled ground turkey may lead to severe health issues.

How Long Does Raw Ground Turkey Last In The Fridge

a picture of stir-fried ground turkey that lasts in the fridge

Unopened raw ground turkey can last in the fridge for 1-2 days after its expiration date.

If it's tightly sealed and kept in the refrigerator, it may occasionally be acceptable to eat after 4 days, but check to see if it's still good before using it.

When raw ground turkey is properly stored, it may still be safe to eat even when the sell-by date on the package passes as long as you perform tests for spoilage [1].

When storing raw ground turkey in the refrigerator, the package should remain unopened until it’s ready to be used.

Read More: How Long Does Ground Beef Last in the Fridge

How Long Does Cooked Ground Turkey Last In The Fridge

Cooked ground turkey can last 3-4 days in the fridge. It can only be stored within two hours of cooking or 1 hour during hot days [2].

But if you have a large batch of ground meat, consider popping it in the freezer for longer without losing quality.

"Cook ground turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F before storage."
- United States Department of Agriculture 

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7 Tips for Storing Ground Turkey Safely

a picture of stored ground turkey

Here are some tips on how to safely store ground turkey:

  • Read the label for the expiration date: Before purchasing ground turkey, verify the expiration date.
  • Use a proper storage container: A shallow container, like Tupperware, will do if you want to use ground turkey meat soon. A more durable storage container, such as a Ziploc bag, is preferable if you intend to use it in the future.
  • Freeze it: Freezing is the best way to make fresh ground turkey last longer, especially if you're not eating it soon. Label everything with the use-by date and wrap it tightly in plastic or a freezer bag for up to 4 months.
  • Keep clean: Use different chopping boards and tools when preparing cooked ground turkey to prevent cross-contamination if you cook before storage. Additionally, give your hands and all other surfaces that came into contact with raw ground turkey a thorough wash.
  • Keep in the coldest section of the fridge: The coldest spot in the refrigerator is typically towards the back or bottom, where the temperature should be no higher than 40°F. The ground meat's quality and security will be preserved this way.
  • Store separately: Keep frozen ground turkey separate from other foods in your refrigerator, especially raw meats. By doing this, you may avoid cross-contamination and maintain the freshness of ground turkey last.
  • Thaw before cooking: If you want to cook your frozen ground turkey before storing it in the fridge or freezer, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight so that proteins are broken down properly.

3 Ways to Tell If Ground Turkey Has Gone Bad

a picture of raw ground turkey

Perform these tests if you want to tell if ground turkey has gone bad.

1. Smell It

The smell is the primary marker of meat freshness.

It indicates that it hasn't gone bad if it is odorless or has a faint fragrance.

You'll notice that bad ground turkey smells somewhat acidic if you sniff it.

2. Inspect Color

When determining whether something is safe, you should also consider its color.

Raw ground turkey typically has a pale pink tint.

Watch for color changes when you bring it home from the supermarket.

If there are any brown or gray areas, the meat has spent too much time in storage.

You shouldn't risk eating it if you notice that a lot of it is turning gray.

Green or blue hints suggest mold growth and are a guarantee of spoiling.

Also Read: Why Does Meat Turn Brown?

3. Feel It

a picture of cooked ground turkey in a pan

Finally, before cooking fresh ground turkey, check the texture.

Check to see if it feels slimy or sticky when you poke it.

There is a possibility that the food is no longer safe to eat if you notice or feel any of this.

If you think the raw ground turkey has gone bad, resist the urge to taste it.

If the meat smells terrible, changes color, or gets slimy, throw it out even if it's already cooked.

Consequences Of Eating Spoiled Ground Turkey

Salmonella, listeria, and E. coli are a few dangerous bacteria that can be found in ground turkey [3].

If you eat spoiled ground turkey, these bacteria can result in food poisoning.

Food illness and excruciating stomach discomfort can result from consuming bad ground turkey.

Additionally, it may result in bacterial infections and other digestive issues.

FAQs

Can You Eat Ground Turkey After 4 Days In The Fridge?

No, you can’t eat ground turkey after 4 days in the fridge. Throw it away if you're unsure of how long it's been there or if there are signs of spoilage.

Do I Store Extra Ground Turkey In The Package It Came In?

You may store extra ground turkey in the package it came in. However, if you do, you need to check if the packaging is damaged. If so, I recommend storing it in a clean plastic wrap or an airtight container.

Is Ground Turkey Good After 5 Days In The Fridge?

No, ground turkey is not good after 5 days in the fridge. USDA recommends eating ground turkey within 3-4 days; otherwise, you'll risk food poisoning.


References:

  1. https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/What-are-suggested-storage-times-for-turkey
  2. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/refrigeration
  3. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/poultry/turkey-farm-table
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About the author

Iva Carter
Associate Editor
As a foodie and blogger, Iva loves to share delicious yet quick dinner recipes. When she's not in the kitchen concocting meaty delights, you'll find her playing with her dog, Sylvie.
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