Cooked turkeys can be stored in the fridge in a number of ways.
Some people like to put their cooked turkey in a big container or bag, while others prefer to slice it up and put it in smaller containers.
No matter how you choose to store your cooked turkey, make sure you follow these guidelines to ensure food safety!
When can I put my cooked turkey in the fridge?
The turkey that has been properly chilled should be used after 3-4 days. If this isn’t possible the turkey leftover can be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, and then stored in the freezer which can be stored for up to four months.
If you want to keep your turkey longer, it’s best to cook it and then shred the meat. This way you can add the shredded turkey to soups, casseroles, salads, and more. Frozen cooked turkey will last for up to six months in the freezer.
So, when can you put your cooked turkey in the fridge? After it has cooled properly, usually within two hours after cooking. And if you want to extend its shelf life, consider freezing it instead.
Can I put a whole cooked turkey in the fridge?
Answer Yes, you are able to freeze a whole turkey. Make sure to refrigerate it immediately and don’t allow the turkey to sit on the counter to cool. There is no reason that you’d want to keep a whole turkey in the fridge. If this is what you’d like to do, you can refrigerate it when still warm in the oven.
Make sure to allow the turkey to cool slightly before carving and serving.
You can also freeze cooked turkey. Freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, removing as much air as possible. Label with the date and contents. Use within four months for best quality.
When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat carefully until hot throughout, using a method that doesn’t overcook the meat such as microwaving on 50% power or simmering in sauce on the stovetop.
How long do you let turkey cool before refrigerating?
Ideally, the turkey should be allowed to rest for 30 to 40 minutes so that the juices distribute. (This allows you time to prepare gravy, as well.) We generally suggest that turkey be back in the refrigerator in 2 hours, which means that by the time you cut and serve it, that time frame is quite effective.
If you want to be extra cautious, you can always cook your turkey a little bit longer.
And that’s all there is to it! By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your turkey will be juicy and delicious. So enjoy your holiday meal, and don’t worry about the leftovers – they’ll be just as good as the main event. Thanks for reading!
The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Experts cooked more than 22,000 turkeys last year and answered over 100,000 questions from turkey roasters across the country.
How good is cooked turkey in fridge?
USDA recommends cooking turkey within 3-4 days. It should be at a temperature that is refrigerated (40degF at or lower). The effects of refrigeration are slowed, but it does not hinder the growth of bacteria. The growth of pathogenic bacteria is rapid insidethe Danger Zone, the temperature range of 40degF to 140degF.
The amount of time that food can be in the Danger Zone before it becomes unsafe to eat is cut in half when the temperature is above 90degF.
The growth of bacteria is also slowed by freezing, but not halted. Freezing does not kill bacteria, but it stops them from growing. Bacteria can become active again if frozen food is thawed at a temperature that is above 40degF.
If you plan on eating cooked turkey within four days, it should be refrigerated at 40degF or lower. If you will not be eating the turkey within four days, freeze it until you are ready to eat it.
Is it OK to cook turkey day before?
The turkey you roast ahead of time can cut down on time of making and testing the carving so you can be more present with the guests. It’s simple: Cook it at least a day prior to the time you want it, allow it to cool completely before carving the bird into big pieces: breasts wings, legs, and drumsticks.
Cover and refrigerate until the next day when you can then rehearse your carving skills on a more relaxed timetable.
If you’re worried about bacteria, don’t be. The USDA says it’s perfectly safe to cook a turkey the day before as long as you follow proper food safety guidelines. That means cooking the bird to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and storing it in the fridge within two hours of cooking.
When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I keep a turkey in the fridge for a week?
A turkey that is thawed may remain in the refrigerator up to two days. If it is necessary, a bird that is properly thawed in the refrigerator could be frozen again.
However, it is best to cook the turkey within a day or two of thawing. If you have any doubts about the safety of your turkey, contact your local county Extension office.
Source: University of Minnesota Extension – Can I keep a turkey in the fridge for a week? (2016, November 28) Retrieved from
The National Turkey Federation also has some great tips on how to thaw and cook your holiday bird. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and call your local extension office for more information. After all, nobody wants to get sick during the holidays!
Should you let turkey cool before refrigerating?
Myth: Hot food can get spoiled if refrigerated prior to cooling down to the temperature of room. That is keeping food out at room temperature can encourage bacteria to flourish. We have what’s called the two-hour rule: Food should only be out for two hours before it’s put in the refrigerator, Feist says. Feist.
If you’re in doubt, it’s always better to refrigerate your food sooner rather than later. It’s much safer to err on the side of caution, Feist says.
So there you have it: You can go ahead and refrigerate that hot turkey as soon as you’re done carving it. And if you’re still worried about food safety, make sure to check out the USDA’s guide to Thanksgiving food safety.
Refrigerating your turkey immediately after cooking it is perfectly safe, so don’t worry about letting it cool down first. In fact, according to the USDA, hot foods can actually spoil faster if they’re left out at room temperature.
What happens if you eat turkey left out overnight?
The USDA advises that food that has been kept out of the refrigerator for more than two hours must be discarded. At room temperature, the bacteria expands rapidly and can cause illness. Reheating food that’s been in a room temperature for more than two hours isn’t protected from the harmful effects of bacteria.
It’s best to play it safe and discard food that has been sitting out overnight.
The next time you have turkey leftovers, be sure to store them in the fridge within two hours of cooking. This will help ensure that your food is safe to eat. And, as always, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling any food.
Be safe this holiday season! Play it extra cautious by knowing how long different foods are good for being stored at room temperature.
How do you store cooked turkey in the refrigerator?
The cooked meat should be covered with foil while it cools to stop any airborne bacteria that might land on the meat. After cooling then wrap it in a blanket or cut it up and place in a container for food storage prior to placing it in the refrigerator. Don’t store it in the fridge in the same place as raw meat since the juices can cause contamination.
The best way to store cooked turkey is to first let it cool to room temperature. Then, cover the meat with foil and place it in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep cooked turkey separate from raw meat, as juices from the raw meat can cause contamination.
Cooked turkey will be safe to eat after three to four days in the fridge. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to six months. When you’re ready to eat them, just thaw them out in the fridge overnight and reheat until steaming hot.
Why does my turkey smell like rotten eggs?
The surface or skin of the meat that has been spoiled is typically slimy, and the meat itself is smoky like sulfur or rotten eggs. These traits are caused by the spoilage of microbial organisms. Spoilage can be expected when a bird has been stored at room temperature for more than a week or left to freeze inside the garage over a couple of hours.
While the freezer is supposed to keep things fresh, often times power outages or malfunctioning units can cause thawing and refreezing, which speeds up the process of spoilage. If your bird smells like rotten eggs, it’s best to throw it away.
When meat starts to spoil, it will often smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. This is because the surface of the meat has been contaminated by microbial organisms. If you notice this smell on your turkey, it’s important to throw it away immediately.
Turkey that has been stored at room temperature for more than a week or left to freeze inside the garage over a couple of hours is likely to have started spoiling.
The best time to put your cooked turkey in the fridge is after it has been left at room temperature for two hours. By putting it in the fridge, you can help prevent food poisoning. If you have a lot of leftovers, be sure to store them in airtight containers and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.