How Long Does Turkey Last?

How long does turkey last? The shelf life of turkey depends on a variety of factors, such as the sell by date, the preparation method and how it was stored. Turkeys are by far the largest birds in the open forests in which they live. They are so spectacular that an entire day revolves around the cooked bird - Thanksgiving Day, the 4th Thursday in every November!

So, how long does turkey last? When properly stored, the shelf life of turkey past its sell by date is approximately ...

Turkey Expiration Date

Unopened Refrigerator Freezer
Past Printed Date
(Raw) Fresh Turkey lasts for 1-2 Days 6-8 Months
(Raw) Ground Turkey lasts for 1-2 Days 6-8 Months
Opened Refrigerator Freezer
Homemade Turkey Soup lasts for 5-6 Days 6-8 Months
Cooked Turkey lasts for 7 Days 6-8 Months
Turkey Salad lasts for 5-6 Days --
Thanksgiving Turkey lasts for 7 Days 6-8 Months
Deli Turkey lasts for 5-6 Days 1 Month

Of course, all foods last for a shorter period of time if they are not stored properly. But remember, turkey, like a lot of other proteins, usually has a sell by date and not a use by date or expiration date. Because of this distinction, you may safely use it even after the sell by date has lapsed as long as it has not gone bad - read on.

How to tell if Turkey is bad, rotten or spoiled?

Practicing proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help prevent foodborne illness.

Although not a perfect test, your senses are usually the most reliable instruments to tell if it has gone bad. Some common traits of bad turkey are dull, slimy flesh and a sour smell.

There are, of course, certain health risks associated with spoiled foods so always remember to practice food safety and enjoy your foods before their shelf life has expired!

How to store Turkey to extend its shelf life?

You can help keep turkey fresh longer by storing it in your refrigerator immediately after use. Once prepared, turkey should be stored in a tightly closed container to keep out moisture and other contaminants.

For a long-term option, you can freeze your turkey while preserving its taste if you use a freezer safe container or the original wrapping. If you have a whole frozen bird, read our FAQ to find out thawing times for a turkey.

Some benefits of proper food storage include eating healthier, cutting food costs and helping the environment by avoiding waste.

How long is Turkey good for when prepared in a dish?

How long does turkey last? That depends. How long does bread last? How long does bread last? In general, turkey lasts only as long as the quickest expiring ingredient in the recipe.

What are our shelf life resources?

In determining how long Turkey lasts, our content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to food safety, food storage and the shelf life of Turkey.

*An important note about expiration dates...

Although the Turkey shelf life information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not a replacement for your health care professional. Please eat responsibly!