How Long Will Turkey Last in the Freezer?

Exactly how long can you keep a frozen turkey? Find out here so you can start planning ahead for your big feast.

Marmalade-Glazed Roast Turkey
Photo: Con Poulos

Buying a frozen turkey is one of the best ways to get the most important ingredient checked off your grocery list for Thanksgiving (especially if you spot the perfect bird on sale weeks before the big day!). But how long is a frozen turkey good for? Maybe you bought two turkeys for your feast, and you'll only need one bird for your gathering. For the best quality turkey, it's important to consider how long a turkey lasts in the freezer. After all, no one wants to waste food.

Use the following expert tips to make sure the star of your meal will be good to go when it's time for roasting.

How Long Can You Freeze Turkey?

According to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, you can keep a turkey stored in the freezer for up to two years, and it's still safe to cook. You might, however, end up dealing with a not-so-tasty bird keeping it that long. It's important to store it correctly to avoid freezer burn.

The Best Way to Freeze Turkey

If you decide to freeze a whole turkey for long term, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Make sure your turkey is unopened.
  • If you have a fresh turkey and would like to freeze it for later, get it in the freezer before the "use-by" date on the package.
  • The USDA recommends using frozen turkey within the first year of storage for the best quality.

If Thanksgiving dinner is already over, you can freeze leftover turkey in a freezer-safe container for up to six months if you don't think you'll eat it within four days from the fridge. From there, use that frozen turkey to create delicious dishes such as chili or shepherd's pie.

Already have a frozen turkey to prep for a big feast? When it's time to roast your turkey, refer to this turkey thawing information to ensure your bird is ready to cook on time. Use our handy (and creative!) Thanksgiving menu guide for the most delicious feast ever. To know how long the rest of the leftovers (or the cooked bird) will last from dinner, refer to this guide. With these helpful tips for storing and thawing turkey, your Thanksgiving prep will be stress-free.

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