How Long Can I Keep A Fresh Turkey In The Fridge (And Why)?

How Long Can I Keep A Fresh Turkey In The Fridge (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 days

Frozen turkey in the fridge would not last for more than 2 days. If someone decided to wait longer, then it would start getting bad. It’s always good to use freshly bought turkey from the store. The turkey should be stored in the coolest part of the refrigerator for having a long shelf life.

Storing the turkey at room temperature will be a bad idea. The temperature of the fridge should be below 40 degrees. No person should store the turkey in an open container or packaging. Storing the turkey in the door of the fridge would cause temperature fluctuation.

The storage instruction is sometimes provided in the packaging which the person can follow.

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How Long Can I Keep A Fresh Turkey In The Fridge?

Minimum time3 days
Maximum time4 days

The shelf life of a raw turkey is not more than 48 hours, but the leftover cooked turkey may stay good for around 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Never refer to the “sell by” date provided in the outer packaging. As the “sell by” date is for the seller and not for customers.

The customers can refer to the best before date if given in the outer packaging. People can refer to the “best before” date for storing the turkey. The turkey can be stored in the fridge till the date mentioned, as the “best before” date in the packaging.

The shelf life of a thawed turkey is around 48 hours. It is recommended to cook the turkey within 24 hours. The turkey would start deteriorating in 24 to 48 hours after the defrosting is complete. The texture and smell of the turkey would start changing with time.

Once the turkey start spoiling, then the texture would become slimy. The smell or odor of the turkey would become an unpleasant rotten egg odor. The color of the turkey meat would change slightly after the expiry date.

The color of the turkey should be light pink just like the fresh meat. The turkey would start looking dull and dark in color if it is expired. Using expired turkey meat would cause food poisoning and many other symptoms such as diarrhea.

Sometimes, the growth of pathogens may vary, and it may cause severe health disorders in the immune system of the body.

Why Can I Keep A Fresh Turkey In The Fridge For This Long?

Keeping the fresh turkey for long is not possible due to the fear of pathogen growth. The pathogen that causes food poisoning is different from those who cause the turkey meat to expire.

Some people may not get sick by eating spoiled turkey in small quantities, but they won’t have the same taste. Children and elderly people will be at higher risk of getting ill after eating the spoiled turkey.

The adults may not see a lot of symptoms but would face an upset stomach for some days. Storing the fresh meats in the fridge is not always safe. As the temperature of the fridge would get increased if someone frequently opens the door.

Commercial coolers are used by the supermarkets to store the turkey. The supermarkets use high-standard freezing techniques for turkey. This helps increase the shelf life of turkey which is not possible in a refrigerator.

The stores and supermarkets check the quality of the turkey every few hours. The person should not open the door frequently if the turkey is stored inside. Some people keep the turkey in the freezer which is also a good idea to increase the shelf life of the turkey for months.


The shelf life of the turkey inside the refrigerator depends on how the person stores it. A constant temperature is required for the quality of the turkey. Fluctuation in temperature will also cause bacterial growth in the turkey.

Don’t store the turkey with any other ingredients inside the fridge. As some ingredients may not allow the turkey to have a long shelf life.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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