How Long Can You Keep a Thawed Turkey in the Refrigerator?

We all know that eating under-refrigerated meat is hazardous. Any food may become unsafe if proper refrigeration isn’t maintained, but meats are particularly prone to degradation.

If you have a defrosted turkey, you’re undoubtedly wondering how to keep it in order to ensure that it is safe for you and your family to eat.

How Long Can You Keep a Thawed Turkey in the Refrigerator?

A thawed turkey should be cooked within 24 hours after being defrosted. It must be cooked and eaten within two days of being defrosted, otherwise harmful germs may develop. A tray below the turkey should catch any raw meat juices, and it should not be left on the countertop for long.

How Long Can You Refrigerate a Thawed Turkey For?

It’s best to freeze a thawed turkey for no longer than two days. A turkey can be defrosted in the refrigerator and refrozen if you change your mind within those two days. You should not store a turkey that has been defrosted with cold water in the fridge at all; instead, it should be cooked as soon as possible.

The best way to defrost a turkey is to put it in the refrigerator, where it will thaw gradually while staying at a low temperature. It’s critical to keep an absorbent tray beneath the turkey to catch any water or blood that may drip out, as these fluids might contaminate other food in the fridge.

If you believe your turkey won’t be used in two days, it’s best to put it back into the freezer to avoid bacterial infection. If your turkey has been in the fridge for more than two days, you may choose not to eat it.

How Long Does it Take to Thaw a Turkey?

This will be determined by the technique you use. It will take longer to thaw a turkey in the fridge than it would in the microwave or with cold water.

In general, one day for every four or five pounds of turkey is recommended. The size of the turkey has no impact on how long it will keep once completely thawed out.

Typically, a four to twelve pound bird will require anywhere from one to three days to thaw in the fridge. You have another two days after that to consume it up. A twenty-eight pound turkey can take five to six days to fully thaw, and you have two more days afterward to use the turkey.

The time it takes to defrost a turkey entirely varies depending on the size. A four to twelve pound turkey will take two to six hours when defrosted with cold water.

To defrost a turkey in a microwave, follow the instructions on the package, since this will be determined by how it has been packed, its size, and other factors. Don’t just throw the turkey in the microwave and cook it high; it must be defrosted safely so that germs don’t have a chance to develop.

You should not defrost a turkey in water that is too hot or on the counter. Because the exterior of the turkey will stay at room temperature for longer than is safe, and bacteria will be present before the interior has been defrosted, this is not advised.

Why is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Turkey?

It is only safe to refreeze a defrosted turkey if it was thawed in the fridge. Because the turkey’s temperature was kept low enough throughout the thawing process that it should not have had an opportunity to develop bacteria.

However, as a result of being frozen and then thawed in a microwave oven or in cold water, the temperature of defrosted turkey has significantly increased. Since it has risen enough that germs may exist, it is not hazardous to eat.

It will have endured long periods of time at temperatures above 40° F, demonstrating the presence of germs. It won’t have spread very far throughout the meat since the general temperature will still be chilly.

What If You Have Stored Turkey For Too Long?

Once the turkey has thawed out completely, it should be refrigerated for no longer than two days. If you kept it for longer than that, you run the danger of ingesting germs.

If your turkey has been left out on the counter at room temperature for any length of time, it should be thrown away since germs will have begun to breed in the meat that has warmed up, making it unsafe to consume.

Check Out Our Guide On How Long to Cook a Turkey in an Oster Roaster?

Melissa is a food enthusiast and one of the founders of Kitchen Study - a food blog about the vegan lifestyle, meal delivery services and cooking guides. She writes about delicious vegan dishes from all over the world. From quick and easy weekday lunches to perfect Sunday dinner recipes, we have it all covered!