Food safety tips for handling, thawing, roasting, storing, and reheating turkey.

You are watching: How long can you keep turkey frozen

Minnesota department of consumer Fact paper Revised August, 2011

Download a publish version that this document: Turkey: safe Thawing and Cooking (PDF)

take care of Food safe

constantly wash her hands before and also after handling food. keep the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean. constantly serve food ~ above clean plates. perform not use the same platter and utensils for raw and also cooked meat/poultry.

Fresh Turkey

buy the turkey just 1 or 2 days before you setup to chef it. save it stored in the refrigerator till you’re ready to chef it. Location it ~ above a tray or pan come catch any type of juices that may leak. do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not taken on properly, harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply rapidly.

Frozen Turkey

save frozen until you’re all set to thaw it. Turkeys can be kept in the freezer indefinitely. However, cook turkeys within 1 year for the finest quality.

Thawing your Turkey

There space three ways to thaw her turkey safely: Thawing in the Microwave Oven: check your owner’s hands-on for the minutes per pound and also the power level to usage for thawing. remove all outside wrapping. location on a microwave-safe food to catch any type of juices that could leak. cook your turkey instantly after thawing in the microwave. perform not refreeze. Thawing in the Refrigerator: store the turkey in its initial wrapper. place it on a tray come catch any kind of juices that might leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 come 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has actually been correctly thawed in the refrigerator might be refrozen.
Thawing in the refrigerator Time come thaw (allow 24 hours for every 4 come 5 pounds)
4 come 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 come 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 come 5 days
20 come 24 pounds 5 come 6 days

Thawing in Cold Water: Wrap your turkey securely, making sure water is no able come leak with the wrapping. Submerge the covering turkey in cold tap water. readjust the water every 30 minutes. chef the turkey immediately after it is thawed. carry out not refreeze.
Thawing in cold water Time come thaw (allow 30 minutes every pound)
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 come 16 pounds 6 come 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 come 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours
REMINDER : eliminate the giblets native the turkey caries after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting her Turkey

set your cooktop temperature no reduced than 325 °F. ar the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. For more even cooking, it is recommended that you cook your stuffing external the bird in a casserole dish. Usage a food thermometer to check the interior temperature that the stuffing. The facility should with at the very least 165°F. If you choose to stuff her turkey, to fill the cavity just before cooking. To fill the cavities loosely. Usage a food thermometer to check the interior temperature the the stuffing. The facility should with at the very least 165°F. To examine the doneness the a whole turkey, insert a food thermometer in the thickest component of the inside thigh without touching the bone. A whole turkey have to be cooked come 165°F. To check the doneness of a turkey breast, insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the breast. A turkey breast need to be cooked to 165°F. If your turkey has actually a pop-up temperature indicator, that is recommended the you likewise check the interior temperature the the turkey and also the stuffing. allow the turkey was standing for 20 minute after cooking. It will carve an ext easily. remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

REMEMBER : Always wash (with soap and water) hands, utensils, the sink, and also anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and also its juices.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting (325°F cooktop temperature):

These times are estimates. Always use a food thermometer to examine the inner temperature of her turkey and also stuffing (165°F).

Unstuffed Turkey Time to cook
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 come 12 pounds 2¾ come 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 come 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ come 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey Time to chef
4 come 8 pounds (breast) 2½ come 3½ hours
8 come 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 come 18 pounds 4 come 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ come 5¼ hours

storing Leftover Turkey

litter away turkey, stuffing, and also gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hrs (1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F). divide leftovers into tiny portions. Refrigerate or frozen in spanned shallow containers for faster cooling. use refrigerated turkey and stuffing within 3 come 4 days. Usage gravy within 1 come 2 days. If freezing, usage leftovers in ~ 2 to 6 months for best quality.

See more: Q&A: How To See Mutual Friends Between Two Friends On Facebook Accounts

Reheating Leftovers

Reheat turkey, stuffing, and also gravy to 165°F.