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

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Minnesota department of customer Fact paper Revised August, 2011

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

take care of Food safe

constantly wash your hands before and also after handling food. save the kitchen, dishes and utensils clean. constantly serve food top top clean plates. execute not use the same platter and also utensils because that raw and also cooked meat/poultry.

Fresh Turkey

to buy the turkey only 1 or 2 days prior to you plan to chef it. keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re all set to chef it. Location it on a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak. perform not buy new pre-stuffed turkeys. If not taken on properly, harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing have the right to multiply rapidly.

Frozen Turkey

save frozen until you’re prepared to thaw it. Turkeys can be maintained in the freezer indefinitely. However, cook turkeys in ~ 1 year for the ideal quality.

Thawing your Turkey

There space three means to thaw your turkey safely: Thawing in the Microwave Oven: examine your owner’s hand-operated for the minutes every pound and also the power level to usage for thawing. remove all external wrapping. ar on a microwave-safe food to catch any kind of juices that might leak. chef your turkey instantly after thawing in the microwave. do not refreeze. Thawing in the Refrigerator: store the turkey in its initial wrapper. location it on a tray come catch any type of juices that may leak. A thawed turkey deserve to remain in the refrigerator for 1 come 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has 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 come 3 days
12 come 16 pounds 3 come 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 come 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 come 6 days

Thawing in Cold Water: Wrap her turkey securely, making certain water is not able come leak through the wrapping. Submerge the sheathe turkey in cold insanity water. change the water every 30 minutes. cook the turkey instantly after that is thawed. execute not refreeze.
Thawing in cold water Time come thaw (allow 30 minutes per pound)
4 come 12 pounds 2 come 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 come 8 hours
16 come 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours
REMINDER : remove the giblets indigenous the turkey caries after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting her Turkey

collection your range temperature no reduced than 325 °F. location the turkey top top a rack in a shallow roasting pan. For an ext even cooking, that is recommended the you cook your stuffing external the bird in a casserole dish. Usage a food thermometer to check the interior temperature the the stuffing. The center should with at least 165°F. If you choose to stuff her turkey, to fill the cavity just before cooking. Fill the caries loosely. Usage a food thermometer to examine the internal temperature of the stuffing. The center should with at the very least 165°F. To check the doneness that a whole turkey, insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the inside thigh without emotional the bone. A totality turkey have to be cooked to 165°F. To check the doneness that a turkey breast, insert a food thermometer in the thickest component of the breast. A turkey breast need to be cooked come 165°F. If her turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, the is recommended that you likewise check the internal temperature that the turkey and the stuffing. let the turkey stand for 20 minutes after cooking. It will carve more easily. remove all stuffing native the turkey cavities.

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

Timetables because that Turkey Roasting (325°F cooktop temperature):

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

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

save on computer Leftover Turkey

throw away turkey, stuffing, and also gravy left out at room temperature much longer than 2 hours (1 hour in temperatures over 90 °F). division leftovers into little portions. Refrigerate or frozen in spanned shallow containers for much faster cooling. usage refrigerated turkey and stuffing within 3 to 4 days. Use gravy in ~ 1 come 2 days. If freezing, usage leftovers in ~ 2 to 6 months for finest quality.

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Reheating Leftovers

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