• Store product in the original shipping cartons to:
    • Prevent bruising.
    • Prevent tearing of plastic wrap.
    • Facilitate storage and stacking.
    • Help maintain even storage temperatures.
  • If purchased frozen, product should be stored in the freezer.
  • Fresh-chilled product should be refrigerated. Do not freeze fresh-chilled product. If you have more fresh product on hand than you can use in a day or two, cook the product completely and freeze according to the guidelines here.

The storage charts included here provide general guidelines for most products. For more specific storage times, look for "use by" dates on the products or check with your supplier's sales/marketing representative for additional information about specific products and their shelf life.

Fully cooked products

Times for storage of fully cooked products may vary. Because of state-of-the-art technology and almost daily advances in processing and packaging, many turkey products have an extended shelf life. Your sales/marketing representative can provide specific information about the products you choose.

Vacuum-wrapped packages

If a vacuum-wrapped package has a break in the seal or tear in the vacuum wrap, the product must be handled in the same way as an item that is not vacuum-wrapped. In addition, you should re-wrap the product in a freezer bag as soon as possible to avoid freezer burn.

Storage of Raw Turkey

 Refrigerator Storage in DAYS at 35ºF to 40ºF.Freezer Storage in MONTHS at 0ºF or Below.
Whole Body Turkey
1 to 2
12
Breasts
1 to 2
3
Thighs, Drumsticks, Wings
1 to 2
9
Roasts
1 to 2
3
Steaks, Cutlets, Slices, Tenders
1 to 2
3
Turkey Sausage
1 to 2
3 to 4
Ground Turkey
1 to 2
3 to 4
Source: USDA

Contact your turkey supplier about storage recommendations. Advanced technological developments in processing and packaging have enabled some turkey processors to recommend longer shelf life than noted in these charts for Fully Cooked Turkey Products.

Storage of Fully Cooked Turkey Products

 Refrigerator Storage in
WEEKS at 35ºF to 40ºF.
Freezer Storage in MONTHS at 0ºF or Below.
 Vacuum-Sealed PackageNot Vacuum Sealed 
Oven-roasted Turkey products
6
1
3
Turkey Rolls
Not applicable
1
4
Diced, Julienne-cut and Pulled Turkey Meat; Ground Turkey Crumbles
Generally not refrigerated; use from frozen state or temper briefly in the refrigerator
1
Source: USDA, Turkey processors

Storage of Fully Cooked Turkey Products: Cured, Smoked, Barbecued, Breaded

 Refrigerator Storage in DAYS
at 35ºF to 40ºF in an open package, not vacuum sealed.
Freezer Storage in MONTHS at 0ºF or Below.

Deli Meats
Large pieces
Slices

 
3 to 5
3 to 5
 
1 to 2
1 to 2
Frankfurters and Sausages
Frankfurters
Corn Dogs
Smoked Sausages (Polish, kielbasa, links)
 
3 to 5
See "Thawing Procedures"
7
 
 
1 to 2
4
1 to 2
 
Turkey Ham
Whole
Half
Canadian Bacon
Diced/Julienne-cut

7
3 to 5
3 to 5
1 to 2

2 to 3
1 to 2
1
1
Source: USDA, Turkey processors

 

Receiving & Storing
Recommended Refrigerator Thawing
Other Thawing Techniques
Storing Cooked Turkey

Return to Table of Contents