Are Costco Turkeys Fresh Or Frozen

Are Costco Turkeys Fresh Or Frozen? Answered (Updated)

Last Updated on July 15, 2024 by Shari Mason

Costco, a major retail store in the U.S., has become a **go-to spot** for buying groceries in bulk.

We will explore whether Costco turkeys are fresh or frozen, as well as some tips for preparing and cooking a turkey so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing your holiday bird. 

So, whether you are a seasoned pro or a first-time turkey cook, read on to learn more about Costco’s turkeys.

Does Costco Offer Fresh Or Frozen Turkeys?

whole raw turkey

Costco offers fresh and frozen turkeys [1], depending on the time of year and availability. During the holiday season, Costco typically offers fresh turkeys that have never been frozen. 

These turkeys are delivered to stores within a day or two of being processed, ensuring they are of the highest quality. 

Because these turkeys are fresh, they may be more expensive than frozen turkeys, but many people find that the taste and texture of a fresh turkey are worth the extra cost. 

“My parents came from little, so they made a choice to give a lot: buying turkeys for homeless shelters at Thanksgiving, delivering meals to people in hospices, giving spare change to those asking for it.”

– Meghan Markle, Duchess Of Sussex, American Actress

However, outside of the holiday season, Costco may offer frozen turkeys, typically flash-frozen immediately after processing, to lock in their freshness. 

These turkeys can be a convenient option for those needing access to fresh turkeys or wanting to purchase them in advance.


How To Choose The Perfect Turkey At Costco?

  1. Size: Consider the number of people you will serve and choose a turkey size accordingly. Costco typically offers turkeys ranging in size from 10 to 20 pounds, with more extensive options for special orders.
  2. Shape: Look for a plump and evenly shaped turkey with no signs of bruising or discoloration.
  3. Skin: The skin should be smooth and free from blemishes.
  4. Color: The color of the turkey should be even, without any dark or discolored spots.
  5. Freshness: If you purchase a fresh turkey, look for one delivered to the store within a day or two of being processed.
  6. Organic: If you prefer organic products, Costco offers organic turkeys raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
  7. Price: Consider your budget when selecting a turkey. Fresh turkeys may be more expensive than frozen turkeys, but many people find the taste and texture worth the extra cost.

Also Read: Costco Chicken Pot Review

How To Prepare Your Turkey For Cooking

preparing raw turkey
  1. Thawing: If your turkey is frozen, it must be thawed before cooking. The safest way to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. Alternatively, you can thaw the turkey in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes, allowing 30 minutes per pound.
  2. Removing the giblets and neck: Once the turkey is thawed, remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. These can be used to make gravy or discarded.
  3. Rinsing: Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water to remove any excess debris.
  4. Brining: Optional step – some people prefer to brine their turkey to add flavor and moisture. This involves soaking the turkey in water, salt, sugar [2], and other seasonings for several hours before cooking.
  5. Seasoning: Rub the turkey inside and out with salt and any other desired seasonings, such as herbs or spices.
  6. Trussing: Optional step – some people choose to truss the turkey to help it cook evenly. This involves tying the legs and wings to the body with kitchen twine.
  7. Resting: Allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cooking to ensure it cooks evenly.

Find out more about Costco ribs cooking instructions here.

How To Cook Your Turkey To Perfection

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up.
  3. Brush the turkey with melted butter or oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover the turkey with a foil tent to prevent the skin from getting too dark, but leave an opening at the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Roast the turkey in the oven, allowing approximately 15 minutes of cooking per pound. Be sure to check the turkey’s internal temperature using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, ensuring it reads 165°F.
  6. If the skin is not yet golden brown, remove the foil tent during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp up.
  7. Once the turkey is fully cooked, please remove it from the oven and tent it with foil. Allow the turkey to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.


u003cstrongu003eDo Costco turkeys contain artificial ingredients?u003c/strongu003e

It depends on the specific product, but generally, Costco’s turkeys do not contain artificial ingredients. Costco is renowned for providing high-quality, minimally processed products; their turkeys are no exception. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eMany turkeys offered at Costco are organic or free-range, so they are raised without antibiotics or added hormones. 

u003cstrongu003eCan you tell the difference between fresh and frozen turkey?u003c/strongu003e

Yes, there are some noticeable differences between fresh and frozen turkey, such as appearance, texture, flavor, and cooking time. Fresh turkey has a brighter color, tender texture, richer flavor, and shorter cooking time than frozen turkey.

Key Takeaways

Whether you prefer fresh or frozen turkey, Costco has options to suit your needs. During the holiday season, Costco typically offers fresh, never-frozen turkeys delivered to stores within a day or two of processing. 

However, outside of the holiday season, Costco may offer frozen turkeys, typically flash-frozen immediately after processing, to lock in their freshness. 

When choosing a turkey at Costco, consider size, shape, skin appearance, freshness, organic options, and budget. Preparing and cooking a turkey is critical to ensuring a delicious and safe meal. 

Whether you choose to brine or season your turkey, roast, grill, or smoke it, using a meat thermometer and allowing the turkey to rest before carving are essential for cooking a perfect turkey. 


Shari Mason

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