Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Shari Mason
When it comes to that Butterball turkey sitting in your fridge, knowing how long it’s safe to keep it is essential. You want your holiday feast to be both delicious and safe.
So how long can you keep a fresh Butterball turkey in the fridge? Lucky for you, I’ve got the answer right here.
Let’s find out how many days your fresh Butterball turkey can chill in the fridge before roasting it to perfection.
How Long Is A Fresh Butterball Turkey Good For In The Fridge?
You can safely store a fresh Butterball turkey  in the fridge for up to 4 days. Maintaining a temperature below 40°F (4°C) is crucial to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
If you need to keep it longer before cooking, it’s better to freeze it to maintain its quality and ensure it remains safe to eat.
“My birthday is always around Thanksgiving, and I always had to have turkey on my birthday. My mom was always, ‘Let’s celebrate your birthday on Thanksgiving.’ My other siblings got to have special dinners they liked. I resented turkey. For a long time, I hated turkey. I’ve kind of gotten over it.”– Joey Chestnut, American Competitive Eater
Following these guidelines ensures that your Butterball turkey remains fresh and delicious for your holiday meal.
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How Long Can You Freeze Fresh Butterball Turkey?
You can freeze a fresh Butterball turkey for an extended period, up to a year, and sometimes even longer, depending on the quality of your freezer.
To maintain the best quality, it’s advisable to use airtight, freezer-safe packaging to prevent freezer burn.
When ready to cook it, allow enough time to thaw properly in the refrigerator. Freezing is an excellent way to extend the shelf life of your turkey without compromising taste and safety.
Can It Be Left Out?
Leaving a fresh Butterball turkey at room temperature for an extended period is unsafe.
Poultry, like turkey, is perishable and can quickly enter the danger zone—between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C)—where harmful bacteria can multiply rapidly.
To prevent foodborne illnesses, it’s essential to keep the turkey refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to cook it.
If it’s been left out for more than two hours at temperatures above 40°F (4°C), it’s best to discard it to ensure food safety.
Signs That It Has Gone Bad
- Foul Odor: If the turkey emits a strong, unpleasant, or sour smell, it indicates that it has spoiled.
- Change in Color: Fresh turkey should have a pinkish to whitish color. If it appears grayish-greenish or has noticeable dark spots, it’s a sign of spoilage.
- Slimy Texture: A slimy or sticky feel on the turkey’s surface is a sign of bacterial growth and spoilage.
- Off-putting Texture: The meat should have a firm and moist texture. If it feels mushy, sticky, or dry, it’s no longer safe to eat.
- Excessive Ice Crystals: If you see an abundance of ice crystals on the turkey, it may have suffered from freezer burn , affecting its quality.
- Expired Date: Always check the “use by” or “sell by” date on the packaging. If it has passed, it’s best not to risk it.
- Unusual Appearance: Any unusual or abnormal appearance, such as mold growth, indicates that the turkey is no longer safe for consumption.
“A fresh Butterball turkey in the fridge is like a clock ticking, with two days as its melody. Keep it cool, keep it safe, and savor the flavor within the timeframe for a delightful feast.”– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Tips On How To Store A Fresh Butterball Turkey
- Refrigerate Promptly: As soon as you bring the fresh turkey home, place it in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or lower.
- Keep It in Its Original Packaging: The turkey’s original packaging is designed to keep it fresh. Keep it sealed until you’re ready to use it.
- Use a Tray: To prevent any potential leakage, place the turkey on a tray or in a shallow pan in the fridge to catch any drips.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Ensure enough space in the refrigerator to allow for proper air circulation around the turkey.
- Store Below Raw Poultry: If other items are stored in the same fridge, keep the turkey on a lower shelf to prevent cross-contamination.
- Use a Thermometer: If you have one, use a refrigerator thermometer to ensure the temperature stays below 40°F (4°C).
- Do Not Thaw at Room Temperature: If the turkey is frozen, never thaw it at room temperature. Use the refrigerator or cold water thawing method.
- Properly Seal Leftovers: If you have leftover cooked turkey, store it in airtight containers within two hours of cooking.
- Follow Use-By Dates: Be mindful of the “use by” or “sell by” dates on the packaging and use or freeze the turkey accordingly.
- Keep Freezer Burn at Bay: If you plan to freeze the turkey for an extended period, use airtight, freezer-safe packaging to prevent freezer burn.
How long does it take to cook butterball fresh turkey?
The cooking time for a Butterball fresh turkey depends on its weight. As a general guideline, cook the turkey at 325°F (163°C) for approximately 15 minutes per pound.
However, using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature is crucial. The turkey is safe to eat when it reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast.
Does a Butterball turkey need to be washed?
Washing a Butterball turkey or any poultry before cooking is not recommended. Washing can spread bacteria around your kitchen, increasing the risk of contamination.
Cooking the turkey to the proper temperature (165°F or 74°C) will effectively kill any bacteria, making it safe to eat.
A fresh Butterball turkey can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. To ensure its quality and food safety, it’s crucial to maintain a refrigerator temperature below 40°F (4°C).
Beyond 4 days, it’s best to freeze the turkey to extend its shelf life. Proper storage and adherence to these guidelines are essential to guarantee a delicious and safe turkey feast for your special occasions.
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