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How Long Does Sliced Turkey Last In The Fridge

How Long Does Sliced Turkey Last In The Fridge? Solved

Last Updated on December 11, 2022 by Shari Mason

If you have turkey leftovers from your Thanksgiving Day feast, Christmas Day meal, or a casual mid-week turkey roast, you might wonder if it is okay to put them in the fridge.

It’s a crucial question since it can help minimize food waste and prevent spoilage. 

So, how long does sliced turkey last in the fridge? Read on.

How Long Can Sliced Turkey Last In The Fridge?

slicing turkey breast

Sliced turkey breast, leftover thighs, wings, and drumsticks, should last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days after cooking.

Sliced deli turkey lasts a few days longer if placed in a vacuum-sealed container, but once opened, the meat should be consumed within a week.

All meat products, including sliced turkey, must be refrigerated at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meat exposed to the “danger zone” (40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than 2 hours may contain deadly pathogens.

Shelf Life of Sliced Turkey

Cooked

Cooked turkey must be refrigerated at 40°F or lower for 3 to 4 days. Refrigeration slows but doesn’t stop bacterial growth.

Keep leftovers covered. Pathogenic bacteria can grow swiftly in the “Danger Zone” (40°F to 140°F). 

Pathogens can’t be recognized because they don’t affect food’s taste, smell, or appearance. Clean, separate, cook, and chill to avoid food degradation and foodborne illness. [1] 

Uncooked

Uncooked turkey meat can only be kept in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Sliced cold cuts should be in a food storage bag with excess air removed.

Wash your hands after handling raw turkey. Raw turkey lasts 1–2 days in the fridge, but cold cuts last five days.

Still, frozen turkey doesn’t keep very long before it begins to acquire hazardous bacteria that could lead to food illness; if you have any doubts, it’s usually best to throw it out. [2] 

Properly Stored

Using an air-tight container is one of the recommended ways to store sliced turkey. Cold cuts lose their freshness rapidly after slicing, so keep them in the fridge for three to five days.

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.”

– Harriet Van Horne, American Newspaper Columnist

Packaged meats could survive long after opening if stored in zip lock bags or sealed plastic containers in the refrigerator’s meat drawer or in the back, where it’s normally the coldest.

Can You Freeze Sliced Turkey?

Yes, you can freeze sliced turkey for a longer shelf-life of up to nine months. Slicing meat before freezing allows you to package and store it in smaller, more usable parts that defrost faster.

However, with sliced meats, it is critical to be extra cautious with the packaging because more of the flesh surface may be exposed to oxygen and drying air, resulting in quality loss.

Furthermore, sliced and pre-packaged meats are more likely to be contaminated by germs and other pathogens.

Therefore, preserving them in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after purchase is necessary.

How To Tell if It Has Gone Bad

slice turkey on a plate

Color

If the sliced turkey has gone bad, there will be discolorations.

If the cuts are turning grey or brown, it’s a solid sign they’ve outlived their usefulness. The majority of the meat degrades from the outside in.

Smell

A sour smell and a slimy texture to the cooked turkey are signs of rotten turkey. Discard any leftovers with an off smell or texture.

Texture

When the sliced turkey meat becomes slimy, which is common with meat, it’s time to toss it.

Because there is nowhere for the moisture from the meat to go, it condenses inside the container and becomes sticky.

How Long Does Deli Turkey Last In The Fridge?

Deli turkeys can be kept in the fridge for two weeks before they can be opened. 

If you buy sliced lunch meats at a deli or open a package of lunch meats, you can put them in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

Keep your refrigerator at or below 40 °F. For the best taste, these slices can also be frozen for one to two months. Frozen foods are safe indefinitely when kept at 0 °F.

FAQs

Is sliced turkey still good after two weeks?

No. Sliced turkey stored in the fridge should be consumed within 5 to 7 days.

However, it is different if the sliced meats are frozen. They can last in the freezer for several months and are safe to eat if properly stored and undisturbed. 

How do you properly store the sliced turkey to last in the fridge? 

To properly store the sliced turkey in the fridge, seal the slices in a ziplock bag and squeeze out all air as possible.

Wrap slices in cling wrap and store them in an air-tight food storage container.

Key Takeaways

The shelf life of a sliced turkey is determined by how it is stored and prepared. While most deli meat has a one-week shelf life, it can last two weeks if properly refrigerated.

Fresh deli meat has a longer shelf life than pre-packaged meat. You can eat sliced meat for up to five days after opening a lunch meat box.

Food poisoning could occur if you eat or serve meat to your children after the printed date or if it has been left out of the refrigerator.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/temperature-danger-zone 
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/holiday-turkey.html
Shari Mason

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