Food safety and security tips because that handling, thawing, roasting, storing, and also reheating turkey.

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Minnesota department of consumer Fact sheet Revised August, 2011

Download a print version the this document: Turkey: for sure Thawing and Cooking (PDF)

handle Food for sure

always wash your hands before and also after handling food. keep the kitchen, dishes and also utensils clean. constantly serve food top top clean plates. carry out not usage the same platter and utensils for raw and also cooked meat/poultry.

Fresh Turkey

purchase the turkey only 1 or 2 days before you arrangement to chef it. store it stored in the refrigerator until you’re all set to chef it. Place it on a tray or pan come catch any kind of juices that may leak. carry out not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not tackled properly, harmful bacteria that might be in the stuffing deserve to multiply rapidly.

Frozen Turkey

store frozen until you’re prepared to thaw it. Turkeys can be retained in the freezer indefinitely. However, chef turkeys in ~ 1 year because that the best quality.

Thawing your Turkey

There are three methods to thaw her turkey safely: Thawing in the Microwave Oven: check your owner’s hand-operated for the minutes every pound and also the strength level to use for thawing. eliminate all exterior wrapping. ar on a microwave-safe food to catch any type of juices that might leak. chef your turkey instantly after thawing in the microwave. execute not refreeze. Thawing in the Refrigerator: store the turkey in its original wrapper. location it ~ above a tray to catch any juices that might leak. A thawed turkey deserve to remain in the refrigerator because that 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been effectively thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
Thawing in the refrigerator Time come thaw (allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds)
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 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 your turkey securely, making certain water is no able to leak with the wrapping. Submerge the sheathe turkey in cold tap water. change the water every 30 minutes. cook the turkey instantly after that is thawed. do not refreeze.
Thawing in cold water Time come thaw (allow 30 minutes per pound)
4 come 12 pounds 2 come 6 hrs
12 to 16 pounds 6 come 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours
REMINDER : remove the giblets from the turkey caries after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting her Turkey

collection your oven temperature no reduced than 325 °F. place the turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. For much more even cooking, it is recommended that you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish. Usage a food thermometer to examine the internal temperature that the stuffing. The center should with at least 165°F. If you choose to stuff your turkey, fill the cavity just before cooking. To fill the cavities loosely. Use a food thermometer to inspect the inner temperature of the stuffing. The facility should reach at the very least 165°F. To inspect the doneness of a entirety turkey, insert a food thermometer in the thickest part of the within thigh without poignant the bone. A totality turkey should be cooked to 165°F. To inspect the doneness of 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 actually a pop-up temperature indicator, it is recommended that you likewise check the inner temperature the the turkey and also the stuffing. permit the turkey was standing for 20 minute after cooking. It will certainly carve much more easily. eliminate all stuffing native the turkey cavities.

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

Timetables for Turkey Roasting (325°F oven temperature):

These times are estimates. Constantly use a food thermometer to inspect the interior temperature of her turkey and also 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 come 14 pounds 3 come 3¾ hours
14 come 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ come 5 hours
Stuffed Turkey Time to chef
4 come 8 pounds (breast) 2½ come 3½ hours
8 come 12 pounds 3 come 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 come 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ come 4¾ hours
20 come 24 pounds 4¾ come 5¼ hours

storing Leftover Turkey

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

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Reheating Leftovers

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