Can You Freeze Cooked Turkey

In this article, you will learn whether or not you can freeze cooked turkey. If you find yourself with leftover turkey from a big holiday meal, it’s a common question to wonder if you can freeze it and save it for later. The good news is that you can actually freeze cooked turkey, and it can still be delicious and enjoyable when you thaw it out.

The key to successfully freezing cooked turkey is to make sure it is properly stored. Start by allowing the turkey to cool completely before packaging it in an airtight container or freezer bag. You can also wrap it in aluminum foil or freezer wrap to help prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and any other relevant information, such as the type of turkey or the dish it was used in. When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen turkey, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it as desired.

Can You Freeze Cooked Turkey and Stuffing Together?

Yes, freezing cooked stuffing recommended. However, it is not recommended to freeze cooked turkey and stuffing together. The turkey and stuffing should be stored separately to ensure proper freezing and safe consumption later. It is best to freeze them in separate airtight containers to maintain their quality.

Can You Freeze Cooked Turkey?

Why Would You Want to Freeze Cooked Turkey?

Cooking a turkey takes time and effort, which is why it’s always a good idea to cook it in large quantities. However, it’s not always possible to finish all the turkey in one go. This is where freezing cooked turkey becomes a valuable option. Freezing cooked turkey allows you to preserve the leftover meat for future use, ensuring you get to enjoy the delicious flavors of Thanksgiving or any other turkey-based dish at any time you want.

How to Freeze Cooked Turkey

Freezing cooked turkey is a straightforward process that requires a few simple steps to ensure the meat stays fresh and flavorful. Here’s what you need to do:

Preparing the Cooked Turkey for Freezing

Before freezing your cooked turkey, it’s essential to cool it down first. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about an hour until it cools down. If you put warm turkey directly into the freezer, it can cause the temperature in the freezer to rise, potentially affecting the quality of other frozen items.

Packaging the Cooked Turkey for Freezing

Once the turkey has cooled down, it’s time to package it. Start by slicing or carving the turkey into smaller, manageable portions. This will make it easier to thaw and reheat when the time comes. Place the turkey portions in airtight freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can also wrap the turkey tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing it in the freezer.

Labeling the Cooked Turkey Package

To avoid any confusion later on, don’t forget to label each package with the date of freezing. This will help you keep track of how old the turkey is and ensure you use it within a reasonable timeframe. Additionally, you can also label the packages with the contents if you have different types of turkey preparations, such as roasted, smoked, or grilled.

Storing the Frozen Cooked Turkey

Once properly packaged and labeled, place the cooked turkey packages in the coldest part of your freezer. Generally, the back of the freezer is the coldest area. Make sure there is enough space between the packages to allow for proper air circulation and to prevent them from sticking together. Ideally, frozen cooked turkey should be consumed within 3-4 months for the best quality, but it can remain safe to eat indefinitely when stored properly. However, for optimal taste and texture, it’s recommended to consume it within this timeframe.

Thawing and Reheating Frozen Cooked Turkey

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen cooked turkey, it’s important to thaw it safely. The best method for thawing cooked turkey is to transfer the frozen packages to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw slowly. This can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours depending on the size of the turkey portions. Once thawed, the turkey can be reheated by using various methods such as the oven, stove, or microwave. Ensure the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it is heated thoroughly and safe to consume.

Safety Precautions When Freezing Cooked Turkey

When it comes to freezing cooked turkey, it’s crucial to follow proper safety precautions to avoid any risk of foodborne illnesses. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Always store cooked turkey at a temperature below 0°F (-18°C) to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Do not refreeze cooked turkey that has been thawed. Once thawed, it should be consumed within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Make sure the freezer maintains a consistent temperature. Fluctuations in temperatures can affect the quality of the turkey and increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.
  • Avoid freezing turkey that has been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours, as bacteria can multiply rapidly at these temperatures.

Tips for Freezing Cooked Turkey

Here are some additional tips to help you make the most out of freezing your cooked turkey:

  • Consider freezing the turkey in individual servings, so you can thaw only what you need instead of the entire package.
  • If you plan on using the frozen cooked turkey for sandwiches, slice it before freezing for easier handling.
  • Use freezer-safe bags or containers to prevent freezer burn and maintain the quality of the turkey.
  • Consider separating dark meat and white meat if you have a preference for one over the other.


Freezing cooked turkey is a convenient and practical way to preserve the delicious meat for later use. By following the proper steps for preparation, packaging, and labeling, you can ensure that your frozen cooked turkey remains safe to eat and maintains its flavorful qualities. Just remember to thaw and reheat the turkey properly to enjoy the best taste and texture. So, the next time you find yourself with leftover cooked turkey, feel free to freeze it and savor the delicious flavors whenever you desire.

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