Can You Refreeze A Thawed (Or Partially Thawed) Turkey?

Can You Refreeze A Thawed Turkey

Dealing with a thawed turkey, either cooked or uncooked, requires proper handling before refreezing. You may not want to lose the tenderness of your turkey meat. This intent might compel you to ask can you refreeze a thawed turkey?

You can refreeze your defrosted turkey safely within three days of thawing. Turkey meat that you leave in the refrigerator for thawing can undergo refreezing well. This condition applies to both raw and cooked turkey meat. Besides, turkey meat defrosted by other thawing techniques is not suitable for refreezing.

Like any other meat, turkey meat is prone to spoil quite rapidly. You can overcome this situation by considering a few safety tips.

Can You Refreeze A Partially Thawed Turkey?

It is safe to refreeze a partially thawed turkey, but it is recommended to let the turkey thaw (using the refrigerator thawing technique) before putting it back in the freezer.

It is not good to thaw meat in the microwave, on the kitchen counter, or under cold running water. The bacteria can grow and contaminate food. The only way recommended to refreeze a partially thawed turkey is to defrost it in a refrigerator. Despite a possible compromise in taste and quality due to partial thawing, it remains safe to eat.

Can you refreeze a cooked thawed turkey?

Can you refreeze a cooked thawed turkey

Turkey often takes the place of the main dish on many festive occasions. Most of the time, you are clueless about dealing with the uneaten pieces. To overcome unnecessary food wastage, you can refreeze your cooked turkey.

However, the effectiveness of the refreezing solely depends upon how you thaw the meat initially. Turkey thawed in the refrigerator can be placed back in the freezer again. It is because while in the fridge, it gets exposed to the least amount of air contact. It decreases the chances of contamination significantly.

On the other hand, if you defrost your turkey in a microwave, it is no more suitable to refreeze. The reason is that while in the microwave, the meat reaches a very high internal temperature. Thus, it serves as an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Freezing it again will be of no use.

Similarly, other thawing techniques like the cold water method or leaving on countertop leads to the same outcome. So, to refreeze a thawed cooked turkey, it is best to defrost it in a refrigerator beforehand.

Can you refreeze an uncooked thawed turkey?

Can you refreeze an uncooked thawed turkey

Just like cooked thawed turkey, raw turkey also needs to be left in the refrigerator for defrosting to refreeze it in the future.

While if you thaw your raw turkey in a microwave or by cold water method, it is better to cook it before placing it in the freezer for refreezing purposes.

Turkey that you left on the counter for some time should not be refrozen at all. There is a high risk of air contamination, making it no longer safe to eat. In this scenario, it is better to waste the food rather than consume something that may harm your health.

When you finally plan to cook your raw thawed turkey, add a little bit of gravy to it. After undergoing thawing, it becomes drier due to the loss of moisture. The addition of liquid will make it tender and soft, the same as new.

How To Safely Refreeze A Thawed Turkey?

It can be said without a doubt that refreezing your thawed turkey on time proves to be beneficial. However, you can obtain the desired results only if you perform the process accordingly.

A few additional steps will ensure an effective refreezing. They are listed below.

  1. Firstly, store your turkey in a freezer-safe bag or a Ziploc bag before placing them in the freezer for refreezing.
  2. The packaging will serve as a barrier against freezer burns and also prevent cross-contamination.
  3. Cooked turkey should be allowed to cool down first before placing it inside the freezer.
  4. It is better to divide the turkey into meal-size servings before letting it refreeze. It will help in thawing just the amount you need in the future.
  5. By applying this step, you can also save a lot of space inside the freezer.
  6. Lastly, Label the bag with the date of freezing and let it store till the desired time.

How Long Can You Keep A Thawed Turkey Refrozen?

If properly stored, your thawed turkey can remain refrozen in the freezer easily for a few months. But, once you defrost your meat, it is ideal to utilize it without much delay. The longer you keep it in the open environment, the more it will affect the overall life span of the turkey.

When you do not want to cook your thawed turkey in the refrigerator, place it instantly back in the freezer. A prolonged stay in the fridge might change the taste and texture of the meat. The average fridge life of a turkey is between two to three days.

Similarly, your store-bought frozen turkey needs immediate transfer to the freezer. It is because the time that you take to bring it home usually defrosts the meat. Thus, to avoid unnecessary food spoilage, it is recommended to place it in the freezer at once.

The Right Way To Thaw Your Turkey For Refreezing

There are a lot of ways that you can use for thawing your turkey. But when you follow the correct method, it will help in freezing it again effectively. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the right way to thaw your turkey for refreezing is through refrigeration.

  • The following steps are required to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator.
  • Keep the freezer-safe packaging of the turkey before transferring it from the freezer to the fridge.
  • Next, place it on a tray to catch the water and juices and prevent it from dripping on other stored food.
  • You should set the temperature of the refrigerator at (40 degrees F). It can go lower but avoid higher than this scale.
  • You can leave your thawed turkey in the refrigerator for one to two days before you plan to cook it finally.
  • It can take more or less time to thaw, depending upon the weight of the turkey.
  • To thaw a whole frozen turkey in the refrigerator, you’ll need 24 hours for every 4 pounds (set at 40 degrees F or less).
  • Use your meat within the expected time frame, or else it will start getting soggy and mushy.
  • If you defrost your turkey by this technique, it can undergo another round of freezing without any complications. However, a constant cycle of defrosting and frosting might affect the overall quality of your meat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it bad to thaw and refreeze meat?

Due to continuous freezing and thawing, the quality of the meat gets compromised. As a result, the texture and flavor change significantly, making it not pleasant to eat. Besides, the loss of moisture makes the meat dry, stiff, and hard to chew.

Can you refreeze a thawed turkey breast

You can refreeze a thawed turkey breast, but only if the thawing process was handled properly before being refrozen. If you are not sure about how your turkey was thawed or what temperatures were reached during all parts of the freezing and thawing process, it is not recommended to refreeze it.

How to tell if a frozen turkey is bad?

The best indicators to determine whether the frozen turkey is bad include smell and texture. So, if your turkey has a sour odor or a slimy texture, it is not safer to eat. Even if the date on the packaging says otherwise, avoid the meat with these visible signs.

Recommended Readings:

How To Refreeze A Chicken After Thawing

Can You Refreeze Pumpkin Pie


Tauseeq is the principal creator of He loves cooking and wants to help others overcome kitchen challenges through practical advice and solutions.

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