How to Tell if Ground Turkey Is Bad?

When you’re in the mood for a healthy dinner, ground turkey is an excellent choice. It’s high in protein and low in fat. From burgers to chili, it can be delicious and versatile.

Ground turkey is a healthy option, but you want to make sure that it hasn’t spoiled before you cook and eat it. 

Most people don’t know how to tell if ground turkey is bad. It’s an easy mistake to make since there are no expiration dates on most packages of meat.

If you’re not careful, however, it may also cause food poisoning. In this article, I’ll cover a few different ways that you can tell if your turkey is bad, which I will go over in detail below.

Keep reading to learn everything there is about how to tell if the ground turkey has gone bad, how to tell if it’s cooked, and how long ground turkey stays fresh.

How to Tell if Ground Turkey Is Bad?

The most obvious sign that your ground turkey has gone bad is visible signs of spoilage. If your turkey has visible mold, discoloration, or an off-putting smell, it’s probably time to throw the package away.

1. Smell of Ground Turkey

Ground turkey that is bad may also have an off-putting smell. This will be especially true for frozen ground turkey, which will often develop freezer burn if it’s not handled properly or isn’t kept in a sealed container.

If your ground turkey smells off or weird, it is almost certainly spoiled.

2. Texture of Ground Turkey

If your ground turkey has an off-texture and doesn’t look normal, this could also mean that the product is spoiled.

Try squeezing the package gently with your fingers to get a better idea of what it feels like.

If you can tell that the texture is off, it’s almost certainly not safe to eat the turkey anymore.

3. Color of Ground Turkey

Ground turkey should have a pinkish color to it, which may vary depending on the type of turkey and how fresh it is. You can also find ground turkey that is a more tan color.

If the color of your ground turkey has changed, this could mean that it has spoiled or gone bad. If it has turned brown or gray in areas, discard the package!

4.  Smell of the Kitchen

If your ground turkey smells bad when you are cooking it, this is another sign that there may be something wrong with your food.

The smell will be especially noticeable if you are frying or grilling the product in a skillet.

5. Look for an Expiration Date

If you have a package of ground turkey that has an expiration date, then your product should have one as well. This is the clearest indicator of whether or not something is safe to eat.

Products without any type of date may be raw, which means that they may carry harmful bacteria.

If you can’t remember when you purchased the package, you should probably not eat it.

How To Tell If Ground Turkey Is Cooked Without Thermometer?

Without a thermometer, you can know if the ground turkey is cooked or not easily by pressing a fork on the meat. If the turkey juice comes out of it, then it’s undercooked. If it doesn’t come out, then it’s cooked well and ready for eating!

You must also check the color of the cooked meat. If it’s dark brown, then it’s cooked well. The color should be uniform throughout and not brownish around the edges.

How Long Does It Take for Ground Turkey to Go Bad?

Ground turkey can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 1 week after you buy it.

It’s best if you use the meat within 3 days of purchasing. If you don’t, however, Ground turkey has a maximum shelf life of around 4-5 days. If it isn’t used by then, it should be thrown away immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it OK if ground turkey has a smell?

If you notice a smell coming from your ground turkey, it’s probably best to discard it.

While the USDA says that it’s safe to cook and eat ground turkey that has a slight smell, this is usually an indication that the meat is starting to go bad.

2. What color should ground turkey be?

Ideally, ground turkey should be a light pink color. If it’s starting to turn grey or has any dark spots, it’s probably best to throw it out.

3. Can you eat raw ground turkey?

No, you should not eat raw ground turkey. Ground turkey needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit in order to be safe to eat. Eating raw ground turkey could lead to food poisoning.

4. How long is ground turkey good for in the fridge after thawing?

If you thawed your ground turkey in the fridge, you have up to 2 days to cook it before it needs to be discarded. If you thawed it in the microwave or in cold water, you’ll need to cook it right away.

5. Can ground turkey be frozen?

Yes, ground turkey can be frozen. It will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw it in the fridge overnight.

Final Words

These are some of the ways that you can tell if your ground turkey has gone bad.

Use these tips to keep yourself and your family safe from foodborne illness. You don’t want to make a big mistake with your dinner. 🙂

If you’ve any tips or experience with telling whether or not ground turkey is bad, please let us know more about it in the comments.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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