When a turkey has been thawed, can it be stored in the freezer again? Has the procedure been properly vetted? Is it possible to defrost a turkey and then freeze it?

A thawed turkey may be refrozen, although there may be a decrease in the quality. Refrigerated turkey may be refrozen, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

To save money and time, you may want to freeze some of the turkey you prepared for the holidays, like Thanksgiving. If your plans change and you don’t get around to cooking or smoking your turkey, you may question whether you can freeze the raw meat.

Learn here all you need to know about turkey freezing.

Can you refreeze cooked meat that was previously frozen?

Once defrosted, meat and fish may be cooked and then re-frozen for future use. As long as the meat and fish have been cooled before being put in the freezer, you may refreeze them once…

For up to 24 hours, uncooked frozen meals may be defrosted and kept in the refrigerator before they must be cooked or thrown away.

Can you refreeze something after it’s been defrosted?

If the food was defrosted in a refrigerator operating at 5°C or below, it is acceptable to re-freeze it. When food is defrosted and then refrozen, some of its quality may be lost because the cells break down a bit, and the food becomes a little watery.

When to refreeze your turkey

If you refreeze the turkey within three days after thawing, it is fino. As long as the turkey has been handled correctly throughout the process, it is safe to refreeze.

Because of this, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, thawing in the refrigerator is required before it may be served at room temperature for more than two hours at any one time.

There’s no need to refreeze thawed turkey that’s been sitting out on the counter or out in the open for an extended time.

It’s best not to consume it in the first place. It is preferable to waste food than to put your health at risk by consuming something that may or may not be healthy.

When you eventually thaw and cook the turkey, it may turn out a little dry. You lose a little amount of moisture each time you heat it.

As long as you add a little gravy or your favorite sauce, you’ll get the same results.

Freezer-safe packaging

While it is possible to freeze the whole turkey, including the bones, it is preferable to separate the turkey into meal-size portions before placing it in the freezer. Makes it a lot more consumer-friendly! Just what you need will be at your fingertips instead of having to thaw out the whole turkey.

This method will also save you a lot of freezer space.

If you’re going to freeze your turkey, make sure to wrap it properly. Make sure it’s well-protected by putting it in a freezer bag or using a freezer paper.

If you use the cold water thawing method, you can also freeze a thawed and cooked turkey.

The taste and texture of the turkey will most likely deteriorate if it is thawed and then refrozen. When refreezing, remember this. To preserve the taste and texture, I don’t advocate refreezing more than once.

Learn how to properly refreeze a thawed turkey by reading on.

Can you refreeze a thawed turkey?

According to the USDA, you may freeze a turkey thawed out in the refrigerator (USDA). By refreezing an unthawed turkey, the quality of the taste and texture may be compromised.

A thawed turkey may be safely re-frozen, according to the USDA, based on the method of thawing used. First, let’s speak about the various thawing methods in order to better comprehend the safety and hazard of refreezing a thawed turkey, which we’ll discuss later.

Safe methods for thawing a turkey

When shopping for turkey, make sure you don’t have any other plans immediately after your trip to the grocery store. This is because you must immediately bring it home and put it in the freezer while it is frozen.

Bring a cooler full of ice to keep your turkey chilled until you get home.

The quality of the taste and texture of your turkey will be maintained if you keep it frozen.

Don’t leave your frozen turkey in the vehicle unless you keep it in an ice-filled cooler while driving. Do not leave it on a table in your kitchen or any other area where you can’t keep an eye on it.

Immediately after you arrive home from the grocery shop, be sure to put everything in the freezer.

According to USDA guidelines, there are three ways to defrost frozen food:

  1. Refrigerator thawing technique
  2. Cold-water thawing technique
  3. Microwave thawing technique

Some of these methods, however, do not enable you to properly refreeze a thawed turkey. Let’s take a closer look at each of these:

1. Refrigerator thawing technique

Thawing a turkey for supper necessitates planning time for it in your schedule. This is because thawing in the refrigerator will take at least 24 hours.

However, the weight of the turkey you purchased will have a role in this calculation.

Only if your frozen turkey weighs between four and five pounds does it need to be thawed for 24 hours. Also, the refrigerator should be adjusted to a temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lower than 40°F is OK, but don’t go much lower than that.

To use this thawing method, follow these steps:

  • To begin the thawing process, remove the frozen turkey from the package and store it in the refrigerator.
  • Place your frozen turkey in an airtight container before storing it in the freezer. 
  • Make sure you know the weight of the turkey you purchased before cooking it, and avoid dripping its fluids onto other items in the fridge. First-time buyers will find the weight and all other information on the packing.

Knowing the weight can help you predict how long it will take to thaw. A turkey that weighs more than five pounds will take longer to defrost, so be prepared for a lengthier thawing period if you think 24 hours is too lengthy.

According to the weight of the turkey, below is how long it will take to defrost using this method:

  • 4-12 pounds whole turkey – 24-72 hours
  • 12-16 pounds whole turkey – 72-96 hours
  • 16-20 pounds whole turkey – 96-120 hours
  • 20-24 pounds whole turkey – 120-144 hours

As a result, it may take several days to prepare your turkey.

Now that the turkey has thawed, can you keep it in the fridge for a few more days? Yes and no, to answer your question. It is possible to defrost it in the refrigerator before cooking it.

It’s not safe to keep it that long. It’s only good for two days. If you don’t like it, you’ll have to cook it.

If the turkey has thawed out, can it be re-frozen? A turkey that has been thawed out in the refrigerator may be safely refrozen.

However, the quality of the turkey’s taste and texture may suffer if it is refrozen.

To spare yourself the hassle of preparing everything, you can just put everything back in the freezer and store it away for another time.

2. Cold-water thawing technique

There is no need to wait days to prepare your turkey when utilizing the Cold Water Thawing Method. Only a few hours of waiting are required for this method to work. You may, however, take up to a half-day to defrost a full turkey.

But, of course, the weight of the turkey you purchased is still a factor. Every pound of beef requires, on average, 30 minutes of thawing time.

  • Check that the turkey is completely enclosed in a leak-proof plastic bag before you begin the thawing procedure. This will prevent cross-contamination from occurring. In addition, it will prevent water absorption, which might have an adverse effect on your final product.
  • Put the turkey in a plastic bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold tap water.
  • Make sure to replace the water every 30 minutes
  • And cook the turkey as soon as it’s thawed.

You may see how long it will take you to thaw your turkey based on its weight by utilizing the cold-water method:

  • 4-12 pounds – 2-6 hours
  • 12-16 pounds – 6-8 hours
  • 16-20 pounds – 8-10 hours
  • 20-24 pounds – 10-12 hours

If you use this method, you can’t simply put the turkey back in the freezer to thaw and refreeze it. It must be cooked immediately after being thawed using the Cold Water Method.

However, after the meat has been cooked, it is acceptable to thaw and re-freeze. If you want to freeze leftover meat, you should probably boil it first before putting it in the freezer.

Refrozen meat, on the other hand, has the potential to degrade in quality.

Have you ever wondered whether you could refreeze a turkey that has just been thawed? We’ve got the answers to all of your inquiries.

Is it possible to refreeze a fresh turkey? A thawed turkey may be refrozen, although there may be a decrease in the quality, according to the Department of Agriculture in the United States (USDA).

Let’s take a look at the third thawing method, which is the microwave method.

3. Microwave thawing technique

In accordance with USDA guidelines, the Microwave Thawing Method may be used. Listed below are the steps to follow:

  • The manufacturer’s instructions for thawing a turkey should be checked;
  • You must check to see whether the turkey you purchased will fit in your microwave oven before cooking it.
  • Make sure you know the precise weight of your turkey so that you can determine how long it should be thawed before cooking;
  • You’ll also need to choose the best power setting to utilize to defrost the turkey.
  • Remove the turkey from its package once you have confirmed the appropriate thawing instructions.
  • Put it in a dish that can be microwaved.
  • Make use of the microwave oven’s defrost function and adjust the cooking time to the turkey’s weight. 
  • Microwave turkey thawing time is around six minutes for every pound of turkey, and rotating and flipping the turkey multiple times can help ensure an evenly-thawed bird.

When using the Microwave Thawing Technique, you must be cautious not to overdo it, lest you accidentally cook it. If the turkey looks to be cooking rather than thawing,

let it rest for five minutes. Then you begin the process of thawing again.

At this point, cover the turkey’s wings and drumsticks with foil to prevent them from drying. These components will not begin to cook as a result of this method.

You must cook it soon once it’s thawed. Given that there is no way to tell if the turkey is half cooked or entirely thawed, you have to take this precautionary measure.

Refreezing partly cooked food is not recommended by the USDA in this instance. A partly cooked turkey would not be as safe as a fully cooked one if there are any germs present.

As a result, if you employ this method, you must cook the turkey immediately.

Utilize the bones

Don’t throw away your turkey bones; they make a delicious stock. Freezing the carcass is an option if you can’t prepare soup right now.

Zip-top bags may be used to store the carcass. Carrot peels, onion skin, and celery pieces may be stored in the bag if you plan to prepare a lot.

To make a flavorful stock, just cook them all together. Alternatively, if you want, you may create a pot of turkey stock straight immediately.

The broth may be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days, but it can be frozen for an infinite period of time. Smaller containers (even an ice tray) may keep the broth on hand when needed.

Homemade stock is an essential ingredient for preparing soup, and it’s much better than anything you can purchase in a supermarket.

Things to remember

You should also keep in mind these extra tips:

1. Safe temperature

You must ensure that the turkey is at a safe temperature throughout the thawing procedure. Bacteria cannot enter a turkey that has been frozen.

There is a chance that germs present in the turkey before it was frozen may re-emerge during the thawing procedure. So, the USDA has put up a list of instructions on how to defrost a frozen turkey properly.

2. Do not expose at room temperature 

A frozen turkey should not be left on the counter to defrost. Leaving it unattended for more than a few hours is enough to render it unfit for human consumption.

Bacteria may repopulate if you keep it at an unhealthy temperature for too long.

It’s possible that germs have already begun to proliferate in the turkey’s thawed sections even if it hasn’t fully defrosted. It’s important to remember that foodborne germs reproduce quickly if given the opportunity.

That’s why it’s critical that you cook the turkey as soon as it’s thawed.

3. Cook immediately after taking it out of the freezer

All these rules and regulations can make you wonder whether roasting a turkey directly from the freezer is an option for you this year. Things will be easier for you if you do this.

However, you should be aware that this may result in a prolonged cooking time. You may have to raise your cooking time by as much as 50% or more.


According to the USDA, a thawed turkey may be refrozen. If the turkey was thawed utilizing the Refrigerator Thawing Method, it might be re-frozen.

A frozen turkey, on the other hand, can only be refrozen after it has been thawed using the Cold Water Thawing Technique.

If you prefer the Microwave Thawing Technique because it allows you to complete the thawing process more quickly, keep in mind that refreezing is a dangerous technique.