How to Tell If Ground Turkey Is Bad 2 Sings with 5 Tricks

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If you want to consume low-fat ground meat, then ground turkey is the healthiest ground meat. If you cook it correctly, it has this satisfying taste that can easily make you fall in love with this food. 

The essential part of making a dish is if you can serve it fresh or not. But before making the dish, how to tell if the ground turkey is bad or not?

If you suspect that your raw ground turkey is gone bad, then there are three simple procedures to tell if your suspicion is correct or not.

How To Tell If Ground Turkey Is Bad

  • Odor

If you suspect that the ground turkey is gone bad, then the first thing you can do is check the odor of the ground meat. Take it close to your nose if it smells funky, then you don’t have to take any risk of cooking it. Through it away.

  • Outlook

The outlook of ground meat tells a lot of things about it. There is nothing to worry about if the ground turkey has different colors outside than inside. According to The U.S. 

Department of Agriculture (USDA), ground meat appears bright red because the oxygen interacts with the meat’s pigment.

If you Doubt It, Toss It

Sometimes we forget how long the ground turkey has been in the freezer. But after taking it out from the fridge, we hesitate whether it is still good for cooking or not! In that case, it is integumentary if you toss it away. If you doubt it while cooking, it might cause digestion problems later. And in some cases, it leads to food poisoning.

Make sure you cook the ground turkey ASAP after buying it. The more you delay cooking the turkey, the quicker it becomes a place for Bacterias breeding heaven.

If you smell any strong odor that is not usual, throw away the meat. If it doesn’t smell right, it’s never good to cook. Toss it into a trash bag if you doubt its smell.

Check The Color of Your Ground Turkey

Color plays a crucial role in this matter. If the meat’s color doesn’t seem right, do not cook it. Sometimes preserving the meat longer than it should, begins to ruin the meat.

Before you cook the turkey, check the color of the turkey carefully. If most of it turned gray or brown, then you shouldn’t have a second thought of cooking it. Toss it away.

Changing the color of the meat indicates that either the meat is rotting or rotted already. But sometimes, the color changes into grayish-brown, and it’s not bad. 

But do not take any chances. Before you cook the turkey, sniff it a little bit. If it feels right, it’s okay to cook. If it doesn’t, throw it in the trash can.

Check the Texture

The first thing that you might notice when you hold the minced turkey in your hand is the texture of the turkey. However, the bacteria is taken over your turkey if you touch or feel any slushy layers over the meat.

Sometimes the bacteria bring sticky layers to the meat. If you notice excessive sticky or gluey texture over your turkey, do not take any chance of cooking it.

Ground meat comes a little sticky for the way they proceed it. If you notice any stickiness less in quantity, then there is nothing to worry about.

Sniff the Smell of Turkey

The smell of the turkey is the most common way to detect if the turkey has gone bad or not. A fresh ground turkey doesn’t produce any bad scent that is unusual for the meat.

When you take it out for cooking, make sure to sniff it a little bit, and if your nose detects any weird smell, that doesn’t feel right. Do not cook it. Spoilage bacteria cause such odor in the meat.

But pathogenic bacteria do not cause such odor, so it becomes difficult to smell any scent from the meat. But if you notice other signs that make you question the freshness of the ground turkey, throw it away.

If It’s Sticky, Don’t Take The Risk of Cooking It

When you touch a fresh ground turkey, it feels good to the hand. But when you touch a slice of rotten meat, immediately you can feel the stickiness and tackiness of the meat in your hand. In this circumstance, it is always the best decision if you do not cook it.

Moreover, when you spot other changes in meat, such as the color of the meat is changing from bright red to greenish stains over the meat. It’s a clear sign that the minced meat is rotted now. It would be best if you put it in a bag and throw it into a trashcan.

Check The Expiration Date

If you want to avoid these things from happening, you need to become extra careful while buying a minced ground turkey. Make sure to check the expiration date of the product before you buy it.

If you don’t have any plans to cook it anytime soon, do not buy the meat that is about to expire in a couple of days. It is best if you cook it within 2/3 days. 

Sometimes bacteria attacks before the expiration date is over. So have a good look in the packet that if the color of the meat is okay or not. Or sniff the package closely. If it smells funky or weird, do not buy that package. Go for another one.

How to Know If Ground Turkey Is Bad After Cooking

Sometimes cooked meat might go bad if you do not preserve it correctly. It’s kind of difficult to tell if the ground turkey is bad after cooking. Because there are so many ingredients that are smeared with it, it’s become difficult to recognize if it’s gone bad or not.

Following these procedures will help you to recognize if the cooked turkey has gone bad or not.


If the cooked turkey is malodorous, you should think as much again before eating it. Sometimes cooked meat becomes rotten for not being cooked at the right temperature and for not preserving it in the right place. It is also important to check the ground turkey’s expiration date before buying it. Always smell the turkey before you cook it.

Color Change

After cooking the meat, it changes its color according to the ingredients you smear with it. So color changes don’t always indicate that the meat is gone bad. However, if the color of the cooked ground turkey turns pale, it will be a wise decision not to eat it.

Texture Change

Sometimes, cooked ground turkey’s texture changes because of becoming a place for bacteria breeding. Bacteria change the surface of the meat quickly.

Mold Layers 

Maybe the easiest way to tell if the cooked ground turkey is gone bad or not if you notice any mold on it. If the turkey is gone bad, then there will be layers of mold on it. It’s a clear indication that this meat is not eatable anymore.

Does Ground Turkey Smell Like Vinegar

Many bacteria roam around the turkey that produces acetic acid, which causes the turkey to smell like vinegar. If you want to prevent this smell, here are simple tips that will help you –

  • One tablespoon wheat flour mix with enough water for one kg turkey meat.
  • Now smear it with turkey meat
  • Left it there for 15-20 minutes
  • Wash it for 2 minutes with pure water. Now the smell vanishes, and it’s ready for cooking.

Freezer It Right After Buying It

If you have no plan of eating your ground turkey anytime soon, then the logical step should be refrigerating the meat right after buying it.

You can store the turkey in the fridge for up to 3-4 months. Longer than 4 months might lessen the taste of the turkey and might create some bacterial issues.

Keep that in mind these storing tips:

  • Make sure the raw meat is apart from the other food when storing
  • Make sure the temperature of the refrigerator is below 40 ° F (4 ° C)
  • The freezer temperature should be 0°F (-17°C)
  • Store it in the fridge within 1/2 days after buying the meat from the store.

How to Increase Shelf Life of Your Ground Turkey – A Few Exclusive Tips

You can increase the shelf life of your ground turkey if you do it properly. If you do it properly, it will secure the safety and quality of the meat.

These are some exclusive tips that will help to increase the shelf life of your ground turkey:

  • Refrigerate your turkey in a secure container. Make sure the lid is tight enough.
  • Wrap the package with aluminum foil.
  • Store the package apart from other packages.

If you are storing it after cooking:

  • Make sure to cool it down before storing it in the refrigerator.
  • Do not store the cooked ground turkey for more than 3-4 days.
  • Store it in a tightly closed box.

What Happens When You Eat Bad Ground Turkey

Nobody wants to eat something that has gone bad. But if you find yourself in such a condition, stop eating spoiled foods right away. The worse thing that might happen for eating bad ground turkey is food poisoning.

Some other symptoms might show, such as – vomiting, stomach ache, etc. But don’t get nervous it will be gone in 12-24 hours. If not, then consult a doctor ASAP.

Pro tips: If you don’t want this to happen to yourself, make sure you cooked the meat at 165 ºF. This temperature is perfect to destroy potentially harmful bacteria.

How Long Does Raw Turkey Last In The Fridge

The exact answer to this question depends on various factors, such as – 

Condition of the storage: The storage condition has a big impact on how long raw turkey might last in the fridge. If you can store your raw turkey in good condition, it might stay safe for up to 8-9 months.

Condition of the turkey: The condition of the raw turkey is important for lasting long in the fridge. If you put the raw turkey in the right condition with all safety measured, like –  using a good container for storing it, wrapping it perfectly with aluminum foil, etc. It will last more than 3 to 4 months.

Storing procedure: The storing process should correct. Make sure there is no other food around the meat as it might harm the rawness of the turkey. Make sure the temperature of the fridge in the right position.

How Long Does Raw Ground Turkey Last at Room Temperature

It is not okay to leave out your ground turkey overnight. It can not be left outside for more than two hours. As harmful bacteria start breedings where the temperature between 40 °F and 140 °F. The raw turkey should be thrown away if its stays outside longer than two hours.


When you consume a bad turkey in the worst-case scenario, it might lead you to stomach ache, vomiting, or food poisoning. If you can differentiate between a fresh and rotten turkey, you can easily avoid this situation from happening with you.

From buying it from the store to storing it in the refrigerator, always try to follow those steps discussed above. Make sure the expiry date is right, the color of the meat is correct, and most importantly the smell of the turkey is fresh. 

Always store the raw turkey at the right temperature so that you can preserve it for a long time. Here, we tried to cover up every possible way to ensure if the ground turkey has gone bad or not. If you read the whole article, you will have a complete idea about ground turkey. If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section.

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