Talk about a Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey; what! Turkey is one of the most popular birds that people love to cook. If you’ve just had a big Thanksgiving or Christmas meal and have some turkey leftovers to store, you must have a doubt: “Can you freeze cooked turkey breast?”. Don’t worry, we are here to answer your question!
Can you Freeze Cooked Turkey Breast?
Yes, you can freeze cooked turkey breasts. You can safely freeze cooked turkey breasts for up to 4 months to reheat and eat later. So, feel free to freeze some of your turkey leftovers to use later in your sandwiches, casseroles, or soups!
Cooked turkey breast is only safe to freeze if you do it correctly. Imagine taking some turkey out to heat and enjoy, only to find out that it has gone bad!
So, it is essential to know how to freeze and thaw the meat to ensure that it stays fresh.
Lucky for you, that’s what we are here to help you with. Continue reading the article to understand more about freezing and thawing cooked turkey breast.
How to Freeze Cooked Turkey Breast
The steps to freeze cooked turkey breast are pretty simple. What is important is remembering to do it! Correct freezing ensures that your turkey meat doesn’t spoil and retains its original taste during its storage period as well. Here is what you need to do properly freeze cooked turkey breast:
Step 1: Okay so step 1 is not just for freezing the turkey breast but also for your dinner guests: Make sure your turkey is fully cooked!
Step 2: It is essential to make sure the turkey breast has cooled down before you pop it in the freezer. It is never a good idea to directly freeze hot turkey leftovers.
Step 3: You can freeze your cooked turkey breast whole. But a better option is to slice them up and store them in the freezer. Portioning your turkey is always more preferred. This helps you take out and only thaw the portion you require. There is no correct way of slicing the turkey; that’s up to you.
Step 4: Next, wrap your turkey in tin foil. If you have gone with the idea of slicing them up, try not wrapping more than 2 to 3 slices at once. Tightly wrapping your turkey in the foil ensures that there is no air getting in while it’s freezing.
It is important to make sure you’ve done this step correctly. If not, there is a risk of your turkey being oxidized or dehydrated and suffering a freezer burn.
Step 5: Now, take the turkey and pack it in a freezer bag. It is essential to squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing it and placing it in the freezer.
Step 6: The last step before you stick your turkey in the freezer is to label it. Jot down the meat’s name and the date of freezing. This way, you can keep track of how long your turkey has been frozen and how much longer it can stay fresh.
Tips for Freezing Cooked Turkey Breast
#1 Try to freeze your turkey as early as you can after cooking it! It’s not an issue to refrigerate your turkey for up to 3 days after cooking it before you store it in the freezer. The downside of this is that you may risk your turkey drying out. So, the best way is to pop it in the freezer as soon as it cools down after you cook it.
#2 Turkey meat is super versatile. You can use it in so many dishes such as soups, casseroles, sandwiches, curry, etc.
So, how about just freezing it in a dish? Many people prefer doing this as it will help your turkey meat preserve its moisture in the freezer.
You will save so much time as you only have to reheat and eat it directly whenever you want!
#3 Another way you can prevent your turkey from drying out is by pouring some gravy or stock over it. Just pour a small amount of gravy, just enough to cover the turkey breast.
Leave about half an inch of space while packing it in a bag to get rid of all the excess air. This will ensure that the gravy can also spread out while it freezes.
#4 If you want to speed up the cooling process of your turkey breast, remove the bone and the skin from the meat.
#5 You might try to use all the space in your freezer by stacking containers over each other. It is best not to do that with your turkey meat to ensure sufficient circulation around each food item.
How to Thaw Cooked Turkey Breast
Like in freezing, there is a set of simple steps that must be followed while thawing cooked turkey breasts as well.
- Take out the portion of turkey that you wish to use and transfer it to the refrigerator. Let it sit there for about 4 hours which is about enough time for it to thaw. Just make sure the turkey doesn’t sit around for a day or so in the refrigerator.
- Now, make sure the turkey is in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag and place it in a bowl filled with cold water. It is essential to make sure the entire turkey breast is submerged in water. To keep the water in the bowl cold, keep changing it every 30 minutes for about 2-3 hours to ensure it’s been fully defrosted. Please remember not to use warm water as it promotes bacterial growth.
- Once you see that your turkey has been fully defrosted, you can remove it from the cold water and take it off its container or bag. You can now pop it in the microwave to heat it and have it ready to eat!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you freeze cooked sliced turkey breast?
Yes, you can freeze cooked sliced turkey breast. In fact, cooked turkey breasts are better frozen in slices. You can portion your turkey meat as per your requirement. You may compromise the texture of your turkey relatively more by slicing it. Nevertheless, slicing cooked turkey breast is still the preferred option.
Can you freeze cooked stuffed turkey breast?
Yes, you can freeze cooked stuffed turkey breast. You can freeze the stuffing in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. It is best to store stuffing on its own instead of packing it with turkey meat or potatoes. We recommend you separate the stuffing from the meat and pack it in a different container before you let it freeze.
Can you freeze cooked smoked turkey breast?
Yes, you can freeze cooked smoked turkey breast. Like non-smoked turkey breast, cooked smoked turkey breast is safe to freeze as well. When frozen properly, smoked turkey breast lasts for many months in the freezer. So, feel free to save it and use it for your future meals.
Can you freeze leftover cooked turkey breast?
Yes, you can freeze leftover cooked turkey breast. You are bound to have some leftovers if you’ve just had a large turkey dinner for your friends and family. Lucky for you, you don’t have to throw it all away.
Along with being safe to freeze on its own, you can freeze it in various dishes such as gravy, casseroles, sandwiches, soups, etc. So, just pack it in some airtight containers or freezer bags and pop it in the freezer!
Can you freeze cooked boneless turkey breast?
Yes, you can freeze cooked boneless turkey breast. Many people follow this practice before Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays to save some extra time. It is easier to freeze boneless turkey breast as it cools down faster and is easier to freeze. You can then reheat it and use it according to your needs.
Can you freeze honey-baked turkey slices?
Yes, you can freeze honey-baked turkey slices. One idea is to flash freeze them before actually storing them in the freezer. This way you can ensure they stay fresh even after being frozen for longer durations. You can wrap each slice in plastic film and store them in airtight containers or bags to keep the air out.
We hope we have made helped you with your dilemma of whether or not you can freeze cooked turkey breast. It certainly is not fun to throw away leftovers, especially when you worked so hard cooking them!
As we discussed, there is hardly anything to worry about while freezing turkey meat.
So, go ahead and cook a little extra turkey for your friends and family on Thanksgiving or Christmas because you now know how to save the leftovers for later!
All you need is some foil and airtight containers or freezer bags for appropriate storage. As long as you freeze it carefully, your turkey is good to go.