While fresh turkeys are accessible online and in numerous grocery stores, many people opt come buy a frozen bird instead. And depending top top how large it is, a frozen turkey deserve to take numerous days to thaw in her fridge. Planning front can aid prevent difficulties on the day.

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NOTE: If you"re reading this on Thanksgiving morning, it"s too late to defrost your turkey properly. Instead, learn how to chef a still-frozen turkey. It"s not the best method to chef a turkey, yet it"s the only safe option.


just how to Thaw a Frozen Turkey

There is just one safe, easy and an excellent way to thaw a frozen turkey, and also that is in the refrigerator.


It"s safe since it continues to be cold the entirety time, thus preventing the growth of attention bacteria that can cause food poisoning.


It's easy since you don't have to do anything. The turkey just sits in the fridge and thaws all by itself.


There space a pair of other techniques that might be technically safe. But one of castle is no easy, and the other one is not good—as in, it will do poor things to your turkey, and also make you wish you had used a different technique.


Thaw it in the refrigerator

Thawing in the refrigerator is the just recommended way to defrost a frozen turkey. Because that it come work, however, you'll need plenty that time: 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds the bird. A big turkey, say, 15 come 20 pounds, will should spend 4 come 5 days in the refrigerator.


Which means you'll have to setup ahead. If you can control that, you'll it is in golden. (And your turkey will certainly be golden-brown and delicious.)


Leave the turkey in its initial wrapper.Place the bird top top a tray or in a pan come collect any kind of juices the leak out.Keep it in ~ the bottom of your refrigerator so that any type of leakage won"t contaminate noþeles below.Allow 24 hrs for every 4 to 5 pounds of frozen turkey (see the full chart below).

It's nice straightforward. However if friend haven't got sufficient time, and also don't desire to shot roasting it while it's still frozen, you can always shot the cold water method. However be prepared to work.


Thaw it in Cold Water

It's possible to safe thaw a frozen turkey in a sink full of cold water, yet it won't it is in easy. The problem is, you require to enable 30 minutes of thawing time because that every lb of frozen bird, and also you must keep the water 40 F or chillier the whole time.


That method monitoring the temperature v an instant-read thermometer and transforming the water every fifty percent hour. Now, ring in as soon as you"ve established the difficulty with using this method...


Ding! That's right! for a very big turkey, like a 20-pounder, which can take ten hrs or more to defrost, friend would have to readjust the water every thirty minutes for ten hours. That's twenty water changes!


Aside indigenous the fact that you have much better things to do with her time, the major drawback to this method is that after two or 3 hours, you'll slack off and stop changing the water, and wind up through a salmonella bomb soaking in her kitchen sink.


Moreover, girlfriend can't have to merely include fresh water native the tap; the water requirements to be cooler than 40 F. If the water coming out of her tap is warmer than that, you'll have actually to add ice to reduced the temperature.


Also, you've obtained to make certain the turkey remains fully submerged. If that floats (and it will), you'll need to weigh it down. And if her sink is as well small, this technique won't work.


Here's a time graph to assist you to compare thawing times making use of the refrigerator and cold-water methods:


Turkey WeightThawing Time(Refrigerator)Thawing Time(Cold Water)
Up to 12 lbs1 come 3 days2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 lbs3 to 4 days6 come 8 hours
16 to 20 lbs4 come 5 days8 come 10 hours
20 come 24 lbs5 come 6 days10 come 12 hours

Don't shot to Thaw it in the Microwave

Yes, temperature-wise, her turkey will be thawed, if that's all you care about. Because that example, if you're plan to use it as a football ball; or maybe chef it and feed the to part wild animals.


But if you're in reality planning to serve it to people, this is not a an excellent method come use. Given the variety of different wattages, strength levels, minutes every pound, and also other variables, the most most likely outcome for this an approach of thawing is a turkey that's still frozen in some parts, while already cooked in others.


That's if friend can even fit a turkey in her microwave, which, obviously, you can't. take a ice measure ideal now, and go measure the opening of your microwave. It's about 8 inch high, right? there is no way you are going come fit a frozen turkey v an 8-inch opening.


And also if girlfriend can (i.e. you have a 7-inch turkey), girlfriend don't should resort to this method in the very first place. You're better off using the cold water technique, wherein your small turkey will certainly be thawed in a couple of hours.


Don't Thaw at Room Temperature

Thawing a frozen turkey on the kitchen counter, or the dining room table, or in any other room of your house, is a HUGE no-no.

See more: How Long Cooked Meat In Fridge, Cold Food Storage Chart


Besides the fact that that is, let united state say, unseemly to defrost a Thanksgiving turkey in part random bedroom (to to speak nothing that the bathroom), thawing a turkey at room temperature is a damaging practice. Uncooked meat or poultry (including frozen) shouldn't it is in left in ~ room temperature for more than two hours. Any longer 보다 that and you're just begging for a situation of food poisoning. So, don't even think about this one.


be Smart, be Safe: arrangement Ahead

And that's every there is come it. Together you deserve to see, thawing a 20-pound turkey in the refrigerator deserve to take the much better part the a week. So arrangement ahead! A little bit of preparation will ensure the you're not confronted with a still-frozen turkey top top Thanksgiving morning.