posted by Marianne Gravely, Food Safety education Staff, Food Safety and also Inspection Service, in initiatives Health and Safety

While frozen, a turkey is for sure indefinitely. As quickly as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have actually been present before freezing will begin to flourish again. There space three safe methods to defrost a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and also in a microwave oven.

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3 methods to Thaw a Turkey

Refrigerator Thawing (Recommended)

The proposal thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. This is the safest technique because the turkey will certainly thaw in ~ a consistent, for sure temperature. This an approach takes some time, so allow one day for each 4 - 5 pounds that weight. If her turkey weighs 16 pounds, it will certainly take around four days to thaw. Once thawed, the turkey is for sure for another two days, therefore you have the right to start thawing it six days prior to thanksgiving (the Friday prior to Thanksgiving).

The other two methods (cold water and also microwave) need to be done instantly before friend start cooking the turkey, so you’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving morning.

Cold Water Thawing

For the cold water method, leaving the turkey in its initial wrapping and submerge it in a sink (or container) full of cold water. The is crucial that the water it is in cold so the the turkey remains at a for sure temperature. Girlfriend should change the water every 30 minutes. Empty the end the water and replace it with fresh cold water. With this method, allow 30 minute of defrosting time every pound, for this reason a 16 lb turkey will certainly take 8 hours to thaw utilizing this technique (so you can need come start approximately 4 a.m. If you want to eat in the afternoon!). Once the turkey has thawed, chef it immediately

Microwave Thawing

Before girlfriend commit to thawing your turkey in the microwave, inspect your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes every pound and the strength level to use as soon as thawing a turkey. Eliminate all exterior wrapping and place the turkey top top a microwave-safe food to catch any juices that might leak. Usage the defrost role based on weight. As a general rule, allow 6 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey in the microwave. Be sure to revolve it numerous times, and even upper and lower reversal it, throughout the thawing process.

If the turkey starts come actually chef instead of just defrost, let it remainder for 5 minutes or so before you resume thawing. Partway with thawing you may wish to cover the advice of the wings and drumsticks with a small piece of silver paper to shield them native the microwaves and also keep them indigenous cooking. When the turkey has thawed girlfriend should cook it immediately.

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How no to Thaw a Turkey

In case you space wondering, here are some thawing methods that are not recommended:

thawing a turkey on the counter, in the garage or on the earlier porchthawing a turkey in a brown record grocery bag or plastic garbage bagusing the dishwasher to thaw a turkey (with or there is no water)any an approach that is not the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave

How to chef a Frozen Turkey

If her turkey is still icy ~ above Thanksgiving morning, nothing panic! it is perfectly for sure to cook a turkey native the frozen state; the will just take much longer to cook. A solidly frozen turkey will certainly take at the very least 50 percent longer to cook than a thawed turkey. If your turkey is just partially frozen, remember that it will take a little longer to cook. Usage your food thermometer, and also when your bird procedures 165˚F in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost component of the wing and also the thickest component of the breast, the is ready.