How Long Does it Take to Thaw a Frozen Turkey?

Are you new to cooking your own turkey? Maybe you’ve purchased fresh in the past but are new to working with a frozen turkey? Whatever the situation may be, it is good that you’re researching effective ways to defrost a turkey. Improper thawing methods could lead to things including food borne illnesses. It could also lead to the demise of Thanksgiving Day if you don’t defrost properly and end up with a frozen bird the day it’s supposed to be prepped. Below you will find the three most commonly used methods for thawing a frozen turkey.

Weight & Time Matters

Before going into the methods for thawing a frozen turkey you should first be made aware that the size of the turkey will make a huge difference in how long it takes to thaw out. However, whether you get a large turkey or a smaller one, you will also need to be mindful of the amount of time you allow it to thaw. Thawing it too early could lead to the turkey going bad and thawing it too late could mean a frozen turkey when you’re ready to cook.

Refrigerator Thawing

Get a large turkey pan and placed the wrapped turkey in it. Place the turkey into the fridge and let it stay there for about 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey. Larger turkeys should not stay in the fridge for more than five consecutive days. Towards the end of the defrosting period you can remove the wrapper, clean the turkey, and remove the neck and body cavities. This makes excellent gravy.

Cold Water Thawing

This is a much faster method for thawing a turkey. It is important to ensure that the turkey is thoroughly sealed inside of a package that is leak proof and sealed. You will need to ensure this so that bacteria does not get into the turkey. You also don’t want the tissues from the turkey to begin absorbing water as this will make the turkey taste really bland. Fill a pan up with cold water and submerge the turkey into it. You should let the turkey sit about 30 minutes per pound of turkey while changing the water every thirty minutes. If you utilize the cold water thawing method, immediate cooking will need to be done after the turkey has been thawed.

Microwave Thawing

For the procrastinators who want instantaneous thawing the microwave might be your best option. Prior to placing anything in the microwave you must first make sure that the food has been removed from the wrapper as you cannot have items that are not designed for microwaving involved as the chemicals could transfer to the food once the heat is turned on. Your microwave should have its own instructions on defrosting a turkey. Be sure that you utilize the right minutes per pound and that you’ve checked the power level on the microwave before pressing start.

Defrosting your turkey should be a piece of cake if you follow these directions. As you can see they are all easy to complete within 5 days time and thus planning accordingly will help your Thanksgiving dinner plans go much better.

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