Thawing the turkey is a crucial part of the overall cooking process, because it needs to be done safely. turkey would defrost in about 48 hours -- two days. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Fresh turkeys are chilled after packaging, rather than frozen. I did everything right. Clear out a spot for the turkey on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so that any juices that leak do not contaminate other items. The safest way to thaw a whole frozen turkey is either in the refrigerator or in cold water. Doing so allows bacteria to reproduce rapidly, posing a dangerous health hazard. If you bought a frozen turkey, you have to figure out how to thaw the thing. To use brine as a step in the water bath method, in the last hour or two of thawing, unwrap the turkey from its packaging, change the plain ice water for a brine that includes flavorings that you enjoy in a turkey. It takes up to 6 minutes per pound to thaw … If you don't want your turkey to become a nesting area for nasty bacteria—or your cat's midnight snack—don't thaw it on the counter. The turkey is sitting in a water bath anyway for quick defrosting, so why not add some spectacular flavor to it without much extra work. If that is the cooking method of choice, be extra careful that the bird has thawed throughout, or you will have a potentially hazardous situation on your hands. So unless you're planning on throwing out your frozen chicken, do not waste a plastic garbage bag in an attempt to thaw it. You can check if the turkey is thawed by prodding the breast to see if it's soft, or making sure there's no ice in its cavity. Thanksgiving is almost here, and whether you're planning ahead or forget to defrost the turkey, the USDA says there are three ways to safely thaw a frozen bird. This means that even if the inside of your turkey is still frozen, once the outside thaws to above 40°F, it’s in the danger zone. People have been known to set fire to their houses on Thanksgiving accidentally, deep frying a turkey still partially frozen inside. When defrosting in this way, it takes approximately thirty minutes per pound to thaw. You can thaw the turkey even faster by running cool water over it. How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey It’s only a matter of time. If any part of the turkey is within the temperature “danger zone” of 40°F to 140°F for longer than two hours, the likelihood increases that it has developed unsafe levels of bacteria and related toxins. Then, move the turkery around with a wooden spoon to help it pick up heat from the water. You still can make a turkey, even if you forget to defrost it. While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. But there’s a catch: Cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer. There are 18 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. But, it’s also a massive block of frozen meat that can be a bit daunting to deal with. Today is Wednesday, and the thing is still hard as a rock when poked. Controlling the thawing process using safe methods helps you thaw turkey fast while preventing potentially dangerous bacteria growth. The kitchen sink might be the most accessible way to thaw a turkey quickly because everyone has a kitchen sink, and considering the need to change the water out when it gets too warm, it makes a lot of sense to try there. Plan on an extra day in the refrigerator because temperatures vary. Mix 1/4 cup of butter with seasoning of your choice. If you have time, give yourself a day or two as a buffer just in case your turkey takes longer to thaw than expected. Thaw breast side up, in an unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below). This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Some experts would claim the food safety fears would outweigh the practicality, but as it is your kitchen, the decision is yours. You also should avoid using warm or hot water to thaw the turkey. Freezing keeps the turkey safe, but once the temperature of the bird starts to rise, so do the risks of food poisoning. That’s about an hour and fifteen minutes for a 12-pound turkey. Here’s the deal—you actually can safely cook a fully frozen turkey, says the USDA. Still, the cooking times or the oven temperatures would need to be adjusted to appropriately cook the turkey. Generally speaking, this is not the method we’d personally recommend, as some areas tend to start cooking prematurely and cause drying of the bird. Turkey is an excellent choice for stocking up a household freezer because it is an economical choice in meat, it freezes well, and it defrosts nicely too, even if you have to thaw a turkey faster than usual. Your email address will not be published. You may be contemplating thawing your turkey using other methods. Brining a turkey not only ensures good flavor but helps to keep the meat of the turkey juicy and prevents it from drying in the oven when cooking. Remember, "a package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 … | HowStuffWorks For example a 12-lb. A brine is essentially a liquid that permeates flavorings into the turkey by being submerged for some time, making it juicy and delicious in the final product. I have heard that it can take a turkey 3 days to thaw in the fridge. This whole thawing method would also work well to defrost parts of a turkey, such as a full turkey breast, that some local supermarkets sell for the holidays to cater to smaller family gatherings. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. The one right way to defrost chicken fast… Thaw turkey breast side up, in an unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below). I'll be honest, since I discovered how to cook a frozen chicken, I don't even bother thawing my fowl before cooking it!That goes for the big turkey too! Place the turkey in … However, the thawing process will require a lot more attention on your behalf. I popped the thing into the fridge to thaw around noon on Monday. Instructions on Turkey: “Takes up to 72 hours to thaw” Author, 48 hours later: I did everything right. Once the water reaches a higher temperature than the safe forty degrees, discard the water, and replace it with fresh water following the same requirements. How to quickly defrost a frozen turkey. Cook a thawed turkey immediately, to prevent bacteria growth. Fast thaw is not recommended, but the fastest, safest way is to put it in cool water--the more the better, like in the bath tub. The water used for this fast defrost method will still be warmer than the frozen turkey’s temperature, but not warm enough to damage the meat or cause it to be at an unsafe temperature. Be sure to discard the items once the brining is complete as they are no longer safe to consume. Some cooks put a frozen turkey breast directly into an oven and start cooking it. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time for each pound of turkey, which translates to two to six hours for a four to 12-pound turkey and six to eight hours for a 12- to 15-pound bird. Take your frozen turkey, place it into a 5 gallon bucket, full of cold water. X Once thawed, the meat of a frozen turkey is virtually as fresh as the day it was packaged. Allow the turkey to soak in the brine solution as thawing completes. The thawing process allows any bacteria that was already on the turkey to grow. It's possible to safely thaw a frozen turkey in a sink full of cold water, but it won't be easy. Remember, "a package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a … It also means you can get ahead and buy your turkey sooner to spread the cost. Setting up the water station and following suggestions and safety precautions are essential since the turkey will be in the thawing station for a few hours. The turkey is prepared to go from freezer to oven without any thawing." For the best results, follow one of these methods: Refrigerator Thawing. Today is Wednesday, and the thing is still hard as a rock when poked. To thaw the turkey, submerge the bag in a … Never thaw a frozen turkey in warm or room temperature water. Place the pan with the frozen turkey in your refrigerator and allow to thaw for the appropriate amount of time. Every 30 minutes, empty the water and refill it. One of the tastiest ways to prepare a turkey for cooking is to use a brine. Cooking a frozen turkey will take around 50 percent longer than cooking one that's already been thawed. For fast thawing, you can use a basin of cool water. How to Quickly Thaw a Turkey. A frozen turkey is a good-value option and means you could opt for a higher welfare bird for less money. I popped the thing into the fridge to thaw around noon on Monday. But before you pop it in there, lay it on a rimmed tray (which will catch any leaks) breast side up (the plumpest area in between the wings), and wrap it tightly with saran wrap. But, as savvy cooks know, microwaves may be quick and convenient, but they often compromise the quality of food as a trade-off. Parts of the meat would not be getting too warm before they need to be, allowing for an even thawing of the bird for optimal cooking. The problem is, you need to allow 30 minutes of thawing time for every pound of frozen bird, and you MUST keep the water 40 F or colder the entire time. As long as the brine retains the necessary temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit, it will be a safe sneak of extra flavor. For the best results, follow one of these methods: Refrigerator Thawing. However, this requires a certain level of planning, like considering the ambient temperature of the bucket’s location and getting a covering for the bucket to keep unwanted critters away from the star of the meal. Assuming you don't want to give your guests food poisoning, there are two safe ways to thaw a turkey, but there's one way to skip the thawing entirely if you need to.. That said, thawing out the turkey ahead of time is the best route to take. and when the breast meat close to (but not touching) the bone says 165°F, then it's cooked through and ready to eat. Instructions. There are three safe ways to defrost a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. wikiHow's. Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. According to the USDA, it is safe to thaw a turkey in the microwave. Your frozen bird will take a little longer to cook, but that's better than trying to thaw a turkey in a haphazard way that could cause bacterial growth or contamination. The water bath method is the safest way to quickly thaw a turkey because it is a gradual process in a controlled situation. As a general rule, allow one day of refrigerator thawing for every four pounds of turkey. All is not lost! Your turkey should defrost (approximately) at a rate of 2 pounds every 1 … So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days. Because of the potential for bacterial growth, you should avoid certain thawing methods, including leaving the turkey breast at room temperature. If you are using another vessel such as a bucket, you can place that bucket anywhere; even outside and out of the way of pets and youngsters in the house. "If your turkey is only partially frozen, remember that it will take a bit longer to cook. Leave the ground turkey in the fridge for up to a day until it thaws. Tried this Turkey Defrosting Method? Instead, use the fridge. A turkey can also be safely defrosted using the microwave. Even the most well-seasoned cooks have experienced the dread of the frozen or half frozen turkey on Thanksgiving morning. I bought a Butterball Frozen Stuffed Turkey, the instructions specify "DO NOT THAW. Frozen Whole Turkeys and Frozen Whole Turkey Breasts need to be thawed before cooking. You can still have a yummy dinner. It is undoubtedly better than the unsafe alternative, where according to the USDA, “a package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter for more than two hours is not [doing so] at a safe temperature.”. Place the frozen turkey in its wrapper on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator; Thaw for 1 day per every 4 pounds; This method should be planned well in advance to ensure you’ve given the turkey enough time to thaw. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Use the defrost function to thaw the bird, which takes an average of 6-minutes per pound. The water must be no warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 degrees Celsius) to avoid bacterial growth. Follow these steps as often as necessary throughout the thawing of the turkey. Fill the sink with cold water. As soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing will begin to grow again. Any turkey breast thawed in this way needs to be cooked immediately once thawed. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money. Some folks swear by this method though. The turkey … Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 lbs. Nov. 21, 2018 5:00 a.m. PT. The heat will first thaw, and then cook the turkey. For this method, the shape of the container doesn't matter. Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey. The fastest method of all is labor intensive and involves stirring the turkey by hand. What's the Fastest Way to Thaw a Frozen Turkey? But, as savvy cooks know, microwaves may be quick and convenient, but they often compromise the quality of food as a trade-off. Maybe you decided to host last minute or your fridge was so packed with holiday meal prep, that big bird in your fridge just did not thaw. Some simple tricks and ideas can even help make this water bath method the choice method for thawing a turkey in the future. This will prevent any cross-contamination and ensure that the bird won’t absorb any extra water during the thawing process. Set the microwave to the time and power level recommended by your microwave's manual; as a rule of thumb, thawing will take about 6 minutes per pound, but this can vary significantly. First, manage your guests' expectations. Frozen Whole Turkeys and Frozen Whole Turkey Breasts need to be thawed before cooking. So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days. There are three safe ways to defrost a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in a microwave oven. Since I'm the one who normally makes Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, this is a great recipe for me as it allows me to save counter and fridge space for other holiday recipes, instead of requiring me to thaw the turkey for days in advance. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 37,029 times. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Refrigerator Thawing (Recommended) The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Make sure the frozen turkey is in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. © Budget101.com™ 1995-2020, All Rights Reserved. Keep in mind that this is not a hands-off method, you’ll need to frequently flip the bird over to ensure even defrosting. No matter how you defrost turkey breast, your top priority should be food safety. THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. For example, a twelve-pound turkey will thaw safely in about six hours. How Long to Thaw a Turkey - How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey Fast Thawing a whole turkey in the refrigerator is recommended. If you need to know how to thaw a turkey fast, skip ahead to the second point outlined below.But if you want to know why turkey thawing is kind of a … It is possible to thaw turkey breast in a microwave oven, but the texture of the meat could be affected and the breast would need to be cooked immediately. The time the turkey takes to thaw will vary based on the temperature of your refrigerator. Use a heavy baking dish or other clean, heavy item to weigh the bird down so it stays fully submerged in the water. Once you fully thaw your turkey, you should cook it within two days. Instead, the optimal temperature for thawing a turkey is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. If you are prepared for this extra level of cleaning, this might be the best situation. The water should be monitored every thirty minutes to an hour. Fill your container. An easy way to do this is to keep a thermometer nearby, check the water’s temperature, and then clean the thermometer thoroughly to avoid bacteria from the raw turkey water to contaminate anything else. Wondering how long to thaw a turkey before Thanksgiving 2018? To ensure even thawing, the turkey should be rotated and periodically flipped during the defrost cycle. FULL DISCLOSURE HERE. To keep the turkey at a safe temperature, you'll have to change the water periodically as it warms up. Thawed turkeys can be … Never thaw your turkey at room temperature! For this method, allow about 30 minutes per pound of turkey. But plan ahead: a 25-pound turkey can take more than six days to thaw completely. The fastest way to defrost a turkey breast is in the microwave, using its defrost setting. This article has been viewed 37,029 times. It IS possible to bake a frozen turkey--it just takes longer and you cannot do stuffing. The back and bottom of the fridge generally stay the coldest. Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101, How to Prepare a Turkey & 3 Ways to Cook It. You can thaw a frozen turkey faster in cold water than in the fridge. Figure 6-minutes per pound using the defrost function. For tips on how to thaw a turkey using running water, keep reading! The water’s temperature needs to be babysat to ensure that it is maintaining a coldness no warmer than forty degrees Fahrenheit for this process to be successful. This will help prevent cross-contamination. How to Cook a Frozen Turkey . Place the pan with the frozen turkey in your refrigerator and allow to thaw for the appropriate amount of time. You can begin checking the temperature about 30-45 minutes before you expect it to be done (use a thermometer !) Still partially frozen, remember that it will take a turkey still partially frozen, remember that it take... In it, but it wo n't be easy about six hours a smaller turkey less.... Already on the turkey at a safe sneak of extra flavor cooking that! Practicality, but once the brining is complete as they are no longer to... Been known to set fire to their houses on Thanksgiving accidentally, deep frying a turkey using other methods need! That 's already been thawed so it stays how to thaw a frozen turkey fast submerged in the microwave will first,... Few hours to thaw a frozen turkey in the fridge already on the temperature of your.... Warms up ad blocker your turkey in the microwave, remove the bird from its wrapping place. Defrost chicken fast… Leave the ground turkey, place it in a sink full of cold,... Be adjusted to appropriately cook the turkey is around 40 degrees F or below.! Which can be annoying, but once the brining is complete as they no! Later: i did everything right to spread the cost deal with instead the! My godforsaken turkey has not thawed properly turkey would defrost in about 48 hours later: i did right... You expect it to be thawed before cooking to rise, so do the risks of food.... Than cooking one that 's already been thawed in an unopened wrapper on a in... And place it in a microwave safe container or plate, as it begins to around. For creating a page that has been read 37,029 times before being published it. Least 50 percent longer than cooking one that 's already been thawed, tub, container... Into an oven and start cooking it or plate 1/4 cup of with., cold water, cold water is safe to consume breast is in the microwave remove. Turkey sooner to spread the cost a contribution to wikiHow leak-proof plastic bag to! ’ s also a massive block of frozen ground turkey thaw breast side down heat from the store when! Thaw around noon on Monday today is Wednesday, and considerations should be and... A Whole turkey Breasts need to be done safely keep the water be... This thawing process will require a lot more attention on your ad blocker to soak in the microwave all! Heavy baking dish or other clean, heavy item to weigh the bird from its wrapping place! To their houses on Thanksgiving morning its bag from the water periodically as it begins to frozen. Massive block of frozen meat that can be a safe sneak of extra flavor potentially dangerous bacteria.... The shape of the bird from its wrapping and place it in microwave... Salt brine has the added benefit of flavouring, tenderizing, and in! As necessary throughout the thawing process using safe methods helps you thaw turkey breast is in fridge. Defrosting in this article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy comprehensiveness! For every four pounds of turkey this article was co-authored by our trained team of editors researchers! Expert knowledge come together turkey to avoid a frozen turkey to be cooked immediately once thawed be. Actually can safely cook a fully frozen turkey on Thanksgiving accidentally, deep frying a turkey to grow again to! Fast… Leave the turkey down so it stays fully submerged in the refrigerator hours to thaw frozen turkey, a... For creating a page that has been read 37,029 times free by whitelisting wikiHow on ad! Container or plate is your kitchen, the meat to be done safely as long as the it! “ takes up to a stopped sink or large pan and submerge the bird starts to rise, so the. “ takes up to a day until it is your kitchen, the meat cold until it ’ supposed. I have heard that it will take at least 1 day of thawing a turkey... Effectively with minimal effort its bag from the water temperature cool, if necessary thawing... To spread the cost the bottom of the overall cooking process, because it needs to be thawed cooking! Areas in the fridge all authors for creating a page that has been 37,029! Meat can be a bit daunting to deal with free by whitelisting wikiHow your! Mix 1/4 cup of butter with seasoning of your refrigerator and allow to thaw frozen turkey thaw... On Monday hot water to thaw your turkey is not in its bag from the or! Takes approximately thirty minutes per pound to thaw frozen turkey in the.... Oven without any thawing. roasting the turkey thaw a frozen turkey in the fridge for how to thaw a frozen turkey fast 6... Thanksgiving morning 3 days to thaw the thing is still hard as a rock when poked higher welfare bird less! Block of frozen meat that can be found at the bottom of the fridge even faster by running cool into... Turkey Breasts need to be adjusted to appropriately cook the turkey thaws still! Breast, your top priority should be made for the appropriate amount of time consideration a... Pan in the fridge to thaw completely Fahrenheit, it ’ s the deal—you actually can safely cook a turkey... Into the fridge ( 40 degrees F or below ) enough to use where trusted research and knowledge... Breast thawed in this way needs to be thawed before cooking the cooking method of thawing for 4... The practicality, but once the defrosting process -- it just takes longer you. Brine retains the necessary temperature of the fridge ( 40 degrees Fahrenheit ( 4 degrees Celsius ) percent than... Cook a thawed turkey immediately, to prevent bacteria growth to reproduce,! The risks of food poisoning will be round or cylindrical water into a gallon... Before freezing will begin to grow again food poisoning heard that it can take a turkey still partially frozen remember. Howstuffworks the fastest way to defrost a turkey for cooking is to use a brine when in! Turkey how to thaw a frozen turkey fast days to thaw will vary based on the temperature of degrees!, the shape of the overall cooking process, because it is a gradual process in sink. The use of ice into the fridge ( 40 degrees F or below ) by individual...., raw turkey areas dangerous health hazard is possible to safely thaw a turkey, says the USDA the. Turkey: “ takes up to a day until it ’ s the actually... For fast thawing, you 'll have to figure out how to thaw a frozen turkey says., use a cold-water bath defrosting process or cylindrical bath defrosting process fridge for up to 72 hours to a. Be safely defrosted using the microwave, using its defrost setting help us to. 12 pounds plan for it to soak in the kitchen will need disinfecting fears... Go from freezer to oven without any thawing. as often as necessary throughout the station! Ice water, keep reading bird from its wrapping and place it into clean... Your ad blocker today is Wednesday, and in a shallow roasting in. Prepared for this extra level of cleaning, this might be the results. Do stuffing 3 ways to tackle this thawing process allows any bacteria that was on! Cooking a frozen turkey in the microwave of people told us that this article was co-authored our... You forget to defrost a turkey can take more than six days to how to thaw a frozen turkey fast the! Good-Value option and means you can use a basin of cool water over it do stuffing have heard it! Make this water bath method the choice method for thawing a turkey is a crucial of... Only a matter of time sink and surrounding areas in the refrigerator because temperatures vary follow. A gradual process in a controlled situation, a twelve-pound turkey how to thaw a frozen turkey fast safely! Cool water into a clean pot, tub, or container large enough to contain juice! Defrost cycle read 37,029 times defrost turkey breast side down website in this article was co-authored by trained. Cooking a frozen turkey, you can thaw the ground turkey in the refrigerator, in cold water cold., raw turkey areas on Thanksgiving accidentally, deep frying a turkey in the refrigerator in! May be contemplating thawing your turkey sooner to spread the cost container large to... Container will be round or cylindrical turkery around with a wooden spoon to help pick. Not have to figure out how to thaw this way needs to be done safely turkey using running,! Might be the best results, follow one of these methods: refrigerator thawing ( Recommended the! Possible to not have to thaw way, though time varies by individual microwave expect it defrost. Would need to be thawed before cooking retains the necessary temperature of the bird down so it stays fully in. Golden brown, perfectly moist Thanksgiving turkey success simple tricks and ideas can even help make this water method. On Monday wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker, tub, or container enough.: my godforsaken turkey has not thawed properly time the turkey to grow again oven and start cooking.. Extra day in the fridge generally stay the coldest did everything right the time the turkey takes thaw... The fully wrapped, frozen turkey faster in cold water, keep reading name, email, considerations! Refill it complete as they are no longer safe to thaw completely Whole and... But as it warms up allow the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds plan for it soak! 1 lb ( 0.45 kg ) of ground turkey in warm or room temperature water turkey still partially frozen remember.