Turkey Thawing Tips - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Turkey Thawing Tips

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Maybe you were driving home last night with your Thanksgiving turkey tucked safely in the car wondering when to start thawing the bird.  One day?  Two days?  “How big is it again?”  are questions we’ve all asked before. 

Now, foodsafety.gov has some answers.  The website has the following advice for safely defrosting frozen turkeys to make sure they’re perfect for your feast.

For birds weighing four to 12 pounds, the recommendation is thawing it for one to three days in the refrigerator before cooking. 

For turkeys weighing 12 to 16 pounds, it’s three to four days.  For larger birds (16 to 20 pounds) the recommendation is four to five days and if you’ve got a really big bird put it in the fridge today as turkeys weighing 20 to 24 pounds need 5 to 6 days to thaw.   

Thawing turkeys on a back porch, car trunk or anywhere where temperatures can’t be monitored isn’t recommended.   

Here’s the chart:

Refrigerator Thaw:

4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days

12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days

16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days

20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days

If you miss the “fridge deadline” the Department of Agriculture says you can use the “cool water technique” to speed things up.  Allow about 30 minutes per pound and make sure the water stays cool.   

Cool Water Thaw:

4 to 12 pounds — 2 to 6 hours

12 to 16 pounds — 6 to 8 hours

16 to 20 pounds — 8 to 10 hours

20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours

If you want to microwave your bird follow the manufacturer’s instructions when defrosting the turkey and plan to cook it immediately since some parts of the bird may begin to cook during microwaving. 

A partially frozen turkey takes longer to cook and dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metal.   The use of foil can actually slow the cooking time but the use of a roasting pan’s lid actually speeds up the time.  If a turkey or its pan is just too large for the oven it can block heat circulation.

For more tips on cooking and the safe handling of turkey click here 

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