When it comes to making turkey for holiday dinners the number one challenge is making sure to allow enough time for anything you want to accomplish. Among the most time consuming tasks is thawing a frozen turkey. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure the food is safe. Food safety must be a top priority when preparing to serve a large group. Meat is very susceptible to bacterial growth if the temperature is not well managed. Being prepared is also the best way to ensure that you don’t forget about it entirely and wind up with a still-frozen turkey on the big day!
Remove the turkey from the freezer and leave it in its plastic wrapper. Place it in a shallow pan to catch the juices. Calculate roughly 24 hours of thawing for each 4 pounds of the turkey. We’ve included a simple guide:
4-12 pounds = 1-3 days
12-16 pounds = 3-4 days
16-20 pounds = 4-5 days
20-24 pounds = 5-6 days
You can allow an additional 1-2 days in the schedule to store the turkey in the fridge after it thaws.
Cold Water Method:
This requires more work than just letting the turkey sit in the fridge for a few days. Remove it from the freezer and leave it in its plastic wrapper. Place it in a deep pan of water so that it is submerged. You can also use one side of the kitchen sink or a drink cooler. Plan to let it soak for 30 minutes per each pound of turkey. Important: Change the water every half hour until the bird is thawed completely. We’ve included a simple guide:
4-12 pounds = 2-6 hours
12-16 pounds = 6-8 hours
16-20 pounds = 8-10 hours
20-24 pounds = 10-12 hours
With diligent attention to the water changes, your turkey should come out perfectly thawed and you can proceed with cooking!