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Categories: thanksgiving

Nothing tastes better than a fresh turkey. But when it comes to thawing one, there are certainly some right and wrong ways to go about it. Follow these steps to get your turkey from frosty to oven-ready as safely as possible.

Why Thaw Safely?

Knowing the correct way to thaw your turkey will keep you and your guests safe from harmful bacteria and ensure that your feast is remembered for the right reasons. Thawing your turkey on your

kitchen counter, at room temperature, or in a sink of hot water are unsafe defrosting practices that should be avoided at all costs.

Two safe defrosting approaches we recommend using are the cold water and refrigeration methods of thawing.

Cold Water Thawing Method

Thawing with cold water is a safe thawing method that should be completed right before cooking your turkey. To thaw your frozen turkey using the cold-water method:

  1. Keep your turkey in its original wrapping.
  2. Submerge your turkey and wrapping in a sink (or container) of cold water.
  3. Empty the cold water and replace it with new cold water every thirty minutes until the turkey is fully thawed.
  4. Allow 30 minutes to thaw for every 1 pound of turkey.

A 16-pound turkey will take approximately 8 hours to fully thaw. So, you will want to start early (around 4 AM) the morning of your event. This will provide ample time to complete your turkey’s thawing before cooking and carving by dinner time.

Refrigerator Thawing Method

Though not the quickest thawing option, the refrigerator method is considered to be the most effective method of thawing frozen turkey safely. This is considered the safest method because the turkey’s meat has the chance to defrost at a consistent rate and at a safe, cool temperature. Here are some tips to get you going with this method of thawing your turkey:

  1. Keep your turkey in its original wrapping.
  2. Place your frozen turkey on an open tray.
  3. Set your turkey and tray in the lower level of your fridge, breast-side up.
  4. Allow one day to thaw for every 4 pounds of turkey.

Start cooking your turkey within two days of thawing completely, before any harmful bacteria starts to grow.

Speaking of harmful bacteria, don’t forget to scrub down any surfaces or utensils used to defrost your turkey. Washing these clean with soap and water will help you avoid contaminating other food items, yourself and your future guests.