How to thaw your Thanksgiving Turkey

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you’re probably in charge of the turkey. You may have chosen to skip the cooking and are buying a cooked turkey from a nearby restaurant. Maybe you went with a turkey that’s still fresh. You might have even gone with a Tofurkey. But the reality is that many Americans will be eating turkey on Thursday that is frozen when they buy it at the store.

Don’t let a frozen turkey get in the way of a wonderful day with family. Be sure to plan ahead because the largest turkeys can take much of a week to defrost in the refrigerator. This infographic by McMinn Law Firm outlines some of the basic food safety precautions that will keep your family from experiencing food poisoning this Thanksgiving.

There are three methods you can use to defrost a frozen turkey.

  1. Refrigerator defrost method: The best method is to let the turkey defrost in the refrigerator. This method is the safest for the whole family. If your turkey is 8–12 lbs, it will take an average of 2–3 days to thaw. If your turkey is 12–16 lbs, it may take 3–4 days to thaw. And for the biggest turkeys? Allow at least 4 days for the turkey to defrost.
  2. Cold water bath method: If your limited on time, you might have to go with the cold water method of thawing a frozen turkey. If you choose to go this route, remember to never use warm or hot water. It can cause the turkey to thaw unevenly and raw meat may have the potential to reach an unsafe sitting temperature. (EEK!!) Submerge the entire turkey in cold water and change out the water every 25 to 30 minutes. A 10 lb turkey will take 6–8 hours to thaw, much faster than the defrost method.
  3. Microwave method: This is a practice you’re probably already familiar with. For many on thanksgiving it may be impossible to thaw the turkey using the microwave because of size. If it does fit — just remember to set the microwave to low power.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!