How long it takes: Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 15-pound bird will take about 3 days to thaw completely.Jun 22, 2021
Here’s the calculation: plan on 24 hours of fridge thawing for every 5 pounds of frozen turkey (for example: budget 4 full days of thawing in the fridge for a 20-pound turkey). Keep the turkey wrapped, and occasionally check to see if the baking sheet or roasting pan needs to be drained.
When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds, plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days.
If you’re defrosting the turkey in the fridge, you can safely keep it refrigerated for an additional one or two days after it’s fully thawed, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thaw It in the Refrigerator
Thawing in the refrigerator is the ONLY recommended way to defrost a frozen turkey. For it to work, however, you’ll need plenty of time: 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. A large turkey, say, 15 to 20 pounds, will need to spend 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
For starters, proper thaw time is helpful. The website indicates you can thaw turkey in a refrigerator set to 40 °F or below for about 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds, so if your bird is 20 pounds or more, you should start thawing in the fridge November 22.
“The skin or surface of spoiled turkey meat is usually slimy, and the meat itself smells like rotten eggs or sulfur. These characteristics are due to microbial spoilage.” Spoilage might be expected if a turkey has been left in the refrigerator for a week or longer or left to thaw in the garage for a few hours.
The simplest way to figure out turkey roasting times is to calculate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an unstuffed turkey (that’s about 3 hours for a 12- to 14-lb. turkey), or 15 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.
The short answer is, not really. Of course, you can eat a turkey that has been thawed on a counter, and generations of us have grown up eating turkeys that sat out all night, but it’s not what modern food scientists recommend.
According to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, you can keep a turkey stored in the freezer up to two years and it’s still safe to cook. … For the best quality, the USDA recommends using the frozen turkey within the first year of storage.
The issue with keeping a fresh, raw turkey in your refrigerator for more than a couple of days isn’t the pathogens that cause food poisoning, says Ben Chapman, the N.C. State University food-safety extension specialist. The problem is spoiled meat. “You’re going to get off-flavors, off-smells,” he says.
The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. … If your turkey weighs 16 pounds, it will take about four days to thaw. Once thawed, the turkey is safe for another two days, so you can start thawing it six days before thanksgiving (the Friday before Thanksgiving).
Thawing turkey in a sink of cold water is faster than thawing in the refrigerator, but it’s not safe to leave it in the sink to thaw overnight. … Your turkey should be completely covered. Change the water every 30 minutes, turning the bag occasionally.
Thawing Frozen Turkey Breast in the Refrigerator
A 6 or 7-pound turkey breast will take about 1 1/2 days (36 hours) to thaw completely.
The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. So our 16-pound turkey was estimated to cook in about 3 1/2 hours. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty (un-stuffed) cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking.
According to the USDA, for an unstuffed turkey, you should allow 2 3/4 to 3 hours for an 8- to 12-pound turkey; 3 to 3 3/4 hours for a 12- to 14-pounder; 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours for a 14- to 18-pounder; 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours for an 18- to 20-pounder and 4 1/2 to 5 hours for an 20- to 24-pounder.
Wash Hands and Surfaces; not the Turkey
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
Food safety experts say raw turkeys shouldn’t be rinsed, since that can spread harmful bacteria. Cooking should kill any germs. But bacteria can still spread in other ways, so washing and sanitizing hands and surfaces is still important.
Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.
Add water to the roasting pan to keep the turkey from drying out. Grandma always added water to the bottom of the roasting pan, at the start of the cooking. This keeps the bird from drying out.
To achieve that balance, the ideal is to let the bird spend time both covered and uncovered: We recommend covering your bird for most of the cooking time to prevent it from drying out, then removing the cover for the last 30 minutes or so to allow the skin to crisp.
The Best Method: How to Defrost a Turkey in the Fridge
The best way to thaw a turkey is to place it in the refrigerator (set to 37°F [3°C]) on a sheet pan with the breast side up. Your turkey will thaw gently and evenly.
According to the Department of Agriculture website, a 4- to 12-pound turkey will take one to three days to defrost completely; a 12- to 16-pound turkey will take three to four days; a 16- to 20-pound turkey four to five days and a 20- to 24-pound turkey five to six days.
Good news: turkey meat is definitely freeze-able. You’ll need to remove the meat from the bones first. Slicing the meat will also help it to defrost evenly. You can eat the turkey with gravy as usual, but leftover turkey is quite versatile: it makes a great filling for casseroles, tacos and sandwiches.
Thawing in the Refrigerator:
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.
How to tell if cooked turkey is bad? The best way is to smell and look at the turkey: signs of bad turkey are a sour smell and a slimy texture to the cooked turkey; discard any turkey with an off smell or appearance, do not taste the turkey first.
Answer: It is safe to eat a turkey that has been kept in the freezer for a year – or even for several years. As the U.S. Department of Agriculture points out, foods that are kept constantly frozen at 0°F or lower will keep safe indefinitely.
The sell-by date is seven days after the bird was processed. The turkey will be good for up to two days in the fridge after this date, but you’ll need to cook or freeze it by then so it won’t spoil.
The fastest way to thaw a turkey
By submerging it in ice water, even a 24-pound bird can be defrosted in just 12 hours (Thermoworks says to count on about 8 hours for a 15-pounder).
Thaw in Refrigerator (not at room temperature).
Place unopened roast on a tray in refrigerator for 1½ to 2 days, or until thawed. To thaw faster, place unopened roast in cold tap water for 3 to 5 hours. Change water every 30 minutes to keep turkey cold.
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