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.
So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds, plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days. If it’s 12 to 16 pounds, make sure it’s placed in the fridge three to four days before the holiday arrives.
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.
To thaw a 15-pound bird, you’ll need about a day of thawing in the fridge for every four to five pounds. In other words, plan on at least three to four days for defrosting. If the turkey is closer to 16 pounds, give the bird at least four days to be safe.
You should never thaw a frozen turkey on the counter at room temperature or in hot water. Under either of those methods, the outer layer of the turkey can sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40°F and 140 °F for far too long to be safe.
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 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.
Yes, cooking a turkey from frozen or partially frozen is totally safe and is even USDA-approved. Whenever we’re thawing and cooking turkeys, our goal is to move it through the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F as quickly as possible.
The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. This is the safest method because the turkey will thaw at a consistent, safe temperature. This method takes some time, so allow one day for each 4 – 5 pounds of weight. If your turkey weighs 16 pounds, it will take about four days to thaw.
|Turkey Weight||How Long to Thaw In the Fridge||How Long to Thaw In Cold Water|
|10 to 18 pounds||2 to 3½ days||5 to 9 hours|
|18 to 22 pounds||3½ to 4½ days||9 to 11 hours|
|22 to 24 pounds||4½ to 5 days||11 to 12 hours|
|24 to 29 pounds||5 to 6 days||12 to 15 hours|
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).
If you’ve got a few hours to spare
Here’s the plan: Submerge your bird breast-side down in cold water (a large pot or the sink should do the trick) and change the water every 30 minutes. Make sure the turkey is totally submerged (use a baking dish to weigh it down if you have to).
If you forgot to thaw the turkey, don’t panic. A faster thawing method is to submerge the frozen bird in cold water. You need to change the water every 30 minutes to be safe. While this method is faster, it still takes about 30 minutes per pound for complete thawing.
It is safe to cook turkey thawed in cold water then put back in the fridge.
Changing of the water is done to prevent possible bacteria growth. Once the turkey is defrosted in water, it must be cooked immediately.
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.
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.
|Turkey Weight||Refrigerator||Cold Water|
|8 lbs||2 days||4 hours|
|12 lbs||3 days||6 hours|
|16 lbs||4 days||8 hours|
|20 lbs||5 days||10 hours|
|Turkey Weight||Thawing Time (Refrigerator)||Thawing Time (Cold Water)|
|Up to 12 lbs||1 to 3 days||2 to 6 hours|
|12 to 16 lbs||3 to 4 days||6 to 8 hours|
|16 to 20 lbs||4 to 5 days||8 to 10 hours|
|20 to 24 lbs||5 to 6 days||10 to 12 hours|
Why does it feel frozen? Fresh turkeys will sometimes feel hard on the outside because they are chilled to 28 degrees for safe shipping. Only the outer part of the turkey should be hard, not the entire turkey. Frozen turkeys are stored at 0 degrees.
If you’ve missed the fridge thawing window, try our favorite quick-thaw method: submerge the turkey (breast-side down with its wrapping still on) in a sink or a cooler full of cold water, changing out the water every half hour. Allow 30 minutes to thaw for each pound of turkey.
Most recipes will tell you to baste your turkey every thirty minutes. But our rule of thumb is actually every forty minutes, and here’s why. You don’t want to open the oven too many times, or else the whole bird will take much long to cook, and that’s a huge inconvenience.
You should get an accurate thermometer to be sure that you roast the turkey just right. Rub oil or butter on it and cook it unstuffed. don`t cover it until it`s cooked about 2/3 done,We cooked at 325 for about 4 hrs.
Because an electric roaster oven is smaller than a conventional oven, it uses heat more efficiently. Roaster ovens takes 30 percent less time and uses 36 percent less energy based on average time and energy savings when using a roaster vs. a conventional oven.
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