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.
Thaw time in the fridge requires about 24 hours for every 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at about 40 degrees F (5 degrees C). Thaw time in cold water requires about 30 minutes per pound in cold water, refreshed every 30 minutes.
The water should be changed every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. … Changing of the water is done to prevent possible bacteria growth. Once the turkey is defrosted in water, it must be cooked immediately. Cold water thawing, while faster, requires much more preparation than refrigerator thawing.
You can defrost your frozen turkey much faster in cold water. … To thaw the turkey, submerge the bag in cold tap water — never use warm or hot water, as that can cause the outer layer of the food to heat up to a temperature where harmful bacteria begins to multiply.
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).
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.
It is safe to cook turkey thawed in cold water then put back in the fridge.
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.
You shouldn’t. This might be surprising since many of us have defrosted frozen chicken on the counter at least once, but the answer is a hard “no” when it comes to a full turkey. And in terms of the chicken, you’re really not supposed to thaw it out on the counter anyway.
Give your turkey a bath
Place it in a sterilized tub, large sink or bathtub. Cover it completely with cold water. Let the turkey sit until it defrosts. Be sure to refill the sink or tub with cold water every 30 minutes to prevent bacteria growth, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
When the turkey has partially defrosted, you can unwrap it and remove the giblet bag from the cavity. … According to the USDA, a 4- to 12-pound turkey will take two to six hours to defrost; a 12- to 16-pound turkey six to eight hours; a 16- to 20-pound turkey eight to 10 hours and a 20- to 24-pound turkey 10 to 12 hours.
At room temperature, the turkey will thaw on the outside and rise well above the “danger zone” of 40°F, FoodSafety.gov explains. Bacteria in the turkey can multiply quickly when it’s at room temperature for more than two hours. You may serve up salmonella poisoning along with your famous candied yams. Not so yum!
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.
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.
Water can store a large amount of heat energy (known as heat capacity). Much more than air can. So the reason that a bowl of cold water thaws meat much faster, is that it provides much more heat energy for the meat to absorb. Water is much more effective than air at conducting heat.
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.
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.
Here’s the main rule of thumb for thawing your turkey: Allow at least 24 hours of thawing for every 5 pounds of turkey. So for a 12-pound turkey that would imply at least three days of thawing, ideally with a bonus day thrown in.
Determining Thaw by Touch and Feel
Unwrapping the turkey, removing the neck and giblets, and having a feel inside the turkey’s cavity is the best way to make sure your turkey is thawed completely.
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.
Brining a turkey is always a good option as it adds moisture and flavour to both fresh and frozen turkeys. If using a frozen turkey then you do need to check that it it is not a pre-basted bird or one that has been pre-seasoned, as neither of these are suitable for brining.
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.
If There’s No Time to Thaw
If you’re up against the clock and have no time left for even the “quick” cold-water thaw, then just cook the turkey as it is. It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey — you just need to allow some extra cooking time.
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.
Thawing in cold water, 40 degrees or below, is safe and much faster — water transfers heat far more efficiently than air — but it can still take hours.
Well, hot water would thaw the meat, but it would also start to cook it and it could cause parts of the meat to get above 40 degrees. That’s the temperature where microbes can start to grow. … Heat is transferred faster through water than air, so it goes faster than on the counter.
To thaw beef in cold water, do not remove packaging. Be sure the package is airtight or put it into a leakproof bag. Submerge the beef in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes so that it continues to thaw. Small packages of beef may thaw in an hour or less; a 3- to 4-pound roast may take 2 to 3 hours.
The best way to safely and quickly defrost chicken, he says, is in a cold water bath. In the kitchen sink, submerge tightly sealed frozen chicken in a bowl of cold water. … “Water is about four times faster,” he says. Though you may be tempted, don’t use hot water to speed up the process even further.
“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.
Once you’ve carefully dried off the skin, the next step you can take to guarantee perfectly crispy turkey skin is to rub it with a fat, like butter or oil. Oil will yield a crispier skin than butter because butter is at least 20 percent water, while oil contains no water.
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.
The best way to tell if turkey is still good is smell and texture. As StillTasty.com points out, if the turkey has a sour odor and/or a slimy texture, it’s probably not good anymore — no matter what the date on the package says.
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