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Thaw it Properly!

There are 3 ways to safely thaw a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven.
  • Refrigerator Thawing: You must plan ahead if you choose to thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. You should allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.
(Whole Turkey)
8-12 pounds 1-2 days
12-16 pounds 2-3 days
16-20 pounds 3-4 days
20-24 pounds 4-5 days

When thawing in the refrigerator place the item in a container on the bottom shelf to prevent it from dripping onto other foods.

Foods thawed in the refrigerator may be safely refrozen without cooking.

  • Cold Water Thawing: You should allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.
    • Be sure turkey is in leak-proof packaging
    • Submerge turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed.
8-12 pounds 4-6 hours
12-16 pounds 6-8 hours
16-20 pounds 8-10 hours
20-24 pounds 10-12 hours

Turkeys thawed in water should be cooked immediately

  • Microwave Oven Thawing: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You should cook the turkey immediately after the thawing process.
  • Turkeys may be cooked from a frozen state if you increase cooking times by 50%.


Download free food safety brochures here
Home Cooking Tips
Did You Know?
The average used kitchen sponge has 7.2 billion bacteria.
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