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How to Unfreeze Your Frozen Bird

Stuffed Turkey
Getty Images, photo by Tim Boyle

Most of us buy a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving which means it will have to be thawed before it’s cooked. Thawing a turkey can be tricky but there a few easy guidelines to follow and you should be ready to cook on turkey day. The UDSA warns that turkeys have to be kept at a safe temperature during thawing and there are three ways to do that. Thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.  Whatever way you want to do it, make sure as soon as you get home from buying your turkey you put in the refrigerator because within two hours of being left out bacteria can start growing.

To thaw in the fridge it takes 24 hours for every 4 or 5 pounds of turkey. If you bought a 16 to 20 pound bird it’ll take 4 to 5 days to thaw.

The water way of thawing requires about 30 minutes per pound allowing a 16 to 20 pound frozen turkey to thaw in about 8 to 10 hours.

If thawing by water, make sure you change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is done. When using the microwave, follow the directions on thawing meat and plan on cooking it immediately because the food will become warm and bacteria may start to grow.


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