Thawing A Turkey
When defrosting a turkey it is critical to follow strict guidelines so as to not poison yourself and your guests with some bacteria borne illness. Personally, I don’t like the microwave method because the bird usually starts to cook in the process. So, I try to follow one of two procedures, the Refrigerator Method (the slow, and best way) or the Cold Water Method (the quick way).
For this procedure it is important to plan ahead. You need to allow about 24 hours for every 5 pounds in a fridge set to 40 °F. Here are the approximate times for a whole Turkey:
- 8 to 12 pounds -> 1 to 2 days
- 12 to 16 pounds -> 2 to 3 days
- 16 to 20 pounds -> 3 to 4 days
- 20 to 24 pounds -> 4 to 5 days
Cold Water Method
Make sure the turkey is in leak-proof packaging … they absorb water like crazy. Cover the turkey completely in cold water. Be sure to change the water every so often and allow about 30 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey this way.
- 8 to 12 pounds -> 4 to 6 hours
- 12 to 16 pounds -> 6 to 8 hours
- 16 to 20 pounds -> 8 to 10 hours
- 20 to 24 pounds -> 10 to 12 hours
Either brine or cook your turkey immediately upon completing one of the above methods.