How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey in time for your Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of people have been asking lately what is the best way to thaw a turkey or how long should I thaw a turkey to be ready to cook. So of course we had to write an article to help everyone out. So this post goes over the time guideline for thawing. How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey: Part 2 post has step by step directions on different thawing methods will be on the blog on Thursday.
Refrigerator Thawing Times
For a Whole Turkey or Turkey Breast:
- 4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days
- 12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days
- 16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days
- 20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but there may be some loss of quality according to USDA website. (( I (Stephanie) personally would not recommend doing this))
Cold Water Thawing Times
- 4 to 12 pounds — 2 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
A turkey thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately. After cooking, meat from the turkey can be refrozen.
After cooking your turkey you can freeze your leftover turkey. Click here to learn how —>How to FREEZE leftover Turkey