So, you have a few days before Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve planned your menu, you’ve shopped for groceries and you’ve got your bird, it’s sitting in your freezer waiting to be cooked. But before you cook it, it needs to be defrosted. How long exactly do you thaw your turkey for it to be in perfect shape and for the meat to retain its best qualities?

Method Timing
Thawing in a fridge  24 hours per each 4-5 pounds of weight
Thawing in cold water 30 minutes per each pound of weight
If you have any good advice on how to defrost turkey faster and without any quality loss to the meat,
I’d absolutely love to hear it!

There are several methods of thawing frozen meats, but for something as big as a whole turkey two ways suit best. Defrosting it in a fridge and defrosting it in cold water. This way, the outer parts of turkey don’t get bad before the inner part thaws. That’s why thawing turkey at room temperature is usually a not very good option.

Here are a few useful tips. If you have enough time on your hands, you can start thawing your turkey several days before you cook it in the fridge. The process will be slow, but the turkey won’t loose a lot of moisture and the meat will keep fresh. It may take up to 3 days to thaw a 10 pound turkey and up to 5 days to thaw a 20 pound turkey

If you started reading up your Thanksgiving recipe on the night before you need to cook everything and your turkey is still frozen, you can defrost it in cold water. It will take about 6 hours to defrost a 10-pound turkey and 10 to 12 hours for a bird that weighs 20-22 pounds, so keep your timing in mind.

Want to learn how to thaw a turkey? View Recipe 🍗

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