Part of Thanksgiving

How to Thaw a Turkey

If you only cook a turkey once a year, the thawing struggle can be real.

You remembered to make the pie crust. You asked your grandma to write down her recipe for gravy. The bread cubes have been left out to dry for the perfect stuffing. The green beans are trimmed. You are ready to cook! But, your turkey is a big block of ice. What to do?!
Take a deep breath. We’re here to show you how to defrost a turkey.

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1 Check the Weight

There are a few ways you can proceed with your turkey thawing, but how long to defrost a turkey depends on the weight of the turkey. So, check the bird's wrapping to find the weight.

2 Make a Plan

Now you need to look at two things to form a plan to thaw: the weight and the amount of time you have before you need to start cooking. Your defrosted turkey is going to require 20 minutes per pound to cook. Time for math.
Weight in pounds X 20 mins = how long you need to cook
If you have planned ahead and are just factoring in thaw time, you get a gold star! You can thaw your turkey in the wrapper in a pan in the refrigerator over the next few days. You will need about 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey.
If you forgot to plan ahead it’s still not time to panic. We are going to borrow a tool from the time we talked about How to Thaw Meat.

3 Water

Find a vessel large enough to contain your bird. My turkey is only about 10 pounds, so I am able to use a large stock pot, but you could use your sink, a large cooler, or even your bathtub. Just as long as whatever you are using is watertight and allows you to completely submerge the turkey. Then cover your turkey with water.

Change the water every 30 minutes! You will need approximately 30 minutes per pound.
Now it’s time to learn How to COOK a Turkey!

About Heather T.

Heather, who runs, has been making messes in the kitchen since she was a little kid when her mom handed her a cook book and told her, “If you can read, you can cook.” Today she serves up fresh, healthy eats, easy weeknight meals and decadent sweet treats.