It’s Thanksgiving morning. Even though you’ve already prepared some sides and dessert, your bird is still completely frozen. First of all, calm down. You don’t need to run around like a chicken with your head cut off. The USDA advises allowing 4 to 5 pounds of turkey a full 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator, but sometimes you get caught up in holiday preparations and forget to start on time. We understand this, which is why we’ve discovered a few foolproof techniques to quickly defrost a turkey and preserve the meal—even the morning of.
How NOT to Thaw a Turkey
NOTE: It’s critical to practice food safety when defrosting a turkey, and we can’t stress this enough. To avoid bacterial growth that could result in foodborne illness, the entire turkey must be kept at a safe temperature throughout the thawing process.
Still Frozen? How To Cook A Frozen Turkey
Don’t worry if your turkey is still partially frozen when you wake up on Thanksgiving morning. Cooking a partially frozen turkey is completely safe; it will just take longer. When the thickest part of the breast, the innermost part of the wing, and the innermost part of the thigh all register 165 degrees Fahrenheit on your food thermometer, your bird is prepared.
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How NOT to Thaw a Turkey
In case you were wondering, the following thawing techniques are not advised:
How can I speed up my turkey thawing?
The quickest method for defrosting a turkey is to submerge it in ice water, which can defrost even a 24-pound bird in just 12 hours (Thermoworks recommends allowing about 8 hours for a 15-pounder).
What is the best way to thaw a turkey breast?
The USDA recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. The turkey will thaw at a constant, secure temperature using this method, making it the most secure. Give this process one day for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight because it takes some time. It will take around four days to thaw a 16-pound turkey.
Can you cook a turkey breast from frozen?
Yes, it is completely safe and even USDA-approved to cook a turkey that has been frozen or partially frozen. When thawing and cooking turkeys, we try to get it out of the dangerous range of 40°F and 140°F as quickly as we can.
How long does it take to thaw a turkey breast in cold water?
Turkey-Thawing Times A refrigerator set to about 40 degrees F (5 degrees C) needs to be used to thaw a turkey for about 24 hours per 5 pounds. It takes around 30 minutes per pound of body weight to completely defrost in cold water, refreshed every 30 minutes.