posted by Marianne Gravely, Food Safety education and learning Staff, Food Safety and also Inspection Service, in initiatives Health and Safety

While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. As shortly as it starts to thaw, bacteria the may have actually been present before freezing will start to grow again. There space three safe means to defrost a turkey: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and also in a microwave oven.

You are watching: How to thaw a turkey in cold water

3 ways to Thaw a Turkey

Refrigerator Thawing (Recommended)

The recommends thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. This is the safest technique because the turkey will certainly thaw at a consistent, for sure temperature. This technique takes part time, so enable one day because that each 4 - 5 pounds that weight. If her turkey weighs 16 pounds, it will take about four days come thaw. When thawed, the turkey is for sure for another two days, for this reason you deserve to start thawing it 6 days prior to thanksgiving (the Friday prior to Thanksgiving).

The various other two methods (cold water and microwave) need to be done immediately before you start food preparation the turkey, for this reason you’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving morning.

Cold Water Thawing

For the cold water method, leaving the turkey in its initial wrapping and submerge it in a sink (or container) complete of cold water. The is important that the water it is in cold so the the turkey stays at a safe temperature. Friend should change the water every 30 minutes. Empty the end the water and replace it v fresh cold water. Through this method, enable 30 minutes of defrosting time every pound, for this reason a 16 lb turkey will take 8 hrs to thaw utilizing this an approach (so you might need to start about 4 a.m. If you desire to eat in the afternoon!). As soon as the turkey has actually thawed, chef it immediately

Microwave Thawing

Before you commit to thawing your turkey in the microwave, check your owner’s hand-operated for the dimension turkey that will certainly fit in your microwave oven, the minutes every pound and also the power level come use once thawing a turkey. Eliminate all external wrapping and also place the turkey on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that might leak. Use the defrost function based on weight. As a basic rule, allow 6 minutes per pound once thawing a turkey in the microwave. Be certain to rotate it numerous times, and even upper and lower reversal it, during the thawing process.

If the turkey starts to actually chef instead of simply defrost, permit it remainder for 5 minute or so before you resume thawing. Partway through thawing you might wish come cover the tips of the wings and also drumsticks v a little piece of silver paper to shield them indigenous the microwaves and keep them indigenous cooking. When the turkey has actually thawed girlfriend should cook it immediately.

See more: How To Impeach Supreme Court Judge S: An Explainer, Impeachment Trial Of Justice Samuel Chase, 1804

Is it safe to use aluminum silver paper in the microwave? review these safety guidelines!

How not to Thaw a Turkey

In instance you room wondering, below are part thawing approaches that room not recommended:

thawing a turkey ~ above the counter, in the garage or on the back porchthawing a turkey in a brown file grocery bag or plastic rubbish bagusing the dishwasher to thaw a turkey (with or without water)any technique that is not the refrigerator, cold water, or the microwave

How to chef a Frozen Turkey

If her turkey is quiet icy on Thanksgiving morning, don’t panic! that is perfectly for sure to cook a turkey native the frozen state; it will just take much longer to cook. A solidly frozen turkey will take at least 50 percent longer to chef than a s turkey. If your turkey is only partially frozen, remember the it will take a bit longer come cook. Use your food thermometer, and also when your bird steps 165˚F in the innermost component of the thigh, the innermost component of the wing and also the thickest part of the breast, it is ready.