Gobble, Gobble, turkey day is right around the corner!

19 Nov

OK, you get home with the turkey and still have to figure out how long it will take for this huge, (seems like 400 pound) bird to thaw so you can have the perfect dinner. Here is the information you will want to save so years to come, the perfect turkey will be placed on the table. The key also is to buy your turkey ahead of time so you have enough time to thaw it.  celebration-315079__180

Safety ways to thaw turkey

The USDA recommends three ways to defrost turkeys; in the refrigerator, in cold water and in the microwave. Never defrost a turkey on the counter!!!

Refrigerator thawing

For every 5 pounds of turkey allow approximately 24 hours of thawing time in a refrigerator set at 40F. After thawing, keep turkey refrigerated for only 1-2 days. Use the following chart:

 Size of turkey                           Thawing time in the refrigerator

8 to 12 pounds                                     1 to 2 days

12 to 16 pounds                                   2 to 3 days

16 to 20 pounds                                  3 to 4 days

20 to 24 pounds                                  4 to 5 days

Cold water thawing

If you forget to thaw the turkey or don’t have room in the refrigerator for thawing, don’t panic. You can submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water in its airtight packaging (follow manufacturer’s directions) or in a leak-proof bag. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Change the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. The following times are suggested for thawing in water:

 Size of turkey                         Hours to defrost

8 to 12 pounds                              4 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

Turkeys thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately.

Microwave thawing

Read and follow the oven manufacturer’s instructions. Check the instructions for the size turkey that will fit in your oven, the minutes per pound, and the power level to use for thawing. Turkey thawed by this method should be cooked immediately.

For more information about thawing, cooking, and storing your turkey leftovers please visit


or contact your local extension office for more information.

Happy and safe Thanksgiving!!


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