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Readers ask: When to thaw a turkey?

How long does it take a 20 pound turkey to thaw in the refrigerator?

Thaw It in the Refrigerator



A large turkey, say, 15 to 20 pounds, will need to spend 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

When should I take my turkey out of the freezer?

Here is a general rule of thumb on when to move your turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator, according to the USDA:

  1. 4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days.
  2. 12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days.
  3. 16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days.
  4. 20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days.

Is it OK to leave Turkey out to thaw?

Thawing turkey in a sink of cold water is faster than thawing in the refrigerator, but it’s not safe to leave it in the sink to thaw overnight.

How long does a 10 pound turkey need to thaw?

Refrigerator Thawing



Thaw turkey breast side up, in an unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below). Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4 lbs of turkey.

How long can a thawed turkey sit in the refrigerator?

If you have time, give yourself a day or two as a buffer just in case your turkey takes longer to thaw than expected. Thawed turkeys can be kept for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

What if my turkey isn’t fully thawed?

If There’s No Time to Thaw



If you’re up against the clock and have no time left for even the “quick” cold-water thaw, then just cook the turkey as it is. It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey — you just need to allow some extra cooking time.

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Is a turkey frozen for 2 years still good?

According to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line, you can keep a turkey stored in the freezer up to two years and it’s still safe to cook. For the best quality, the USDA recommends using the frozen turkey within the first year of storage.

Can you leave a turkey out all night?

Do not thaw your turkey on the counter.



It will be totally fine chillaxing on the counter overnight. Didn’t Grandma do that? It’s fine. But no, it’s not fine.

Can you put a turkey back in the fridge after thawing?

A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.



Thawing Your Turkey.

Thawing in cold water Time to thaw (allow 30 minutes per pound)
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

Can you thaw turkey at room temperature?

You should never thaw a frozen turkey on the counter at room temperature or in hot water. Under either of those methods, the outer layer of the turkey can sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40°F and 140 °F for far too long to be safe. Can You Cook a Frozen Turkey?

Why is my turkey not thawing in the fridge?

Expert Response. A lasrge 20 pound turkey may take up to a week in the refrigerator to thaw, but perhaps your garage unit is set very low, in which case the turkey is not thawing. Refrigerator Thawing Plan ahead: allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40 °F or below.

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When should you thaw a 12 pound turkey?

The USDA recommends that for every four pounds of turkey, you allot 24 hours for defrosting.



Here’s the official breakdown:

  1. 4 lbs: 1 day to defrost.
  2. 8 lbs: 2 days to defrost.
  3. 12 lbs: 3 days to defrost.
  4. 16 lbs: 4 days to defrost.

How can I defrost my turkey fast?

The fastest way to thaw a turkey



By submerging it in ice water, even a 24-pound bird can be defrosted in just 12 hours (Thermoworks says to count on about 8 hours for a 15-pounder).

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