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Thanksgiving Public Service Announcement: How to safely thaw a turkey

Posted at 7:43 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 09:14:53-05

Thanksgiving is a day away and thawing your turkey can be quite the task. Here's an easy guide to prepping your main course for Thanksgiving. 

The recommended way to thaw your turkey is by sitting it in your refrigerator, according to

Refrigerator thawing is the safest method because the turkey thaws at a consistent and safe temperature but it also takes some time. The turkey will need 24 hours in the refrigerator for every 4 to 5 pounds. And once it's completely thawed, the turkey is safe for another two days. 

You can also thaw your turkey in cold water. Just leave the turkey in its original packaging and submerge it in a sink or a bucket full of cold water. Recommendations say to make sure the water is cold so that the turkey stays at a safe temperature. The water has to be changed every 30 minutes. This method will take 30 minutes per pound. A 12-pound turkey would take 6 hours to thaw using the cold water method. Once the turkey has thawed, you must cook it immediately. 

Yes, you can also thaw your turkey in the microwave, but you need to check your owner's manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave. The manual should give you a guide for minutes per pound and power level to use when thawing the turkey in the microwave on the defrost setting. Make sure you take off the wrapping and use a microwave-safe dish. When thawing your turkey in the microwave, make sure you rotate it several times, and even flip it. Thawing should take 6 minutes per pound.

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Butterball's 'Turkey Talk Line' is here to help you cook your turkey this Thanksgiving says to NOT thaw your turkey on the counter, in the garage or on the back porch. Do not use a brown paper bag or a plastic garbage bag. Do not use your dishwasher to thaw a turkey... You would think that would be a given, but it has obviously happened. The only safe ways to thaw your turkey is in the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave. 

What if you waited too long to thaw your turkey? 

It's perfectly safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state, according to The turkey will just take longer to cook. A solidly frozen turkey will take at least 50% longer to cook than a thawed turkey. Your turkey is done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees when placed in the innermost part of the thigh, innermost part of the wing and the thickest part of the breast.