How to Thaw a Turkey (Even at the Last Minute)

How To Thaw a Turkey (Even at the Last Minute)

When it comes to thawing turkey, we’ve got your back with these guidelines garnered from Butterball and Cook’s Country:

How to Thaw a Turkey

If you have 3-5 days, follow this guide:

  1. Move the turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator.
  2. Leave it in the wrapping it came in.
  3. For some reason which I don’t know, Butterball says to thaw it breast side up.
  4. To keep it from leaking all over everything else in your fridge, place it in a large baking pan or tray.
  5. Allot a day for every four pounds of turkey. That means a twelve-pounder will take three days, a twenty-pounder will take five days, and, if you’re roasting Big Bird, you should probably start thawing in July.

How to Thaw a Turkey at the Last Minute

If you pulled the major oops and forgot about your turkey until the day before you need your bird (or the day of), follow this guide:

  1. Leave the bird in the wrapping.
  2. Plop the frozen bird in water. Make sure it is completely covered. You can use a cooler, a five-gallon bucket, the sink, or, hey, your bathtub. Changing the water frequently will speed up the process.
  3. This method requires an hour for two pounds, so, again, 12 pounds is 6 hours, 20 pounds is 10 hours, Big Bird is–you know, this roasted Big Bird talk is morbid and disgusting.

When your bird is thawed, you have two to four days to get it from thawed to cooked, so don’t get too distracted and forget about your bird.

Just so you know, the term “last minute” is figurative. If you literally forgot to thaw the turkey until the minute it was supposed to go in the oven, turn on the game, order pizza, and invite everyone back tomorrow. It will make a great story to tell your daughter-in-law when she forgets to thaw her turkey.

If you’re interested in a super juicy bird, don’t forget to brine your turkey.

Okay, this is your time to “shine.” What’s your best “forgot to thaw the bird” story? 

My story: I’ve never forgotten to thaw a bird, but I did set one inside the garage door when I came home from the grocery store and forgot it there…for days. Why didn’t I notice it? Apparently, I rarely used that door, and also it was a buy-one-get-one-free sale, so the other turkey was getting all the pre-Thanksgiving TLC. We smelled found it eventually.

Photo thanks: Tim Sackton (changes mine)