Thawing in the refrigerator is the ONLY recommended way to defrost a frozen turkey. For it to work, however, you’ll need plenty of time: 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. A large turkey, say, 15 to 20 pounds, will need to spend 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds, plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days. If it’s 12 to 16 pounds, make sure it’s placed in the fridge three to four days before the holiday arrives.
Thawing in the Refrigerator: Place it on a tray to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
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?
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.
Do not thaw your turkey on the counter. It will be totally fine chillaxing on the counter overnight.
According to the USDA, rinsing your turkey will not get rid of unwanted bacteria ― that is virtually impossible. Actually, washing it can increase the chance of spreading bacteria. The best way to get rid of bacteria on turkey is to cook it. And to be sure to wash your hands well after you handle it.
Quick – Thawing Your Turkey If you’re running short on time, you can speed up the thawing process with the cold water method: Simply submerg the frozen turkey, still in its packaging, in cold tap water. Change out the water every 30 minutes, and estimate roughly 30 minutes for every pound of turkey.
It’s important to keep the whole turkey at a safe temperature throughout the thawing process to prevent bacterial growth that can lead to foodborne illness. That’s why you never thaw a frozen turkey at room temperature on your kitchen counter, or in hot water. Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes.
Refrigerated turkey leftovers will keep for three days. After that, the turkey proteins begin to break down. Either toss any remaining leftovers by Sunday or freeze them for up to two months.
Signs of spoiled raw turkey include a foul odor, slimy texture and an unnatural coloration. When raw turkey is safe to cook and consume, it has a very mild odor similar to that of raw chicken. Spoiled turkey has a strong, gamey smell, and it develops a slimy or sticky texture.
A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but there may be some loss of quality. Allow about 30 minutes per pound. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
Answer: You can safely leave cooked turkey out at room temperature for two hours — or one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — says the United States Department of Agriculture. Cooked turkey that has been left out for longer than 2 hours (or 1 hour above 90° F) should be discarded.
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.