How to Defrost Turkey in the Fridge?

How to Defrost Turkey in the Fridge

Preparing for the annual Thanksgiving feast is a huge undertaking. There are a lot of things you need to get prepared from the pumpkin pie, casseroles and of course the main course, the Thanksgiving turkey.

In this article, we will be focusing on the turkey. When it comes to getting your turkey done on time for the occasion, it is important to plan ahead. If you’re looking for the safest and most effective way to defrost your turkey, keep on reading.

But first, here are some fresh frozen turkey option on Amazon:

The Safest Way to Defrost Frozen Turkey

When it comes to defrosting frozen turkey, there’s a lot that can go wrong. The best way to defrost any poultry, fish or meat is through thawing in the refrigerator. Not only is it the safest way, but it is also the easiest way to defrost your turkey.

An important thing to remember is that defrosting your turkey in the fridge is gonna take a few days to fully thaw. Therefore, it is highly important to have a gameplan and give yourself an allowance, when it comes to time.

Here’s how to thaw your turkey in the fridge:

  • Keep the turkey in its original packaging and place the breast side up in a container to prevent any juices from leaking out, as the turkey thaws.
  • Set your fridge’s temperature at 40°F or below and leave it in the fridge for a couple of days because it all depends on the turkey’s weight and size (refer to the timeline below).
  • While the thawed turkey can be kept in the fridge for a maximum of 4 days before cooking, it is better to cook it as soon as possible to retain the freshness of the turkey. However, if there’s been a sudden change of plans, you can pop the turkey back in the freezer and refreeze it.

How many days does it take to defrost a turkey in the refrigerator?

The number of days it takes to for a turkey to defrost depends on its size. As a rule of thumb, an average-sized turkey weighing at around 3.5-4 pounds would take a whole day to defrost in the fridge. To get more of an accurate projection of how long it will take your turkey will thaw, refer to the timeline below.

Defrosting timeline for frozen turkey in a refrigerator:

  • A 10-pound turkey takes 2 days and 12 hours to thaw
  • A 15-pound turkey takes 3 days plus 18 hours to thaw
  • A 20-pound turkey takes 5 days to thaw
  • A 25-pound turkey takes 6 days plus 6 hours to thaw

However, according to professional chefs injected turkey takes much longer to defrost compared to plain, uninjected turkeys. With this, you might need to give yourself an extra day for thawing if your turkey has been injected with water, spices, and salt.

To make sure, re-read your turkey’s packaging because the majority of turkeys sold in your local supermarkets have been treated with the solution despite its claims of being ‘all-natural’.

Remember: If the turkey has been injected with a solution of water, salt, and spices you should give yourself an additional day to the projected timeline in the chart above.

Other Thawing Methods for Frozen Turkey

While the fridge method is the best and safest option defrosting your frozen turkey, we all just don’t have the time to plan ahead. The following thawing methods are great alternatives to get your turkey ready on time for your Thanksgiving feast.

Defrosting Turkey in the Sink

One of the fastest ways to defrost a turkey is by submerging it in a bath of cold water. Using the method will enable you to do thaw the turkey within the day of or the day before roasting.

 While you can leave the turkey in the sink for a couple of hours, DO NOT leave it out to thaw overnight.

Here’s how to thaw the frozen turkey in the sink:

  • Place the encased frozen turkey in a leakproof container or plastic bag.
  • Then fill the sink with cold water and submerge the frozen turkey.
  • To keep the temperature of the water consistently low, you need to change the water bath every 30 minutes along with turning the bag of frozen turkey over occasionally, to thaw out evenly.

Timeline of this defrosting method:

  • A 4 to 12-pound turkey will thaw in for 2 to 6 hours,
  • A 12 to 16-pound turkey will thaw in 6 to 8 hours
  • A 20 to 24-pound turkey will thaw in 10 to 12 hours.

If you really don’t have the time and you need to get that bird done ASAP, here’s a super expedited thawing method you can try out.

The Refrigerator + Sink Thawing Method

If you’re in an absolute time crunch, don’t worry this method will get your Thanksgiving feast ready on time. This method is perfect if you need to speed the defrosting process in the safest and most effective way.

By combining the two previous methods mentioned earlier, the refrigerator and the sink-thawing methods, you’ll get the fastest results.

Take your wrapped turkey out of the fridge and give it the defrosting in-cold-water treatment for as long as it takes to thaw. By taking the turkey out of the fridge and into a cold water bath, you’re expediting the process by a whole mile.

Using these two methods will definitely get your frozen turkey thawed right on the time for the Thanksgiving feast.