How to defrost turkey quickly

How to defrost turkey quickly? Cook frozen turkey directly in an oven

Turkey is the most demanding dish on thanksgiving day. Almost everyone purchases for the occasion. Turkey’s weight can range from 4 pounds to 24 pounds, so it becomes a bit difficult to handle this big bird for defrosting, you have to take special care for handling this bid bird with complete knowledge of how to defrost turkey quickly. Carelessness or mishandling can cause harmful bacteria to grow in this big bird, or you may contaminate the whole kitchen by the unwanted harmful guests in the form of bacteria.

The ideal temperature for these dangerous bacteria growth is around 15 to 21 degrees Celsius. If you try to defrost this big bird on your kitchen counter, then you surely cooking poisonous food for your guests and family. It takes around 5 to 6 hours for a 5 pound turkey to defrost at room temperature while the inner core is still frozen.

The outer side starts decaying, which helps to produce and replicate the harmful bacteria. Below we will discuss how to thaw a turkey quickly and safely before your preparation start.

Thawing a turkey in a cooler

Thawing a turkey in a cooler is a challenging task. You have to keep ice cubes in there continually. Rotating the frozen turkey every thirty minutes. You will have to do this tedious exercise for 6 to 8 hours to defrost this big bird. Yes it is the best option if you are camping and you plan to cook a turkey  

How to thaw a turkey overnight?

Coldwater is a suitable option to defrost the frozen turkey overnight. Again bigger frozen turkey will need more time than smaller frozen turkey. Here are some statistics to know how much time you will need to defrost the frozen turkey thoroughly. You can check the turkey weight from the package. You need around one hour for two pounds of turkey. It means you need two hours for four-pound turkey, eight hours for sixteen-pound turkey. Likewise, you will need twelve hours for twenty-four pounds of turkey, a big time-consuming job.

Place the frozen turkey in the sink and fill it with cold water. If you don’t have such a big tub, you can use a big cooler for defrosting. The temperature of water rises with time, so change the water every thirty minutes. Keep doing this procedure till you get the defrosted turkey as the turkey’s temperature increases with water, so you should immediately cook this defrosted turkey. Waiting long can produce bacteria in this turkey.

Using refrigerator for defrosting the turkey

As turkey comes in big sizes and weight, so the refrigerator is the best option for defrosting, although it takes a long time. Usually, turkey weights 4 pounds to 24 pounds. For a 4 pound turkey, you need at least 24 hours to defrost thoroughly. A 4 to 12 pounds you will need 1 to 3 days. If you are having a 12 to 16 pounds of turkey, you will need 3 to 4 days. Between 16 to 20 pounds of turkey in weight, you will need 4 to five days. And for a turkey of weight twenty to twenty-four pounds, you will need five to six days.

So for smaller turkey, you need less time, and for a bigger bird, you need many days to defrost thoroughly. A refrigerator is safe for defrosting as the temperature of turkey is maintained around 4 degrees Celsius, which is not enough for bacteria growth. You can store 2 to 3 days in the fridge for later use. Another benefit of the refrigerator is that you can refreeze this defrosted turkey for a long time or later use. 

Defrost turkey in a microwave

When you are running short of time, then you think over the ideas of how can you thaw a turkey quickly? Here a microwave is the quickest option for defrosting. You have to check whether frozen turkey can fit in the microwave. You can check the user manual for size and weight accommodation in the microwave.

Remove all packing of turkey and put it on a microwave dish in the microwave. Select the poultry option from the to defrost menu and turn it on. Usually, the microwave takes 6 minutes for defrosting one pound of frozen turkey. It means for a 10-pound frozen turkey, and you will need to defrost it for 60 minutes. A 20 pounds frozen turkey will take one hour and 12 minutes.

Although microwave defrosts the frozen turkey very quickly, it defrosts it unevenly. Some parts defrosted earlier, and some take more time. So it would be best if you cook the defrosted turkey soon as defrosting completely. This hurry will protect the defrosted turkey from growing bacteria in ti.

Cooking a frozen turkey

You can cook the frozen turkey directly without defrosting when you have no time for defrosting the frozen turkey and no option of a microwave. It seems awkward, but it works properly. It will just take a longer time to prepare. You will need Almost 50% more time. Just put the frozen turkey inside the preheated Oven at 350-degree Fahrenheit. You will need around two hours to thoroughly cook the frozen turkey. Electric Oven keeps rotating, and the frozen turkey defrosted and cook at the same time evenly. It will save time and energy too.


Defrosting a big turkey is pretty tricky for newbies. Here we told you many methods of how to defrost turkey quickly? It all depends upon the availability of your time. The best approach is the fridge, although it takes too much time for big frozen turkeys. The defrosted turkey in the refrigerator is more safe and convenient. You can do it effortlessly with the specified time as per weight.

Coldwater is another option, quick and time-saving. You have to be very vigilant by using this method. Time to time, you have to replace the water, which is not easy. A microwave is the quickest option but limited to the size of the turkey. For big birds, you need a significant sized microwave which is difficult to find at homes. Using the Oven is the shortest way to cook frozen turkey directly.

Choose any method and enjoy good healthy food!!!!

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