Before you can turn a rock-hard frozen turkey into the star player at your Thanksgiving feast, you’re going to have to thaw that big bird. There are three ways you can safely thaw frozen turkey: slow, medium, and fast. Take a look at the guidelines below and choose the method and timeline that works best for you, whether you’re a plan-ahead cook or need a last-minute solution.
Three Ways to Safely Thaw A Frozen Turkey:
1. Slow: Thaw in the Refrigerator
Photo by Meredith
Timeline: Allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey. A 10-pound bird will take about 2 days to thaw completely.
Tips for fridge thawing:
Keep the turkey in its original wrapping while it’s thawing.
Place breast-side-up in a baking pan to keep any drips from contaminating other foods and refrigerator surfaces.
You can hold the thawed turkey in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking.
2. Medium: Thaw in Cold Water
Photo by Meredith
Timeline: Allow approximately 30 minutes for every pound of turkey. A 10-pound bird will take about 5 hours to thaw completely.
Tips for cold-water thawing:
Keep the turkey in its original wrapping, and place it in a larger, leak-proof plastic bag. Squeeze out extra air and seal the bag.
Place the sealed bag breast-side down in a sink or bucket large enough so the turkey will be completely submerged. Fill with cold water. You may need to cover the turkey with a plate and place some heavy cans on top of it to keep it totally submerged. Change the cold water every 30 minutes.
Cook the turkey immediately after thawing.
It is also possible to use a combination of the two methods: Use the fridge for the first two days of thawing, and finish in the sink early Thanksgiving morning.
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