Best Way to Thaw Turkey

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Did you even wonder the best way to Thaw Turkey? One of the biggest mistakes that people make is forgetting to thaw the turkey before trying to cook it.

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The best way to thaw a turkey depends on several factors. The size of the bird, when you need it for and the method of cooking to name a few.

There are so many ways to cook a turkey and so many ways to impart flavor to the bird. If you need to no more about this versatile protein, Check out the turkey America’s Turkey Industry.

If you’re looking for recipes that use turkey, try these Crock Pot Turkey Soup, Turkey Club Sandwich Kebabs and  Roasted Bone In Turkey Breast.

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Why We Love Turkey

Turkey is America’s bird. Therefore, it has a special place in out hearts. It says family, warmth and comfort. So keep one in the freezer when you want a great comfort meal. Below are some safe ways to defrost a turkey in time to cook Thanksgiving morning.

  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or the refrigerator. The skin of the turkey should be brown and the turkey will cook beautifully. Fresh turkey is best, it is the easiest and safest method.
  • Family Friendly: Presenting your family with a moist and delicious bird will always be appreciated.
  • Adaptable: Can make it low-carb or dairy free, etc.. You can cook in the air fryer in the convection oven or the oven. There are ways to safely thaw and cook your bird.
  • Makes Great Leftovers: Leftover turkey can be used for soup, sandwiches or casseroles.

Refrigerator Thaw

The best way to thaw a turkey is to place it in the refrigerator. It is not only the easiest method, it is also the safest. Make sure the temperature of the refrigerator is at most 40 degrees F.

  • First, thaw turkey breast side up, also, leave the turkey in its original wrapper on a tray in the fridge to catch any juices that may leak. To keep contamination low, make sure to keep the turkey wrapped.
  • For every 4 pounds of turkey, allow at least one day of thawing the frozen bird.
  • Keep turkey in original wrapper and place the turkey on a tray.
  • Use turkey within four days after thawing.

Benefits of Thawing a Frozen Turkey in the Refrigerator

If you have the space, this methods is virtually hands off and from a hygienic stand point, the best.

  • Benefit 1: This is a safest and easiest way to defrost a turkey.
  • Benefit 2: The USDA recommends this method.

Cold Water Thawing

Fill a large sink or bucket with very cold water and completely submerge the bird. If your turkey starts to float, weigh it down. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately.

  1. Thaw turkey breast-side down, in an unopened wrapper, in a container full of cold water. There should be enough water to cover your turkey completely. Place in a plastic bag to avoid leaks. Then use a large plastic bucket.
  2. Change fresh cold water every 30 minutes and if turkey cannot be completely covered, rotate every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled. You want to ensure the temperature of the water doesn’t get too warm.
  3. This method takes about 30 minutes of thawing per pound of turkey.
A pot of cold water for the turkey.

Benefits of Cold Water Method

  • Benefit 1: This is a quick way to thaw a turkey safely.
  • Benefit 2: It will take about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.

How to Defrost a Turkey in the Microwave

This method is not recommended, There are too many variables that could go wrong such as the chicken actually cooking in parts in the microwave etc. As far as food safety, this method is not recommended.

  1. It will take about six minutes to defrost 1 pound of frozen turkey, use the defrost function power level.
  2. Make sure any brackets have been removed. Turn and flip for even thawing.
  3. Follow your microwave instruction manual and the manufacturer’s instructions.

Benefits of Microwave Thawing Method

  • Benefit 1: This is a quick way to thaw a turkey safely.
  • Benefit 2: Turkey will take about 30 minutes per pound of turkey.

You can use one of the three ways to defrost the turkey then get ready to make a masterpiece.

Step 1: PREP

First, preheat the oven and clean your turkey. Next, combine all ingredients for herb butter together (I do this in a food processor); set aside. Season the outside and cavity generously with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Stuff

If stuffing the bird, fill the cavity with stuffing. If not stuffing the bird, fill the cavity will extra vegetables. Rub herb butter all over the outside of the bird, including the underneath. Place chopped onion, carrots and celery in the bottom on the pan; add stock.

Step 3: Roast

Add roasting rack to the pan and place turkey on top of the rack .Insert a wired meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird, avoiding the bone. Add the cover to the roaster and roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Turkey with a meat thermometer.

Step 4: Continue Cooking

Turn down to 325 degrees and roast for 2-3 hours depending on the size (Unstuffed: 13 minutes per pound, stuffed: 15 minutes per pound) or until internal temperature (between the leg and the thickest part of the breast) reaches 165 degrees.

Step 5: Let Stand

Remove turkey from roaster and let rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

FAQs to Prepare Turkey Safely

Never thaw a turkey at room temperature on the countertop in a warm kitchen. This defrosting method is not recommended bacteria can multiply rapidly.

  1. First, wash your hands. Then remove the giblets and neck from the bird.
  2. Then rinse the outside of the bird and also rinse the cavity of the turkey with a gentle stream of cool water. Next, drain the turkey by holding it up over the sink.

A turkey will last about two days in the refrigerator after it has defrosted. Find out more at the USDA website.

First, let the turkey rest. Then using a sharp knife, cut off the legs and thighs. Next, remove the breast and then slice the white meat. Finally, slice the dark meat and then you are ready to serve.

Always use a food thermometer to check doneness. Cook a whole turkey to 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Make sure to stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh when checking the turkey’s temperature.

Expert Tips for Best Way to Thawing Your Turkey

The safest way to thaw a turkey depends on how many days to thaw a frozen turkey. Raw turkey and its juices can be dangerous. Here are some tips for the safest method.

  • Tip 1: Time. Give yourself enough thawing time to make sure the turkey is properly thawed. You may have to start several days before cooking.
  • Tip 2: Handle. Handle and clean the raw turkey with care. Safely thawing a frozen turkey is key. The juice can carry bacteria. When thawing, place the turkey on a tray or dish to catch any juice.
  • Tip 3: When cooking a whole turkey remember to add flavor in the form of vegetables, rubs, fresh herbs or citrus.
  • Tip 4: If your turkey doesn’t thaw in time don’t panic. If your bird is still partially frozen, it’s ok. The turkey is still good. You can roast it partially frozen, just increase the cooking time accordingly.

Turkey Recipes to Try

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