Thanksgiving Turkey Thaw Times
Today is the Monday before Thanksgiving. If you haven't already started thawing the centerpiece of your meal, you better get on it because the big birds should have started thawing last Friday!
Here's a handy chart from foodsafety.gov:
- 20-24 lbs start thawing the Friday before Thanksgiving
- 16-20 lbs start thawing the Saturday before Thanksgiving
- 12-16 lbs start thawing the Sunday before Thanksgiving
- 4-12 lbs start thawing the Monday before Thanksgiving
Okay so are you panicking a little because you have a 20 pound turkey and it's frozen rock solid? It's OK... well, it's going to take some work but according to epicurious, you can safely thaw a turkey if you fill a clean, food-grade bucket with cold tap water, seal the turkey in a leak=proof bag, and change the water every thirty minutes. Thirty minutes for each pound of turkey is the rule of thumb. So, if you have 10 pound turkey, five hours and nine to ten bucket changes.
And, if all else fails, the Kitchn says you CAN cook a totally frozen turkey in the oven. Just turn it on 325 and plop that sucker on a roasting rack. It will take about 50 percent longer than usual to cook and heads up it probably won't be as tender or tasty if you thawed it first.
Always make sure you test your meat temp before serving. It should be 165 degrees next to the bone. The oven is a USDA safe method for cooking a frozen turkey but the Kitchen warns to not try frying or grilling a frozen bird.
- 8- to 12-pound turkey: 4 to 4 1/2 hours
- 12- to 14-pound turkey: 4 1/2 to 5 3/4 hours
- 14- to 18-pound turkey: 5 3/4 to 6 1/4 hours
- 18- to 20-pound turkey: 6 1/4 to 6 3/4 hours
- 20- to 24-pound turkey: 6 3/4 to 7 1/2 hours
So, any way you look at it, you'll need time to prepare for Thanksgiving. It's not too late! Start now and make this Thanksgiving the best yet!