Don't Forget to Thaw the Turkey

Nov 22, 2013

If you’re planning to cook a big turkey this Thanksgiving, you may need to start thawing it this weekend. 

Before cooking your turkey, food safety calls for proper thawing procedures.
Credit Rene Schwietzke

Oneida County Health Department Sanitarian Jody McKinney says the best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the fridge, but you have to allow one day of thawing for every five pounds of turkey. 

“Therefore if you’re going to serve a large turkey approximately 20 pounds, plan at least four to five days in the refrigerator for thawing.” 

If you run out of time, McKinney says the other option is thaw the turkey in cold water the day of the feast. 

“It should be running water or at least changed out every 30 minutes, make sure the water is staying very cold.”

That method usually takes 30 minutes for every pound of bird. 

A turkey thawed in the cold water method must be cooked right away after it’s ready. 

Proper thawing methods reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning.