Cooking Tips: Thaw a Frozen Turkey Quickly
Microwave Thawing The microwave is an option for thawing small turkeys and turkey parts. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when thawing a turkey in the microwave oven. Plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.
Cold Water Thawing When you're starting with a completely frozen bird, allow about 30 minutes per pound when thawing a turkey in cold water. Be sure the turkey is in leak-proof packaging. Tissues can absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product. Submerge the turkey in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed.
Cold-Water Thawing Times
8 to 12 pounds...........4 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds...........6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds.........8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds.......10 to 12 hours
Turkeys thawed by the cold water method should be cooked immediately because conditions were not temperature controlled.
For further information and more turkey cooking tips, contact:
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety Education and Communications Staff Meat and Poultry Hotline:
(800) 535-4555 (Toll-free nationwide)
(202) 720-3333 (Washington, D.C., area)