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Peggy Trowbridge Filippone

How to Thaw a Turkey

By November 17, 2013

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How to Thaw a Turkey
Most turkeys are frozen to preserve freshness. This requires careful planning to thaw your turkey in a timely and most importantly, safe manner. The easiest and best way is to slowly thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, but this could take days. Find out how to safely thaw your turkey to avoid any potential food poisoning.

Note: Please read through all of the questions below before posting any question in the comments. There's a very good chance your question has already been answered in my responses.

How to Thaw a Turkey
Turkey Roasting Times Chart
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Turkey Photo © 2010 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Comments

November 18, 2006 at 12:35 am
(1) Tamara Holt says:

I bought a 24.50lb.turkey for Thanksgivings Day I need to know how long to thaw out the turkey and cook it.I would appreciate it.
Thanks,
Tamara Holt

November 18, 2006 at 8:34 am
(2) homecooking says:

Hi Tamara!
That’s a big bird! Better keep it in the fridge (not freezer) from now until Thursday for it to thaw. Check it early in the morning on Thursday, and if it still is not completely thawed, put it in a bath of =cold= water in the sink, changing the cold water frequently, until it is thawed. It all depends upon how cold you keep your refrigerator as to how long it will take to thaw. Do not thaw it outside the refrigerator.

More thawing tips here:

Thawing a Turkey

I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take. It all depends on your oven, whether the bird is stuffed or unstuffed, and the roasting temperature you prefer to use. The USDA has now revised their standard to state that a safe internal temperature for cooked poultry is 165 F. Always use a meat thermometer to be sure.

Peggy
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November 19, 2007 at 1:08 pm
(3) Jonathan says:

I bought a 16lb turkey Saturday (frozen) and put it in the refr. Is this fine to leave it in there until I cook it Wednesday or Thursday?

November 19, 2007 at 10:09 pm
(4) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Yes, Jonathan. It should be just fine.

Peggy
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November 22, 2008 at 9:31 pm
(5) Alice says:

I bought a 12 lb. turkey and put it in the refrigerator Friday. Will it be okay until Thursday?

November 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm
(6) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Put the turkey in the back of the refrigerator and avoid opening the door a lot so it stays very cold. It should be okay.

Peggy
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November 22, 2008 at 9:57 pm
(7) Holly says:

I bought a turkey today that weights 21.80 pounds.
How can I thaw the turkey so that it can be cooked Thursday morning?

Thanks-

November 23, 2008 at 5:03 am
(8) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Just leave it in the bottom of your fridge. It should thaw by Thursday.

Peggy
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November 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm
(9) Chants says:

Hi
I got a 8lb turkey & Have 2 questions:
1. I placed it at the bottom of the fridge on Monday Morning will it thaw out in time for Wednesday/thursday?
2. how long will it take to bake?
thanks

November 25, 2008 at 4:58 pm
(10) Lynda says:

I bought a 21lb turkey. I put in the bottom of the frig yesterday, Nov. 24th. Will it be thawed by Thurs? Thanks!

November 25, 2008 at 8:38 pm
(11) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Chants, your 8-pound turkey should thaw by Thursday in the refrigerator. At 325F, your turkey may take 2-3/4 to 3 hours to cook, unstuffed. Stuffed will take 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Ovens vary. Use an instant-read thermometer to check. At least 165F internal temperature is now recommended by the USDA.

Peggy
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November 25, 2008 at 10:16 pm
(12) shelly says:

I just put a frozen 21 lb turkey in my refrigerator monday afternoon to thaw. I would like to brine my turkey and cook it for a Wednesday night meal. Is this even possible? Can I thaw it in cold water overnight and then brine it in the morning and cook it at 1:00 for dinner???

November 25, 2008 at 11:46 pm
(13) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

I doubt you have time, Shelly. You need to change the water every half hour and then the turkey should be cooked immediately after thawing, not held another day in brine. Need to plan ahead!

Peggy
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November 25, 2008 at 11:49 pm
(14) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lynda, you will need to use the cold water method to thaw that huge turkey. A frozen turkey needs 24 hours in the refrigerator for each 5 pounds of weight in order to thaw naturally.

Peggy
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November 26, 2008 at 4:37 pm
(15) Teri says:

I picked up my turkey today. It was supposed to be fully thawed but I don’t think it is. What should I do in order to have it thawed by tomorrow around 1:00. I plan on deep frying it.
Thank you

November 26, 2008 at 6:32 pm
(16) Glen says:

I bough a 17.5 lb frozen turkey Sunday night. It has been in the fridge since then and will go in the oven T-day morning. The directions suggest 24 hrs for every 4 lbs which will leave me a day behind. Should I do the cold water thing in the morning as well? It is smushy on top but still a little hard on the bottom.
Thanks!!!

November 26, 2008 at 8:18 pm
(17) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Teri and Glen, you should both use the cold water method to get your turkey completely thawed. Be sure to dry it thoroughly, inside and out, before deep-frying.

Peggy
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November 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm
(18) BRENDA says:

What is the longest time for a turkey to be left uncooked in the fridge?? Turkey weighs 20.65 lbs.

November 28, 2008 at 10:28 pm
(19) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Once the turkey has thawed in the refrigerator, I would cook it within 48 hours.

Peggy
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December 19, 2008 at 10:21 am
(20) Nancy W says:

Hi,
I have a 26 lb turkey in my freezer that I would like to thaw and brine for Christmas dinner. Today is Friday, December 19th…can I do it and how?

Thanks!

December 19, 2008 at 6:32 pm
(21) homecooking says:

Nancy, you may just have enough time to thaw and brine that turkey. Let the turkey thaw naturally in the refrigerator. This will probably take about 5 days. Then you will need to brine it for about a day. Here is a savory brine recipe from About BBQ:

Savory Turkey Brine

Peggy
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December 24, 2008 at 12:09 am
(22) Darlene says:

We bought a 21 pound turkey. I thought my hubby took it out to thaw yesterday, but he didn’t. Now it is sitting in the frig. My question is this: We are having our Christmas Dinner on the Sat. after Christmas. Do I have time to thaw and cook that bird? Do you know about how long it would take to cook and at what temp? It’s our first time for such a big one!

December 24, 2008 at 6:39 am
(23) homecooking says:

Darlene;
You’re about a day short of thawing it completely in the refrigerator. You need about a day per each 5 lbs. Of course, this all depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator and how much in and out traffic there is. Depending on your refrigerator, you might just make it. Leave it in the bottom of the fridge. You may need to finish thawing it with the cold water method, so keep checking on it and allow for additional time, if so.

How to thaw a turkey

As for how long:

Turkey Roasting Time Chart

Gobble, gobble!

Peggy
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November 21, 2009 at 7:53 pm
(24) Kelly says:

I bought a turkey today that is 17lb turkey that is not completely frozen. Is it ok to be in the refrigerator up until I stuff it on Thursday morning? That’s a little over four days in the refrigerator before it’s cooked.

November 21, 2009 at 8:25 pm
(25) Kelly says:

correction to my previous post:
I bought a FRESH 17lb turkey today (Saturday), not thinking about the timing for when it would be cooked.
How long will it be good in the refrigerator before roasting?

November 22, 2009 at 5:24 am
(26) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Kelly, a fresh turkey should be cooked within 1 to 2 days of purchase. Sorry…I know that’s not what you wanted to hear. sighs.

Peggy
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November 22, 2009 at 10:03 am
(27) Kelly says:

Peggy, thank you for your answer. No, not what I was hoping for. But now I have to ask if there is a solution? Can I freeze it and follow the thaw instructions by Thursday?

November 22, 2009 at 4:29 pm
(28) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Kelly, you can freeze it, but do it now. You will need about 3 days to thaw it in the refrigerator, so start thawing early Tuesday morning.

Turkey Thawing Tips

Peggy
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November 22, 2009 at 7:28 pm
(29) Kelly says:

Thanks. I was hoping you would say that. I put it in the freezer yesterday. :) It will go in the refrigerator on Tuesday morning and I will be monitoring the thaw closely. Thanks for the tips and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2009 at 11:07 pm
(30) Michael Governale says:

I think I screwed up. I left a 21 lb turkey in cold water for about 5 hours, then put it in the refrigerator for thursday. I did not think there would be enough time to refrigerator thawing from this afternoon to Thanksgiving, today being sunday afternoon.

Should I get another turkey or is this one safe?

November 23, 2009 at 2:34 am
(31) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Michael, it’s hard to advise you without more information. Is it still partially frozen, still in the original packaging? If so, keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator and it should be okay.

Peggy
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November 24, 2009 at 9:25 am
(32) Teresa says:

My problem is this, I bought a 20lb. turkey on Nov 22nd Sun. I then asked my sister how to thaw a turkey – She said put in brown paper bags and leave it at room temp. :( So then Mon morn I looked up online how to thaw it properly in the frig. My question is if I put it in the frig mon morning and it has been in there ever since is it safe to eat still? – When I put it in the frig it was still frozen and cold, but it did leak some juices out but not much.

November 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm
(33) LLANA says:

HI
I HAVE A 8 LB TURKEY AND PUT IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR YESTERDAY ON MONDAY AND TODAY IT WAS STILL FROZEN AND MY HUSBAND TOOK THE BIRD OUT OF ITS COVER SO I PUT SARAN WRAP ON IT AND COVERED IT WITH FOIL—WILL THIS BIRD BE OK UNTIL THURSDAY AM TO COOK??
PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!

November 24, 2009 at 4:23 pm
(34) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Teresa, I wouldn’t take a chance on it if the turkey was left outside the refrigerator for 2 days.

Peggy
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November 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm
(35) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Llana, your bird should be fine. Sounds like your refrigerator is colder than most. In general, allow 1 day of thawing time in the refrigerator per 5 pounds of turkey.

Peggy
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November 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm
(36) steph says:

we have a 21.99lb turkey in the fridge since monday about 5pm will it be ready by thursday morn to cook for turkey day dinner?

November 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm
(37) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Steph, it really depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator. In general, allow 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey. You may need to finish with the cold water method.

Turkey Thawing Tips

Peggy
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November 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm
(38) steph says:

im not sure how cold it is in my fridge, i know the setting is on 4..

thanks

November 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(39) 1sttimemaking turkeydinner says:

can you do the “water” and “fridge” thaw method together?

November 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm
(40) sassy says:

can you put a 21 pound turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes for an hour in a half and then put it back in the refridgerator to be put in a bag and cooked tomorrow morning?

November 25, 2009 at 6:31 pm
(41) Sean says:

Just checked on our frozen turkey, put into fridge 3 days ago, 20 lb bird…still frozen solid.. HELP! how do I thaw the bird so I can put it into the oven at 6 am tomorrow??

November 25, 2009 at 7:08 pm
(42) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

To Everyone:
It’s the night before Thanksgiving. If your turkey has not yet thawed out, time to use the cold water method:

Turkey Thawing Tips

Peggy
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December 19, 2009 at 12:43 pm
(43) Ashley says:

Is two weeks too long to thaw a turkey in the fridge before you cook it?

December 19, 2009 at 8:54 pm
(44) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

I would say that is a bit too long, Ashley.

Peggy
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December 22, 2009 at 4:35 pm
(45) Rachel says:

I bought a 14lb turkey on friday. It was frozen solid. It seems to be mostly thawed now, except im sure the cavity area is probably still a bit frozen. It is still in the original wrapping and in the bottom shelve of the fridge at the back. Will it still be okay by Christmas? And is it safe to take the turkey out on Christmas Eve just long enough to wash and season, then return it to the fridge for the following morning?

November 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm
(46) Summer says:

Every year my boss has me buy turkeys for all the employees. Usually I do this on the Friday before Thanksgiving and then everyone has plenty of time to defrost their turkey. This year he wants me to buy them on Monday but I’m worried that wont give everyone enough time to thaw a 20 pound bird…Everything that I’ve read says it will take 4 days or so…would Monday and Thursday count in that equation or should they start the thawing process over the weekend?

November 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm
(47) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

I tend to agree with you, Summer. Buy them the Friday before. It will give the recipients more options. Plan on 24 hours of thawing for each 5 pounds of turkey. Thus, a 20-lb turkey would take 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator. Refrigerator thawing is considered the safest method.

Peggy
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November 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm
(48) cookie robertson says:

how long should you cool a 21 lb turkey, right from the oven to replace in refridge to be eaten next day. luke warm or cold? thanks a lot

November 21, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(49) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

You should definitely let it cool down, Cookie, and it will probably take about an hour or even longer. When it gets to lukewarm, wrap it up and refrigerate.

Peggy
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November 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm
(50) Jackie says:

I bought a turkey last night and put it in the freezer. It’s about 13 pounds. If I take it out when I get home from work tonight do you think it will be ready to put in the oven Thursday morning? Could I do the water thawing wednesday night for about an hour and a half and put it back in the fridge or should I start out with the water thawing and then put it in the fridge?

November 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm
(51) BP says:

How long to thaw an 11 pound turkey. It is in the freezer now. Should I take it out and put in the refrig. Please advise

November 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm
(52) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jackie: Put your 13-pounder in the fridge when you get home and it should be okay by Thurs. If not, use the cold water method.

BP: You need 24 hours per each 5 pounds, so you’ll need more than 2 days in the fridge.

Check here: Turkey Thawing Tips

Peggy
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November 23, 2010 at 6:04 am
(53) Beth says:

Hi! I got distracted by my 2 kids and forgot about thawing my turkey! I put my 20.85 LB turkey into the fridge Monday (11/22) at 10am, will it be ok to put into the oven by Thursday moring at 9am?? I’m thinking no…so I’d have to do the water thawing method for a few hours prior to cooking correct? Help!

Oh and one more question…could I possibly submerge the turkey in water and leave it IN the fridge on wednesday night just to be on the safe side…would this work?? (i have an extra fridge in my basement with room to do this)

November 23, 2010 at 7:35 am
(54) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Holly: Your thinking is right. It probably won’t thaw in the fridge in time unless your fridge is set at dangerously high temps. Go with the water thawing method as you suggest. And yes, you can submerge it in water in your basement fridge until you’re ready. It will thaw faster in water, even in the fridge on an average temperature.

Peggy
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November 23, 2010 at 10:55 am
(55) SHEREE says:

I have a 30lb turkey that was frozen up until Sunday Evening 11/21. My family has always thawed there turkey on the counter in a thick paper bag. Is that okay to do? Everything I read says that it needs to be thawed in the freezer or in cold water…

November 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm
(56) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Everything you read is right, Sheree. It is not safe to thaw on the kitchen counter, especially such a large bird. It should be thawed in the refrigerator or by using the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm
(57) Belen says:

It’s Tuesday (11/23) afternoon and I just realized that I forgot to take out my 19 lb turkey from the freezer. I know it’s too late to defrost it in the refrigerator and will need to use the cold water method. I need the turkey to be defrosted by 11 am on Thursday (11/25). Could I do the cold water method on Wednesday night and once it’s defrosted stick it back in the refrigerator until Thursday morning? If not, what would you recommend? Please help!

November 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm
(58) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Yes, that will work, Belen. :)

Peggy
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November 23, 2010 at 6:17 pm
(59) Jackie says:

I bought a 21lbs turkey Friday the 19th and have kept it in the fridge since then, is this safe?

November 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm
(60) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jackie: It’s hard to say. Was it frozen when you bought it? What is the expiration on the label? If it was frozen, it should be fine.

Peggy
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November 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm
(61) Bob Story says:

I have a frozen 18.5 lbs turkey I put in the fridge on Nov. 18th. Its still in its casing, and still in the fridge. Will this be safe to cook?

November 24, 2010 at 1:33 am
(62) Brett says:

I bought a frozen 24.22 lb. turkey and put it in the sink with no water I have tomorrow to thaw it in time for Thursday. My question is when do I need to start the 30 minute water change?

November 24, 2010 at 3:20 am
(63) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Bob: Hard to tell. It should have only taken a little more than 3 days to thaw, which means it should have been completely thawed by the 21st. It really depends on the expiration date, how hard-frozen it was, how cold you keep your refrigerator, and how often you are opening the door. Most turkeys these days are enhanced (like chickens) which means they are injected with a salt solution (a brine of sorts) to extend shelf life and enhance preservation. So, cook it properly, and it will probably be fine. I really can’t give a definitive answer without seeing how it was when you bought it and how it was stored. :)

Brett: The water thawing method requires an immediate bath of cold water, with frequent water changes. Never let it sit on the counter or in the sink without beginning the water method immediately. You are inviting Salmonella poisoning. Once it is completely thawed, refrigerate up to 1 day before cooking.

Peggy
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November 24, 2010 at 11:21 am
(64) Nicole says:

I bought a couple of 16lb frozen turkeys on sat (11/20) put them in the freezer until monday morn then they were put in the fridge. Last night my husband told me to take them out of the fridge and put on the counter to thaw (they were still frozen , but alittle squishy on the outside). Well, I forgot about them on the counter overnight and when I woke up at 6:30 this morn I put them back in the fridge. Are they safe? They were still cold, but not that cold. They were out for about 12 hrs. Help?

November 24, 2010 at 11:45 am
(65) mandy says:

my 20.80 lb turkey has been in the fridge since sat afternoon. It is still pretty frozen & I was hoping to clean it & get it ready today. Can I put it in cold water bath today, clean it this afternoon & put it in the pan covered with foil or plastic in fridge til tommorrow morning?

November 24, 2010 at 6:14 pm
(66) Lori says:

its Wednesday and my turkey is not thawed out yet. can I defrost in cold water and then put back into the refrigerator till tomorrow morning

November 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(67) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Nicole: Unless your kitchen is cooled at around a constant 40F, I cannot, in good conscience, tell you that they are safe. 12 hours at normal room temperature is just not safe.

Mandy: You should be fine to clean today, then cover and refrigerate until tomorrow. Do NOT stuff it until right before putting into the oven. Actually, the food police recommend cooking the stuffing separately these days.

Lori: Yes. Defrost in cold water, changing the water often, and refrigerate until tomorrow.

Peggy
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November 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm
(68) Kelly says:

Help! I just bought a 21 pound frozen bird, will the cold water method work so I can get it cooking by 10 am?

November 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm
(69) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Kelly: You might make it, if you stay up all night to change the water every 30 minutes. You need about 30 minutes of thawing time in the cold water for every pound. Thus, you need about 11 hours.

Peggy
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November 25, 2010 at 1:44 am
(70) Alf says:

I put my 14 lb turkey in the fridge at 9 this morning. I put it in the sink with cold water and left. I got home at about midnight and it’s thawed but still cold so I put it back in the fridge. Is it ok to roast tomorrow?!

November 25, 2010 at 1:45 am
(71) Tracy says:

I have been thawing (2 )10-12 turkey since noon today. I filled my freshly cleaned bathtub with cold water and submerged the turkeys in the water. I didn’t change the water every 30 minutes because it was ice cold. I changed it maybe 3 times within an 9-10 period. When I opened the casing and washed the birds off the neckbone and gibblets inside were still frozen and the inside was super cold. The outside was still very cold to touch but pretty well thawed. The legs were a little hard to pull apart to get in the cavity. I am paranoid and worried about the safety of the turkeys. I have 4 kids and by no means do I want to serve them something potentially bad. Please set my mind at ease by giving me the answer, yes okay or buy 2 new birds.
Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

November 25, 2010 at 2:09 am
(72) Yankee says:

Can I thawl my 14lb turkey longer than 30 minutes in cold water…I am working third shift tonight…and dinner is tomorrow. Every site I have looked at say change water every 30 minutes. If I put the turkey in cold water, in a cooler….MAYBE outside? It rain and possible snow here. and about 37 degrees out

Pleeese help

November 25, 2010 at 2:12 am
(73) neffy says:

Umm I bought a frozen 9lb turkey and it was still frozen even though it was in the fridge for 2
Days already.So today at night (wensday at 9pm) I put it in cold water but I forgot about it, when I actually remembered it was 12 so its been 4 hrs with out me changing the water is it still safe???? Oh and um the turkey is still partially frozen can I put it back in the fridge ??? Until tomorrow?

November 25, 2010 at 5:04 am
(74) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Good luck to all of you who didn’t have time to plan ahead to thaw your turkey. Please don’t ask me to sanction practices that might be detrimental to the health of your family and friends. It might be fine, it might be disastrous. Here are the best ways to plan ahead:

Turkey Thawing Tips

Happy Thanksgiving!

Peggy
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November 25, 2010 at 6:08 am
(75) Jessica says:

I took my ten pound turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw Sunday night, it is now 3am Thursday (Thanksgiving) and its still slightly frozen. My question is, is the bird still safe to cook being in the fridge that long to thaw. It was rock hard when I took it out of the freezer.

November 25, 2010 at 6:48 am
(76) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jessica: Your refrigerator is colder than most. Yes, it is fine.

Peggy
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November 26, 2010 at 2:37 am
(77) Amy says:

I bought two 9 lb tukey’s on monday (frozen). They have been in the fridge since will they be okay to cook on Sat.?

November 26, 2010 at 4:22 am
(78) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jessica: If they were rock hard frozen on Monday, they should still be fine if they were stored in your refrigerator since you bought them. It’s hard to say when you don’t know expiration dates or how they were stored at the market.

Peggy
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November 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm
(79) Candace says:

I got a 18lb turkey, and put it in cold water when I got home and my son ran hot water in the turkey water, it was only in it for 20 minutes, and turkey is still frozen. Is it ok or do I need to get a new turkey (don’t want my family to get sick) I changed the water and it is sitting back in Cold water, but I am nervous! Also, since i’m doing the cold water method to dethaw can I put it in the fridge and cook it in the morning or do I need to cook it tonight??? Please Help.

December 8, 2010 at 8:47 pm
(80) Maggie says:

I put two turkeys in the bottom of my fridge around 8:00 P.M. Tuesday night one being 14LBS and one 16LBS I need both of them to be thawed out by Friday afternoon will I need to do the cold water method on Friday?

December 8, 2010 at 10:59 pm
(81) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Maggie: It will depend upon how cold you keep your refrigerator. You will be cutting it close. Check on Friday morning. You may need to finish with the cold water method.

Peggy
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December 22, 2010 at 8:08 am
(82) Lori says:

I forgot to change the water when I was thawing my turkey. It was about 3hrs or so. Will it be ok?
Thanks

December 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm
(83) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lori: As long as the water remained cold, it should be okay. The water changes are to speed up the thawing process.

Peggy
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May 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm
(84) AW says:

Hi…I purchased a completely frozen 16+ turkey on Monday late afternoon. I put it in the fridge that we barely use and it is just now thawed and today is Monday. I did not want to cook it frozen but now I am afraid it sat in the fridge for too long. It is a very cold fridge and rarely used.

November 19, 2011 at 9:58 am
(85) Melissa says:

I have a 27lb turkey and I just took it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge, it is Saturday night, midnight here, will it be ready to cook early, early Thursday morning?

November 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm
(86) Misa says:

I have a 12lb turk, its been in the freezer for a week now, my guy says not to take it out till tues, but i want to rub it and inject it, and all kinds of yummy things to it 3 days before the 27th, my guy says it will go bad if I do that.

November 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm
(87) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Melissa: It depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator. You are cutting it close. Check it the day before. You may need to finish with the cold water thawing method.

Misa: Three days of marination (injection and seasoning) is too much. 24 hours is plenty, especially for a small bird.

Peggy
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November 20, 2011 at 12:50 am
(88) nellie says:

I bought a frozen 14# turkey 11/15 and put in fridge with ice packs. Is it safe to brine 11/22 and roast on 11/24?

November 20, 2011 at 4:00 am
(89) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Nellie: I would not brine for more than 24 hours. With a 14-lb turkey, 12 to 16 hours should be plenty. If you over-do it, the meat starts to turn rubbery, because the salt in the brine actually begins to cure it. Keep in mind that many frozen turkeys are already somewhat brined. Check the packaging to see if it is enhanced. You can also tell by checking the nutritional data on the label. If there is a high sodium content, it is enhanced and already injected with a briny solution.

Peggy
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November 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm
(90) John S. says:

I’ve had a turkey frozen for the better part of a year. Will it still be good to eat?

November 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(91) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

It may suffer a bit in texture, John, but it shouldn’t kill you. :-)

Peggy
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November 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm
(92) Sherry says:

Peggy, I brought a 24 lb turkey it is frozen and I put it in the freg. Yesterday afternoon will it be done by thursday.

November 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm
(93) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sherry: Probably not. You need at least 1 day of thawing time for every 5 pounds of meat. You’ll probably need to switch to the cold water method on Wednesday.

Peggy
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November 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm
(94) star says:

hello, i bought a 22lb turkey on friday november 18th and it has been in the bottom fridge since then. will it be thawed by thursday morning? or have i started to thaw it too soon and put it back in the freezer?

thank you peggy

November 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm
(95) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Star: It should be thawed by Thursday, but check on Wednesday to be sure. It all depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator.

Peggy
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November 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm
(96) Dawn says:

I have a 23 pound turkey that I want to brine for about 20 hours starting Wednesday at noon. The turkey is thawing in the refrigerator, but I’m not convinced that it will be fully thawed for the brining by that time. Suggestions? Thank you.

November 22, 2011 at 3:32 am
(97) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Dawn: Better start checking it now. You might need to use the cold water method to get the innards out before you brine.

Peggy
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November 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm
(98) Elsie says:

It’s Tuesday morning and my 22 lb turkey is frozen I just took it out this morning and need it thawed by Thanksgiving morning. Is it ok to leave it in it’s package in the sink for the day, like I would normally do when making chicken or steak? What is the best way to have it thawed and ready to brine?

November 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm
(99) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Elsie: Use the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 22, 2011 at 6:53 pm
(100) Angie says:

I bought a frozen 14lb turkey on Sunday afternoon (11/20) and put it in the refrigerator. I just checked it (it is Tuesday evening) and it is still frozen solid, not even mushy on the top. Will it thaw in time or do I need to do the cold water method tomorrow?? Based on the guidelines (1 hr for every 5 lbs), it should be thawed in time, but sicne it’s still frozen, I’m getting concerned. I thought I planned far enough ahead!

November 22, 2011 at 8:55 pm
(101) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Angie: Your refrigerator must stay very cold. Yes, do use the cold water method to thaw.

Peggy
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November 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm
(102) Angie says:

Thanks! I checked it again after I posted, and it actually was starting to thaw. Not mushy yet, but it was definitely thawing out. It’s our garage frig which we usually kept colder to keep drinks cold. I lowered it so it’s not as cold. I think/hope it’ll be ok. Otherwise I’ll start the cold water thawing method tomorrow night. Thank you for your quick response!

November 23, 2011 at 2:32 am
(103) Chanel says:

Help, first timer

I put a 16 lbs frozen turkey Sunday night in my fridge to thaw. Will it be safe to brine on Wednesday for at least 16 hours…in enough time to roast Thursday morning? Thank you for all your answers!

November 23, 2011 at 5:27 am
(104) Peggy says:

Chanel: Yes, it should be safe. Enjoy!

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 2:52 am
(105) Bella says:

I bought a frozen solid 18lb turkey on Wednesday November 16th. I’ve had it in the fridge since 6pm Wednesday night and it was fully dethawed on Monday morning. Do you think it is safe to cook this Thursday for Thanksgiving? Should I buy a new one and dispose of this one? Kind of scared- I don’t want to get sick.

November 23, 2011 at 5:36 am
(106) Peggy says:

Bella: That’s hard to say, without knowing the holding temperature of your refrigerator. It may okay because most are enhanced with brine and preservatives when you buy them, which helps preserve poultry. Then again, you don’t really know how it was kept in the store before you bought it. I can’t tell you for sure, obviously. Your nose should be a good indicator. When in doubt, throw it out.

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 6:52 am
(107) Daphne says:

Hello,
I have a 23lb frozen turkey that I was thawing using the cold water method, however I fell asleep and the turkey sat in cold water for about 5 hours without being changed every 1/2 hour. Would it be safe to cook and eat? or should I buy another turkey?

November 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm
(108) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Daphne: It should be fine if you refrigerated it after thawing.

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 10:36 am
(109) mrs b says:

I took my 23pound turkey out of the freezer on Monday night and put it in the fridge.. it is still frozen solid. Can i use the cold water method today?

November 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm
(110) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Mrs. B: Yes, use the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm
(111) first thanksgiving says:

I bought a 21.5 lb frozen turkey (and put it in the bottom of our fridge) on Friday the 18th. We are having our Thanksgiving on Saturday at noon (not Thursday). I checked the turkey today and it feels mostly thawed on one side but still icy on the other, so I turned the tray around.

Assuming it will probably be mostly thawed by Thursday, so will it be okay to leave it thawed in the fridge until early Saturday morning?

November 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm
(112) peggy - Home Cooking says:

First Thanksgiving: Keep it refrigerated in its package and it should be fine.

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm
(113) Heather says:

Bought a 16 lb turkey on Sunday. It was frozen and I
Put it in the fridge where it’s been ever since. Until last night when my husband took it out and left it on the counter overnight for about 9 hours. I feel like it needs to be thrown our but he doesn’t agree. Who is right??

November 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm
(114) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Heather: It may be all right, but I cannot recommend eating it due to the potential of salmonella growth.

Peggy
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November 23, 2011 at 8:45 pm
(115) Darren says:

i just took mine out of the fridge where its been since saturday. its a block of ice. my fridge was set at 4 and i cant understand why this bird hasnt thawed one bit. if its not thawed by tomorrow morning im thinking exactly the same thing. toss it in the garbage and enjoy the spiral ham. lol good luck

November 23, 2011 at 10:50 pm
(116) steve says:

I have a 18 pound Turkey I used the cold water to partly. Thaw Wednesday. Is it OK to put back into the fridge over night to cook in the morning. Thank u

November 24, 2011 at 3:09 am
(117) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Steve: As long as it was kept icy cold, it should be fine.

Peggy
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November 24, 2011 at 1:26 am
(118) Elsa says:

EXACT same question as Steve! Are our turkeys ok after using cold water thawing on wednesday afternoon/evening then back in fridge for about 8 hours (overnight) then cook. Turkey was taken out of original wrapping about 11pm. Is it ok or must I hunt down a fresh turkey first thing Thursday morning!?

November 24, 2011 at 3:10 am
(119) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Elsa: As I responded to Steve, as long as you kept it icy cold, it should be fine.

Peggy
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November 24, 2011 at 1:37 am
(120) Lindsay says:

My first turkey and I did a no no. A 13lb turkey I let it thaw in the sink for 36 hours and then did the brine and stuck it in the fridge. THEN I looked up how to oven cook it and found I had done this wrong. Is it safe? I was going to leave it in the brine overnight and cook it.

November 24, 2011 at 3:13 am
(121) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lindsay: Whoa…that’s definitely an iffy situation. Cannot guarantee the safety of that bird. That was a long time for a smaller turkey. Personally, I wouldn’t chance it.

Peggy
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November 24, 2011 at 8:52 am
(122) Beth says:

Turkey thawed but is a little yellow in some places – is that ok? Was thawed by late last night and was in refridge overnight out of orig packaging but covered up.

November 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm
(123) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Beth: It should be fine. The yellow spots are just concentrated pigments in the skin.

Peggy
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December 13, 2011 at 9:49 am
(124) Andrea says:

I purchased a 26 pound turkey. I plan to thaw it in refrigerator for 7 days. Is this too long?
For cooking purposes, I plan to cook the turkey for about 6 hours. Is this long enough? There are no additional charts for this large of a turkey. I am having 20 people over for Christmas dinner!

December 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm
(125) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Andrea: You probably will need all of those 7 days to thaw such a large bird, especially considering our refrigerators are kept much colder these days. Be sure to check it the day before in case you need to finish the thaw with the cold-water method.

As for roasting time, it probably will take at least 6 to 7 hours at 325 F. for an unstuffed bird and even longer if the turkey is stuffed. Use a meat thermometer to be sure it reaches 165 F. when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (not touching any bone). Do NOT trust those plastic pop-up thermometers that come implanted in many turkeys/chickens these days.

And don’t forget about your resting time, which should be at least 30 minutes, if not 1 hour, for that size of a bird.

Peggy
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December 19, 2011 at 11:49 am
(126) Sam says:

Hiya i have a 12lb turkey in the freezer for christmas day and im not sure when i should take it out?
Thanks

December 19, 2011 at 8:32 pm
(127) Rosemarie Lis says:

After turkey is completely thawed how many days can it stayed thawed before cooking.

December 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(128) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sam: I would put it in the bottom of the refrigerator right now to thaw.

Rosemarie: You should ideally cook it within 24 hours.

Peggy
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December 21, 2011 at 5:47 am
(129) Wayne says:

Hello, I bought a 21 pound frozen turkey Monday afternoon and want to start cooking on Sunday. Should it be okay?

December 21, 2011 at 9:49 am
(130) dawn says:

I purchased a frozen 21 pound turkey and placed in the fridge on Sunday – my dinner is on Saturday. Is 7 days too long to leave in the fridge?

December 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm
(131) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Wayne: It should be in the bottom of your refrigerator now to thaw. Check it the day before in case you need to switch to the cold water method.

Dawn: If your refrigerator temperature is proper, it should be just fine.

Peggy
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December 23, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(132) Liz says:

I have an 18 lb turkey I bought today, frozen. I need to cook it Christmas morning. My NEW fridge is stuck on 32 degrees–I don’t think this thing will ever thaw. When should I start the cold water method–tomorrow? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(133) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Liz: Yes, I would begin the cold water method tomorrow.

Peggy
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December 24, 2011 at 12:40 am
(134) Sonja says:

Hello. I have a frozen 21 pound turkey. I put it in a sink full of HOT water for about 1-1/2 hours. I then read I should not do that so I drained the water and it’s now in COLD water. Is it too late? Will my turkey be okay for tomorrow?

Thank you.

December 24, 2011 at 4:17 am
(135) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sonja: I would not eat it. Sorry.

Peggy
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December 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(136) Dani says:

Hi, We bought a frozen 10 lb turkey last Sunday. We had it in our fridge (runs cold) all week and pulled it out to cook today. There were still little ice crystals inside of it. It smells fine but looks a little strange, the skin is pulled away from the meat in the breast area. Is this ok? Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm
(137) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Dani: It’s hard to say without looking at it. I’m not quite sure what you mean about the skin being pulled away from the breast area.

Peggy
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December 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm
(138) Sonya says:

I have a Turkey that (17lbs.) I took out on Dec. 21 to thaw (completely frozen). It’s still slightly frozen. Is it still good? And if so, what can I do to have it ready for tomorrow?

December 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm
(139) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sonya: As long as it was refrigerated the entire time, it should be fine. If it is not thawed by tomorrow, finish with the cold water method.

Peggy
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January 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm
(140) Terri says:

If I took a 20 pound turkey out of the freezer on Friday afternoon and plan to cook it on the following Friday will that be okay?

January 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(141) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Terri: It should be fine. Check it the day before to see if you need to switch to the cold water method. Make sure it is refrigerated at all times before that.

Peggy
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January 31, 2012 at 9:12 pm
(142) Theresa says:

HI Peggy-

I took a deep frozen 13lb turkey out on Sat. afternoon and put in the fridge to thaw, on Monday when I was planning to cook it, my parents saw it was still forzen. Decided to do a short water bath, and then put it in the fridge until today (Tuesday). I’m concerned about its safety.. Your thoughts?

January 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm
(143) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Theresa: How long was the (cold, I hope) water bath? Is it completely thawed?

Peggy
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February 24, 2012 at 8:30 am
(144) lillian says:

i have a problem i took my turkey out of the freezer put it on the counter……….forgot about it :( it sat out for almost 24 hours its still cold. i havent opened the wrapper it may still have ice in the cavity its a 14lber

February 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(145) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lillian: I certainly would not take a chance on eating that turkey after it had been sitting at room temperature for 24 hours. Sorry…

Peggy
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July 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm
(146) Tiffany says:

I have a 20 lb turkey that has been in the freezer since Nov. Have had it in the fridge since last Sunday. Today has been a week. Would it still be ok to cook tomorrow morning or should i cook it tonight?

July 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm
(147) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Tiffany: It’s time to get that bird in the oven!

Peggy
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August 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm
(148) Samuelsmom says:

I bought a thawed turkey at the grocery store on sale Saturday with a sell by date of Sunday (yesterday). I immediately put it in the fridge and took it out today (Monday). When I rinsed it it looked and felt fine but has a bit of an odor. Is it safe to eat?

August 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm
(149) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

I wouldn’t take the chance, SamuelsMom. Your nose is a pretty darned good indicator.

Peggy
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November 18, 2012 at 7:33 am
(150) Karen says:

I have a 24.3 lb Turkey, Which I told my teenager (first mistake) to put in the fridge he left it on the counter in the basement for 8hrs before I made it down there and screamed It is still frozen I can feel the hardness in the top but the juices that are usually frozen are not….what do I do?

November 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm
(151) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Karen;
It’s hard to advise you without knowing the conditions in your basement, especially temperature-wise. If your basement is as cold as most northern basements (unheated), it’s probably okay. Get it in the refrigerator and let it continue to slowly thaw.

Peggy
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November 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm
(152) Valerie says:

It is Sunday Nov. 18 at 10:00 pm. I just put my 21 lb turkey in the fridge to thaw. I didn’t realize that it would take five days to thaw! I am frantic!!!! If I leave it in the fridge until Wednesday morning, how long would it take to finish thawing it by using the cold water method? I would like to start cooking it at 7am Thursday morning

November 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm
(153) Erica says:

I bought a 15 lb turkey on Thursday and put it right in the fridge…will it be okay to cook on Thanksgiving? I am second guessing my decision to put it in the fridge so early!!! I keep my fridge very cold, so the turkey is still 90% frozen!!! Please advise!!!

November 19, 2012 at 12:40 am
(154) Louanne says:

Here’s the question- Approximately how long will it take( Wednesday evening) to finish thawing a 20lb turkey using the cold water method? It has been in the fridge since Sunday evening. I plan to return it to the fridge once it’s thawed and then put it in to bake early Thanksgiving morning. Thanks in advance for your help!

November 19, 2012 at 12:50 am
(155) Louanne says:

Also, does the turkey have to be completely submerged in water? I’m not sure if my sink is deep enough.

November 19, 2012 at 2:08 am
(156) ray says:

i took my 22 lbs turkey out sat and placeed it onto my deep freezer inside my home. it sat out over night and began to thaw. i placed it into the fridge will it still be safe to fry thur for thanksgiving it was wrapped the whole time.

November 19, 2012 at 3:43 am
(157) lsa says:

I bought a fresh butterball turkey today (sunday, nov 18) that said “sell by Nov 23″. The store manager said it would be fine to keep in the refrigerator and then cook on Thanksgiving morning. However, everything I read on this site indicates that fresh turkey needs to be cooked within 2 days. What should I do?

November 19, 2012 at 8:14 am
(158) ken says:

I thawed an 18 lb. turkey in water and now will keep it in fridge until thur. 3 days . I know that it isn’t recommended but is it ok

November 19, 2012 at 8:39 am
(159) Scott says:

Good morning Peggy. We tried the recommended put-the-17 lb.- frozen-turkey-in-the-fridge-on-Friday defrost method. It is still hard as a rock. It’s in the front on the top shelf. Why isn’t it working as suggested?? Thanks.

November 19, 2012 at 9:48 am
(160) John says:

I messed up , I bought a 22.34 lb frozen turkey and took it out today monday and put it in cold water breast down. According to fridge thawing it would take 4.5 to 5 days to thaw, can I thaw in the sink w/cold water changed every 1/2 hr for ? 2-4hrs and transfer to fridge for the remainder?

November 19, 2012 at 11:51 am
(161) Crystal says:

Ok i think i may have ruined my turkey. I purchased an 11 lb turkey and kept it in the freezer. I took it out sometime mid day sunday to thaw (out side of the fridge) and my reasoning for not letting it thaw in the fridge was because I want to salt it tomorrow (tuesday) and i know it would not be thawed in time for me to salt it. If my turkey was out of the freezer and fridge for several hours should I just get a new one and start again? It was still cold when I put it back in the fridge…Please let me know what you think.

November 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm
(162) Christine De Berry says:

I purchased a 20.5 lb frozen turkey on Nov 13 & it’s been thawing in my fridge. I plan on cooking it on Thurs Nov 22nd. It appears to be thawed now. I’m concerned that I may have purchased it too early. I didn’t have room in freezer. Having people over & worried about food poisioning. Is it still safe to cook for Thanksgiving?Please advise ASAP. Thank you.

November 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm
(163) Nancy C. says:

I bought a 19.15 lb frozen turkey today Monday, the 19th. I started thawing it in the sink at 1:00 pm.Can I take it out half way and let it thaw in the fridge the rest of the way? I am going to serve it on Thursday but want to cook it tomorrow night overnight. I guess i was anxious for Thanksgiving and jumped the gun!

November 19, 2012 at 7:12 pm
(164) Melissa says:

If I buy a 12-14 pound turkey tonight (Monday) how long should I thaw in the fridge and cook Thursday?

November 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm
(165) Marcia says:

I bought a 15lb frozen Turkey. Put it in the fridge this morning (Mon) 8AM, Will it be defrosted in time for Thanksgiving? If not can I put it in cold water to defrost?

November 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm
(166) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Karen:
It’s hard to advise you without knowing the conditions in your basement, especially temperature-wise. If your basement is as cold as most northern basements (unheated), it’s probably okay. Get it in the refrigerator and let it continue to slowly thaw.

=====

Valerie:
It all depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator. You’ll have to use your own judgement on how thawed it is by Weds. It could take a couple of hours or it could take 5 or 6.

=====

Erica:
It should be fine. Just be sure to check it on Weds. to make sure it is thawed.

=====

Louanne:
Again, it depends on how cold you keep your refrigerator and how thawed it is on Weds. Frozen solid, it would take 10 hours. Adjust down from there depending upon how thawed it is.

And yes, the turkey should be completely submerged in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Thaw it in its wrapper. You might have to use your tub or a large cooler.

=====

Ray:
It depends upon how warm the room is. If you keep the room warm, the outer thawed layers could potentially harbor salmonella. If it’s in a cold cellar at around 40-50 F., it’s probably fine.

=====

Isa:
It will be fine, Isa. Cook within 2 days of the sell-by date. “Fresh turkey” means one that is purchased from a farm and has not been processed. Most turkeys now have brine already infused into them (it’s called enhancing), which does help preserve the bird longer.

Peggy
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November 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm
(167) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Ken:
Nope, I cannot recommend that, Ken. Sorry.

=====

Scott:
Some refrigerators are colder than others. You may need to resort to the cold water method.

=====

John:
You can partially thaw it using the cold water method, then put in the fridge to finish. It should be cooked within 2 days of thawing completely via cold water method.

=====

Crystal:
It’s just not a good idea to thaw outside the refrigerator. 3 hours is plenty of time to begin growing bacteria. You’ll have to use your own judgement on whether to take the chance. It might be fine, but it might not. I wouldn’t take the chance.

=====

Christine:
Make sure it stays very cold, in the coldest part of your refrigerator, in its wrapper. It’s probably enhanced with brine, so it should be okay.

=====

Nancy:
I’m assuming you used the cold water method in your sink. If so, then yes. Refrigerate to finish the thawing. Do not remove from the wrapper.

=====

Melissa:
Depending upon how cold your refrigerator is, it should be thawed by Thursday. If not, finish with the cold water method.

=====

Marcia:
It will depend upon how cold you keep your refrigerator, but it should be thawed by Thursday. Check early in case you need to finish with the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm
(168) Tracy says:

Peggy, I took my 17 lb. turkey out of the freezer and put in the fridge on Saturday night around 10 pm. I need at least one day to brine so I want to make sure it is defrosted by Wednesday morning. Just to speed up the defrosting a little I put it in a sink full of cold water (in its original wrapping) for a 1/2 hour with the intention of putting it back in the fridge. When I put it back in the fridge I noticed there was a little pin whole in the packaging. a little water got in (not much at all) so i drained it, put it in a brining bag (still in original packaging ) and put back in the bottom of the fridge.
Question, is it still safe even after a little water seeped into packaging?

November 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm
(169) AMBER says:

I bought my turkey today monday the 19th about 4pm , put it in the bottom of my fridge around 5pm , will I be able to begin cooking my turkey at 8am thursday. Or will I have to do the cold water method

November 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm
(170) amber says:

I am sorry I don’t think I told you it weighs almost 15lbs. Also How long should I cook it for?

November 20, 2012 at 1:14 am
(171) Becky says:

I bought my 15lb turkey tonight. It’s resting comfortably at the bottom of the fridge. Need to start it on Thurs early afternoon. From what I’m reading, sounds like I’m cutting it close using just the fridge.

I see you’ve suggested to “finish with the water method”, to others in this situation. What exactly does that mean? I’ve read what the water method is, but since it will be somewhat thawed already, would the time frame needed for the water method be different/less??

Thank you!!

November 20, 2012 at 1:45 am
(172) Noel says:

Hi-

I have a 24 pounder … Still frozen- I need to cook it Tuesday night or early Wednesday-

I was going to do the cold water thawing method-

And do a slow cook? Any suggestions would be very appreciateded -

This is my first turkey cooking experience

Thank you !

N-

November 20, 2012 at 2:23 am
(173) Sara says:

Hi Peggy!

I bought a 26 1/2 lbs turkey and started defrosting it in the fridge on ottom shelf last week on Tuesday today is Tuesday 20th and it’s done thawing but the problem is that our thanksgiving dinner is on the 24th Saturday so… I was thinking to rub it with a dry brine I purchased at William Sonoma and wrap it with saran wrap until Saturday morning to roast. Is this safe to do? I have no idea how to solve is problem of having the bird defrosted for 3-4 days after thawing time knowing that you should cook it within two days… Advice please.?

Note: the turkey is a butterball enhanced young frozen turkey.

November 20, 2012 at 6:52 am
(174) EllaMaria says:

Good A.M.

I have a 18LB turkey defrosting in the fridge. Can I put it in cold water to defrost and then season it, and then can I put it back in the fridge until Im ready to deep fry it. Please, help. I dont want to get anyone ill. Thank you, kindly

November 20, 2012 at 7:34 am
(175) melissa says:

I bought a 15lb turkey on Monday night. I forgot to put it in the refrigerator. I woke up Tuesday (today) in a panic because my turkey is still on my counter. Any hope on saving this turkey? I really don’t want to buy a new one.

November 20, 2012 at 10:40 am
(176) Anita S says:

I put my 20 lb turkey in the refrigerator Sunday morning. I am serving on Thursday around 12 to 2 pm. I do not think I will have a defrosted turkey based on the 24 hours per 5 lbs. I can cold water thaw it. But how will I know when the turkey is defrosted and it is time to cook?

November 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm
(177) Terri says:

Please help! We bought a frozen turkey and have had it thawing since Saturday – it’s about 18 pounds. This morning I noticed there was a pinkish liquid on the ref. shelf. I know this is coming from the turkey, so I put it on a cookie sheet. My question is will the turkey be ok? I presume the liquid is coming from a hole somewhere on the plastic encasing the turkey? Or do they leak sometimes as they are thawing? Please help!!! Thanks!

November 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm
(178) crazybirdlady says:

FEEL FREE TO LAUGH…… pregnancy at it’s finest!

I am 4 months along in my pregnancy and my extremely tired and full time working brain does not seem to be functioning correctly….with that in mind feel free to laugh at my question. Someone gave me a turkey, i put it in the trunk of my car to take home, got home that evening completely forgot about it and went straight to sleep instead, leaving my poor little lonely turkey (about 9lbs) in the trunk of my car. I am up north so the weather has been around mid 20′s-30′s at night and up to about 50 or so during the day. Is it possible my turkey will still be ok, since I realized today when I got to work I brought the bird back with me?!?!?

Thanks for your help, and hopefully gave you a laugh!

November 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm
(179) Lisa says:

I bought a frozen 20lb turkey yesterday (11/19/2012). I put it in the refridgerator to thaw (in original packaging). I plan to allow it to thaw completely until Friday late morning and then begin brining and until I cook the turkey Saturday morning (11/24/2012). Is that OK?

November 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm
(180) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Tracy:
It should be fine.

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Amber:
Again, it all depends upon how cold your refrigerator is. Normally it would take 1 day per each 5 pounds of weight. Check it Weds. night in case you need to finish with the cold water method.

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Becky:
Yes, the time frame would be different if the turkey is partially thawed, but the method is the same. Obviously it would not take as long. Cover the bird with cold water and change the water every half hour until thawed.

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Noel:
You are going to need 12 hours of the cold water method to thaw. Get busy!

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Sara:
You are taking a big chance. It might be okay, it might not. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it should be cooked by Weds.

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EllaMaria:
After thawing with the cold water method, the turkey should be cooked right away.

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Melissa:
I wouldn’t take the chance after that turkey has been sitting out all night unless you keep your kitchen at less than 50 F. It’s possible that it might be okay, but it’s like playing salmonella roulette.

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Anita S:
When the turkey is soft and pliable, it is thawed. Be sure to change the cold water every 30 minutes.

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Terri:
It is common for a thawing turkey to leak through the packaging. Keep it refrigerated and in the packaging until you are ready to cook.

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Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm
(181) Shannon says:

I bought a 12 lb turkey that is frozen…my husband took it out of the freezer this am. Its in the fridge now…will i be ok for thursday morning to cook it?

November 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm
(182) reina flores says:

i have 23lbs turkey….i just put it in the fridge…by Thursday morning it will still b frozen….WHAT DO I DO?

November 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm
(183) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Shannon:
I seriously doubt it will thaw by tomorrow. You will need to use the cold water method.

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Reina:
Start now with the cold water method, being sure to change the water every 30 minutes. It’s going to take a good 10 hours to thaw with the cold water method.

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Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm
(184) Sonya says:

I put my frozen 20.20lb. turkey in the bottom of my fridge this morning (Tuesday)..I don’t think It will have enough time to completely thaw by Thursday..When sHould I start the cold water method and for how long if I plan on putting it in the oven by 5am Thursday…After thawing by cold water is it safe to store in the fridge til mourning? Thank you!

November 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm
(185) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

BirdLady:
I don’t worry about the overnight in the trunk, considering your temperatures, but I do worry about the daytime temp while you were at work. 50 F is high for a refrigerator, much less the trunk of a car. You must also consider that if the car is parked in the sun, the temperature will be higher in the trunk. I don’t think I’d take the chance on that bird. Congrats on your little one!

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Lisa:
That should be fine. Make sure you keep it refrigerated, even while brining.

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Sonya:
You’ll need to begin the cold water method on Weds. A 20-lb bird is not going to thaw much in 1 day. You will probably need close to 10 hours of thawing using the cold water method, changing the cold water every half hour.

=====

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm
(186) David says:

Hi,
My wife left the turkey in the garage for 4 hours after she brought it home. It’s probably 69 degrees. Is it still safe to eat?

November 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm
(187) Marie says:

Bought 2..18 lb turkeys on Saturday.was NOT totally frozen went we got them. Then we stopped to eat for 2 hours, left them in the car and then when we got home to put them in the refrigerator they were softer…They have been in there since Saturday…Are they still okay to cook! HELP!!!

November 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm
(188) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

David:
I wouldn’t take a chance on it.

=====

Marie:
Yours are probably okay.

=====

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm
(189) jacquie says:

i have a 20lb turkey i have to cook. my mom gave it to me 1/2 froze today how doo i thaw it i only have a mini fridge in my dorm, i heard i can put it in the sink with cold water on it and change the water every 2 hours. is this true

November 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm
(190) Heather says:

I bought a 21 pound frozen turkey tonight… Need it thawed by Thursday morning… I have it in water but cannot change the water every 30 mins due to working tomorrow also my sink isn’t deep enough to totally submerge it

November 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm
(191) Heather says:

I bought a 21 pound frozen turkey tonight… Need it thawed by Thursday morning… I have it in water but cannot change the water every 30 mins due to working tomorrow also my sink isn’t deep enough to totally submerge it so a few inches is in water… I need it done by 9am… What time should I start it? And is the water situation okay?

November 20, 2012 at 9:27 pm
(192) Maggie says:

I bought a frozen 11lb turkey I just put it in the refrigerator so it will be defrosting from 6pm 11/20 Tuesday , on Thursday morning I plan to finish thawing with the cold water method, how many hours would I need to do the cold water method?

November 20, 2012 at 10:03 pm
(193) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jacquie:
Yes, you can put the turkey in your sink. Do not remove the wrapper. Change the cold water every 30 minutes.

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Heather:
You need to enlist the help of a friend, Heather. It should be submerged in cold water and the water changed every 30 minutes. Unless you have a large microwave, there is no other safe way to thaw that turkey in time. I’m not a fan of the microwave method. It should be used as a last resort.

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Maggie:
It depends upon how much it thaws by Thursday, which further depends upon how cold you keep your refrigerator. If you started your 11 lb turkey in the cold water method from the frozen state, it should take about 5-1/2 hours. Yours might finish in half that time or less, depending upon how much it thaws in your refrigerator.

=====

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm
(194) DustNU says:

I bought a frozen solid 23.5 turkey Saturday night (Nov 17) I left it on the counter all night (about 10 hours at probably 70 degrees) when I found it out I immediately put it in the fridge where it has been ever since. I plan on cooking it Thursday morning is it going to be ok?

November 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm
(195) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

DustNU:
Not what you want to hear, but I cannot recommend eating that turkey after it sat out for 10 hours. Sorry.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm
(196) Rubi says:

Hi I bought about a 10 – 12 lb turkey and this is my first time cooking a turkey for thanksgiving,. I totally forgot i need to thaw the turkey until now. it is tuesday and i am celebrating thanksgiving on wednesday because i work thanksgiving day, is there a safe way to thaw my turkey before i need to cook it so no one gets sick.

thank you!!

November 21, 2012 at 12:15 am
(197) Meagan says:

I had no idea to thaw a turkey until my mom told me otherwise. I took my 12lb frozen solid turkey out of the freezer today and it was left out at room temperate for about 6 hours. As soon as she told me this is not the way to do it I placed it in the fridge. Should I get rid of the turkey and buy a new one?

November 21, 2012 at 2:15 am
(198) Carol says:

Hi, Peggy–Thank you for doing this! I bought a 17.5 lb turkey Sunday evening and put it in the fridge right away (~7 pm). I think I’m a day short to finish defrosting in the fridge. How much time should I allow for the cold water method–about 4.5 hours changing the water every 30 mins? Can I do this Wed. night 7 pmish and be likely done by midnight? Is it OK to then put it in the fridge until I roast it in the oven the next morning? Do I clean it Wed. night before putting in the fridge or do that early on Thursday morning. I would like to have the bird out of the oven by noon on Thursday. Also, how should I season or marinate the bird given that I don’t have time to brine it? Is there a recipe or method you’d suggest? Thanks for your help!

November 21, 2012 at 3:27 am
(199) Mari says:

I’m so paranoid! I usually always buy my bird too late and end up doing the water thing all weds night, but this time we bought our 21 lb turkey late Thursday eve and putting it in our spare fridge on the bottom shelf to thaw, going to clean and marinate over night Weds…is this ok? I’ve read previous posts it sounds like it will be ok, I just don’t want to poison my guests!!!!!

November 21, 2012 at 7:26 am
(200) Lynn says:

I have a 20 lb turkey thawing in my fridge for 7 days now, will it still be good to cook in the morning?

November 21, 2012 at 9:36 am
(201) Heather says:

Thanks for the help Peggy… This is my first year making a turkey… I now know for Christmas to buy my turkey ahead of time and let it thaw in the fridge!

November 21, 2012 at 10:50 am
(202) Monique says:

HELP!!!!! i have a 20 Ib turkey and it wednesday already im planing to put it in the sink to thraw but is it really necessary to change water every 30 mins? it cause im working all day today :( SOME PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 21, 2012 at 11:07 am
(203) jason says:

Help please – left turkey thawing in fridge from monday- 15lb turkey was rock solid – 8pm to midnite last night water method then left in packaging overnight in oven (forgot about it) until just now when I put back in fridge. Is it still safe to eat or should I start over? I rushed and goofed, but don’t want to get the family sick. Can I still use the turkey or do I need to start over with a frozen turkey and use the water method? Thank you for the help

November 21, 2012 at 11:10 am
(204) Lorenzo says:

I bought a 22lb turkey on Monday left in in freezer and now I’m barley thawing out but not in the fridge I’m leaving it out untill tomorrow. I took it out just now at 9am. Is that fine?

November 21, 2012 at 11:17 am
(205) Pam says:

I left a 20 pound turkey overnight and did not change the water.When i put it in the frig this morning it was still cold and in its original packaging. Do you think its still safe to stay in the frig another night and cook tomorrow?

November 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm
(206) darla says:

I thought my husband had put our 20lb bird in the fridge when I went back to the store…he didn’t. It sat on the kitchen floor for about 4hrs. It was frozen but when I saw it and put it in the fridge it was already starting to get squishy. Should I get rid of it and pull out the other bird from the freezer to water thaw it? Thanks!

November 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm
(207) MichaelNJ says:

I bought a 20-pound frozen bird, refridgerated it on Saturday @5pm. It’s now almost Weds @5pm. My fridge is pretty cold, so am expecting to use the water method to finish off later this evening, but how do you know if the inside is completely thawed if you keep the turkey in the wrapper?

If it is still frozen internally after all of this thawing, how do you safely (and timely!) finish the job? Just run cold water in to the cavity until the icy parts have melted?

Many thanks!

November 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm
(208) MichaelNJ says:

Peggy, I bought a 20lb frozen bird and refridgerated it @5pm Saturday. It is now 5pm Wednesday. Although it seems soft to the touch through the wrapper, my fridge is always very cold, so I am expecting to finish off with the water method tonight.

HOWEVER, how do we know if it is COMPLETELY thawed internally if the bird is kept in the wrapper? Is this something that can be remedied just before oven-prepping on the morning of Thanksgiving with running water through the unwrapped cavity until the icy parts have melted or is there something else I should be doing?

Many thanks!

November 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm
(209) TanyaMA says:

I bought a frozen 18lb bird that I kept in the freezer until early Sunday morning. It’s been in fridge since and it feels slightly frozen still on the bottom side of the turkey. I’m doing the cold water method now but I was wondering how I can know if the whole bird is thawed when it’s still wrapped. I’m planning to prep it and have it in the oven by 7 a.m. What’s best to do?

November 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm
(210) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Rubi:
Hopefully you saw my article on the cold water method.

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Meagan:
I wouldn’t chance it.

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Carol:
Finish with the cold water method. No way to judge how much longer it will take. Difference refrigerators have different temperatures, so the bird will thaw at a different rate. Thaw it in the wrapper and leave it wrapped until ready to cook. As for cooking it, here is a basic recipe:

Thanksgiving Roast Stuffed Turkey Recipe

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Mari:
It should be fine.

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Lynn:
As long as it is in the original wrapper and refrigerated the entire time, it should be fine.

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Heather:
Welcome! Good luck on your first dinner!

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Monique:
Yes, it is important to change the water every 30 minutes.

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Jason:
I would not chance it, Jason. Very dangerous.

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Lorenzo:
Not at all! Very dangerous to leave the turkey out at room temperature. It is a perfect breeding ground for salmonella.

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Pam:
Very risky, Pam. I wouldn’t chance it.

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Darla:
I wouldn’t take the chance on it, Darla.

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MichaelNJ:
I’m assuming you are cooking it on Thursday. You should be able to tell by touch when the bird is thawed. If there still happens to be some ice around the innards when you unwrap it, yes, just run cold water through the cavity.

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TanyaMA:
See my answer to MichaelNJ above.

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Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm
(211) terry D says:

Hi, I have a 14lbs turkey , just bought today.(Wed) Going to do the cold water thaw to be ready by 12noon Thursday. I will be deep frying. Is 12 hours in water ok? or too long?

November 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm
(212) Andrea says:

I have 22 pound turkey and tomorrow is thanksgiving. What is the fastest and safest way to defrost?

November 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm
(213) Jason P says:

I put 12 lb frozen turkey in sink of cold water for 4 hours early Wednesday morning. I forgot to change the water. It felt completely unthawed so I stuck it back in the fridge. Will it be fine to leave in fridge until Thursday afternoon to cook? Please help.

November 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm
(214) Maria says:

Hi i bought a 12lb turkey on the 6th of Nov. On Monday (Nov. 12 around 5pm) I took it out and put it in the fridge can I place the turkey in a bucket with cold water and put it in the fridge so it can thaw properly? I need to start cleaning it by 9am tomorrow..
Help pleade and thank you!

November 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm
(215) vicki says:

my husband just opened our turkey. we are not cooking til tomorrow morning. will it be fine over night in the fridge.

November 22, 2012 at 1:00 am
(216) gigi says:

Hi I got a 14 lb turkey on Tuesday and put it away to thaw out in the fridge at 40 degrees. Its has been 24hrs now, im worried it will still be frozen. I switched to the water method and i have the turkey sitting in cold water now. By the way, Im also going to brine it for 8 to 10 hours with ice water. How much longer should i have it sit in water to defrost before i put it to brine? THANKS!

November 22, 2012 at 1:04 am
(217) dj says:

I bought a turkey today at around 4, it was frozen, I have been carrying it around with me all day in the cold, just got home to put in the fridge about 8 hours later, is that a problem?

November 22, 2012 at 3:24 am
(218) Alex says:

I took my turkey out of the wrapper and put it in cold water and have been changing it every 30 mins is that ok since it’s in the sink not wrapped?

November 22, 2012 at 5:49 am
(219) Phyllis says:

I bought a 20 pound turkey yesterday since our plans of going out to eat changed. I brought it home and kept in it’s packaging and put in a pan to thaw. I left it in the pan on the counter for 9 hours. The bird was frozen solid when I started. I took it out of the packaging after 9 hours, the bird was still very frozen except the top parts but they were still very cold. I soaked it in cold water for 15 mins on each side then put in the fridge so I could get some sleep until morning which is in 5 hours, where I intend to take it out and soak in salt water for 30 mins on each side again. The turkey will still be mostly frozen anyway I am sure. I already removed all the giblets and the neck I intend on removing before I place in oven. OK the questions I have are is it still safe to cook after my attempts to dethaw? The bird was still very cold on the outside, just starting to dethaw. And is it ok to cook the turkey when it half frozen?

November 22, 2012 at 5:51 am
(220) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Terry D:
Cold water method requires changing the water every 30 minutes. For a 14 lb. turkey frozen solid, that would be about 7 hours.

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Andrea:
You will be up all night. Read here: How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey.

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Jason P:
See above.

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Maria:
If it’s not thawed already, your refrigerator is colder than most. You might need to use the cold water method.

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Vicki:
Without knowing how it was stored before you unwrapped it, I can’t advise. Definitely keep it refrigerated.

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Gigi:
Put it in the brine now! :)

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DJ:
Depends upon how cold it was.

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Alex:
It’s okay, but be sure you give your sink a thorough washing before proceeding with any further food preparation.

=====

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 22, 2012 at 5:57 am
(221) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Phyllis:
Leaving poultry on the counter for 9 hours is inviting disaster. I cannot, in all good conscious, encourage you to follow through with it. I certainly wouldn’t take the chance.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 22, 2012 at 6:01 am
(222) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

To All:
It’s almost 6am here on the east coast on Thanksgiving Day 2012. If you haven’t started thawing your bird yet, you’re in for a long one. Please read all the preceding questions and answers. Then consult How to Thaw a Frozen Turkey.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 22, 2012 at 7:13 am
(223) Charlie says:

i bought a frozen turkey that was partially thawed (soft on top), is it ok to use (i kept it in the refrigerator for 3 days to finish thawing)

November 22, 2012 at 9:34 am
(224) Cherie says:

Hello, I need some turkey advice. Bought a frozen 21 lbs turkey. Was solid when I put it on my counter to put groceries away. After about 1 1/2 hours of getting things put up (groceries, and organizing frig), I stuck my turkey, wrapped and all in a rubbermaid tub on my kitchen floor and filled it with cold water until it floated, put the lid on it and went to bed. This was at about 11:30pm Got up and put it in the fridge yesterday morning at about 8:30. It’s been there until now, and when I opened it, it still had ice in the cavity but the stuff inside was mostly thawed. My question is, since I didn’t change out the tub of water (which I just read about) while it was in the tub for 9 hours, and in the fridge since yesterday morning, is it still safe?

November 22, 2012 at 11:40 am
(225) Heather says:

My 22 lb turkey was still semi frozen this morning after defrosting in fridge for four days. I ran some warm water on it to defrost ice, rather than cold. Then, immediately put in oven…will it be safe to eat?

November 22, 2012 at 1:40 pm
(226) Tess says:

I did the same as Heather; the bird was partially frozen in the middle and I couldn’t get the giblets out. I ran some warm water in the cavity so I could get the bag out. Will it be safe to eat?

November 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm
(227) Rocio says:

Wow I just bought a 14lb frozen turkey so it’ll def not be ready then????? Help I’m a rookie at this!

November 22, 2012 at 7:14 pm
(228) rysharen says:

It’s Thursday night of Thanks Giving we are eating on Saturday will my 19lb Turkey be thawed by Saturday in my fridge?

November 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm
(229) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Rysharen:
It should take 4 days in the refrigerator for your turkey to thaw. I would check it at least 5 hours before you need to start cooking in case you need to finish with the cold water method.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm
(230) Linda says:

I put a solid frozen 25pound turkey in the refer on a week ago Saturday/ Today will be day nine that it has been in there. Would it be okay to cook it today or did I wait too long?

November 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm
(231) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Linda:
It depends upon how long it has been thawed. It should be cooked within 2 days of fully thawing.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

November 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm
(232) jessica says:

My husband bought an 18lb frozen turkey on Wed Nov 21. He put it in the fridge to thaw. We plan on cooking it on Sun Dec 2, is it ok to leave it to thaw in the fridge that long?

November 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm
(233) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jessica:
I wouldn’t hold it that long. It should have naturally finished thawing in the fridge a couple of days ago. Holding it another week is inviting disaster.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 3, 2012 at 12:40 pm
(234) Lynne says:

From what I’ve been reading, it’s bad news to keep a turkey defrosting in the fridge for more than 4 days. While I can’t find the size of my butterball turkey, i would say probably 10 lbs. I put it into the meat drawer, frozen, in the bottom of my fridge on thanksgiving night. Today is day 11. I opened it.. It did not smell bad and it was not slimy or mushy. I rinsed it.. Added spices and put it in the oven. I thought it might be bad for me to eat.. But thought about giving it to the dogs..(my dogs) or should I just throw the whole thing in the trash.

December 3, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(235) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lynne:
Sorry, but I just cannot recommend it, not for you nor the animals.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(236) Crystallblue says:

I bought a 13lb Turkey and on sunday put it in water for about 5 hrs then put it in the fridge. Ended up getting ill …its now Wednesday is it ok to cook still?

December 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm
(237) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Crystallblue:
It’s hard to advise without knowing how thoroughly it thawed in the water and how you did it. If it was thoroughly thawed, you are pushing it. Hopefully it was not quite completely thawed and remained very cold in the water.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm
(238) kelly says:

i didnt read the directions before i bought my 15 pound turkey and i wanted to cook it tomorrow so i left it out to that on my kitchen counter for the last 18 hours. i just put it in the fridge and i could tell it wasnt ttoally thawed out. is it safe to eat? now im worried….

December 7, 2012 at 2:56 am
(239) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Kelly:
I would be worried, too. I wouldn’t take the chance. I can’t recommend it in good conscience. Room temperature thawing is an invitation to salmonella.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 12, 2012 at 10:33 am
(240) Lin says:

Hello :) I thawed my turkey in the fridge and then last night I took it out of the packaging and soaked it in cold salt water in the kitchen sink ( my first atempt a brining)… the only problem is I forgot about it and woke up this morning to my turkey still in the kitchen sink… the water and the turkey were still cold. I put it back in the fridge and was going to cook it as soon as I got home… Do you think it is ok that it was in the cold water overnight?

December 13, 2012 at 3:30 am
(241) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lin:
Iffy situation. How cold is cold? The salt in the brine might discourage some spoilage. Hard to say, but not the best idea. Should have put it in a cooler with tons of ice.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 19, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(242) Sandy says:

I bought a 12 lb. turkey today (Wednesday). I’m planning to cook it on Monday – do I need to keep it frozen for another day or two or should it go into the fridge now? I have no idea how long it’ll take to thaw….
Thanks!

December 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm
(243) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sandy:
I would put it in the refrigerator tomorrow (Thursday).

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm
(244) Sandy says:

Thanks so much!!!

December 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm
(245) Sam says:

I have a 8 lb turkey and it’s been in the fridge for 2 days but it still feels quite frozen im cooking it tomorrow what should i do?

December 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm
(246) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sam:
Time to start the cold water method! Do not remove the wrapper. Cover with cold water. Change water every 30 minutes.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm
(247) Marcy says:

Hi. I put my frozen 16 pound turkey in the fridge on Monday. On Wednesday my kids accidentally left fridge door open for 4 hours and Wednesday night the turkey felt thawed. In it still safe to cook it on Saturday? Thanks

December 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm
(248) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Marcy:
It should be cooked within 2 days of thawing.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 21, 2012 at 8:49 am
(249) Deborah says:

I bought a frozen 12 pound turkey and it has been in the fridge since tuesday morning . is it still ok to cook for christmas or should i get another turkey”/

December 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm
(250) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Deborah:
It should be cooked within 2 days of completely thawing.

Peggy
Visit Home Cooking!

December 23, 2012 at 9:42 am
(251) Steve says:

Hi,

I have to work so I want to prepare turkey and then put it in oven like 5hrs later. Is it alright to rinse and pat dry then rub butter and herbs and put back in refrigerator and then cook later? My wife is pregnant so I dont really want her to mess around with cleaning the turkey.

Thank you,

Steve

December 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm
(252) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Steve:
That should be fine. Do not stuff it, though.

Peggy
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December 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm
(253) Emma B says:

Hi first time in cooking a frozen turkey- I have a 13lb that I took out of my freezer at 8pm -having asked my mum she said to leave it on the counter overnight then put in the fridge. By 10pm I’d done some research about how to cook and came across the dangers of it on the counter so I’ve put it in the fridge. It was out 2hours and still very frozen I guess I will have to do the cold water method but do you recommend still using it or getting another? I’m cooking for others and paranoid about making them ill! Thank you so much!

December 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm
(254) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Emma B:
It’s hard to advise without knowing how warm your kitchen is and how much it thawed. If it was still in the package and didn’t thaw too deep, it is probably okay. Definitely begin the cold water method.

Peggy
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December 24, 2012 at 2:02 am
(255) Mary says:

Peggy, I accidentally left my 12 lb., unwrapped, thouroughly washed turkey on the counter for 6 hours today while making the stuffing. I put it in the fridge as soon as I realized my mistake. Only the skin seems to have thawed. Is it safe to keep it, or should I toss it?

December 24, 2012 at 4:03 am
(256) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Mary:
Sorry, but I can’t recommend keeping it. Very dangerous, especially unwrapped and washed. That must have been a very complicated stuffing recipe to take 6 hours! Yikes!

Peggy
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December 28, 2012 at 11:46 am
(257) Karen Humphrey says:

I put a 14 pound turkey in the refrigerator to thaw on Friday, Dec. 21st. The temp in the refrig is about 32 degrees. I was planning on cooking it Christmas day but was sick and it didn’t get cooked. I checked it on Christmas and it was almost thawed. Would it be okay to cook on the 29th or is that too much time. The use by date on the package is Feb. 2013.

December 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm
(258) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Karen Humphrey:
The turkey should be cooked within 2 days of thawing.

Peggy
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December 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm
(259) Linda says:

If I put a frozen turkey in refrigerator on Dec 22 that weighed 14.26 lbs how long is it safe for until cooked?

December 29, 2012 at 8:12 pm
(260) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Linda:
You should have already cooked it. It should be cooked within 2 days of thawing. It should have been thawed by 12/25 and cooked by 12/27.

Peggy
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December 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm
(261) Elizabeth says:

I bought a turkey on December 24th. Tomorrow will be December 31. Is is still okay to cook it or should I toss it?

December 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm
(262) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Elizabeth:
Sorry but you haven’t given me enough information to even guess. If it has been thawed for more than two days, you are taking a risk by cooking it.

Peggy
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January 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm
(263) Angie says:

I bought a frozen turkey on sunday that is 11 lbs. It has been thawing in the fridge. If I cook it on saturday. Is it still okay?

January 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm
(264) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Angie: The turkey should be cooked within 2 days of fully being thawed.

Peggy
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February 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm
(265) Donna says:

I put a frozen 12 lb turkey in the fridge last week, the trouble is I put it in the garage fridge and cant’ remember what day I actually did that. It still has ice crystals inside, will it be safe to eat?

February 2, 2013 at 9:52 pm
(266) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Donna:
If it still has ice crystals in it, it should be fine.

Peggy
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February 6, 2013 at 9:23 am
(267) Sandy says:

I bought a 5 lb frozen chicken last Friday afternoon. Its been in the fridge since and I would like to cook it today (Wednesday). Has it been too long?? Thanks!!

February 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm
(268) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Sandy:
It should be cooked within 2 days of being completely thawed.

Peggy
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February 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm
(269) Chris B says:

Hi Peggy,
I want to know what the longest maximum time a turkey will keep from freezer to fridge – I put a frozen 13.5 lb. frozen turkey in my neighbor’s refrigerator (too big for my fridge), but not sure when. I think it was between 6 and 8 days ago. How much longer do I have? Thanks in advance.
Chris

February 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(270) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Chris:
At that weight, it should have completely thawed within 3 days, 4 at most. It should be cooked within 2 days of completely thawing. So you pretty much have zero time left!

Peggy
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October 11, 2013 at 12:59 am
(271) maria says:

I fully thawed my turkey at the counter last tuesday night and had it iced brined wednesday night at the bottom of the fridge ( at the drawer where we put the vegetables). Im planning to cook it on Saturday noon. Is it still okay?

October 11, 2013 at 1:08 am
(272) maria says:

sorry Peggy, regarding my last post. I actually thawed my still wrapped and unwashed turkey at the counter for one day( tuesday night to wedneday night). till i had it brined with ice at the bottom of the fridge. is it still safe till i cook it on saturday noon?

October 11, 2013 at 2:03 am
(273) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Maria;
I’m sorry, I just can’t recommend it. Your mistake was thawing the turkey on the counter. You should always thaw in the refrigerator or use the cold water method. It might be okay, but it has definite potential of salmonella poisoning your guests. Personally, I can’t recommend taking the chance.

Peggy
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November 17, 2013 at 1:32 pm
(274) Jordan says:

We just bought a 8lb Turkey and have no idea when we should start to thaw it.

November 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm
(275) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jordan: Remove your turkey from the freezer 2 days before cooking. Place it in the bottom of your refrigerator, in its wrapper. Timing will depend upon how cold you keep your refrigerator, but 2 days should do it.

Peggy
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November 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm
(276) chanzell says:

Hello Peggy,
I just bought our first thanksgiving turkey @ 22.30lbs and it has been in the freezer since then (wednesday 13 november) and i would like to know when to take it out to thaw, when to marinade it, and when to cook it. Thank you for your time and advice.

November 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm
(277) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Chanzell:
Move your turkey to the refrigerator section 5 days before you want to cook it. On the day before cooking, put it in your preferred marinade, and seal. Return to the refrigerator for an additional day. On the day of cooking, drain the marinade, discard the marinade, and cook.

Peggy
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November 18, 2013 at 6:14 pm
(278) Kathy Scott says:

We just bought a 18 lb turkey, from Costco, that has never been frozen and one of the workers said not to freeze it before we cook it on Thanksgiving. We feel that is a long time for it to be in the refrigerator uncooked. The tag on it says to sell before Nov. 29 and that it is fresh. Should we freeze it or will it be OK?

Thanks!

November 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm
(279) homecooking says:

Kathy Scott:
Make sure the turkey is completely sealed in its original packaging with no holes in the bag. Store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator. It is important to keep it very cold. Is the turkey enhanced or brined? Check the ingredients label to see if brine or saltwater has been injected. That extends the shelf life.

If you freeze it, you defeat the purpose of buying a fresh turkey. However, you certainly can freeze it. It will need 3 to 4 days to thaw out in your refrigerator.

Peggy
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November 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm
(280) chanzell says:

Thank you Peggy for your advice. So i would marinade the turkey before i put it in the turkey bag(2pk) to cook and will this keep it moist.

November 18, 2013 at 9:04 pm
(281) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Chanzell:
Yes, you can marinated the turkey before cooking, if you wish. If you are using a cooking bag, that will keep it moist whether you marinate or not. Season well, put in the bag, and cook.

Peggy
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November 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm
(282) Kathy Scott says:

Thanks for your help. Glad to hear I do not to freeze it. Thanks again and have a Happy Thangsgiving!

November 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm
(283) Jessica says:

I purchased a frozen turkey and put it in the fridge thinking it would take a while to defrost, but it’s completely thawed now. I feel like keeping it in the fridge for over a week will make the meat go bad. Is it safe to put it in the freezer for a couple of days and then rethaw? Will it ruin the taste of the turkey? Is there a chance it will get freezer burn? It’s in the original packaging.

November 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm
(284) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jessica:
You can safely re-freeze the turkey since it was thawed in your refrigerator in its original packaging. However, re-thawing will make it lose more moisture resulting in lesser quality. It will still be edible.

Check the package for the ingredients listing. Most poultry is “enhanced” with broth or brine which lengthens shelf-life and adds moisture. If it is enhanced, it will probably be okay in the refrigerator if you store it in the coldest section in its original package.

If you do re-freeze, make sure you allow enough time for it to thaw in the refrigerator again.

Peggy
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November 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm
(285) Brittany says:

Hi there

I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. I just bought 2 frozen turkeys this evening and I noticed an odor coming from them in the car on my way home. Is that normal or should I be concerned that the turkeys are bad? My husband says it’s normal, but I’d rather be safe than sorry, so I was hoping for another opinion. Thanks!

November 21, 2013 at 10:46 am
(286) Faythe says:

I put a 14 lb turkey in a sink of cold water last night. This morning I came down and the water was all drained from the sink. The turkey was still cold but not frozen. Should I be worried about it being okay to eat?

November 21, 2013 at 11:00 am
(287) Faythe says:

I put a frozen 14 lb turkey in my sink with cold water last night. This morning when I checked on it I found that the water had drained out of the sink. The turkey is thawed but still cold. Should I worry about it being safe to eat?

November 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm
(288) carol regalbuto says:

how long will it take to defrost a 16 lb. turkey when I have no room in my refrigerator?

November 21, 2013 at 10:03 pm
(289) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Brittany:
The turkeys should NOT have an odor, especially if they are frozen.

Peggy
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November 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm
(290) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Faythe:
Not good. I would be worried about eating it.

Peggy
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November 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm
(291) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Carol R:
For alternative methods of thawing, check here:

How to Thaw a Turkey.

Peggy
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November 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm
(292) Chach says:

I bought a 21 lb frozen turkey on Wednesday 11/20 and immediately put it in the fridge. I wanted to brine it on Wednesday night 11/27. It is enhanced I turned my refrigerator temp down and put it in the back of the fridge. Do you think it will be ok? I was just worried because it seemed to be thawing more rapidly than I thought it would

November 22, 2013 at 11:33 pm
(293) Deanna says:

I just bought a 10.5lb turkey that I want to cook at 12 tomorrow. I know I have to use the cold water method, but would it work for me to submerge it in water in the refrigerator overnight? Would that work?

November 23, 2013 at 12:42 am
(294) Jan says:

Today I received a 13 pound frozen turkey. It was out of the freezer for five hours before
I could refrigerate it. I will not be able to cook it for 8 days. Can I safely put it back in the freezer? It is still rock solid with the exception of about two inches of breast meat that had begun to soften.

November 23, 2013 at 1:58 am
(295) DC says:

It’s 1230am 11/23- i just came back from the store with a rock solid frozen 13.89 pound white honey suckle turkey…. I plan to cook this Thursday 11/28…. I placed it in the fridge……… is that too much time for it to thaw…… i think i should be ok??….

November 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm
(296) ron says:

I bought a frozen 16.9 lb turkey on wed nov 20 and put it in the fridge to thaw. I noticed today that it appears thawed. Will it be ok to for thurs cooking or did i thaw too early ?

November 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm
(297) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Chach;
If it is in the original packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, it should be okay. Enhancing increases shelf-life.

Peggy
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November 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(298) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Deanna:
Sorry…a little late. You had the right idea. How did it turn out?

Peggy
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November 23, 2013 at 4:43 pm
(299) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Jan:
I wouldn’t worry about the thawing issue. I would worry about it being left out at room temperature too long. With the breast already beginning to thaw, you have a prime situation for salmonella. It might be okay, but there’s a good chance it may not. You’ll have to make that decision for yourself, but I wouldn’t take the chance.

Peggy
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November 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm
(300) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

DC:
You should be fine. It should take 3 days to thaw in the fridge, depending upon how cold you keep your fridge. And, once thawed, it should be cooked within 5 days. So, your window is 8 days. You should be good to go.

Peggy
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November 23, 2013 at 4:48 pm
(301) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Ron:
Keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator in its original packaging. You will be close to the recommended deadline, but you should be okay, especially if it is enhanced/brined (as most are these days).

Peggy
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November 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm
(302) Cheryl Chadwick says:

Hi!

I had intended to start thawing my turkey the Saturday before Thanksgiving… I goofed and started thawing the bird ahead of time… LAST SATURDAY… so as of this Saturday it has been thawing one week already. The bird weighs 16 and 1/4 lbs and is still in it’s wrapper.

I am worried that as it has been thawing for so long it may be of no use at all and not at all safe to eat. Circumstances being as they are is bird unsafe to use and all sorts of foul or am I worrying over nothing?

November 24, 2013 at 1:03 am
(303) Denise says:

I bought a frozen 19 pound Turkey the 21st and thawed in the fridge. Its already defrosted and it’s Sat. night. Is it ok to cook in on Thanksgiving or should I refreeze it..Thanks

November 24, 2013 at 4:35 am
(304) Joe says:

We bought a frozen 21.75 lb turkey. I placed it in the fridge Sun the 24th at 2:30 am. Will it be thawed out in time to start cooking by Thursday at 9 am? If not and I need to finish with cold water method, then how long should I thaw in cold water Thursday morning?

November 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm
(305) Renee says:

I bought a turkey from the store that was not frozen (17lbs). The guy said it would be ok to leave in the fridge till thanksgiving which would be 7 days in the fridge…is that safe to cook? I also noticed when I got home last week it leaked all over! What should I do!? Ahhh first thanksgiving hosting at my new house!

November 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm
(306) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Cheryl;
It should be cooked within 5 days of thawing. I would cook it right NOW!

Peggy
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November 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm
(307) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Denise:
You are pushing the recommended limit. However, if it is enhanced/brined and still in the original package in the coldest part of your refrigerator, it should be okay.

Peggy
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November 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm
(308) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Joe:
It will depend upon how cold you keep your refrigerator, but it should be pretty much thawed by Thanksgiving day. Check it in the morning of TG. How much time you’ll need with the cold water method will be determined by how much it has thawed. After 4 days of thawing, it shouldn’t need much more than an hour or two of cold water thawing.

Peggy
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November 24, 2013 at 7:06 pm
(309) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Renee:
I think that 7 days is pushing the limits, especially with leaky packaging. I would cook it NOW.

Peggy
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November 25, 2013 at 11:46 am
(310) Debbie says:

I bought a 19.75 lb frozen turkey on Thursday and put it in the refrigerator in my garage. The setting is on 5 but the garage is only about 20 degrees because it has been freezing here. I checked the turkey this morning and it still seems to be frozen solid! I think i can move it into the house fridge. Is there a way to find out how frozen it still is without unwrapping it?

November 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm
(311) lisa says:

hi.. I need some help! I bought my 18 pound turkey Friday morning and I just looked in the fridge. It is now fully defrosted. What do I do? Will it still be good in the fridge until Thursday morning when I intend to bake it? Should I get another one today and start defrosting?

November 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm
(312) Wendy says:

Hi!
I bought my butterball young turkey last night. I just read below that I should put it at the bottom of my refrigerator and I did that. It weighs 18.8 lbs please tell me it will be thawed by Thursday. If not will it be ok to thaw it in water thursday morning with a shallow sink if I keep turning it? And how long should I do that? Thanks so much!

November 25, 2013 at 10:44 pm
(313) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Debbie:
You should be able to feel with your hand to judge how much it has thawed. The more it yields to pressure, the more thawed it is. Don’t unwrap it until it is thawed and ready to cook. Even if you have to use the cold water method, leave it in the packaging.

Peggy
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November 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm
(314) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Lisa:
Leave it in the coldest part of your fridge in its original wrapper. It should be okay on Thursday, especially if it is enhanced/brined/injected.

Peggy
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November 25, 2013 at 10:49 pm
(315) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Wendy:
It should be thawed by Thursday, however, it all depends upon how cold you keep your refrigerator. Check it at least 2 hours before cooking and finish thawing with the cold water method, if need be. It should be fully submerged in cold water, with the water changed often. If your sink is not deep enough, consider using an ice chest or cooler or even the bathtub.

Peggy
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November 25, 2013 at 10:57 pm
(316) Wendy says:

Thank you!!

November 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm
(317) Justin says:

Bought a 16lb turkey on NOV 20th will it be good on thanksgiving? 8 days in frig.

November 26, 2013 at 3:41 am
(318) Ray says:

Hello Peggy. I’m new to this and found out that I’m already in trouble. It’s Tuesday 12:26am and I just learned that I should have pulled my 21.5 pound Turkey out of the freezer 3 days ago. I moved it from the freezer to the fridge about 10 minutes ago and now I know that I have to do a combo fridge/water defrost. If I leave it in my fridge (at 38 degrees) from now until Wednesday afternoon/evening (approx 34-38 hours), how long should I defrost it in water to get it completely thawed out?

Once it’s thawed in water on Wednesday night, is it safe to keep in the fridge until Thursday morning?
Thank you for your help.
-Ray

November 26, 2013 at 3:42 am
(319) Ray says:

Hello Peggy. I’m new to this and found out that I’m already in trouble. It’s Tuesday 12:26am and I just learned that I should have pulled my 21.5 pound Turkey out of the freezer 3 days ago. I moved it from the freezer to the fridge about 10 minutes ago and now I know that I have to do a combo fridge/water defrost. If I leave it in my fridge (at 38 degrees) from now until Wednesday afternoon/evening (approx 34-38 hours), how long should I defrost it in water to get it completely thawed out?

Once it’s thawed in water on Wednesday night, is it safe to keep in the fridge until Thursday morning?
Thank you for your help.

November 26, 2013 at 3:52 am
(320) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Justin:
Cook that turkey NOW!

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 3:59 am
(321) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Ray:
That’s a big boy! The fridge at 38 F. is pretty cold. It won’t defrost much in the next few days. You have the right idea, though. Leave it in the fridge and start the cold water method on Weds. Can’t tell you exactly how long it will take, because it will depend upon how thawed it gets in the next couple of days sitting in that fridge. However, if you use the cold water method on Wednesday, and get it thawed, just refrigerate it again until Thursday. Once it’s thawed, it should be cooked within 3-5 days, depending upon whether it’s enhanced or brined or not. Be sure to keep the bird in it’s original packaging when you thaw, both in the fridge and using the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 8:51 am
(322) Kelly says:

Hi Peggy!

This is my first time cooking a turkey. I bought a frozen Butterball that is 13lbs. I bought it Sunday and put it directly into the fridge when I got home around 2pm. I assume it will be thawed by Thursday morning. I may even want to prep it Wednesday night, do you think it will be? Also my aunt said to cook it in a tin pan and then tent it with tin foil. Will I still have to open and baste it from time to time or will the tenting acting like a steamer and keep the moisture in? And how long and at what temp should I cook it? I’ve also seen the turkey roasting bags for a couple bucks at the store….my friend just made a turkey this past weekend and used one of those. Her turkey was the same size and she cooked it for 3 hours in the bag and said it came out great. She said you just put a little flour in the bag first and shake it up and then put your seasoned turkey in, seal the bag and cook and you never need to touch it. Thoughts?

November 26, 2013 at 7:42 pm
(323) homecooking says:

Kelly:
It should be thawed by Thursday. The only prepping you should do is brining. Otherwise, do not remove it from the package until you are ready to season and cook it. Oven-roasting in a tented tin pan is definitely a classic method. The foil tent keeps the skin from getting too browned. It does not hold in moisture. The foil tent is removed at the end of the cooking process to allow the bird to fully brown. Basting about every 30 minutes is recommended with this method.

Turkey Roasting Times.

Many are using the roasting bags for the turkey these days. It definitely holds in moisture better with no basting required, but some often complain the bird tastes boiled using this method, especially if it is overcooked. The bag shortens cooking time, so check the insert in the package for recommended times. Do not forget to flour the bag before putting the bird in. You also need to cut small slits in the bag to let some air escape or the bag can burst. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the temperature. It should read 165 F in the thickest part of the breast not touching bone.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm
(324) Dale says:

Hello Peggy,
My wife picked up a 22 lb’er yesterday afternoon! She got a free bird with a minimum purchase so let’s get the biggest damn bird in the store!! My question, if I try and water thaw tonight in a cooler, changing water every 30 min or so, place it back in the fridge overnight, start the water thaw again Wed when I get home (about 6:00PM), due you think it would be thawed enough to brine overnight on Wed for cooking on Thursday? Sorry for the long question but I’m trying to figure out if I can do this or not. Planning on cooking on my pellet grill. Thanks and Happy Turkey Day!!! :-)

November 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm
(325) homecooking says:

Dale:
It’s not recommended. Once you begin the cold water method, you should follow through completely and cook it right away. Most birds are enhanced/broth-injected these days, which does cut back on safety issues. That being said, it might be okay, but it might not. I just can’t recommend it. It will have to be a personal decision for you.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm
(326) Ash says:

My boss gave me a frozen solid turkey last night. I dropped it off at home around 7pm but my roommate forgot to put it in the freezer. i put it in the freezer this morning at 7am. is it still safe to cook and eat?

November 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm
(327) homecooking says:

Ash:
I would not eat it after being left at room temperature for 12 hours.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(328) Joe says:

We’re actually doing our dinner on Saturday so have a bit more time than most – but I think I may have waited a bit too long. I’ve got a 20 lb. in the freezer now – I can put it in the fridge tonight but most estimates I’ve found say up to 5 days for this weight, so we’re bit shorter than ideal time.

From previous comments it sounds as though it is OK to start thawing in the fridge and then switch to cold water, so I’ll probably do this and then have it ready to go in the oven about mid-day on Saturday.

That’ll give it about 3.5 days in the fridge and then some more time in the sink on Saturday morning for a while.

My main question is how will I know it’s sufficient thawed, is there a simple way to tell?

November 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(329) homecooking says:

Joe:
I approve of your thawing plan. It normally takes 1 day per 5 pounds of bird, so you are cutting it close and may well have to resort to the cold water method to finish up. You can tell when it’s thawed simply by feeling the flesh. It should be soft, just like raw chicken.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm
(330) Pam says:

Hi-I bought a 20 pound turkey turkey and placed it in the fridge last Friday. Today is Tuesday and I placed it in a brine solution this morning in the fridge to cook on Thursday. Now I’m concerned I have thawed it too long. It still had ice in it this morning but was primarily thawed. What do you think?

November 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm
(331) homecooking says:

Pam:
I don’t think thawing is the issue, especially if it still had some ice crystals. However, I think you jumped the gun on brining. I wouldn’t brine for more than 24 hours. An overly-long brining time can actually start to cure the turkey, making the flesh rubbery in texture. This is a common complaint for brined birds, especially if the bird is enhanced/broth-injected when you buy it as most are these days.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(332) Ann says:

Ok so I took my frozen turkey out of the freezer last night around 9:00 p.m. and accidentally forgot about it. It stayed out for about 9 1/2 to 10 hours at room temperature.

When I checked it this morning, it was still cold but for the most part thawed on the top and the bottom side (side in pan) was still frozen. Is is still safe to cook/eat or not?

Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
Ann

November 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm
(333) homecooking says:

Ann:
I would not take the chance on eating that turkey after being left out for 9-1/2 to 10 hours.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm
(334) bridget says:

i have a 21lb turkey how long do i cook i want to cook it slow please email me the answer thanks and god bless

November 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm
(335) bridget says:

i have a 21lb turkey how long do i cook it i want to cook it slow please email the answer thanks an god bless

November 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm
(336) homecooking says:
November 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm
(337) bridget says:

and happy thanksgiving

November 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm
(338) Juan says:

Is it safe to do the water method then put in fridge after?

November 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm
(339) homecooking says:

Juan:
It should be cooked immediately after thawing with the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm
(340) LeeAnne says:

Just bought a 11 pound turkey today (Tuesday) how do I thaw it?

November 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm
(341) homecooking says:
November 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm
(342) Dale says:

Peggy,
Based on your answer, if I have a 22 lb frozen bird placed in the fridge yesterday evening, pull it out on Thrusday morning to start the water thaw, any quess on how long I should plan on? Trying to figure out what time in the morning I have to get up ;-) Thanks for your help, I guess I wont be smoking the bird this year……

November 26, 2013 at 9:11 pm
(343) homecooking says:

Dale:
I can’t give you an exact time because it will depend upon how much it thaws in the refrigerator between yesterday and tomorrow. Straight from the freezer, it should take about 11 hours using the cold water method. You can probably expect to shave off a couple of those hours due to the thawing from yesterday to tomorrow, but it all depends upon how cold you keep your refrigerator. Sorry to be so vague, but there are factors I can’t predict.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm
(344) Jayna says:

Can I thaw my turkey in water in the fridge. Would that help it thaw quicker?

November 26, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(345) homecooking says:

Jayna:
No. It would actually slow the thawing because the refrigerator would cool the water down too much along with the frozen bird.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm
(346) Rick1313 says:

Hi. I bought a turkey that is 14-16 lbs from publix and placed it in the fridge around noon today 11/26/13. Will it be ready to cook around 6pm tomorrow. We are doing it a day early so some people can be here before they see other family….

November 27, 2013 at 4:41 am
(347) homecooking says:

Rick1313:
Nope. You need about 7-8 hours of defrosting time in the refrigerator for that size of a bird. Better start the cold water method asap.

Peggy
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November 26, 2013 at 11:50 pm
(348) grace says:

Hi, I believe I have made a mistake with my turkey. I took my turkey out the freezer. Then I unwrapped the plastic. Place the turkey in cold water. What will have to my turkey or should I go and buy another turkey.

November 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm
(349) grace says:

Hi, I believe I made a mistake with my turkey. I removed my turkey out of the freezer. Then removed the plastic. Place the turkey in a cold water. Should I buy another turkey?

November 27, 2013 at 4:39 am
(350) homecooking says:

Grace:
Sorry, but you didn’t give me enough information to advise you. How long out of the freezer? Changing the water every 30 minutes? Not a good idea to remove it from the packaging.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 2:15 am
(351) Primavera says:

I bought a 16 pound turkey ate 8 pm. I put in the refrigerator around 9 o’clock . I need it thawed around 9 am on Thursday morning . How can I thaw it ? What method? And when should I put in in the cold water method ? Thanks

November 27, 2013 at 4:37 am
(352) homecooking says:

Primavera:
You will need 8 hours to thaw it using the cold water method. Hopefully you are a nightowl and have started.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 4:09 am
(353) tawna says:

Im screwed! I just bought a 21lb, frozen turkey today. I put it in a bucket of brine today. Its sealed so I put it on my patio so it will stay cold. I have a feeling that come Thursday morning it will still be frozen. What do I do??!!

November 27, 2013 at 4:35 am
(354) homecooking says:

Dear Tawna:
You are correct. Not good. You need to plan ahead to thaw. A 21-lb frozen turkey will take 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator and 10 hours using the cold water method.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 5:12 am
(355) Juan says:

There is no possible way to apply turkey rub after and then it sit after it is thawed?

November 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm
(356) homecooking says:

Juan:
Once the bird is thawed with the cold water method, it should be refrigerated and cooked within 4 hours. You can apply the rub and refrigerate for 4 hours, then cook. You have more leeway if you thaw in the refrigerator. Keep that in mind for next year.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 5:49 am
(357) Juan says:

I may have messed up, did the water method Tuesday for 8 hours and set the turkey in the fridge overnight because it was already midnight. I was hoping to apply rub buy apparently I have to cut immediately! How much time do I literally have to do all?

November 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm
(358) homecooking says:

Juan:
Yes, you should have cooked it as soon as it was thawed.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 7:22 am
(359) Jim says:

Bought a 24 lb BB turkey Sunday night ( 11-24) frozen like a R0CK.
Placed in cool water for 3 hours ( still wrapped ) then into the
fridge before I went to bed. Monday again for 4 hours in water
while I ran errands, still in wrapper. When not in sink it has been
in the garage refrigerator ( it’s been single digits here in IL )
I’m thinking it could still have crystals in the core but have not
opened packaging yet. Can I slow roast tomorrow with peace of mind?
Footnote: Did not practice 30 min water change rule

November 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm
(360) homecooking says:

Jim:
Not recommended. Combining the refrigerator thaw method with the cold water thaw method is inviting danger. You’ll have to make that decision yourself. It is risky.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 7:22 am
(361) holly says:

If my turkey was deforested by Monday and I put it into a brine that day will it still be good to cook on Thursday. this is my first time cooking thanksgiving dinner.

November 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm
(362) homecooking says:

Holly:
That bird is probably pickled by now in that brine. You should not marinate more than 2 days at most.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 7:50 am
(363) Shell says:

I bought a 12 lb turkey from an open freezer in the store saturday…not sure when it thawed..it has been in my fridge and plan to cook it tomorrow (Thursday) would it be safe/? or cook it today?

November 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm
(364) homecooking says:

Shell:
It should be okay. Keep it cold.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 11:54 am
(365) Jennifer says:

I bought 2 frozen 14-15 lb turkeys and kept them in the fridge since Saturday. When we marinaded them last night, there was still quite a bit of ice inside. Since they are marinaded I don’t think a cold water bath will work. We are deep frying tomorrow and have a 1 hour drive to get to our destination, do you think if we took the birds out of the fridge a few hours before we leave, (remember we are deep frying) that we should be okay for dinner by 4pm?

November 27, 2013 at 7:58 pm
(366) homecooking says:

Jennifer:
The marinade should help defrost the birds the rest of the way. Keep them cold until you are ready to cook them.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 1:22 pm
(367) Jose says:

i wont be able to buy my turkey till 3o clock pm today. i plan on buying an 8 to 10 lb turkey at vons. do they sale unfrozen turkeys?? and if not, do i have time to thaw it out with the water method? please help. thank you!

November 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm
(368) homecooking says:

Jose:
I don’t know if Von’s sells fresh turkeys. An 8 to 10-lb turkey will take about 5 hours to thaw using the cold water method. Be sure you change the water every 30 minutes.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm
(369) Nancy says:

We bought a frozen turkey that is a little over 16# on Nov 19th and have had it in the fridge since then. I don’t know what I was thinking… Is it going to be okay to cook?

November 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm
(370) homecooking says:

Nancy:
It should be cooked within 3 days of completely thawing, which should have been yesterday, depending upon how cold you keep your refrigerator.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm
(371) Jat says:

Hello, I put my 22.78 pound turkey in the fridge on late Monday night, then I placed it in cold water Tuesday morning and let it sit in it over night. The turkey is still very cold… but it is thawed. I placed it back in the fridge this morning. is it still ok to eat? thank you

November 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm
(372) homecooking says:

Jat:
I wouldn’t chance it. It should have been cooked as soon as it thawed from the cold water method, and you should have changed the water every 30 minutes.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 2:42 pm
(373) nalani says:

I bought a 10.88 lb frozen turkey last Friday evening. Its been on the bottom shelf of my fridge since. Will it be ok to cook tomorrow am or even tonight? I never did a turkey before. Should I just purchase another?

November 27, 2013 at 2:45 pm
(374) Nalani says:

Happy Thanksgiving! I bought a 10.88 lb turkey from an open freezer/fridge last Friday and have kept it in my fridge on the bottom shelf since. Will it be good to cook tomorrow morning?

November 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm
(375) homecooking says:

Nalani:
It should be good to go.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm
(376) brian says:

I took my 12lb Turkey out of the refrigerator on saturday because it was frozen and put a clod wet rag over it…. Im deep frying it so need it to be completely thawed by wedsday night so I can season it and put it back into the refrigerator tonight is that ok ???????

November 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm
(377) homecooking says:

Brian:
The turkey should never be defrosted at room temperature, especially for that long. I wouldn’t chance it.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(378) jim says:

Is it ok to do the cold water method and put it in the fridge smoke it the next morning.

Thanks!

November 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm
(379) homecooking says:

Jim:
It is not recommended. Once you use the cold water method to defrost, the bird should be cooked as soon as it thaws.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm
(380) Patty says:

I have been doing the water bath method for the last 3 hours on my partially frozen turkey breasts. The only problem is, I took the wrappers off Do I now need to get new turkeys due to contamination?

November 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm
(381) homecooking says:

Patty:
Can’t say for certain. Cross-contamination is a distinct possibility. You will have to make that decision yourself.

Peggy
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November 27, 2013 at 9:18 pm
(382) Nichole says:

I bought a 12lb turkey frozen solid and put it in the bottom of my fridge in a paper bag and it’s original wrapping 11/21 or 22 that’s been barely opened. I thought it took a week to thaw a turkey, can i still cook and eat it tomorrow or tonite? ugh i can never get the thaw timing right. it doesn’t smell at all, ugh. thanks.

November 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm
(383) homecooking says:

Nichole:
Pushing the limit, but I think you’ll be okay.

Peggy
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November 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm
(384) Rose Garza says:

I took out a 20 lb frozen turkey from the freezer and traveled with it for 16 hours. I was taking it to my family. I immediatly put it in the fridge once I got to where I was going. Is it still good?

November 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm
(385) homecooking says:

Rose Garza:
Unless it was on ice for the trip, it is not recommended.

Peggy
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November 28, 2013 at 2:28 pm
(386) JJ says:

I defrosted my turkey in the ref. correctly for the past 3 days. But this morning my son ran hot water inside the turkey, only for 20-30 seconds, in order to “wash it out” and remove the still frozen inside parts. I put it back in the ref., getting ready to cook it. Are we ok?

November 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm
(387) homecooking says:

JJ:
As long as you cooked it right away, you should be okay. He should have used cold water.

Peggy
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November 28, 2013 at 9:29 pm
(388) Jay says:

Hi, I bought a 13.5 lb frozen turkey on Monday, I plan to cook it Sunday morning. Today, after some research began to feel that it may thaw too soon, and Sunday would be outside the 2 day recommendation. I just poked a quarter size hole in it’s packaging in order to feels it’s insides to verify that it’s thawed (I kept it in the fridge to do this and covered the hole with plastic wrap) It does feel thawed. Is it safe to cook Sunday morning? Or even possibly Saturday evening? Or would you not chance it if it were your own family?

November 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm
(389) homecooking says:

Jay:
If you hadn’t poked a hole in the bag and felt around in there, I would say you are probably okay. Now it’s iffy, and I can’t recommend it. You’ll have to make that decision.

Peggy
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November 29, 2013 at 2:41 am
(390) Penny says:

We bought a frozen 21 lb turkey. It has been in the original packaging in the bottom of our refrigerator for 7 days. Today is Friday. We plan on roasting it on Sunday. Will this be ok? Expiration date is March 2014.

November 29, 2013 at 3:23 am
(391) homecooking says:

Penny:
Too long. Cook it yesterday! Do not wait.

Peggy
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November 29, 2013 at 2:41 pm
(392) Connie says:

I have a post-Thanksgiving bird question. I purchased my frozen turkey (15 pounds) on the Sunday morning before Thanksgiving. I left it in the bottom of the refrigerator until Wednesday evening, when I took it out of its wrap to retrieve the giblets for use first thing in the morning. The inside was still frozen. I put it in cold water and let it sit there for about 45 minutes, and was able to retrieve the neck and giblets. I drained, dried and wrapped the turkey in plastic, and stuck it back in the fridge. In the morning, I got it out and started prepping it to put in the stuffing, but the inside was still frozen and I was pulling out ice chunks! I filled the cavities with water till it felt defrosted, dried the bird, and continued with the prep. I roasted it at 325 for 4 hours and checked the temp: thighs 190 with juices running clear, breast 180, but the stuffing was still showing a little cool, so I left it in for another 1/2 hour. I took it out and covered with foil for 1/2 hour. When I started carving I realized that the bottom of the bird still had undercooked areas, so we didn’t use that stuffing and didn’t eat the bottom meat. The breast and upper dark meat were fine. How do I avoid all this in the future? Just buy fresh? p.s. My fridge does not run too cold.

November 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm
(393) homecooking says:

Connie:
It does indeed sound like your refrigerator is cooler than you think. Your oven may also need calibrating. I think probably you just didn’t cook it long enough. A 15-lb stuffed turkey should take about 5-1/2 hours at 325 F.

Peggy
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December 1, 2013 at 8:36 am
(394) melanie says:

I bought a turkey on November 22, placed it in the refrigerator. We took it out today and there is still ice in the cavity, is it still safe to cook today?

December 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm
(395) homecooking says:

Melanie:
Sorry, but you didn’t give me enough information to advise you.

Peggy
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December 14, 2013 at 9:20 am
(396) Lynda says:

I bought a 21 lb turkey and put it in the fridge on Dec 11th. My fridge is very cold and I have had trouble with defrosting big birds, Will it be okay until Dec 25th.? Its still very frozen.

December 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm
(397) homecooking says:

Lynda:
You will just have to keep checking it. It should be cooked within 3 days of fully defrosting.

Peggy
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December 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm
(398) carole coop says:

hi just a bit of advise please have a turkey 8.60 kg want to cook on 24th xmas eve when should i take out of freezer and put in fridge to thaw and for how long many thanks carole

December 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm
(399) homecooking says:

Carole:
I would put it in the bottom of the refrigerator on Dec 20. It should be thawed by the 25th, depending upon how cold you keep your refrigerator.

Peggy
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December 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm
(400) Sameh says:

Great advice! We really need some – totally inexperienced with making a turkey. 19.26 lb. frozen turkey was brought home on Friday night (12/13) and has been in the bottom of the refrigerator since – today is (12/18) It feels very cold on the outside. I have no idea if it’s still frozen or what…..When should we cook it? When do I take it out, then what should I do….I read a lot of your comments and will try to read more, but have lots of kids and no time – your help is appreciated. What temperature do we cook it at, for how long. Our refrigerator is pretty cool and stove brand new. PLease help, thanks in advance!!!!

December 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm
(401) homecooking says:

Sameh:
Unless you keep your refrigerator unusually cold, your turkey should be thawed by now. You can tell if it is thawed by pressing on the flesh around the top of the drumsticks and the thick part of the breast. It should give easily if it is thawed, just like a chicken. It should be cooked within 5 days of thawing, which should be around Dec 23 if it is completely thawed now.

Click on the following links for cooking information and roasting times:

Thanksgiving Roast Stuffed Turkey Recipe

Turkey Roasting Times Chart

Keep in mind that these days, it is recommended that you cook the stuffing outside of the bird. Don’t forget to remove the giblets!

Peggy
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December 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm
(402) Sameh says:

Ok, thank you!

December 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm
(403) Jessica says:

Help!

I bought a 11lb turkey on Friday, Dec. 13, and started thawing it in the fridge. I think it’s thawed now, but I don’t want to cook it till Christmas day. Do you know if I can leave it in the fridge for a few more days before I start putting it in the brine?
Please let me know what I can do!

Thank you,

Jess

December 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm
(404) homecooking says:

Jessica:
It should be cooked within 5 days of thawing. If it is thawed completely today, it should be cooked by Dec 23.

Peggy
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December 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm
(405) Sam says:

I left a 5kg turkey in sink no water as its cold here for 9hours it feels,soft but still bit hard at the back would it still be ok to cook christmas eve thanks

December 21, 2013 at 7:40 am
(406) homecooking says:

Sam:
No. Sorry. Cannot recommend it as being safe. That is the worst way to thaw a turkey.

Peggy
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December 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm
(407) Kelly says:

Hi there my boyfriend bought a 12lb frozen turkey yesterday and put it in water on the counter at 5pm and left it out all night in the same water, almost 18hours defrosting on the counter, he took it out of the package this morning and it was still cold so now he has it in the bottom of the fridge in a bucket of brine. He says its completely fine to leave a turkey out all night in water. The turkey was also only half covered with water. Please help. He is going to leave it soaking in the brine from now till Thursday morning. It’s Tuesday.

December 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm
(408) homecooking says:

Kelly:
You are right to be concerned. Nothing about his method is safe. He is taking a big risk.

Peggy
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December 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm
(409) kenzie says:

Put turkey in cold water only added more cold water a few times. Left it over night then the next day put it in fridge over night is it safe to cook? It was still cold when put in fridge.

December 27, 2013 at 3:29 am
(410) homecooking says:

Kenzie:
Sorry, can’t recommend it. Not a safe method for thawing. You’ll have to make that decision for yourself as to whether to chance it or not.

Peggy
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December 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm
(411) Karen says:

I bought a frozen turkey on Christmas Eve, we took the turkey out of the wrapping in hopes that it would thaw faster, we ended up not eating it on Christmas cause it was still frozen. I had it in the roasting pan with tin foil on it, it’s now 5 days after I put in the refrigerator, can we still eat it? It still had some ice in the cavity after just taking out the neck and giblets. The legs look a raw red almost dry looking.

December 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm
(412) homecooking says:

Karen:
I would =not= take a chance on that turkey.

Peggy
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April 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm
(413) karon says:

I thawed my 12 pound turkey in the sink of cold water it is thawed can I put it back in refigerator untill tomorrow when i cook it

April 5, 2014 at 4:32 pm
(414) Peggy - Home Cooking says:

Karon:
When using the cold water method to thaw a turkey, the turkey should be cooked immediately once it is thawed. Do not hold it another day.

Peggy
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