3 ways to thaw a turkey

Home for the Holidays

Roast turkey (Credit: PATRICK PLEUL/DPA/AFP via Getty Images)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – With Thanksgiving approaching, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service offered three ways to thaw a smaller turkey (less than 20 lbs.).

According to the USDA, a turkey is safe indefinitely while frozen. As soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing will begin to grow again.


  • Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4-5 lbs. of bird
  • It’s safe to store the turkey for another 1-2 days in the refrigerator

Cold water:

  • Submerge the bird in cold water and change every 30 minutes
  • Cook immediately after thawing


  • Use defrost function based on weight
  • Cook immediately after thawing

The USDA said it’s safe to cook a frozen turkey, but the process will be 50% longer. For more information on safe thawing methods, visit fsis.usda.gov.


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