Thawing The Turkey

Here is a handy chart to show you how to thaw your turkey:

You can thaw a turkey in the refrigerator.  You should allow approximately 24 hours for each 4 to 5 pounds in a refrigerator. Your refrigerator should be set at 40 °F or below.  Its a good idea to place the turkey on a pan or tray to prevent the juices from messing up your frig or dripping on other foods.

  •  4 to 12 pounds ……  1 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds …… 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds …… 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds …… 5 to 6 days


You can thaw a turkey in cold water.  

Allow about 30 minutes per pound.

You should place the turkey in a leak-proof plastic bag before putting it in the cold water. This prevents the turkey from absorbing excess water. If the turkey gets soaked with excess water it will taste watery.

After you have the turkey in a plastic bag you can submerge it in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed.
Cold Water Thawing Times

  •  4 to 12 pounds …… 2 to 6 hours
  • 12 to 16 pounds …… 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 to 20 pounds …… 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds …… 10 to 12 hours

After thawing your turkey in cold water you must either store it in the refrigerator or cook it.

About Sylvia

Sylvia Britton is the owner of the Christian HomeKeeper website and ministry and began the ministry in 1997 when her husband brought home their first PC. She and her husband Mark live in Tennessee and are the parents of 5 grown children and grandparents to five so far. They homeschooled their five children from 1991 to 2016. You can follow Sylvia on Facebook or consider joining her Facebook Group called Christian Homekeepers and Like her official CHK Page on Facebook.
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