Asked by: Gianina Basyrov
food and drink barbecues and grilling

How long does it take to thaw a turkey on the counter?

Last Updated: 9th June, 2020

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Frankly, we leave it on the counter for about 12-24 hours to defrost, typically a day or 2 in advance of T-giving, and then refrigerate.

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Then, can you defrost a turkey on the counter overnight?

Do not thaw your turkey on the counter. It will be totally fine chillaxing on the counter overnight.

One may also ask, how long does it take to thaw a turkey in room temperature? Michigan State University Extension says, thawing at room temperature provides time for bacteria to multiply in the turkey which could cause a foodborne illness from anyone consuming the turkey. One alternative is to thaw the turkey in cold water. Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound.

In this way, can I thaw turkey on the counter?

You should never thaw a frozen turkey on the counter at room temperature or in hot water. Under either of those methods, the outer layer of the turkey can sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40°F and 140 °F for far too long to be safe. Can You Cook a Frozen Turkey?

Can you put a turkey back in the fridge after thawing?

A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen without cooking but there may be some loss of quality. Allow about 30 minutes per pound. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.

Related Question Answers

Cheng Chepurov

Professional

What happens if you thaw turkey at room temperature?

At room temperature, the turkey will thaw on the outside and rise well above the “danger zone” of 40°F, FoodSafety.gov explains. Bacteria in the turkey can multiply quickly when it's at room temperature for more than two hours.

Matvey Lanzendorfer

Professional

Can I leave a cooked turkey out overnight?

Cooked food sitting at room temperature is in what the USDA calls the “Danger Zone,” which is between 40°F and 140°F. In this range of temperatures, bacteria grows rapidly and the food can become unsafe to eat, so it should only be left out no more than two hours.

Raducu Witmann

Explainer

Mirza Mongelos

Explainer

When should I take the turkey out of the freezer?

Thawing in the Refrigerator
  1. Allow approximately 24 hours for each 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at 40° or below.
  2. Place the turkey in a container to prevent juices from dripping onto other items in your refrigerator.
  3. A turkey thawed in the refrigerator can be left in the fridge for up to two days before cooking.

Maka Zemour

Explainer

How can I speed up thawing a turkey?

Method 1 Thawing in a Large Container (Fast)
  1. Fill your container. Pour cool water into a clean pot, tub, or container large enough to completely hold and cover your turkey.
  2. Submerge your turkey.
  3. Remove the turkey after half an hour.
  4. Discard and replace the water.
  5. Repeat the process.
  6. Repeat continually, as necessary.

Anunciacion Schmittner

Pundit

What if my turkey isn't fully thawed?

For our favorite quick-thaw method, try submerging the turkey (breast-side down with its wrapping still on) in a sink or a cooler full of cold water, changing out the water every half hour.

Messoud Viladecans

Pundit

How long does it take to thaw a 20lb turkey in the fridge?

Thaw It in the Refrigerator
Thawing in the refrigerator is the ONLY recommended way to defrost a frozen turkey. For it to work, however, you'll need plenty of time: 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. A large turkey, say, 15 to 20 pounds, will need to spend 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Yeron Kringos

Pundit

Can you thaw a turkey in the sink?

Thawing turkey in a sink full of cold water is faster than thawing in the refrigerator, but it's not safe to leave it in the sink to thaw overnight. To thaw your turkey in the sink: Keep the wrapper on your turkey and put it in a large, leakproof plastic bag. Fill the sink with cold water and immerse the turkey.

Albina Theis

Pundit

How do you thaw a turkey in one day?

How long to thaw a turkey:
  1. Thaw time in the fridge requires about 24 hours for every 5 pounds in a refrigerator set at about 40° F.
  2. Thaw time in cold water requires about 30 minutes per pound in cold water, refreshed every 30 minutes.

Rafayel Neil

Pundit

Do you thaw turkey in packaging?

If short on time, you may thaw the turkey in cold water in the original packaging, making sure the water is changed every 30 minutes to keep the turkey surface cold. Thaw turkey in unopened packaging in a pan in the refrigerator on the bottom shelf. Allow approximately 4 hours per pound to thaw.

Artur Struckmeye

Teacher

Is it OK to thaw meat on the counter overnight?

Raw or cooked meat, poultry or egg products, as any perishable foods, must be kept at a safe temperature during "the big thaw." They are safe indefinitely while frozen. Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter, or in hot water and must not be left at room temperature for more than two hours.

Alevtina Soumodip

Teacher

How long does it take to cook a 15 pound turkey?

This table from the USDA is based on a 325°F oven, and a fully defrosted or fresh bird. (For an unstuffed bird, we're talking roughly 15 minutes per pound.) If you want to cook a frozen turkey, it will take at least 50 percent longer than the recommended times.

Atif Klinggraff

Teacher

How can you tell if a frozen turkey is bad?

Many times people can tell if a turkey is spoiled by the "texture and smell" of the turkey. Hanes said the skin of the turkey may become slimy, and the smell is often described as "rotten eggs or like sulfur."

Graciosa Zabarain

Teacher

Can you cook a partially frozen turkey?

It's perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkeyyou just need to allow some extra cooking time. Estimate 50 percent longer cooking time for a completely frozen turkey and around 25 percent longer for a partially frozen turkey.

Adrianna Masterreka

Reviewer

How long is Turkey good for in the fridge?

A guide to storing Thanksgiving leftovers
Food Fridge Freezer
Turkey, cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months
Meat (ham, beef), cooked 3-4 days 2-3 months
Gravy 1-2 days 2-3 months
Cranberry sauce 10-14 days 1-2 months

Severin Zolotarev

Reviewer

Can you cook a turkey from frozen?

Yes, cooking a turkey from frozen or partially frozen is totally safe and is even USDA-approved. Oven-roasting is the only truly safe way to cook a frozen turkey. Do NOT deep-fry or grill a frozen turkey. Also, it's best to cook the stuffing separately.

Milagro Pickard

Reviewer

How many days does it take to thaw a 13 pound turkey?

According to the USDA, when thawing your turkey in the refrigerator, you'll need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds. Don't bother with the math–here's a table: 4 to 12 pounds: 1-3 days. 12 to 16 pounds: 3-4 days.

Pascuala Korbs

Reviewer

How do you thaw a turkey in water?

If you're running short on time, you can speed up the thawing process with the cold water method: Simply submerg the frozen turkey, still in its packaging, in cold tap water. Change out the water every 30 minutes, and estimate roughly 30 minutes for every pound of turkey.

Shiela Rito

Supporter

How long does it take to thaw out a 12 pound turkey in the refrigerator?

When thawing a turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of defrosting time for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, if the turkey weighs 4 to 12 pounds, plan for it to defrost in the fridge for one to three days.