Asked by: Boumedien Paffgen
food and drink barbecues and grilling

Is it safe to thaw a turkey on the counter overnight?

Last Updated: 28th June, 2020

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

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Correspondingly, is it OK to let a turkey thaw on the counter?

Turkey Basics: Safe Thawing. Turkeys must be kept at a safe temperature during "the big thaw." While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature.

Subsequently, question is, how long can Turkey be left out to thaw? Don't Thaw at Room Temperature Uncooked meat or poultry (including frozen) shouldn't be left at room temperature for more than two hours. Any longer than that and you're just begging for a case of food poisoning.

Also to know is, how do you defrost a turkey overnight?

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.

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.

Related Question Answers

Darrin Sturzebecher

Professional

Why can't you thaw a turkey at room temperature?

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.

Loubna Valentik

Professional

How do you finish thawing a turkey?

The Fastest Way to Thaw a Turkey
—with plenty of cold tap water, sealing the bird in a leak-proof bag, plopping it in the bucket, and having someone change its cold water every 30 minutes. You'll need about 30 minutes of bucket time per pound of turkey, so a 14-pound bird should be thawed within about 7 hours.

Abdul Azcona

Professional

Narciza Almsick

Explainer

How can you tell if Turkey is spoiled?

How to tell if cooked ground turkey is bad? The best way is to smell and look at the ground turkey: signs of bad ground turkey are a sour smell and a slimy texture; discard any ground turkey with an off smell or appearance, do not taste first.

Kathy Boetcher

Explainer

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.

Albertina Lobez

Explainer

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.

Liceth Cativiela

Pundit

Can I leave 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.

Simas Uli

Pundit

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.

Barry Korn

Pundit

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.

Othmane Bergdolt

Pundit

How long does Turkey last in 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

Geovanny Dengra

Teacher

Can you defrost turkey out of fridge?

If there aren't any defrosting instructions, use the following times to work out roughly how long it will take to thaw your turkey: In a fridge at 4C (39F), allow 10 to 12 hours per kilogram. In a cool room (below 17.5C/64F), allow around 3 to 4 hours per kilogram, or longer if the room is particularly cold.

Lies Walder

Teacher

Can you refreeze a thawed turkey?

Cooked or uncooked turkey can safely be refrozen, as long as you refreeze it within three days of thawing. You should only refreeze turkey if it's been handled properly at every step along the way. Turkey that has been thawed on the counter or left out for long periods shouldn't be refrozen.

Aila Mukomel

Teacher

Can you cook a frozen turkey in a oven bag?

Use an oven roasting bag. The USDA says when cooking a frozen turkey, you should expect to extend the cooking time by at least 50 percent. Oven bags help keep the juices recirculating so the meat is moist. Prep time with a Reynolds oven bag is 20 minutes.

Deysi Melandri

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."

Rosemary Rahtke

Reviewer

How long does it take to thaw a 12 pound turkey?

Allow 30 minutes of thawing time for each pound of turkey, which translates to two to six hours for a 4- to 12-pound turkey. A 12- to 15-pound bird will thaw in six to eight hours.

Vali Rivadulla

Reviewer

Why do you have to change the water when thawing a turkey?

Changing of the water is done to prevent possible bacteria growth. Once the turkey is defrosted in water, it must be cooked immediately. Cold water thawing, while faster, requires much more preparation than refrigerator thawing.

Sherise Devora

Reviewer

Does cooking turkey kill bacteria?

No. Roasting a turkey at a temperature below 325 degrees F allows harmful bacteria to multiply. These are the bacteria that can cause food poisoning and may be present on the raw turkey. Roasting the turkey at 325 degrees F kills the bacteria yet produces meat that is moist and tender.

Macia Langmann

Reviewer

How long can a turkey sit out before cooking?

First, Bring Your Bird to Room Temp
Your turkey will cook more evenly and faster if you start it out at room temperature so remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. If you plan to stuff your turkey, wait until you're ready to put it in the oven before putting the stuffing in the turkey.

Colette Regent

Supporter

Do you cook a turkey at 325 or 350?

Roast the turkey uncovered at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures may cause the meat to dry out, but this is preferable to temperatures that are too low which may not allow the interior of the turkey to cook to a safe temperature.