This post was last updated on November 24th, 2013 at 03:29 pm
As we scurry to get ready for the holidays, it is so easy to forget to thaw the turkey. I know everyone has done it: left the turkey out on the counter on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving hoping it will thaw more quickly at room temperature. It does thaw more quickly at room temperature but Thanksgiving can be difficult enough without a salmonella chaser.
Get the bird out of the freezer and into the refrigerator days before the big event.
Turkey Thawing Time
- 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
What else can you do to have a safer holiday? The USDA provides suggestions for your turkey meal. Read their detailed list but here are a few highlights:
- Check your turkey for doneness with a meat thermometer. It should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and in the thickest part of the breast.
- Cook the stuffing outside of the bird. (You may remember people getting sick on stuffing because the center of the bird wasn’t actually cooked enough.)
- Don’t cook your bird lower than 325 degrees F.
Turkeys are tasty but they are also salmonella factories. Handle with care.