Turkey Talk

Thawing in the Refrigerator

Place a frozen bird in its original wrapper in the refrigerator (40 degrees F. or below). Allow it to thaw approximately 24 hours per 5 pounds of turkey. Once thawed, keep the turkey refrigerated for no more than 1-2 days, or use this chart to help with the countdown to the holiday.
 

Size of Turkey
Number of Days
8 to 12 pounds
1 to 2 days
12 to 16 pounds
2 to 3 days
16 to 20 pounds
3 to 4 days
20 to 24 pounds
4 to 5 days

 
Thawing in Cold Water
 
Submerge the bird in its airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold.
 

Size of Turkey
Hours to Defrost
8 to 12 pounds
4 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

 
Turkey Roasting Chart
Fresh or thawed birds
 
Cook at 325? F.
 

Weight
Unstuffed (hours)
Stuffed (hours)
4 to 8 pounds (breast)
1 ½ to 3 ¼
--
8 to 12 pounds
2 ¾ to 3
3 to 3 ½
12 to 14 pounds
3 to 3 ¾
3 ½ to 4
14 to 18 pounds
3 ¾ to 4 ¼
4 to 4 ¼
18 to 20 pounds
4 ¼ to 4 ½
4 ¼ to 4 ¾
20 to 24 pounds
4 ½ to 5
4 ¾ to 5 ¼

 
It is SAFE to cook a turkey from the FROZEN state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey.
 
For more information, call the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)or go to either of these Web sites:
·         USDA Let’s Talk Turkey