Planning on cooking a turkey?
Now you need to make sure the turkey is ready on time!
But you might be wondering how much time you need to thaw your turkey.
Can you leave a thawed turkey in your fridge for a week or just a few days?
To find the answers to these questions and more, keep reading!
Can You Keep Thawed Turkey in Fridge for a Week?
You should keep a thawed turkey in the fridge for less than two days.
So you can’t keep it in the fridge for a week.
Cook the turkey soon after it thaws to prevent food poisoning.
You can keep a frozen turkey in the refrigerator for almost a week. It will thaw and then be ready to cook.
How Do You Thaw a Turkey in the Fridge?
Keep the turkey in its packaging.
Place it in a roasting pan. For best results, you can also use a roasting rack within the pan.
Now put the frozen turkey into the fridge for several days.
How Long to Thaw Turkey With the Refrigerator Method?
It takes about a day per 4-5 pounds of turkey.
For a 20-pound turkey, you should put it in the fridge about five days early.
This is the best way to thaw your raw poultry.
It is the safest way to ensure that the raw turkey does not spoil.
Keep the turkey in the fridge the entire time to prevent the growth of bacteria.
If you do not have enough time to thaw a turkey, you should consider buying a fresh turkey.
Buy the fresh turkey the day before your feast to prevent spoiling.
If you already have the frozen bird, then there are faster methods.
How to Quickly Thaw a Turkey?
You can quickly thaw a turkey using cold tap water or the microwave.
If you use one of these methods, you should cook the turkey immediately.
These methods are more likely to speed up bacterial growth.
The Cold Water Method to Thaw a Turkey
The cold water method takes 30 minutes per pound.
Take the weight of the bird and divide it by two to calculate the length you need.
A 15-pound bird should take about seven and a half hours to thaw in cold water.
Place the turkey in a waterproof plastic bag. Then submerge the entire bird in water in a pot or bucket.
The water temperature should be below 40°F. Change the water every 30 minutes.
Do not use hot water to speed up the thawing process. This will potentially result in food poisoning.
The Microwave Method for Thawing a Turkey
Different microwaves will take different amounts of time to properly thaw a turkey.
Check your owner’s manual to find out how to thaw your turkey.
Become familiar with your microwave’s power level and defrost function. Now you can start defrosting the bird.
Remove the packaging from the turkey. Place it in a microwave-safe dish to catch any liquids.
Place it in the microwave oven for the recommended amount of time.
Cook the turkey immediately after it thaws.
Is It Safe to Thaw a Frozen Turkey on the Counter?
You should never thaw raw meat at room temperature.
Safe thawing needs to be below a certain temperature or at a certain speed.
The longer a turkey is above 40°F, the more likely harmful bacteria will grow on it.
How Do You Know if Turkey Has Gone Bad?
Rotten turkey smells similar to rotten eggs. It may feel sticky or slimy.
Turkey should be a light pinkish color. If you see any discoloration, it is probably bad.
If you notice any moldy spots on the turkey, throw it out.
How Do You Know if Turkey Is Fully Thawed?
The breast meat should be soft. The legs and wings should be easily movable.
The insides should be clear of ice crystals.
You should be able to easily remove the giblets.
Once the turkey passes all these tests, it is ready for the oven!
Or you can refrigerate it for an extra day or two before cooking it.
Can You Cook a Frozen Turkey in the Oven?
Yes, you can cook a frozen turkey. This may be a lifesaver if the bird is still frozen on Thanksgiving morning.
Simply increase the cooking time.
Using an oven temperature of 325°F, increase the cooking time by 50% for a fully frozen bird.
A 15-pound frozen turkey should take about 6 hours to cook.
For a partially frozen turkey, increase the cooking time by 25%.
Most importantly, make sure the internal temperature is 165°F at the thickest part of the turkey. Place a food thermometer into the thigh for best results.
Make sure the meat thermometer does not touch the bone.
When the turkey reaches a safe temperature, it is ready to eat.
How Long Can You Freeze Raw Turkey?
Turkey can remain in the freezer indefinitely. However, the quality may decline.
For best results, freeze a whole turkey for no longer than a year. Smaller cuts should be frozen for less than six months.
This will ensure that the meat is still quality and enjoyable.
How Long Do Turkey Leftovers Last?
Leftover turkey can be eaten within 3-4 days of cooking it.
To ensure that it is safe to eat, refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking it.
Cooked turkey can be frozen for up to 6 months. Some people recommend 2 months.
Buy a larger bird if you hope to plan for leftovers.
Whether you’re cooking for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Saturday, these tips will help.
Properly thawing a turkey will result in safe and delicious meat.
If you’re running behind, you can speed up the process. Just remember to follow food safety procedures.
We recommend the refrigerator method.
If you’re short on time, you can use the cold water method or microwave method.
Cook thawed turkey as soon as you can.
Make sure your food thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165°F.
That is all you need to know to successfully cook a turkey for your upcoming feast!
Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)
You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!
You can read more on our About Us page.
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