Thawed Turkey in Fridge for a Week (Is That Too Long to Have Turkey in the Fridge?)

Are you planning on cooking a turkey? You need to figure out when to defrost your turkey because it can take 3-6 days in the fridge, but it can’t be left fully defrosted. So once it defrosted, you might wonder if you could leave the thawed turkey in your fridge for a week. You can’t; turkey can only be left in the fridge thawed for two days.


Can You Keep a Thawed Turkey in the Fridge for a Week?

A thawed turkey should be kept in the fridge for less than two days, so it can’t be kept for a week.  To thaw a turkey in the fridge, you need to allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey, but once it’s fully defrosted, you have two days to cook it.

How Do You Thaw a Turkey in the Fridge?

Keep the turkey in its packaging. Place it in a roasting pan. For best results, use a roasting rack within the pan. Now, put the frozen turkey in the fridge and monitor it.

 To thaw a turkey in the fridge, you need to allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. Before you plan to cook it, allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for half an hour to an hour before roasting. 


How Long to Thaw Turkey With the Refrigerator Method?

It takes about a day for 4-5 pounds of turkey to thaw. For a 20-pound turkey, you should put it in the fridge about five days before you cook it.

So, if you’re cooking a 12-pound turkey for Thanksgiving, you should allow it to thaw for at least three days before cooking it. This is the safest way to ensure 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. You can buy a fresh turkey and place it in the fridge for up to 3 days before you plan on cooking it.

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.

The Cold Water Method to Thaw a Turkey

The cold water method takes 30 minutes per pound. Divide the bird’s weight 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.

The Microwave Method for Thawing a Turkey

Different microwaves will take different amounts of time to thaw a turkey properly. 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 requires being below a certain temperature or at a certain speed.

Need Some Help Deciding When to Defrost Your Turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

If you have a 15-pound bird, the thawing process should take about three days, so begin defrosting the turkey at least three days before Thanksgiving; the exact timing goes for thawing your turkey before Christmas.

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 remove the giblets easily. Once the turkey passes all these tests, it is ready for the oven! You can also 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 frozen on Thanksgiving morning. Increase the cooking time.

An oven temperature of 325°F increases 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, ensure 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.

Leftover Turkey Storage?

Leftover turkey can be eaten within 3-4 days of cooking. To ensure that it is safe to eat, refrigerate it within 2 hours of cooking.

Cooked turkey can be frozen for up to 6 months. Some people recommend two 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.

  • Make sure you wash your hands with hot water and soap after handling the turkey.
  • Don’t rinse your turkey; it can spread bacteria around the kitchen.
  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the turkey’s temperature and check it in three places.

That is all you need to know to cook a turkey for your upcoming feast successfully!

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

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 recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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