LSU AgCenter Nutritionist Lists Best Ways to Thaw Turkey

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  10/24/2006 12:41:50 AM

News You Can Use For 10/24/2003

Consumers have a choice between fresh and frozen turkeys when planning for Thanksgiving. LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames explains the safe options of thawing a frozen bird.

You’ll want to purchase a frozen turkey if you’re shopping well in advance of the holiday, since a fresh turkey needs to be prepared within one to two days after purchase.

Frozen turkeys should be thawed prior to cooking, not cooked from the frozen state. Turkeys, along with all raw and frozen meat and poultry products, must be kept at a safe temperature during thawing. Any harmful bacteria that may have been present prior to freezing can begin to grow again unless proper thawing methods are used.

Reames lists three safe ways to thaw a turkey or other food: in the refrigerator at 40 ºF or lower, in cold water and in the microwave.

When thawing in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey. When thawing in cold water, allow 30 minutes per pound, and change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed.

When thawing in the microwave, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Plan to cook the turkey immediately after thawing because some areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook during microwave thawing.

For additional information about holiday food safety, contact the Extension agent in your parish. In addition, log on to the Family and Consumer Sciences section under the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service at the LSU AgCenter Web site:


Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3329, or

Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture