T minus 5 Days: Thawing


Shhh…Listen, your turkey is trying to tell you something.

turkey in the freezer

It’s hard to hear because it’s probably being smothered by a bag of green beans and some of Aunt Jana’s leftover casserole that you froze back in March because you didn’t have the heart to throw it away in front of her. What you hear is your turkey telling you “Psst! Its five days before Thanksgiving! You should really look into thawing me before your daughter in law (or even worse your mother in law) writes about your giant turkey thaw fail to all of her friends on Facebook!

Let’s make this easy…you go grab your turkey out of the freezer RIGHT NOW while you’re thinking about it…I’ll wait.

Okay. Good. Your turkey is out of the freezer and ready to thaw. From here you have two options. If you are in fact reading this days before Thanksgiving go ahead and put your turkey (still in its wrapper) in a shallow pan, clear out some space in the fridge and let your turkey thaw at its own pace, plan on at least one day for every four pounds of turkey. (Math got you down? There’s a handy thawing calculator over at Butterball.com just waiting to do the hard work for you.) When thawing in the fridge be sure to do it with the breast side up (for those of you not hip to turkey anatomy, the breast side is always the side with the label on a Butterball Turkey.)

turkey in the fridge

For the safety of your kitchen and all your loved ones, do not ever thaw a turkey on the counter, just don’t do it. That’s just an open invitation for bacteria to prep for a party in your tummy that you don’t want an invitation for. The good news is a thawed turkey can be kept in the fridge for up to four days before cooking. Better safe than sorry!

turkey on the counter

However, if you’re reading this THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING…you should probably start to panic. Just kidding. DON’T PANIC! ALL IS NOT LOST! We’ll just have to adjust our methods. Deep breath. Okay. Place your turkey (This time breast side down still in the wrapper) in a large sink or cooler (if you’re doing this in a cooler it’s best to place the cooler in a bathtub.) Cover the turkey completely with cold water and change the water out frequently to keep the turkey chilly. Plan on 30 minutes of soaking for every pound of turkey. (Again? With the math? Butterball.com has a calculator for that!)

Oh, I see you over there eyeing your microwave. That fancy new one you got for Christmas. If your turkey is over 12 pounds, don’t even consider the microwave.

YAWN. So, it’s Thanksgiving morning and your turkey is still in deep freeze. Depending on the size and what time you’re planning on eating you could easily go for the cold water thaw method OR depending on where you live you could hit up a local grocer before everyone else wakes up for a Butterball Fresh turkey. As in a perfectly ready to cook fresh, never frozen turkey. As in no one will ever know you didn’t thaw the turkey thus proclaiming your absolute turkey prowess to all of their Facebook friends.

Still not sure about the best way to time the thawing of your Thanksgiving turkey? There’s a real person ready to answer any question you may have on the Turkey Talk-Line (1-800-BUTTERBALL) no matter how big, how small or how silly. Think of them as little turkey elves, no one ever has to know you used them. And everyone will be happy with a turkey done right.


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