How long does it take to defrost a turkey? Time it takes to thaw a frozen turkey and how you know it's ready

How can you defrost your turkey in time for Christmas?

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 6:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 6:16 pm

Christmas dinner is a festive favourite that many of us look forward to, but a lot of work goes into creating the feast.

Many of us buy turkeys and then freeze them, but how do we make sure we defrost them in time for the big day?

There are a couple of different ways that you can go about defrosting your turkey for Christmas.

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Here's everything you need to know about defrosting a turkey.

How to defrost a turkey in the fridge?

Defrosting a turkey in the fridge is the longest method, but it is considered the safest.

You will need to make sure you have left yourself enough time, as on average a turkey that weighs six kilograms will take three days to defrost in the fridge, meaning you'll have to start defrosting on December 22nd!

There are many ways to defrost a turkey for Christmas Day.

If your turkey came in packaging, there may be instructions on how to defrost that you can follow, the general rule is that it will take 24 hours for every two kilogram.

To avoid cross contamination keep your defrosting turkey separate from other foods and ensure that there is a container to collect the defrosted liquid.

When your turkey is defrosted, it can stay it in the fridge until it's ready to cook.

How to defrost a turkey in the microwave?

The fastest way to defrost a turkey is in the microwave, however, if you have a big bird, it's unlikely it'll fit in there.

If your turkey has packaging there will be microwave instructions, set your microwave to defrost and follow the instructions given.

Remember to remove all packaging and any metal clips that might be on your turkey before you start microwaving it.

Defrosting your turkey in the microwave can take one hour.

How to defrost a turkey in cold water?

Defrosting a turkey in cold water is faster than in a fridge, but can be a bit messy.

First you need to ensure the packaging is properly sealed so that the defrosted water doesn't contaminate the bird with raw juice.

You'll then need a container big enough for your turkey, which is filled with cold water.

The turkey is placed in the container and the water temperature will need to be checked regularly.

This method takes an hour for every kilogram of turkey.

If you have any questions or concerns on defrosting your turkey, check out the Food Standard Agency website here for more festive food tips.

How do I know if my turkey is fully defrosted?

The safest way to check if your turkey is fully defrosted is by using a probe thermometer.

Insert it into the thickest part of the breast and if the temperature is below 1C, then your turkey has not yet defrosted.

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