Thanksgiving is getting ever so close. Wondering how long to thaw your turkey before the big day? It may be time to transfer the bird from the freezer to the fridge.

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It's that wonderful time of the year. You get up before the sun rises to put that big ole' turkey in the oven. Family will be there soon for the Thanksgiving feast. But, you didn't plan ahead and that turkey is still frozen! Oh no.

It can take several days to thaw in your fridge. This handy thawing calculator will surely help save Thanksgiving.

The USDA recommends that for every four pounds of turkey, you allow 24 hours for defrosting.

  • 4 to 12 pounds — 1 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds — 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds — 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds —5 to 6 days

A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days before cooking.


If you forgot to move the bird to the fridge and you need to thaw it quickly, here's the cold water method.

The USDA recommends that you allow about 30 minutes per pound with cold water thawing.

  • 4 to 12 pounds — 2 to 6 hours
  • 12 to 16 pounds — 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 to 20 pounds — 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds — 10 to 12 hours

Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.

Here's to a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends!

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