Can you defrost a turkey at room temperature?
In this brief guide, we will address the query, “Can you defrost a turkey at room temperature?”. We will also discuss the different methods used to defrost the turkey and if cooked turkey can be refrozen.
Can you defrost a turkey at room temperature?
No, you cannot defrost a turkey at room temperature as it is harmful. The frozen turkey when kept to defrost on the kitchen counter at room temperature will have large quantities of bacteria growing on them hence making the food unsafe for consumption.
There are other ways in which the turkey can be defrosted which are safer and are harmless for human consumption. There is no scientific evidence that suggests if the hot water method used to defrost a turkey is viable or not. The hot water method is suitable for other kinds of meats like chicken, pigs, steak, etc since they are smaller.
What are the ways to defrost a turkey?
There are 4 accepted ways to defrost a turkey:
- In the refrigerator
- In the microwave
- With cold water and
- Cooking process
What is the time taken for the turkey to thaw in the refrigerator?
The time required for the turkey to thaw completely depends on the weight of the turkey as mentioned above. Typically it takes about 24 hours for a turkey weighing 4 pounds.
The safe way to thaw the turkey is to leave the wrapping on. Refrigeration thawing is the best method for the thawing of turkey and it is the most commonly used method.
|Weight of Turkey||Time required for Thawing @ 5℃/41℉|
|Up to 12 lbs||1-3 days|
|12-16 lbs||3-4 days|
|16-20 lbs||4-5 days|
|20-24 lbs||5-6 days|
What is the cold water method to defrost a turkey?
The cold water method of thawing the turkey is to immerse the entire turkey in a bowl of cold water. However, the water needs to be changed every half an hour. It takes 30 minutes for every pound of turkey to be thawed using this method which means it takes about 5 hours for a 10 lbs turkey to defrost.
What is the microwave method to defrost a turkey?
The microwave method is the one in which the turkey can be defrosted using the defrost setting in the microwave. In general, it takes about 6 minutes per pound of the turkey to be thawed. However, it is advised to remove all of the wrappings before popping the turkey into the microwave.
Instead of thawing if the turkey is cooking then, you need to rest the turkey for a few minutes before resuming thawing. This method however is not feasible for large turkeys as the microwaves are not as big. It is recommended to cover the drumsticks and the tips of the wings with the help of a foil to avoid cooking.
What is the cooking method to defrost a turkey?
The cooking method is the one in which the frozen turkey is used as-is for cooking. This method is not recommended as it takes a lot of time. It is proven that the turkey takes 50% more time to cook if not thawed. There are beliefs that this method is harmful, however, that is not true and it is perfectly safe to cook a frozen turkey.
How to know if the turkey is fully defrosted?
There are several ways in which you can know if the turkey is fully defrosted or not, they are:
- Touch: In this method to check if the turkey is fully defrosted or not, you can insert your hand through the cavity of the turkey and check the inside of the breast bone as this the denser part of the turkey, if it feels frozen then the turkey has not defrosted fully.
- Wiggle/shake: The moveable parts like the legs and wings can be tried to wiggle or shake. If the wings/legs are immovable or do not shake/wiggle then the turkey is not fully defrosted and needs a couple of more hours before cooking.
- Temperature/probe thermometer: A thermometer can be used to check if the turkey has been fully defrosted. The probe thermometer can be inserted in the thicker parts of the turkey like the breast or the leg and if the thermometer reads below 33.8°F then the turkey has not been fully defrosted.
Can cooked turkey be refrozen?
Yes, cooked turkey can be refrozen, if the method used for defrosting is either using the refrigeration method or the cold water method. The turkey can be refrozen if it has been cooked thoroughly and has not been left on the counter or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
The turkey can be cut into smaller portions and have to be packed in thick ziplock covers before being refrozen again.
Other FAQs about Turkey that you may be interested in.
Can you cook a turkey at 500 degrees?
Can you cook the turkey at 350 degrees?
Can you cook the turkey at 300 degrees?
Can you cook a turkey at 150 degrees?
In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “Can you defrost a turkey at room temperature?”. We have also discussed the different methods used to defrost the turkey and if cooked turkey can be refrozen.