Thawing a Frozen Turkey
If you received your turkey partially thawed:
If your turkey is partially thawed, don't be alarmed. As long as it is cold to the touch and not mushy it may be re-frozen. You may either finish the thawing process in the refrigerator or you may refreeze it.
Although a frozen turkey may be safely thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water, thawing in the refrigerator is recommended.
To thaw turkey in the refrigerator:
Keep the turkey wrapped and place it in a pan; let stand about 24 hours for each 5 pounds of turkey. Let large turkeys stand a maximum of 5 days in the refrigerator. The giblets and neck are customarily packed in the neck and body cavities of frozen turkeys. They may be removed from the cavities near the end of the thawing period to expedite complete thawing of the bird. If desired, the giblets and neck may be refrigerated and reserved for use in Giblet Gravy.
To thaw turkey in cold water:
Do not take turkey out of the plastic wrap. This prevents bacteria in the surrounding environment from being introduced into the food, and prevents the poultry tissues from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product. Change the cold water every 30 minutes. Approximately 30 minutes per pound of turkey are required for thawing. After thawing in cold water, the turkey should be cooked immediately.
Another “Cold Water” option is to put the turkey in a sink full of cold water the night before preparing. Leave the plastic wrap intact. It should be completely defrosted in the morning allowing you to proceed with your bird preparations.