How to quickly defrost a frozen turkey

All is not lost! You can still have a yummy dinner.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford

You still can make a turkey, even if you forget to defrost it.


Thanksgiving is upon us. Is your turkey defrosted? 

Unwrapping a frozen turkey on Thanksgiving morning is not a great start to a day of cooking. If yours is still frozen solid, or still a bit icy in spots, hope is not lost. We've got safe and easy instructions to quickly defrost your frozen turkey.

Give your turkey a bath

A water bath can get you a roasting ready turkey. 

  1. Leave the turkey in its wrapper. 
  2. Place it in a sterilized tub, large sink or bathtub. 
  3. Cover it completely with cold water. Let the turkey sit until it defrosts. 
  4. Be sure to refill the sink or tub with cold water every 30 minutes to prevent bacteria growth, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  5. When it's done, just remove it from the water and pat it dry with paper towels. Be sure not to let the turkey water drip around the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination.  

Start early

You'll need 30 minutes of defrosting time for every pound of turkey. So, a typical 15-pounder will take around 7.5 hours to defrost. 

If you get started first thing Thanksgiving morning, you can have your turkey defrosted and ready to bake by noon, giving you just enough time to finish before dinner.

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