This special big bird is purchased frozen from stores and right before cooking it for the Thanksgiving, you have to defrost it. Of the three ways that are, slow, medium and fast, each one has its own benefit and method to follow. Here we are listing out 5 steps to remember when preparing your Thanksgiving main dish the next time. All these three methods are safe to be performed at home.

  1. A Slow Thaw in the Refrigerator

This is slow, really slow. It takes days to get this process done nicely. This also depends on the weight of the bird. Always keep the turkey in its original wrapping when it is defrosting, though.

  • For every 5 pounds, you need to thaw for 24 hours. That is, for a 10-pound bird, you defrost it for 2 days.
  • Always place the breast-side up in the turkey pan. This avoids excess water from dripping and wetting the other food and refrigerator surface.
  • Once you have done defrosting, you can still hold it for up to 2 days in the refrigerator before you cook it.
  1. A Medium Thaw with Cold Water

This is a bit faster approach when compared to the refrigerator method we looked at above. It uses cold water to accelerate the process. The process here also remains the same where you should keep the turkey in its original packaging only, however with added instructions.

  • Place the turkey with its wrapping inside a bigger plastic leak-proof bag.
  • Squeeze out the extra air out of it and seal it properly.
  • Get a big bucker that will fit the turkey perfectly and fill it with cold water.
  • Put this turkey with its breast side down inside the bucket above, and completely submerge it inside the water.
  • Finally, cover up the bucket with a plate so that it remains submerged inside it.
  • Keep changing the cold water every 30 minutes or so.
  • You must cook the turkey immediately after the defrosting is complete.
  1. A Fast Method Using the Microwave

Using the microwave is faster than any of the above as it will use heat to directly accelerate the process.

  • Read the user manual of your oven first, and then begin the process.
  • Note that the time and temperature settings will vary from model to model. They give you a chart to tell them precisely or have menus with inbuilt settings.
  1. Start the Fast Process

Put the turkey out of its wrapping, in this case, otherwise, it will melt. Remove any metal clips etc too.

  • Place it breast-side up in a baking pan.
  • It can take about an hour, just assumption.
  • Wash the microwave afterward to avoid contamination.
  • Cook the bird immediately.
  1. Time for Defrosting a Turkey

Depending on the method you use or a combination of methods you adopt, the time required can vary from days to hours.

  • For a slow style thawing, for every 5 pounds, you need a day of defrosting.
  • If you are adopting a medium style, for every pound of turkey, you need 30 minutes.
  • If you have a combination of the first two, you can choose your time based on how much you have.
  • A microwave can do this in a matter of an hour or so.


  • It is quite possible to use a combination of the slow and medium defrosting method. In this case, you can start with the refrigerator method and end it with inside cold water in your sink.

You can also your sink with a plug to hold the cold water.