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How to quickly defrost a frozen turkey



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


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It's a classic Thanksgiving cooking oversight. You bought the turkey, but forgot to defrost it. Or maybe you bought it several days before the big day and it's still frozen in places. Hope is not lost.

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 of cold water every 30 minutes to prevent bacteria growth, according to U.S. Pat. Department of Health & Human Services.
  5. When it's done, it's 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 wants to take around 7.5 hours to defrost.

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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