Turkey Thaw Time Calculator

Turkey Thaw Time Calculator

How much does the turkey weigh? pounds

Properly Thawing a Turkey

Holiday food safety starts with properly thawing a frozen turkey. Simply enter the weight of the turkey in pounds and click calculate. A turkey requires approximately 24 hours (1 day) of refrigerated thawing for every 4-5 pounds. Place the turkey on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in a pan to avoid contaminating other foods. If you are short on time, cold water thawing is a much quicker process. It requires 30 minutes per pound.

Cold Water Method

To thaw in cold water, you’ll need a pot big enough to completely submerge the turkey in water. If part of the turkey sticks out past the top of a the pot, you need a bigger pot. Wrap the turkey tightly in plastic to keep the water out. Since most commercial turkey packing is waterproof, this step is unnecessary for most people. Fill the pot with cold water and completely submerge the turkey. Change the water out every 30 minutes.

Improper Thawing

Improper thawing includes methods such as leaving the turkey out at room temperature or not changing out water when using the cold water method. Leave plenty of time to avoid putting yourself in a situation in which you have to decide between not having a turkey cooked in time and putting loved ones at risk of a foodborne illness. For more information on safe thawing, read: How to Thaw a Turkey.

Turkey Cook Time

Once you have safely thawed the turkey, the next step is cooking it. For cook times, use the Turkey Cook Time Calculator.


  1. The Big Thaw — Safe Defrosting Methods. (2013, September 25). Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/bigthaw2

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