If your turkey is still frozen, what do you do?

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When should I buy a fresh turkey?

A raw, fresh turkey should be stored for no longer than two days in the refrigerator. So if you’re buying fresh and want to keep it that way, you’ll have to make the purchase right before Thanksgiving.

Why cant you thaw a turkey at room temperature?

You should never thaw a frozen turkey on the counter at room temperature or in hot water. Under either of those methods, the outer layer of the turkey can sit between the bacteria-breeding temperatures of 40°F and 140 °F for far too long to be safe.

What happens if you leave a frozen turkey out overnight

Answered By: Blake Hernandez Date: created: Feb 17 2022

Do not thaw your turkey on the counter. It’s frozen solid. It will be totally fine chillaxing on the counter overnight.

Asked By: Gordon Ramirez Date: created: Feb 20 2022


Whichever method you use, you should ALWAYS verify that the internal temperature of your turkey is above freezing BEFORE putting it in the oven or smoker. Again, you can actually cook a frozen turkey and, of course, you can cook a thawed turkey, but you can’t cook a partially thawed, partially frozen turkey. If the center of the turkey is still frozen, by the time it comes to a food safe temperature, the outside meat will be burned to a crisp.


Using a fast and accurate instant-read thermometer, like Thermapen ONE, push the probe tip through the wrapper, deep into the breast and pull it out noting the temperature reading as it changes. The lowest temperature you see should be 30°F (-1°C) or above (and, of course, below the danger zone—40°F [4.4°C]). Check in several places. Check deep in the thigh and next to the neck cavity too.


If you encounter ice with the probe, or see a temperature reading below 30°F (-1°C), continue thawing using either method above until the turkey is fully thawed.


Pulling your turkey from the oven or smoker or frier is actually NOT the last step before carving and serving. Resting your turkey is. We recommend a 30-minute rest before carving.

Why rest? Two important reasons…


The higher temperatures that exist on the outside of the turkey will continue moving toward the lower temperature center area of the meat even after you take your turkey out of the heat.

This is called carryover cooking. While small cuts of meat like steaks or chops experience minimal carryover, large cuts, like turkeys or roasts, can experience as much as 5-10°F (3-6°C) increase in internal temperature while the exterior cools. We call the way a cooked turkey comes to one temperature while it rests “equilibration.”


Another reason to rest your turkey is so it has a chance to reabsorb its juices.

While exposed to the intense heat of an oven, smoker or fryer, turkey meat’s protein fibers shorten, shrink and contract, expelling out the water they’ve retained. During the rest, these protein fibers have a chance to relax and reabsorb some of the juices that are lost. A turkey carved and served without resting will spill more of its juices onto the cutting board and not be as moist.


Once you have verified that your turkey has reached its pull temperature of 157°F (69°C), remove the turkey from the oven or smoker.


If you have a ChefAlarm or Smoke alarm thermometer from ThermoWorks, leave the probe in place, and the alarm thermometer will record the maximum temperature reached by the internal meat of the turkey during the rest.


Set a timer for 30 minutes, and allow your turkey to rest at room temperature (the ChefAlarm has one built-in).


Check the ChefAlarm or Smoke’s Max temperature reading to see what your turkey’s final resting temperature was. Even if your turkey didn’t reach 165°F (74°C), it only needs to be held for 25.6 seconds at 160°F (71°C) to reach the same level of food safety (a 7-log reduction in pathogens as defined by the USDA).


If you want your turkey skin to stay crispy, keep the turkey uncovered during the rest. If you need to hold the turkey for longer than half an hour before serving, keep it warm in an oven set to 150°F (66°C). Leave your alarm thermometer probe in place and track the internal temperature while you wait.

Does salt water thaw meat faster

Answered By: Oliver Miller Date: created: Dec 16 2020

The lower melting point allows the block of frozen salt water to melt more easily than a block of frozen tap water – so it melts faster.

Asked By: Edward Lewis Date: created: Dec 14 2020

2. Cooking Time Is Up and Your Turkey Is Raw

It's almost dinnertime and when you go to check the turkey it still isn't done. Turkey is cooked only when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You can fix it: cover the whole bird with tin foil to prevent the skin from burning before the meat has finished cooking and go ahead and crank up the oven heat. (But don't go over 475°F. Higher than that and it may burn.) Keep in mind, if you're cooking in an oven with the heat source on the bottom, any bits in the roasting pan may burn when you increase the temperature, so add a cup or two of water, turkey stock or wine to the pan to avoid any burning.

Related: How to Roast a Turkey

How to Cook a Frozen Turkey

First, manage your guests’ expectations. Cooking a frozen turkey will take around 50 percent longer than cooking one that’s already been thawed. So you’ll want to break out the snacks to make sure folks don’t start eating the furniture.

For a 14 to 18 pound turkey, which would ordinarily require four hours of cooking time, you'll need about 6 hours in the oven, plus another 30 to 45 minutes to rest afterward (the turkey, not you, although you'll need a rest by then too).

You’ll want to modify the cooking times if your turkey weighs less or more than that. A meat thermometer (the kind you leave in the bird while it roasts) will help. But as a rough guide, figure 1.5 times whatever your cooking time would’ve been.

Second, preheat your oven to 325 F. You want a very low temperature so that the outside of the turkey doesn't burn before the inside has cooked.

Line a roasting pan with foil, and put a roasting rack in it. This will ensure that the turkey stays above any liquid that may drain out, which would cause it to steam rather than roast. And it will cook more evenly on a shallow pan than one with high sides.

You may have better luck setting the wrapped turkey onto the rack and then peeling the wrapper off the turkey, rather than trying to handle a naked, frozen turkey. Just make certain that you've removed all of the wrappers.

4. You Don’t Have Enough Oven Space

If you can't get everything ready at the same time, some of your dishes may cool before everything is ready. This is possibly the most challenging part of Thanksgiving. The oven is occupied and so are the burners on your stove. Here are a few ways to keep stuff warm: Got a slow cooker? Put it to work. Make mashed potatoes early, put them in your slow cooker on the warm setting and walk away. They'll stay heated for a couple of hours with no tending involved. Another tactic is to take advantage of the "turkey resting period" (the time between when the turkey comes out of the oven and when you carve, usually about 20 to 30 minutes). If your side dishes are just sitting around getting cold, tuck them into your toasty (turned-off) oven while the turkey rests. And remember, don't stress. The food doesn't have to be piping hot—that's what gravy is for!

Related: Thanksgiving Recipes You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker

How to Thaw a Turkey Quickly

If you’ve missed the fridge thawing window, try our favorite quick-thaw method: submerge the turkey (breast-side down with its wrapping still on) in a sink or a cooler full of cold water, changing out the water every half hour. Allow 30 minutes to thaw for each pound of turkey. FYI, a 16-pound turkey will take eight hours. (If math isn’t your thing, then simply plug the weight of your turkey into Butterball’s turkey defrost time calculator.)

Once you’ve allowed your turkey to thaw, perform two tests on the bird to confirm that it’s completely defrosted: reach your hand into the bird’s cavity to make sure there aren’t any ice crystals, and poke the thicker parts of the turkey with a fork. If you get icicles doing either one of these, then your turkey needs more time to warm up.


How to Make Sure Your Turkey’s Done If You Don’t Have a Thermometer

Target Temperature Is 165 F

To be safe, every part of the turkey must reach 165 F. Again, the goal is that you’ll hit 175 F at the thigh, but that’s more of a quality issue. Safety-wise, the magic number is 165 F.

If all goes well, the thigh will read between 175 and 180 F, while everywhere else is telling you at least 165 F. If so, congratulations! You can now take the turkey out of the oven, cover it with foil and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, you can use the pan drippings to make a magnificent gravy.

Your sous vide circulator is your best friend

I cook at least four turkeys every November while developing recipes, and sometimes I don’t have the full three to four days required to defrost a 12-pound bird, nor do I have the time to change out water every half hour. In these moments, I turn to my immersion circulator.

Spec? We go specs. Includes an AMD Ryzen 9, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 in a 14" display with QHD 1440p resolution and a 160Hz refresh rate.

Sous-vide circulators can’t cool water, but they can keep cool water moving, and tell you the exact temperature of the water, negating the need to change the water every half hour. This saves water (which is not cheap) and time.

The cold tap water that comes out of the average faucet is around 45℉, so try and keep it around there. Fill a big bucket with cold tap water, set your circulator temp to 45℉, and add ice as needed to get it down to that temperature. Turn on the circulator, and let the water move and groove around the bird. The frozen turkey will keep the water from climbing in temp—even though the water is five degrees above the upper end of the danger zone threshold, the meat itself is going to stay well within the safe range for quite a while, and it definitely won’t be in the danger zone for two hours.


If you start to feel a little nervous towards the end of the thaw, you can add a little more ice and drop the temp of the circulator to 39℉. (I’ve also started the water at around 60℉, then dropped it down by adding ice once the turkey starts to soften.) Using the circulator this way can shave hours off of your thaw time and, considering that tomorrow is Turkey Day, every hour is precious.