NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – It turns out there are three methods for defrosting your turkey safely – in the refrigerator, in cold water (while still sealed in plastic) or in the microwave.
Defrosting your turkey on the counter is not recommended, as the USDA warns that you’re giving any bacteria present on the bird the opportunity to grow during every hour the turkey is defrosting at room temperature.
Microwaving your turkey will work, but different parts of the bird may begin to cook at different times. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Defrosting your turkey in the fridge takes the longest, about 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of bird, so start defrosting for Thanksgiving now!
The cold water option defrosts your turkey at an average rate of 30 minutes per pound but requires much more work as you’ll have to change out the water every 30 minutes or so. If you’re a defrosting procrastinator, this method could be your best bet.