Partially Frozen Turkey?

*NOTE* If you are landing on this page on Thanksgiving Day after discovering your turkey is still partially frozen, the advice does apply to you. If you discovered your turkey was partially frozen while getting it ready to go in the oven put it in a large plastic bag (food grade, think crockpot liner or oven bag). If it’s in the original packaging you don’t have to do anything, just get that turkey under cool water in a large container, ASAP.

The full explanation of the water-bath method is here. If your turkey is mostly thawed, the water-bath method will not need the full 20 minutes a pound. Keep checking it every 20 minutes until the turkey is fully thawed.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I bought a fresh turkey yesterday just so I don’t have to deal with the thawing issue. Well after handing it to my husband once I got home, he then put it in our deep freezer! I realized this 4 am in the morning, so ran to the garage and pulled it out. It seems pretty frozen. It’s now in the fridge but I’m not sure what to do since I can’t tell if it’s frozen solid. Do you know how long it takes to freeze a turkey solid? My turkey is 14lbs. I guess my only options would be to thaw the turkey out in cold water since I don’t have enough time to do it in the fridge.


Frazzled in Frampton

Heather says:

You are on the right track choosing to thaw your turkey with the water bath method. I don’t know how long your turkey was in the deep freeze, but I’m betting it was long enough to fully freeze unless you were out shopping late in the evening.

Stick to the usual guideline of 20 minutes per pound. After 5 hours, go ahead and put the thawed turkey in the refrigerator where it will be just fine to cook on Thanksgiving day.

Isn’t it frustrating when our best efforts are foiled by the well-meaning?

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  1. Toni S on November 21, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I have a 20 lb turkey to my dismay, I forgot to dethaw it! It will be dethaw if three days before thanksgiving in the refrigerator, but I’m afraid it won’t be long enough. I was told that thawing in cold water without water changes every 15-20 mintues will give it salmonella, even in cold water. Since it’s gonna take hours to do, would it be okay to begin dethawing it in cold water on the Wednesday evening before and once dethawed places back into the fridge until the next day?

    • Heather Solos on November 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Yes, you can thaw it the night before and store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to pull it out on Thanksgiving.

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