How Long to Thaw a 20-Pound Turkey?

When trying to figure out how long to thaw a 20-pound turkey, you’ll need to consider how cold you want to keep the turkey in, as well as whether you can use a refrigerator or just water to thaw it. As you’re thawing it, you’ll also want to take its temperature periodically.

When thawing a turkey, you’ll want to ensure it’s completely defrosted. This will prevent the spread of bacterial contamination. Leaving the meat on the counter to thaw for more than two hours increases the risk of bacterial growth. You should also check the temperature of your water frequently, especially if you’re using a cold water method.


What is Turkey Meat?

The meat from turkeys, which are primarily domesticated but can also be wild turkeys, is known as turkey meat or just turkey. It is a highly-liked fowl dish, especially in North America, where it is customarily eaten as part of important cultural occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas and in everyday fare.

In a way similar to how chicken is sold “whole,” with the head, feet, and feathers removed, turkeys are also sold sliced and ground. Whole frozen turkeys continue to be popular. Sliced turkey is widely used as cold cuts or sandwich meat; it can occasionally be substituted for chicken in recipes that call for it. As a popular and healthful alternative to ground beef, ground turkey is offered for sale.

How Long to Thaw a 20-Pound Turkey?

You’re prepared to incorporate thawing into your Thanksgiving schedule, which is great. Here is how to calculate it: For every 5 pounds of frozen turkey, allow 24 hours for thawing in the refrigerator (for example, budget four full days of thawing in the fridge for a 20-pound turkey). Make room in the bottom of your refrigerator, and keep a roasting pan or baking sheet handy. Keep the turkey covered, and check every so often to see whether the roasting pan or baking sheet needs to be emptied. Make sure you have enough time to bring it before Thanksgiving Day if you choose to bring your turkey.

Removing the turkey neck and gizzards is important because they can be used to make gravy. Then completely dry the chicken, either with paper towels or by allowing it to air dry while remaining uncovered and kept in the refrigerator overnight (creating an extra added day on the timeline).

What are the Different Ways of Thawing Turkey?

In the Refrigerator

The ONLY method recommended for defrosting a frozen turkey is to thaw it in the refrigerator. But for it to work, you’ll need a lot of time—24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of bird. It will take a large turkey, around 15 to 20 pounds, 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

Therefore, you must make a plan in advance. You’ll be in great shape if you can pull that off. (Plus, your turkey will be wonderful and golden brown.)

In Cold Water

A frozen turkey can be securely defrosted in a sink full of ice water, but it won’t be simple. The issue is that you must maintain water temperatures of 40 F or lower throughout the entire thawing process, which requires 30 minutes of thawing time for every pound of frozen bird.

This entails changing the water every 30 minutes and checking the temperature using an instant-read thermometer once you’ve identified the issue with this approach, ring in.

In the Microwave

If the temperature matters to you, your turkey will indeed have thawed. If you want to use it as a soccer ball, for instance, or perhaps roast it and feed some wild animals.

This is not a suitable strategy to utilize, though, if you intend to serve it to people. Given the range of different wattages, power levels, minutes per pound, and other factors, the result of using this thawing technique is most likely to be a turkey that is partially cooked and partially frozen in different places.

How to Store Turkey?

It would be best if you still had a place to store your defrosted turkey until you’re ready to cook it. It would be best to keep a thawed turkey or one bought fresh rather than frozen in your refrigerator. The temperature in your refrigerator should be no higher than 40 degrees F (4.4 degrees C).

Your refrigerator operates best between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1-3 degrees C). If your refrigerator is at capacity, you can store the turkey in a cooler with ice packs. To keep the turkey chilly enough, swap out the ice packs frequently. Store a thermometer inside the cooler to keep an eye on the temperature.

Consider a probe thermometer like this one that has an alarm; the thermometer is placed inside the cooler while the monitor is placed outside. The alarm can be programmed to sound if the temperature rises above 40 degrees Fahrenheit! Before cooking, you can store a thawed, uncooked turkey in the fridge for one to two days. Make careful to consume a fresh (not frozen) turkey by the label’s expiration date.

If you’re using a cooler to store your turkey temporarily, you might want to keep it separate and use it just for raw meat and poultry. Food poisoning may result from bacteria present in raw meat and poultry. You may easily practice food safety in your home by having a single cooler solely used for raw meat and poultry.

What is the Culinary Uses of Turkey?

Lean and adaptable, turkey can be substituted for other proteins in recipes that call for other proteins with little cooking time changes. Any meal can include one of the many turkey cuts and products currently offered.

  • Morning meal: Add a side of turkey bacon to any breakfast dish, and you may use turkey sausage in your favorite frittata or bake.
  • Lunch: Any sandwich, salad, or wrap benefits from sliced turkey as the star ingredient. Try the turkey panini with brie cheese, green apple, and heat.
  • Supper Tenderloins from a turkey is a simple way to include turkey on your dinner menu. For simple classics like turkey fajitas, season with your preferred seasoning or marinade and heat a skillet on the stovetop or the grill. Ground turkey gives them a lighter spin when used in classic dishes like Bolognese, nachos, or stuffed peppers.

How to Identify Bad Turkey Meat?

Usually, you can tell when the raw ground turkey has gone rancid by opening the refrigerator door.

A bad smell resembling rotten eggs is the most typical indication of a ruined turkey. Throw away the turkey right away if it smells off. See the question Does Ground Turkey Have a Smell? Below for further details.

Examining the color of the turkey may also enable you to determine whether it has gone rotten. Fresh fruit is a pale pink or peach color. Throw away the meat if it starts to turn grey or brown.

Due to the inherent moisture in the meat, freshly ground turkey will have a small sheen. It feels moist and just a little bit tacky on your fingertips when you contact it. It shouldn’t have a slimy appearance or feel excessively slick or sticky.

Time is usually to blame when ground turkey spoils. Before purchasing the meat, check the use-by date; if that period has passed, it is not recommended to eat the turkey, even if it appears in good condition.

Once more, prepare the ground turkey as quickly as you can. Put the meat in the freezer in case your intentions change. Keep in mind that it takes 12 to 24 hours to defrost in the refrigerator for a pound of frozen ground turkey.

What are the Results of Consuming Bad Turkey Meat?

The same problems that chicken and pig are infamous for can occur with ground turkey. If it is uncooked, ground meat should always be utilized right away. Be careful to freeze the leftovers as soon as possible if you don’t want to consume them immediately.

If you consume rotten ground turkey and experience stomach discomfort, seek medical attention immediately. Avoid tampering with food poisoning. Fever, chills, cramping in the stomach, diarrhea, and nausea are all signs of food poisoning. Seek emergency medical help!

The “building blocks” for the proteins that make up our muscles and other significant components of our bodies are known as amino acids. (L-tryptophan is only one type of amino acid; the foods we eat contain various amino acids.) L-tryptophan, an amino acid, is abundant in turkey meat (say: el-trip-the-fan).

L-tryptophan is an amino acid that enters the bloodstream from the digestive system and then travels to the brain when consumed in food. The brain subsequently converts L-tryptophan into serotonin, another neurotransmitter (say: sare-uh-toh-nin). We become calm and fall asleep thanks to serotonin.

However, researchers now understand that L-tryptophan can only truly make someone weary right away if it is consumed or taken alone without any amino acid.

Most scientists believe that there may be another explanation for why having a special dinner might make you sleepy. A large Thanksgiving dinner results in decreased blood flow to the brain and increased blood flow to the stomach, which is required to aid meal digestion.

Reference: Public Health Risks: Chemical and Antibiotic Residues – Review

Despite the fact that it is obvious that medications are necessary for the effective production of meat, milk, and eggs, their indiscriminate use should never take the place of hygienic farm management. Drugs should only be used when necessary. Environmental pollutants contaminated in feed, water, and air can also leave residues in animal products, in addition to veterinary medications.

Heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, mycotoxins, and other industrially produced substances can harm human and animal health. Most organic pollutants, including metals and dioxin, PCBs, and DDT, are persistent in the environment and biological organisms and can build up in fat and tough tissues. Some may impact the neurological system, endocrine disruption, cancer, teratogenicity, and the immune system.


If you’re unsure how to defrost a 20-pound turkey, the first thing to consider is the amount of time you have. A 12- to 16-pound bird should take at least an hour, while a 24-pounder should thaw for eight to twelve hours. However, if you’re short on time, it’s possible to speed up the process.

You can do this in your kitchen sink, but you’ll need to be prepared to disinfect the sink. You’ll also need a large pot or pan to submerge the turkey. For the best results, you’ll want to use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the correct temperature. The thermometer should be inserted into the thickest part of the breast. It should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit everywhere else and should reach 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit in the deepest part of the thigh.