It’s Thanksgiving morning, and your bird is still frozen-solid. Relax, there’s no need to run around like a chicken turkey with its head cut off. Here, two quick-ish ways to defrost your turkey and save the feast.
What not to do: Dump the bird on the counter and let it thaw at room temperature. And definitely ignore Uncle Ron’s advice about leaving it in the basement to defrost—you want a controlled temperature (and, um, not food poisoning).
If you’ve got a few hours to spare: Submerge your bird breast-side down in cold water (a large pot or the sink should do the trick) and change the water every 30 minutes. Make sure the turkey is totally submerged (use a baking dish to weigh it down if you have to). It should take approximately 30 minutes per pound to completely thaw. So, for a ten-pound turkey, you’re looking at about five hours of thaw time. Note: Changing the water every 30 minutes is key for food safety, so be sure to set a reminder.
If you’re really short on time: Here’s the deal—you actually can safely cook a fully frozen turkey, says the USDA. But there’s a catch: Cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer. So, while a 12-pound, fully thawed turkey would normally take about three hours to cook in a 325°F oven, it will take four and a half hours to cook if it’s frozen.
If your guests are coming over in an hour: Ply ’em with drinks and appetizers while you give this recipe for maple-roasted turkey legs a go. Worst-case scenario? Team your delicious sides with a pizza delivery. (A slice of pepperoni fixes everything.)