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How to Safely Thaw Poultry

Safely thaw frozen chicken and turkey (uncooked and cooked) in three ways.

Raw whole turkey

Safely thaw frozen chicken and turkey (uncooked and cooked) in three ways:

  • Microwave —Thaw frozen uncooked and cooked poultry safely and quickly in the microwave following the manufacturer's directions. 
  • Refrigerator —Thaw frozen uncooked and cooked poultry gradually in the refrigerator. Place poultry in a dish or baking pan with sides to prevent leaking during the thawing period. Refer to the Poultry Thawing Chart for thawing times.
  • Sink or deep pan of cold water —Thaw frozen uncooked poultry by completely covering with cold water. Change the water often to keep it cold. Keep poultry in its original wrapper during thawing, or place in a resealable, heavy-duty plastic bag. Allow 30 minutes per pound to thaw.

Never thaw meat at room temperature on the counter, as bacteria can multiply rapidly, leading to potential food poisoning. Don’t refreeze thawed chicken or turkey.

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