How long does it take for turkey and ham to defrost?

Another Holiday iPad app to avoid holiday cooking disasters?

  • Posted by: Food52
  • October 21, 2011


boulangere October 21, 2011
The safest ways to defrost anything are in the refrigerator or in cold water. Anything defrosted in the microwave must cooked immediately upon removing it.

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SKK October 21, 2011
Some people say you can defrost a turkey in the microwave, and I personally don't ever do it that way for several reasons.

Turkey In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.

Turkey In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

Don't know how long it takes for ham to defrost. Will be cooking my first one per wssmom's recipe and will buy it fresh.
JessicaBakes October 21, 2011
24 hours for every 4-5 lbs. in the fridge, which is much safer than defrosting in the sink. Ice water bath recommended when short on fridge space!
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