One year we didn't have a turkey. Apparently, when it's a huge turkey, you need to move it from the freezer almost a week before the main event. Unfortunately, I was 19 when I took it upon myself to make the family a delicious turkey and it went sideways fast. I wish someone would have told me that we needed to defrost that big ole turkey 5 days before and not the night before. I vowed to never make that mistake again.

Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans will be attempting to cook a turkey for the first time this year? No one wants to be that family featured on the 10 o'clock news because they put a frozen turkey in the deep fryer and burnt their backyard down right?

The first thing that the USDA is reminding everyone is to immediately take the frozen turkey home and store it in the freezer. According to their website "A package of frozen meat or poultry left thawing on the counter more than 2 hours is not at a safe temperature. Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the "Danger Zone" between 40 and 140 °F — at a temperature where foodborne bacteria multiply rapidly."

Make sure you thaw your turkey in time to have it oven or deep fry ready. Did you know that the USDA recommends you moving your turkey from the freezer to the fridge as soon as today? Check out the recommendations from the USDA below.

Refrigerator Thawing Times (for a whole turkey):

  • 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

The USDA also pointed out that a thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for up to two days before cooking. So the only concern you should have is is the turkey is taking up too much space in the fridge.