Turkey Thawing and Roasting Times

After reading these quick tips, use our chart to find the correct thawing and roasting times for the size of your turkey.

NEVER DEFROST AT ROOM TEMPERATURE– Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. Thawed turkey can stay in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

DON’T RINSE THE TURKEY– Do not wash the turkey. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.

DO I REALLY NEED TO USE A THERMOMETER? Yes. Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165°F.

WHAT ABOUT STUFFING? The USDA does not recommend stuffing a turkey for food safety reasons. We have two stuffing recipes Apple Cranberry Stuffing made in a slow cooker and Apple Raisin Stuffing baked in the oven! You can always heat these stuffings on the stovetop too!

NIBBLING ON LEFTOVERS? Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Within 2 hours of your meal, divide up leftovers into shallow containers and refrigerate immediately. Use or freeze within 3-4 days. Try this Thanksgiving Leftovers Enchilada Pie recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking.


In the Oven– Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover. Reheat to an internal temperature of 165°F using a food thermometer.

In the Microwave Oven– Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time. Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165°F. Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.


USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety expert or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. If you need help on Thanksgiving Day, the Meat and Poultry Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time.

You can also visit FoodSafety.gov to learn more about how to safely select, thaw, and prepare a turkey.

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