How to defrost a Turkey, FAST!

Today I answer all your questions from how to defrost a turkey fast! to how to make a juicy and tender turkey on the inside and golden brown on the outside. The first time I made a Juicy Baked Turkey I almost had a panic attack. I mean a bird that size can represent a lot of pressure if Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner depends on the result of your attributes in the kitchen! You are safe with me! let’s start by thawing that turkey! how to thaw a turkey?

how to thaw a turkey quickly

After cooking the first turkey in the oven and seeing how delicious and juicy it was, I realized that it was very easy to prepare if you have the correct instructions. The first thing is how to defrost a turkey, thaw efficiently and quickly. In addition to answering all your questions about how to prepare a turkey, I share my top 5 baked turkey recipes and I give you written and video instructions to prepare turkey step by step. many of these come from my Mexican fae Christmas Recipes!

How to thaw a Turkey in the fridge

The first challenge without a doubt is how to defrost a turkey. You have to anticipate this step in advance. Allow 2 to 3 days before you oven bake the turkey to defrost. It is important that you thaw the turkey by moving it from the freezer to the refrigerator, this is why you should do it days in advance. The thawing time depends on the weight of your turkey.

How long does it take to Thaw a Turkey?

Allow for 1 day in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds (2 kilograms) the turkey weighs (in a refrigerator at 40 ° F or 5 ° C). For example, a 4 kg or 9 pounds turkey would require at least to leave in the fridge for 2 days. This adds one more night for the marinade. This is optional but it certainly makes a big difference in the flavor of the turkey.

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How to Quickly Defrost a Turkey

Do you need to cook the turkey and it is still frozen? Place a container large enough to fill with the turkey submerged in the water. The turkey will take about 30 minutes for every pound or half a kilogram it weighs. It is important that they change the water every 30 minutes. So a turkey of about 4 kilograms or 9 pounds would take about 4 hours to defrost by changing the water every half hour. Remember before putting in the oven to check that everything is defrosted inside the cavity of the turkey or the turkey will be raw and the cooking will not be even. This is why it is best to plan in advance how to thaw a turkey.

How long does a raw turkey last in the freezer?

When the turkey is frozen, the decomposition process is interrupted. If the turkey is in a well-sealed package it can last up to 2 years frozen and maintain a good flavor. Here I share an interesting table from the United States

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How to Make a Juicy Baked Turkey

The secret here is to keep the turkey moist at the time of cooking and it also has to do with the quality of the turkey and how long it may have been frozen. There are a couple of secrets to preparing a juicy baked turkey.

  • Place an apple cut into quarters and a head of garlic inside the turkey cavity. The head does not have to be bare. The moisture in the apple will help the turkey stay juicy, like the garlic, and will give it a delicious flavor through the aroma they give off. You can also add chunks of celery.
  • Marinate your turkey ahead of time. Marinating the turkey will help moisturize it and add flavor. The reality is that turkey meat doesn’t have much flavor on its own, and the marinade will help keep the turkey juicy.
  • Use a special bag to bake the turkey. When cooking turkey in the oven, if you don’t close the foil properly, moisture can escape. With the baking bags or a cooler you guarantee that the humidity is better preserved.

If you want to learn how to marinate a turkey so that it is juicy, visit this link.

How much salt to add to the turkey

I use 2 tablespoons of salt per turkey. The turkeys that I have cooked weigh between 7 and 9 pounds and have been perfect for salt. I suggest you put the salt in the marinade that you will use for the turkey. There are people who like to spread the salt mixed with a little water on the skin of the turkey as well as inside the skin and cavity and leave it overnight in the refrigerator with the salt. The moisture released from the turkey helps to distribute it more evenly and to season the turkey.

Personally, it has worked well for me with the salt that I use for the marinade. To see marinating suggestions visit my post How to marinate a Turkey so that it is juicy, there I share the marinating times, tips to make the turkey juicy and I share recipes.

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How long to bake a turkey

If you want to know how long a turkey should be baked and at what temperature this is calculated based on the weight of your turkey, here I share all the information click here. depending on the size of your turkey

  • For a turkey of 5 to 15 pounds, 5 to 7 kilos it takes approximately 3 to 3:45 hours if it does not have stuffing, if it has stuffing it takes between 3:45 minutes to 4:15 hours.
  • For a turkey of 15 to 17 pound, 7 to 8 kilos it takes approximately 3:45 minutes to 4:45 hrs without stuffing, if it has stuffing it will take between 4:00 to 4:30 hrs.
  • For a turkey of 17 to 24 pounds, or 8 to 11 kilos it will last in the oven between 4:15 and 5 hours, remember to be checking it so that you do not run out of time, if it has stuffing it will last between 4:30 hours and 5:15 hours.
how long to cook a turkey in a baking bag

At what temperature should a turkey be baked?

The turkey should be baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees centigrade. Cooking time depends on the weight of your turkey.

How to make the Turkey Skin golden Brown

The secret so that the turkey is golden brown on the outside and juicy on the inside is in the cooking time. When there are about 20 minutes until your turkey finishes its time in the oven, remove the bag or aluminum foil that has covered it during cooking. Bathe it well with the juice it has released and put it back in the oven. Check every 10 minutes as you can toast the skin of the rest of the turkey. In this way, the turkey juice is kept in cooking and we only use it the last time to brown the skin.

What is better bag or foil to cook a turkey?

Both options work. Undoubtedly the turkey bag makes the process easier and I also use it to keep my turkey marinating in the refrigerator. The bag allows the steam from the marinade itself to circulate through the bag without having to open the aluminum foil every half hour to bathe the turkey with the juice from the marinade. Having to take out the turkey to bathe it when you prepare it with aluminum can expose you to burns in addition to the fact that every time you open the oven it loses its temperature and has to return to the ideal temperature. Definitely from personal experience I recommend using the turkey baking bags.

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Red or white wine for the turkey?

White meats such as fish or poultry should be marinated or accompanied with white wine. To begin with, it will respect the color of the meat and the flavor goes more with the white wine. Another option is to use a little rum when marinating.

Recipes to Prepare a Juicy Baked Turkey

I hope these baked turkey recipes with marinade recipe and cook times help you prepare a delicious Christmas or Thanksgiving Dinner. I would love for you to come back and tell me how the turkey turned out!

Many blessings, happy holidays! Laura Muller from Mexican Food by Laura & Las Recetas de Laura

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Turkey with butter and pink grapefruit

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  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of salt
  • 1 apple
  • 3 tbsp of melted butter


  • Place all the ingredients to season the turkey in the blender.
  • Make sure the garlic had disintegrated very well
  • Begin to separate the skin of the turkey with a spoon or spatula, the skin will serve as a bag that contains our seasoning and also when cooking it joins with the fat that releases the skin of the turkey giving a delicious flavor.
  • Once the skin is separated, begin to dress our marinade inside the skin and push with the hand or the spatula, try to also reach under the skin of the turkey’s legs.
  • What is left of the seasoning or marinade we are going to put on top of the turkey and now if you can leave it marinating if you have time. I recommend leaving it for at least one night but I have also done it because I just season it and bake it and it is delicious anyway.
  • I recommend using a baking bag to marinate the turkey, I always marinate them like that but if you can’t find it, put it on a tray and cover it with plastic or aluminum and leave it in the fridge, every time you have the opportunity, bathe with it. marinated

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