Best time to start defrosting turkey – and what to do if you’ve left it too late

Millions of people will have a turkey for their Christmas dinner.

But if you've never cooked it before – maybe because you were having dinner elsewhere – there's some things you must know.

The most important thing to make sure you do is defrost the bird, otherwise the meat will still be frozen in places.

However, if you leave it too long, then it goes bad… So what do you do?

One mum has shared her handy trick for figuring out how long it takes to defrost a frozen turkey.

She shared the trick on the Family Lockdown Tips and Tricks group on Facebook to remind others to do it too.

The mum said: "If you have frozen turkeys don't forget to check when you need to take them out to properly defrost on time!

"I froze my fresh turkey on Friday and it came out last night."

She uses the free online tool – created by Omni Calculator – which asks you to input the weight of the turkey.

It also needs your method of defrosting before it gives you an answer as to when it's time to take it out of the freezer.

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For example, if you have a 3kg turkey, it'll take you 5 hours to defrost in cold water or just under three days in the fridge.

It explains that you need 30 minutes of defrosting time for every pound (0.5kg) of the meat's weight.

However, if you have left it too late, it's completely safe to defrost your turkey in the microwave.

This should take about an hour, but you must check the microwave's manual if you want the best answer.

What to do if you're defrosting your turkey in the fridge:

  • Keep the turkey in its original wrapping
  • Keep the turkey in the baking dish with high sides to prevent the water and juices from spilling all over the fridge
  • Thaw your turkey as close to the bottom of your fridge as possible
  • A fully thawed turkey can stay in the fridge for up to two full days

What to do if you're defrosting your turkey in cold water:

  • Keep the turkey in its original wrapping and then cover it with a leak-proof bag
  • Make sure the turkey is fully submerged and change the water every 30 minutes
  • Move the meat around slightly every time you change the water

What you must never do when defrosting your turkey:

  • Never let your turkey thaw at room temperature as bacteria starts to multiply
  • Let your meat thaw on the kitchen counter
  • Attempt defrosting the turkey in warm water
  • Speed up the thawing process with other equipment, like a hair dryer

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