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Knowing how long to defrost a turkey is an important part of preparing your perfect Christmas feast. Everybody loves roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and other trimmings, but it is the turkey that is the star of the show. Make sure your Christmas dinner is a success by ordering a succulent free range turkey in advance and freezing it. This way you won't lose out on any flavour but you will save yourself the last minute stress of frantically shopping for a bird on Christmas eve. You just have to remember to get your turkey out of the freezer in time for it to fully thaw before cooking. Learn how long to defrost a turkey for safe and delicious results with our ultimate guide.
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In order to know how long to defrost a turkey before your Christmas meal, you must first know its size. There can be a big difference in thaw times for an 8kg whole turkey compared to a 2.5kg turkey crown. Once your Christmas turkey has been delivered, take note of the weight before freezing. Make sure to write the weight down so you remember. Once you know the weight, it is easy to figure out how long to defrost a turkey. On average, you need to leave about 24 hours for thawing per every 2kg of turkey. Below you can find some guidelines on how long to defrost a turkey.
The safest and best way of defrosting a turkey is in the fridge. Once you know how long to defrost your turkey for, follow these simple steps:
For more guidance on how to freeze and defrost other meats, read our Ultimate Freezing and Defrosting Guide.
No, you should never defrost a turkey at room temperature. This is because it will expose the turkey to something called the 'Danger Zone'. The 'Danger Zone' describes temperatures between 8°C and 63°C as this is the environment in which bacteria will grow. If meat is defrosted in between these temperatures, microbes will be able to grow. This is why you should never defrost your turkey at room temperature, in direct sunlight or by a radiator. Just like with defrosting lamb, it is safest to defrost your turkey in a fridge where the temperature will be kept at about 5°C or lower.
Yes, it is possible to defrost a turkey in the microwave, if your microwave is big enough! However we do not use this method as the results can be inconsistent and the temperature is harder to control. Especially with larger birds, the outer edges may begin cooking at a low temperature whilst the inside is still trying to defrost. This means you are at risk of entering the 'Danger Zone' and letting bacteria grow. If you are pushed for time and must defrost your turkey in a microwave, it's vital you follow the manufacturer's instructions and use defrost mode. Once defrosted, you must cook the turkey straight away. Do not then store it in the fridge.
It is essential that your turkey is fully defrosted before cooking. Here are four ways to check whether your turkey has completely thawed and is safe to be prepared.
Once your turkey is fully defrosted, you can begin preparing it for roasting. For something utterly mouthwatering, read our top tips on how to stuff your Christmas turkey compiled by a top Michelin star chef. Also don't forget to calculate how long your turkey will need to roast and leave spare time for resting.
This Christmas, Farmison is bringing better meat to the nation's table. We are committed to sustainability and are proud to be industry leaders in traceability. This means that every pig in blanket or christmas beef wellington can be traced back to the free range pork or grass fed beef which it came from. Delivered straight to your door, exceptional dining at home couldn't be easier. Show your family and friends the love they deserve by sharing some of Farmison's top quality British meat with them this Christmas.