With the holidays quickly approaching you may want to brush up on your turkey knowledge!  This can be a stressful time of year, so lets make it easier on ourselves!  Use these helpful tips and tricks – from thawing to carving – for a smooth and relaxing holiday season.

Turkey Tips:

  • Purchase one pound of turkey for each guest.
  • Allow enough time for the turkey to thaw (see charts below).
  • Cook the bird until a meat thermometer reaches 180 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh.
  • If the bird is stuffed, the stuffing must reach 165 degrees F.
  • Allow the bird to cool for about 10 minutes before carving.
  • Use a long, sharp knife and a two-pronged fork for carving.
  • Have an idea of how to carve a turkey (see video below).
  • Leftovers should be stored in shallow containers within two hours of cooking.
  • Use leftovers within four days.

Thawing a Turkey:

In the refrigerator (40 degrees F or below): Allow about 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds.

 4 to 12 lbs.  1 to 3 days
 12 to 16 lbs.  3 to 4 days
 16 to 20 lbs.  4 to 5 days
 20 to 24 lbs.  5 to 6 days

Keep the turkey in its original wrapping.  Place in a tray or pan to catch any juices that may leak.  Once the turkey has thawed, it can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.  A turkey thawed in this manner can safely be refrozen, according to the USDA.

In cold water: Allow about 30 minutes per pound.

4 to 12 lbs. 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 lbs. 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 lbs. 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 lbs. 10 to 12 hours

Wrap the turkey well so that water is not able to leak through the wrapping.  Submerge turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes.  Cook the turkey immediately after thawing.  Do not refreeze.

Guide To Roasting Your Turkey

Watch the following video for a guide to cooking your holiday turkey.

How to Carve a Turkey:

The thought of carving a turkey can bring on an anxiety attack for some.  Instead, watch this quick video and take the guess-work out of properly carving a bird.