How to thaw a turkey

Last Thanksgiving, I decided to make my own turkey.  Usually, my sister makes it for our family Thanksgiving meal.  But, this year, my family was hoping for turkey leftovers.  While holding my 12 pound frozen turkey in the check-out lane, a woman noted I had a large bird to cook.  She proceeded to tell me how to prepare it for our supper the following day.

Instead of following her suggestion: cooking the frozen bird at 250 degrees over night, I Googled the Butterball website   (  For my 12 pound bird, I thawed it in cold water, 30 min for each pound.  I had to switch the water every 30 min and it took me 6 hours.  But, I had the time and I knew I was being safe about thawing.

The holidays are full of giving thanks, shopping, making memories and delicious family meals. Some helpful tips for healthy side dishes, exercise and food safety are listed in hopes of not having the waist line bulge issue on December 31st:

  • Ask if you can bring an appetizer to the gathering.  Consider fresh fruit, veggies and low fat dip, cheese and low fat crackers.  Filling up on these low fat selections will help you not over dine at dinner.
  • Bring a favorite side dish but make it lower in fat and sugar.  Consider low fat alternative ingredients (ie: less oils in baking, switch to low fat cream cheese/sour cream).   Cut back to half of the sugar added to the already sweet potatoes. Maybe add Splenda to some of the desserts this year?
  •  Smaller portions on your plate.  Load up on the veggies and fruit.  Maybe a dinner roll is not necessary if you know you are having stuffing with the mashed potatoes this year?
  • Consider some physical activity before and/or after your family meal.  In the Dayton area, there is the acclaimed Miamisburg Turkey Trot! Other thoughts: taking a walk in the morning and counting one’s blessings, getting the family outside and running around playing ball, and my favorite is enjoying  the after dinner walk spent with my sisters.
  • Food safety during the holiday season should always be considered.  Keeping cold foods cold and hot foods hot is imperative. Again, check out the Butterball website for turkey food safety tips: And, there is the American Dietetic Association’s website: for more holiday food safety and leftover tips.
  • Most importantly: Enjoy the time we have with each other.  Create memories.  And, give thanks and remember why we are all really here.  Enjoy!


  1. Reply
    Robin Kraner November 22, 2011

    If you do this method directly in the sink be sure to clean clean clean the sink as the juices from the poultry can leak out and stay on the sink etc. this is bad bacteria and needs to be cleaned with bleach and/or disinfectant especially for poultry .

    • Reply
      Becky November 22, 2011

      Yes, I do agree to cleaning the sink. Also to note, the turkey is still in its unopened package.
      Thanks for the comment!


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