Turkey Thawing Time Calculator

The amount of time required to completely thaw a frozen turkey depends on the weight of the bird. The larger the bird, the longer it takes to defrost in the fridge.

By estimating how long you need to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator, you can better plan your holiday dinner and avoid having to thaw the turkey in a bath of cold water. While water thawing is faster, it is cumbersome and provides microbes a hospitable environment to multiply.

Refrigerator Thawing Calculator
Turkey Weight:

The general rule is for every pound of turkey you need a minimum of 6 hours, minus 1 whole day. Equivalently, if the weight in pounds is W, then the fewest number of days needed to defrost is W/4 - 1.

The maximum amount of time to defrost a turkey in the fridge is W/4 days (1 day for every 4 pounds). Once a turkey has been thawing for the maximum amount of time, it should be cooked immediately. It is better to let the turkey thaw for too short an amount of time than for too long before you place it in the oven.

(This information is adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, 10th Edition and the USDA.)

Minimum Thaw Time Chart
(For max times, just add 1 day.)
WeightTime (days, hours)
8 lbs1d
9 lbs1d 6h
10 lbs1d 12h
11 lbs1d 18h
12 lbs2d
13 lbs2d 6h
14 lbs2d 12h
15 lbs2d 18h
16 lbs3d
17 lbs3d 6h
18 lbs3d 12h
19 bs3d 18h
20 lbs4d
21 lbs4d 6h
22 lbs4d 12h
WeightTime (days, hours)
4 kg1d 4h
4.5 kg1d 11h
5 kg1d 18h
5.5 kg2d
6 kg2d 7h
6.5 kg2d 13h
7 kg2d 20h
7.5 kg3d 3h
8 kg3d 9h
8.5 kg3d 16h
9 kg3d 23h
9.5 kg4d 5h
10 kg4d 12h
10.5 kg4d 18h
11 kg5d 1h

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