• NATIONAL SITE
  • BRITISH COLUMBIA
  • SASKATCHEWAN
  • ALBERTA
  • MANITOBA
  • ONTARIO
  • QUEBEC
  • NEW BRUNSWICK
  • NOVA SCOTIA
  • PEI
  • NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
  • YUKON
  • NUNAVUT
  • NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Thawing

Some products are meant to be cooked from frozen; always read your product label carefully.

For information on thawing a whole turkey, visit our Whole Turkey HOW TOs section.

Thawing Turkey Cuts

Frozen turkey cuts should be thawed in the refrigerator or by using the cold water method, and when thawed, cooked within 48 hours. While turkey cuts may be thawed using a microwave, it should be done with care and the thawed meat must be cooked immediately following thawing.

Refrigerator Method:

This method of thawing turkey cuts is the safest, as it keeps the meat cold until it is completely defrosted.

  • Place tray pack on a tray on a bottom shelf in the refrigerator.
  • Allow 5 hours of thawing time per pound (10 hours/kg).

Cold Water Method:

  • Keep the turkey cut in its tray pack.
  • In a container, cover the tray pack completely with cold water.
  • Change the water at least every hour.
  • Allow 1 hour of thawing time per pound (2 hours/kg).

Once thawed, keep your turkey meat refrigerated and cook within 48 hours.

Some products are meant to be cooked from frozen; always read your product label carefully.

Fresh vs. Frozen

There are absolutely no quality differences between fresh and frozen turkeys.

Frozen turkeys are flash-frozen immediately after they are packaged to 0°F (-17°C) or less, and are kept frozen until they are purchased. Once thawed, the meat of a frozen turkey is virtually as fresh as the day it was packaged.

Fresh turkeys are chilled after packaging, rather than frozen. Because they require special handling and have a shorter shelf-life than frozen turkeys, fresh turkeys are often more expensive than their frozen counterparts.

Fresh turkeys should have a best before date on their packaging. If not, be sure to inquire where you purchased the turkey.

When deciding between a fresh or frozen turkey, choose the product that works best for you. Frozen turkeys can be purchased in advance, allowing consumers to take advantage of special sales and coupons. Fresh turkeys, conversely, do not require additional time for thawing.