Defrosting Guidelines for Poultry

Defrosting times for poultry depend on the weight of the package and the thickness. When defrosting poultry in the refrigerator, place a tray under the package to catch any liquid or juices and to keep the refrigerator clean. Here are some timelines for defrosting poultry in the refrigerator:

  • For bone-in parts or a small whole chicken, allow at least 1 to 2 days.
  • For duck or goose parts, allow at least 1 day.
  • For a whole duck or goose, allow at least 2 days.
  • For a whole turkey or large whole chicken, allow 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

Defrosting in Cold Water

Cold-water thawing is an option that takes less time than thawing in the refrigerator but requires more attention.

The poultry must be in a leakproof bag such as its original, tightly sealed wrapper. If its package is not leakproof, place it in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.

Submerge the wrapped poultry in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the bird is thawed. For this method, allow 30 minutes for every pound.