So, I think I've messed up on Turkey defrosting for Christmas Day. Packaging says defrost for 10-12 hours per kilogram in a fridge at 4 degrees centigrade. Turkey Crown is 2.8kg so thats 28hours or so. Well, I removed at 1900 hours Christmas Eve, so I'm in some bother. Do we know the defrost time at room temperature?

I know Isaac Newton developed at law of cooling that says the rate of temperature change is proportional to the temperature difference. So I'm hoping room temperature should get the turkey crown defrosted in time.

Any advice?

[The stakes are Christmas Dinner for 13.]

  • 1
    I'd follow the directions in this question -- cold, running water. Room temperature creates a food safety issue. Air isn't a great conductor of heat, water is better.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:39
  • The oven cooking later will kill any bacteria. Running under a tap seems counter intuitive.
    – S Meaden
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:47
  • 5
    @SMeaden That's not how food safety works. The heat can kill the bacteria but not the toxins they leave behind. As for water defrosting, you can also look at the answer here.
    – Kareen
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:49
  • The answer @Kareen linked makes it seem like a pretty reasonable amount of time for cold water thawing -- wrapped, completely covered in cold water and changing every 30 minutes should give about 3.5 hours (30 minutes / pound, you have about 6.2 lbs).
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 21:58
  • 2
    There is no defrost time at room temperature, because this would make your meat unsafe from a food-safety perspective. Do not use any unsafe food preparation method especially if you are serving it to a group of people!
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: this is likely to be closed as duplicate, but I couldn't find the corresponding post. And as Christmas dinner and the health of a whole group is at stake, I'll post an answer anyway.

Do not thaw meat on the counter. No matter what your Grandmother did, it's not safe. If in a hurry, thaw in cold water.

This uses the fact that water is a way better heat conductor than air and has a higher thermal capacity.

Simply submerge the meat in its packaging in a sink or bassin of cold water, either keep the faucet running slowly or exchange the water every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold and thus even the already thawed parts stay out of the danger zone where bacteria can grow well.

At ca. 30 minutes per pound, cold-water thawing is reasonably quick and safe, plus once thawed, you still can pop the meat back into the fridge if necessary. You can even interrupt the thawing process and go to bed and either finish thawing in the fridge or continue water-thawing tomorrow, depending on your schedule. The maths is pretty straightforward.

  • Ok, taking this advice. I have put Turkey in sink (in a foil tray) and is submerged 80% in water (container not big enough to fully submerge). I hope you are right about submerging. Operation 'Atlantis Feast' has been launched!
    – S Meaden
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 22:08
  • 2
    @SMeaden Make sure to rotate your turkey often so that the exposed part is never the same for too long.
    – Kareen
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 22:32
  • yeah, I thought that too.
    – S Meaden
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 22:35
  • 1
    If its not big enough to submerge fully, I'd probably use some running water. You can also use a trash bag with water or something.
    – Batman
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 23:14

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