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Selecting & Thawing the Turkey

Allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person when buying a whole turkey.

Ready to talk turkey? Get the essentials on how to select and thaw a turkey from our experts in the H-E-B Meat Department. Before you select your holiday bird, consider the following:


Fresh or frozen?
Fresh turkeys are available during the holiday season at your H-E-B Meat Department. Because fresh turkeys don't require thawing, they may be bought up to three days before or on the day of cooking and will be ready to roast straight from the refrigerator.


H-E-B fresh turkeys also come seasoned. These seasoned turkeys make it easy to roast a tasty turkey.


Frozen turkeys may be more affordable but must be purchased ahead of time. A 12-pound turkey takes 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator and a 20-pound turkey takes 5 days to thaw.


H-E-B Fully Cooked® Turkeys
H-E-B offers a variety of flavors and sizes of precooked, whole turkeys and turkey breasts. Try smoked, Cajun and oven roasted. To serve them hot, just follow the directions on the package. Heating and serving a Fully Cooked Turkey will slice about 2 hours off your cooking schedule.


How big?
Allow one and two pounds of uncooked turkey per person when buying a whole turkey. A 16-pound turkey will feed 8-10 people and leave enough for you to have some delicious leftovers.


Thawing the turkey
Never thaw frozen turkey at room temperature. Thaw your turkey in one of the following ways:


A whole turkey needs 24 hours thawing time per 4-5 pounds. Allow 3 to 5 days of thawing time depending on the size of your turkey. The turkey is completely thawed when there are no ice crystals in the interior cavity.


Cold water
Allow 30 minutes thawing time per 1 pound of turkey. Place unopened turkey, in wrapper, breast side down, in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow 6 to 10 hours thawing time depending on the size of your turkey.

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