Alleviate your stress this Thanksgiving.

"How to thaw a turkey" is one of the top questions asked, according to the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. Here are some tips and best practices for making your bird a succulent main course for hungry family and friends this holiday season.

Timing and Preparation Is Everything

The wise veteran cook knows that preparing a turkey for the big holiday starts days beforehand—and you just cross your fingers that you don't experience a catastrophic event that might sap power to the fridge or oven. Obviously, the most important part of the process is thawing. If you don't get that part right, you might as well forget the rest (how to make a turkey lifterstuffing the turkey, etc.!).

So here's some vital thawing advice straight from Butterball—the famous purveyor of frozen turkeys.

Refrigerator Thawing

  • Thaw turkey breast side up, in an unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below).
  • Allow at least one day of thawing for every 4 lbs.
  • Use within four days after thawing.

Butterball notes on their website that both frozen whole turkeys and frozen whole turkey breasts need to be thawed before cooking. If refrigerator thawing is not a viable option, then cold water thawing is the way to go.

Cold Water Thawing

  • Thaw breast side down, in an unopened wrapper, with enough cold water to cover your turkey completely.
  • Change water every 30 minutes, and if turkey cannot be completely covered, rotate every 30 minutes to keep the turkey chilled.
  • Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per lb.

Running out of time to adequately thaw your turkey? Another option would be to contact your local butcher or supermarket meat department about getting a whole thawed turkey or thawed turkey breast to go. If you are successful at thawing your turkey and somehow manage to get it into the oven, then you'll have plenty of time while it roasts to watch the parade, catch up with family and friends, enjoy a holiday cocktail, or study up on some interesting stuffing versus dressing statistics! Happy Thanksgiving!

What are your best methods for prepping a turkey for that big holiday event? Feel free to leave a comment about it below!