Submersing meat in cold water is easy and promotes relatively quick thawing. But to guard against foodborne illness, you should make sure you're doing it correctly.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service offers these guidelines for thawing meat in cold water:

  • Place the food in a plastic bag or leak-proof packaging.
  • Fill a container with cold tap water, placing the packaged food in the container and making sure it is completely covered.
  • About every 30 minutes, change the water with fresh, cold tap water.
  • Expect a small quantity of food to thaw in about an hour, while a four-pound package could take a few hours.
  • For thawing a frozen turkey, allow 30 minutes per pound.
  • Always cook food that has been thawed before refreezing.

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