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Browse our information on seasonal tips and holiday advice.

Holiday Ham & Turkey Prep

How do I thaw my frozen turkey?

We want to make sure your turkey is thawed in time for your gathering! Thawing turkey in the refrigerator is recommended. If short on time, you may thaw the turkey in cold water in the original wrapping, making sure the water is changed every 30 minutes to keep the turkey surface cold.

How to Thaw A Frozen Turkey

Refrigerator Thawing

Thaw turkey in unopened wrapper on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow 4 hours per pound to thaw.

Refrigerator Thawing Time
Turkey Weight and Days to Allow for Thawing Turkey

  • 8 to 10 pounds – 2 to 3 days
  • 12 to 16 pounds – 3 to 4 days
  • 16 to 20 pounds – 4 to 5 days
  • 20 to 24 pounds – 5 to 6 days

Cold Water Thawing

Leave turkey in unopened wrapper. Cover completely with cold water. Change water every 30 minutes to keep turkey surface cold.

Cold Water Thawing Time
Turkey Weight and Time to Allow for Thawing Turkey

  • 8 to 12 pounds – 4 to 6 hours
  • 12 to 16 pounds – 6 to 8 hours
  • 16 to 20 pounds – 8 to 10 hours
  • 20 to 24 pounds – 10 to 12 hours
Are there turkey carving tips available?

Yes, check out this great video from the Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Turkey Carving Tips Video

1. Start with a sharp carving knife, meat fork and cutting board.

2. Let the turkey stand on the cutting board 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

3. Remove plastic clasp holding drumstick together.

4. Cut through the joint between the leg and the body. Remove the leg.

5. Make a long horizontal cut into the turkey breast.

6. Hold the meat fork firmly and begin carving thin slices down to the horizontal cut.

7. Continue to carve, starting at a higher point each time.

8. Repeat step 4 through 7 on the other side of the turkey.

9. Serve the turkey on a platter with your favorite garnish and side dishes.

How do I buy and prepare a Thanksgiving turkey?

We want to help you prepare the best Thanksgiving turkey yet.

1. You will want to buy ¾ to 1 pound of turkey per person. If you like more leftovers, plan 1½ pounds per person.

How To Buy A Whole Turkey

2. Plan ahead to thaw a frozen turkey. It takes about 4 hours per pound to thaw a turkey in the refrigerator.

How To Thaw A Frozen Turkey

3. It takes about 15 minutes per pound to cook a turkey at 325°F.

How to Cook A Turkey Video

4. It’s recommended to cook dressing in a casserole dish during the last hour of roasting the turkey. For optimum safety and more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole dish. Don’t forget to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing, which must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Plan on ¾ cup of stuffing per pound of turkey.

5. There is no need to baste the turkey. Opening the oven door slows down the roasting time.

6. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the breast reads 170°F and 180°F in the thigh.

7. Let the turkey rest 15 to 20 minutes before carving. The turkey juices will be reabsorbed and will not be lost during carving.

8. Carve the turkey with a very sharp knife or an electric knife.

9. After roasting, remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate within two hours. Store leftovers in separate containers in the refrigerator.

10. Relax and enjoy yourself!

How do I prepare my Hormel® Cure 81® boneless ham?

Here are our instructions for making a delicious ham.

1. Heat oven to 325°F.

2. Have available a large baking pan, a 1-cup measuring cup and aluminum foil.

3. Remove ham from packaging and place in baking pan.

4. Add 1 cup water to the pan.

5. Cover the pan securely with foil.

6. Bake the ham 20 minutes per pound. The optimum serving temperature is 135°F. to 140°F.

7. See the recipe below for a spiced cranberry glaze recipe.

8. If using a glaze, apply half of the glaze 30 minutes before the ham is done baking.

9. Continue baking, uncovered, 30 minutes.

10. Serve the ham with the remaining glaze.

Spiced Cranberry Glaze

1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon allspice

Mix all ingredients over low heat until smooth.

How do I prepare my Hormel® Cure 81® bone-in ham?

Here are your steps to making a great ham.

1. Heat oven to 275°F.

2. Start with a large baking pan or roaster with 2 to 3 inch sides, aluminum foil, a 1-cup measuring cup, a small bowl, a tablespoon, a teaspoon and a spoon to mix and apply the glaze.

3. Remove the ham from the packaging and discard the bone guard.

4. Place face-down in baking pan.

Add 1 cup water to the pan.

5. Cover the baking pan securely with foil or cover with roasting pan lid.

6. Bake 15 minutes per pound or until the ham is warm. The optimum serving temperature is 135°F. to 140°F.

7. To prepare the glaze, mix the contents of the included glaze packet with 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of water in bowl.

8. Stir the glaze until smooth.

9. Remove the ham from the oven and remove the foil.

10. Raise the oven temperature to 425°F.

11. Spread the glaze mixture over the entire ham.

12. Return the ham to the oven, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

13. Garnish and serve.

How do I reheat my ham?

It is super easy! To reheat your ham you should follow the instructions on the packaging and heat to the desired temperature. For recipes using your left-over ham, visit Hormel.com.

Are there how-to videos available?

Tips and guidelines for preparing holiday meals come to life with these easy-to-follow instructional videos.

Hormel® branded products
Jennie-O® branded products

How much ham or turkey should I purchase?

Take the stress out of your purchase by using the purchasing guides for the following products:

Fresh Ham – Purchase 12-16 ounces per person

Spiral Sliced Ham – Purchase 8 ounces per person

Whole Turkey – Purchase 16 ounces per person

Turkey Breast – Purchase 8 ounces per person