Food Safety Issues/brining frozen turkey


Hi Carol,

I am working on turkey prep and this is the first year I'm attempting to brine a turkey.  I think what I'm doing is okay, but wanted to confirm.

Last night (Sunday), I bought a frozen 18-lb turkey.  I brought it home, left it wrapped, put it in the roasting pan, and put it in the fridge overnight.

This morning, I created a brine.  I opened the turkey, put it in a large plastic bag, added the brine, shut the bag, and put it back in the fridge.

My plan is to let it brine for 2.5 days until Wednesday night, when I will discard the brine and let the turkey set overnight in the fridge.  I will then cook the turkey on Thursday.

I'm starting to have some second thoughts about this brining method - and particularly worried that maybe the outside of the turkey got too warm.  I used cool/cold (but not freezing) water for the brine.  And the whole thing went immediately back in the fridge.  Do you think there is any risk that the outside of the turkey got above 40 degrees?

Thank you for responding to this nervous cook!

Hi Lindsey,

From your thorough explanation I find nothing wrong and your turkey should be just fine.  I'm brining my turkey too but am waiting until Wednesday to apply the brine for a 24 hour soak.  I like to have the bird more defrosted before starting the brine but there is not harm in starting it while the bird is still frozen.

Hope you enjoy your first brine turkey.  We love the flavor and brine it each year.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Food Safety Issues

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

©2017 All rights reserved.