(WYTV) – Here’s how to correctly prepare your turkey: If you thaw it incorrectly, bacteria will grow.

Don’t let it thaw at room temperature on the kitchen counter. The outside of the bird will warm up long before the inside.

If you forgot to thaw it, can you cook it frozen?

Of course, say five hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for a 12- to 14-pound turkey should do the trick. Get the internal temperature up to at least 165 degrees.

Here are the three ways to thaw your turkey: the best way is in the fridge. Be sure to allow 24 hours of thawing time for every 5 pounds; we’re talking days here.

Just don’t leave it in its thawed state for more than a day.

Thawing a turkey in cold water is a good plan. Immerse your packaged turkey in ice-cold water and change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold.

That’s 30 minutes of thawing time for every pound. We’re talking hours here.

Finally, if you have a little turkey (or a huge microwave), you can thaw it out in the microwave.

You should find the best guide for how long it’ll take in your owner’s manual, but it’s probably going to tell you around 60 to 90 minutes on the defrost cycle.

Once it’s thawed, make sure you cook it right away.