How To Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave (5 Easy Steps)

Categorized as Microwave
how to defrost ground turkey in a microwave

You will find many frozen ground turkey recipes to select from for your dinner, but most, if not all, will call for you to begin with thawed ground turkey since frozen will be more difficult to cook evenly and will take longer.

Using a microwave has become another popular way to defrost the ground turkey, especially if you don’t have the time to let it thaw in the refrigerator.  In this post, we’ll look at how to defrost a ground turkey in a microwave and other possible alternatives.

Can You Defrost Ground Turkey in the Microwave?

You can defrost ground turkey in the microwave. Using a microwave is a safe and fast way to defrost a ground turkey. The amount of time it will take depends on the weight and the original state, but generally, it should take between 2 and 5 minutes per pound of ground turkey.

Here’s a short guide on how to defrost a ground turkey in the microwave:

Remove the frozen turkey from the original packaging and transfer it to a microwavable dish. Nuke it for 2 minutes on defrost mode or 30% power. Cook the turkey immediately after thawing, and don’t let it sit outside for more than 2 hours as this might invite bacteria growth which can spoil your food.

Some people might argue whether it’s necessary to defrost a ground turkey before cooking it. Although defrosting the turkey is not necessary, thawing can reduce cooking time, which will allow for more even cooking throughout the meat.

You should also be aware that defrosted ground turkey has a shorter refrigerated shelf life, so you should cook it immediately within a maximum of 2 hours after thawing.

How To Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

If you’re in a hurry, defrosting your turkey in the microwave is the quickest and most effective way to do it.

However, you should be aware that while defrosting in the microwave is convenient, there is always a risk that during the thawing process, the microwave will start cooking the meat, and you’ll end up with some partially cooked meat.

For this reason, I recommend always check at a 1-minute interval to make sure you’re not cooking the turkey instead.

The process is pretty simple; here are step-by-step instructions for you to follow:

  1. Prepare a microwave-safe dish and place the ground turkey inside.
  2. Set the microwave to defrost and wait two minutes.
  3. Check the turkey to see if it is defrosted.
  4. If it is not, continue microwaving for another minute or two until it is.
  5. Cook the turkey right away after defrosting.

1. Place Ground Turkey in a Microwave Safe Dish

Put the ground turkey in a microwave-safe plate or container. While picking a container, you want to make sure that it has at least one-inch space between the turkey and the sides to prevent any juices from spilling over. Don’t use the regular packaging that the turkey has come with because it can melt or, worse, ignite in the microwave.

2. Microwave on Defrost Setting

Defrost your frozen ground turkey in the microwave for 2 minutes per pound at 30% power or use the defrost setting. If it is already partially thawed, you may want to start with 1 minute per pound.

3. Check After 2 Minutes

After the first 2 minutes, take it out and check whether it has defrosted thoroughly.

4. Continue Microwaving Until It Is Fully Defrosted

If not, return it to the microwave and continue defrosting at 1 minute-second interval. Rotate the ground turkey over after every defrosting cycle to make sure it’s defrosted on all sides.

5. Cook Right Away After Defrosting

Cook the ground turkey immediately after defrosting. Don’t let the thawed turkey sit outside for more than 2 hours; otherwise, the bacteria may start growing faster than you think.

Thawing Ground Turkey in the Fridge

The next method is to let the ground turkey thaw in the fridge. If you have time, this is by far the best option. Even though it will take longer than defrosting in the microwave, it’s the best method to perverse the quality of the meat as this method produces the least amount of moisture loss. Not forget to mention it is also the most hands-off method.

If you want to defrost your ground turkey in the fridge, follow these easy steps:

  1. Remove the frozen ground turkey from the freezer and put it in a leak-proof bowl or container. As an extra precaution, you may also want to place the ground turkey in a sealed plastic bag to prevent any juice from spilling and contaminate anything else in your refrigerator.
  2. Place it in the fridge away from any other foods and leave it overnight (8-12 hours) until it has fully thawed. Generally, if you place the container on the bottom shelf or at the back of your fridge, it will take longer to thaw as it’s colder there.
  3. When ready to use the ground turkey, you can cook it immediately or store it in the fridge for up to 1-2 days before using it. If you will not be able to cook all the thawed turkey in 2 days, refreeze the leftovers right away. I will refrain from defrosting and refreezing multiple times, though, because the quality of the meat starts deteriorating after each cycle.

Thawing Ground Turkey with Cold Water

If you’re not a fan of the microwave, but you don’t want to wait overnight either, using cold water is the solution.

The process is simple, just follow the steps below:

  1. Place the ground turkey in a leak-proof container or bag and immerse it in cold water. Make sure the turkey is completely submerged, and add more cold water if necessary. Never use hot water as it can cook the meat and increase the risk of bacteria growth.
  2. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and continue thawing for 1 hour until fully thawed. It will take about one hour for every pound of ground turkey to defrost. If the turkey is already partially thawed, then it might only take 30 minutes to defrost.
  3. Cook the turkey as soon as it has finished thawing and store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer.

Can I Cook Frozen Ground Turkey without Thawing?

It is okay to cook a frozen ground turkey without thawing it first. However, the cooking time will take approximately 50% longer if you decide to cook a frozen ground turkey that hasn’t been thawed or partially thawed.


So is it safe to defrost a ground turkey in the microwave? Yes, it’s perfectly safe to defrost your frozen turkey in the microwave. Although it is not my favorite method, if you’re in a situation where you need to defrost your ground turkey in a hurry, this is the way to go.

For the best results, though, I would recommend thawing the turkey in the fridge overnight to minimize moisture loss.