How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave in 3 Quick Steps

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in MicrowaveSometimes cooking dinner after a long day of work is the last thing you want to do. Especially when there’s some thawing meat to deal with.

No one wants to stand over a sink full of water and ice cubes, waiting for their ground turkey to defrost. Thankfully, there are better ways.

A microwave is one way to defrost your ground turkey quickly and efficiently.

Here’s how to defrost ground turkey in microwave.

Remove any packaging from your frozen ground turkey. Place it on a high-edged microwavable plate and defrost it at 30% power or in defrost mode for 2-4 minutes per pound. After two minutes, check if it’s completely defrosted. If not, rotate the meat block at 1-minute increments until it’s fully thawed.

And there you have it—quickly defrosted ground turkey—no standing over a sink full of water and ice cubes required.

In this post, we’ll elaborate further on these steps and share some tips for safely defrosting a ground turkey. We’ll also address some critical questions surrounding the topic. But first, let’s establish whether you can defrost a ground turkey.

Can You Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave?

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in MicrowaveFrankly, nothing beats an aroma of freshly cooked turkey wafting through your kitchen. The smell is so delicious that it’s hard not to drool just thinking about it.

But, as the old adage goes, “nothing worth having comes easy.” Someone somewhere put in a lot of time and energy to get that turkey from farm to table. The secret to cooking a tender, juicy turkey lies in how you defrost it.

There are several methods to defrost a ground turkey. The USDA FSIS’s recommend thawing frozen poultry in cold water, refrigerator, or microwave.

However, if you’re looking for a quick and convenient way to defrost your ground turkey, microwaving is by far your best option. And to answer your question, YES! You can safely defrost a ground turkey in a microwave.

How Long To Defrost Ground Turkey In Microwave?

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in MicrowaveGround turkey is an excellent alternative to ground beef and can be used in various recipes. It can also be stored frozen for months, so it’s always good to have some on hand.

However, if you want to use it right away, you’ll need to defrost it first. Knowing how long to defrost a ground turkey in a microwave is essential.

Generally, one pound of ground turkey will take about 2-4 minutes to thaw in a microwave.

However, as with most cooking times, several variables affect how long ground turkey takes to defrost in the microwave. The size and weight of your turkey and even the microwave wattage all will play a role.

Tips to Defrost Frozen Ground Turkey in Microwave

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in MicrowaveLike most frozen meats, ground turkey can be a bit tricky to defrost. It’s easy to cook them and end up with a soggy mess that doesn’t work well for burgers or meatloaf.

However, following these tips, you should have no problem thawing your ground turkey safely and effectively.


  • Make sure to remove all of your frozen ground turkey from its original packaging before defrosting. Most of these packages will warp and melt when subjected to high microwave temperatures. You don’t want chemicals contaminating your food.
  • Use only microwave-safe containers when defrosting your ground turkey. It’s best to use glass or ceramic dishes, as these materials are least likely to leach chemicals into your food during microwaving.

The container should also be large enough to comfortably hold all of your frozen meat. This will ensure no spillage of turkey juices onto your microwave while thawing.

  • Thaw your frozen ground turkey on 30% power for about 2-4 minutes per pound of meat. This will help ensure that you don’t over-defrost and end up with a soggy mess. If your microwave has a defrost function, use it instead.
  • Check your frozen ground turkey after each minute of microwaving to ensure it isn’t becoming too warm or soft. If, after 2 minutes, you notice that some parts are still frozen, rotate your meat block every 60 seconds until all pieces have thawed. This will help ensure even thawing and prevent over-defrosting.
  • The USDA FSIS recommends cooking your frozen ground turkey instantly after thawing. During defrosting, your meat gets warm enough to reach the “danger zone” (between 40 and 140 degrees F), where bacteria can proliferate. Cooking your meat will kill any bacteria that may have grown while thawing.
  • If you can’t cook your ground turkey immediately after thawing, store it in an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to two day. The USDA recommends cooking frozen meat within 2 hours of defrosting.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure that your ground turkey has reached at least 165 degrees F before eating. This will ensure that any bacteria present are killed, and you don’t get sick from undercooked meat.

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

Now that we’ve established you can safely defrost the ground turkey in a microwave, let’s walk through step by step on how to do it.

Step 1: Remove/Unwrap Your Ground Turkey from its Packaging

The first step is pretty self-explanatory. Unwrap your turkey from any packaging it might be in, and set it on a plate or other microwave-safe container.

The container or plate should have raised edges to contain any juices that may seep out of your defrosted meat. Also, leave an inch between ground meat and the walls of your container, so there’s room for air circulation.

Step 2: Place Your Container/Plate with Ground Turkey into Your Nuke

Place your container or plate with ground turkey into your microwave. Set your microwave on defrost mode and let it run for 2-4 minutes, depending on how much ground turkey you defrost. If your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting, set it on 30% power for the same amount of time.

Step 3: Check Your Ground Meat after 2 minutes

Once your microwave has run for two minutes, take out your container or plate and check on your ground turkey. If it’s not defrosted, put it back into your microwave and rotate it every minute until it is completely thawed.

Step 4: Remove From Your Microwave and Cook Instantly

Once your ground turkey is completely defrosted, please remove it from your microwave. Use oven mitts or hot pads to avoid burning yourself. You are advised to cook your ground meat immediately to prevent any bacteria growth.

Before serving, use a food thermometer to ensure that your cooked ground turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 ℉. If you don’t plan on cooking your ground turkey right away, put it into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

Faqs on How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

1. How do you defrost ground turkey quickly?

There are three recommended ways to defrost ground turkey. The first method is to immerse it in cold water, the second in a microwave, and the third in a refrigerator. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks, but a microwave is fast than all the others.

If you don’t have time to wait for your ground turkey to thaw out naturally, use a microwave instead. You don’t need any special equipment to do so; just follow our guide above.

2. Can you microwave ground turkey?

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in MicrowaveIt’s safe to cook your ground turkey in a microwave. Make sure to nuke it at low power for about 5-7 minutes, stirring halfway through. The low temperatures ensure that your meat cooks evenly and thoroughly without drying out or burning.

Use a food thermometer to check your turkey’s temperature; it should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit before you eat it.

3. Can I cook a turkey from frozen?

Yes, it’s safe and easy to cook a ground turkey from frozen. The USDA has approved cooking ground turkey that is still partially frozen or completely thawed as long as you follow these guidelines:

  • Do not allow raw meat or poultry to remain at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Cook raw meat and poultry until you reach an internal temperature of 74 degrees C

However, it will take longer than if you defrosted your turkey first.

4. How long does meat take to defrost in the microwave?

It will take you 8-10 minutes to defrost 1 pound of meat in your microwave. However, the time can vary depending on what type of meat and the fat content, thickness, and your microwave wattage.

For instance, a thick cut of steak or ground beef with more fat content may take longer than very lean chicken breast. The best way to determine how long it takes for any given piece of meat is to use a food thermometer.

The internal temperature should reach at least 74 degrees C (165 F) before it is considered safe to eat.

5. Is it safe to cook frozen meat without thawing?

Yes, it’s possible to safely cook frozen meat without defrosting it first. However, it will take longer to cook than if you had thawed it first. To make sure that your food is cooked thoroughly and evenly, follow the USDA’s recommended guidelines for food safety when cooking any meat or poultry.

6. How do you defrost turkey burgers?

You can defrost turkey burgers by either thawing them in your refrigerator or running cold water over them. Since turkey burgers are pre-cooked, they don’t need to be exposed to any additional heat while thawing.

If you choose to defrost them in your refrigerator, place them on a plate so that any juices that leak out won’t contaminate other foods.

Final Thoughts

You can never go wrong defrosting ground turkey using your microwave. The method is fast and convenient, and it does not necessitate any cleanup. Even better, the USDA FSIS recommends microwaving as one of several safe ways to defrost meat.

And like any defrosting method, it’s essential to follow some simple safety precautions. You should never defrost a frozen ground turkey in its original packaging for safety reasons. Instead, transfer your package of frozen ground turkey into a microwave-safe dish before defrosting.

Finally, follow the USDA FSIS’s recommendations for defrosting ground turkey thoroughly and safely. Make sure to cook your defrosted ground turkey instantly, and don’t forget that your meat is only safe for consumption at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

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