How to Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey

How to Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey: Best Methods to Use

If you are in a rush and want to know how to thaw frozen ground turkey quickly (as well as safely), then you are in the right place.

This short article highlights the 3 best methods that can be used when thawing ground turkey, along with safety precautions to take and other useful information.

So, let us jump right into it.

How to Safely Defrost Ground Turkey: What You Need to Know

When defrosting ground turkey, it should be done safely. This will significantly reduce the risk of the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause food borne illnesses.

Ground turkey should never be thawed at room temperatures, as it will allow the temperature of the meat to reach that is known as the Danger Zone.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Danger Zone is the range of temperatures (between 40 ° and 140 °F), where harmful bacteria multiplies quickly.

These Bacteria and viruses are the most common cause of food poisoning and this is why it is extremely important to thaw meat properly, as it reduces the possibility of food contamination.

Here are some tips to consider:

  • Ground turkey should be thawed using the recommended methods below.
  • It should not be re-frozen once thawed.
  • Depending on the thawing method, the turkey should be cooked immediately.

You Might Like: Guide to Thawing Bacon

Best Way to Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey (Quickly & Safely)

Best Way to Defrost Ground Turkey

When you are ready to use your frozen ground turkey, it will need to be thawed.

There are 3 recommended methods that are generally used (same methods are used to thaw ground beef)

  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator
  • Thaw using the microwave
  • Thaw using the cold water method

Each method has their own pros and cons (Some quicker, some safer). We will take a more detailed look at each option below.

How Long Does It Take to Defrost Ground Turkey?

MethodDefrosting TimeStorage Instructions
Overnight in the Refrigerator8-12 hoursAfter thawing, ground turkey can be stored up to 48 Hours in the refrigerator.
Cold-water Method15-30 MinsAfter thawing, ground turkey can be stored up to 48 Hours in the refrigerator.
Microwave5-10 MinsCook Immediately.

Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey Overnight in the Refrigerator (8-12 Hours)

The safest method to defrost frozen ground turkey is to let it sit overnight in the refrigerator (It will be kept at a safe and constant temperature as it defrosts).

It is not the quickest method, as it will generally take around 8-12 hours for the ground turkey to fully defrost.


  1. Remove the frozen ground turkey from the freezer at least 8-12 hours before you plan on cooking it.
  2. Take the package of turkey and place it in a bowl/container. It should also be covered with plastic wrap.
  3. The bowl or container should be placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
  4. The ground turkey should sit overnight (8-12 hours) and on once defrosted, it should be cooked or left the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before use.

Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey Using the Microwave (5-10 Minutes)

The microwave is the best option to use if you want to defrost your frozen ground turkey quickly.

Depending on how much turkey you have, you can generally expect it to be thawed and ready for use in about 5-10 minutes.

Caution: When using the microwave, the turkey should be thawed using the defrost setting and it should not be left in too long. Microwaves will begin to cook the food, this is why it is important it’s removed once thawed.


  1. Remove the package of frozen ground turkey from the freezer and place in a microwave-safe plate or container.
  2. Using the defrost or low power setting (30%), microwave the ground turkey for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the five minutes are up, check the ground turkey to see if it has thawed. If it is still slightly frozen, let it sit in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  4. Step 3 should be repeated until the frozen turkey has fully defrosted.

Please Note: Once thawed, the ground turkey should be cooked immediately. It should not be stored in the fridge.

Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey in Cold Water (15-30 Minutes)

If you are not a fan of the microwave, another quick method that can be used to defrost frozen ground turkey is letting it sit in cold water for a couple minutes.

While this method is not as quick as the microwave, you will be able to have your turkey defrosted and ready to be used in under 30 minutes (This depends on how much you are thawing).


  1. Fill a bowl or container with cold water.
  2. Remove the frozen ground turkey from the packaging and place in the bowl/container of cold water.
  3. Let the ground turkey sit in the cold water bath, changing the water every 5-7 minutes.
  4. Repeat step 3 till the ground turkey has fully thawed.
  5. If you want to speed up the process, you can let the water from the kitchen faucet run over the turkey. The running water removes the cold, causing the meat to thaw faster.

You Might Like: Guide to Thawing Hash Browns

Wrapping it up

There you have, the 3 best ways to thaw ground turkey.

Now, I want to hear from you guys!

Which defrosting method above will you be using?

Leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out and your reason for using that specific method.

Leave a Comment