How to Defrost Ground Turkey in the Microwave

There are millions of people who enjoy ground turkey for a number of recipes. However, there are also millions of people who freeze the ground turkey so they can keep it for a longer amount of time.

What happens when you want to defrost that ground turkey, taking it from the freezer and making it part of the meal? Do you let it sit out? Put it in hot water? Or can you use a microwave?

Many people do use a microwave to defrost their ground turkey. Doing so isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think but you need to ensure that you follow a few simple, easy to follow steps to make your ground turkey ready to be cooked and enjoyed. 

How To Defrost Ground Turkey In Microwave

If you want to defrost ground turkey in your microwave, you need to remember a few tips and rules to follow. You should do this because you want to make sure that the ground turkey is truly and properly defrosted.

Not doing this the correct way can result in very serious consequences, including foodborne illnesses that can cause major harm to you and your friends and family. 

Before you start the process of defrosting your turkey in a microwave, it’s vital that you make sure it is fully thawed. If your turkey isn’t frozen all the way through, it won’t properly defrost in the microwave. This will result in meat that is tough and not tasty and dry in certain spots too.

You should also be sure that you use a low setting when you are defrosting. If the settings are too strong and too high, the outside of the meat will cook but the interior will remain frozen.

Get The Turkey Out

Take your ground turkey out of any packaging it’s in and place it in a big bowl or some sort of container. If it’s completely frozen into blocks, you need to find a way to break it into smaller pieces. You also need to make sure whatever bowl or container you use is microwave-safe. 

Cover the turkey with a plate and then put it in the microwave. 

Use Defrost

There should be a “defrost” button on your microwave and it is key for defrosting your ground turkey. 

Press the defrost button and set the timer for two minutes. After the initial two minutes, you can check the progress to see how much it has thawed. If it’s not thawed enough, press the defrost button yet again and check in on the meat about every half-minute until it’s thawed completely. 

Once Thawed

When the thawing is complete, you need to place it on a paper towel. Take a knife and slice the turkey into smaller pieces, make sure that the interior of the turkey is now soft and warm. Check for any cold or hard spots in the meat.

How Long To Defrost Ground Turkey In Microwave

The amount of time that you need to put the ground turkey in your microwave to thaw is different for a variety of reasons. It depends on how much meat you are defrosting and the brand of microwave that you are using.

However, the bottom line is that you should start by defrosting for at least two minutes. After those first two, you will check the meat and see the progress that’s been made. After that, you should continue to defrost it in thirty-second intervals if it’s not entirely defrosted. Check in on the meat again after each thirty seconds. 

Tips To Defrost Ground Turkey In Microwave

  1. If your microwave doesn’t happen to have a “defrost” button you can still defrost your ground turkey.

You should still place it in a bowl and set the power level down to 50% or the lowest possible power setting. 

You will then microwave it again for two minutes and check on the quality and temperature of the meat after that. Once the turkey has been completely defrosted, you need to cook it immediately. 

  1. It Must Be Thawed

It is vital that you are sure your ground turkey is fully thawed before you put it into the microwave. The amount of time that will take depends on multiple things, such as the temperature, how long it’s been frozen, and how you thaw it. 

  1. Always Make Sure It’s Cooked Completely

When you start cooking your ground turkey after defrosting, you need to be sure that it’s being cooked all the way through. You can do this by breaking the turkey up when it’s being cooked, looking at the color and the softness and consistency of the meat, and even feeling how warm it is. 

When in doubt, make sure to cook longer. 

  1. Do Not Cook If Not Frozen Solid

Some people make the mistake of defrosting ground turkey that isn’t completely frozen solid. If you attempt to defrost turkey that isn’t solid and frozen all the way through, you can experience food poisoning and become very ill.


Defrosting ground turkey is mandatory if you have frozen it for storage. Without defrosting it, the meat will be impossible to eat. And if you don’t do it correctly, you might make a meal that doesn’t taste good and, at worse, cause illness.

Thankfully, the household item the microwave can come in handy when you want to defrost ground turkey. And the entire process isn’t that complicated and can literally be done in just a few minutes. Even if it isn’t defrosting after the first attempt, only a few more minutes will leave it ready for cooking.