How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

You can easily defrost ground turkey in the microwave if you forgot to put it in the refrigerator overnight and still get awesome results.

Experts will give you the tips, dos and don’ts that will give you the best experience.

Our write-up today explains how to defrost ground Turkey in microwave.

How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

Most ground turkey recipes require you to thaw it first if it’s frozen to allow uniform cooking and reduce the cooking time as well.

Defrosting ground turkey in the microwave is not just quick but also convenient though it involves some risks.

The frozen turkey block could start cooking from the outside due to high microwave heat. You are therefore advised to flip the turkey block at intervals to ensure even thawing.

Defrosting turkey in the microwave also shortens its shelf-life and hence should be cooked immediately to avoid microbial growth.

Here are 5 easy steps to defrost your turkey adequately in the microwave:

  • Remove the Ground Turkey Block from Its Storage Bag and Place It on a Microwave-Safe Plate

Always check for a microwave-safe symbol (3 wavy lines) at the bottom of the plate to ascertain that it is safe for microwave use. Never rely on assumptions.

Ceramic and glass microwave-safe plates are recommended since they withstand high temperatures without breaking.

Avoid plastic plates because they have a low melting point and will warp or melt in high microwave heat. Melted plastic is proven to leach harmful chemical compounds associated with human and animal cancer.

The plate you choose for defrosting your frozen turkey should be deep or have tall walls to prevent the meat juice from spilling over.

Never use the storage bags to defrost ground turkey in the microwave unless you are sure it is microwave-safe; otherwise, it will warp and melt thus jeopardizing the thawing process.

  • Cover the Plate With Ground Turkey Using A Microwave-Safe Towel

Microwaves heat the surface of the turkey block and initiate evaporation of water from the minced turkey. Once all the ice is melted, juices from the meat itself are heated and evaporated.

A paper towel traps the moisture to prevent excessive drying of the ground turkey which could render it tough.

The paper towel also absorbs excess steam which would otherwise fill the microwave and later condense to form water droplets in the microwave. It would take you extra time to clean the microwave.

Covering ground turkey with parchment paper while defrosting it in the microwave also prevents splattering.

  • Press the Defrost Button on Your Microwave

Modern microwave ovens have this defrost option but the ancient ovens don’t have the option.

If you are using a modern appliance, press the defrost button, and the microwave will automatically run and stop after 2 minutes.

The old model requires you to set the power level at 30% and the timer at 5 minutes.

You can run the microwave again to complete the thawing process if you still find ice traces on the ground turkey.

  • Flip Ground Turkey Block After 1 Minute Of Defrosting

When thawing turkey in the microwave, the upper side of the frozen block tends to warm up faster compared to the base.

You need to flip the block at intervals of 60 seconds to expose the lower side to microwave heat too. The middle layer of the minced turkey is also thawed adequately.

Flipping ground turkey allows even thawing thus you don’t need another method to complete the thawing process.

  • Cook Immediately After Defrosting

Defrosting ground turkey in the microwave reduces its shelf-life. You are advised to cook the defrosted turkey immediately to prevent food poisoning.

The warm microwave may encourage the growth of harmful bacteria if you leave your turkey to sit on the countertop for long.

You can only refreeze turkey defrosted in the microwave after cooking it.

You can use a kitchen thermometer to check if your turkey reached the 40-140 degrees zone which is considered dangerous.

Related: How to defrost steak in the microwave

Alternatives For Defrosting Ground Turkey In The Microwave?

Defrosting ground turkey in the microwave is one of the available methods. You can also use the following methods to defrost turkey depending on the amount of time you have.

Defrosting Ground Turkey In The Fridge

This is the simplest method you can use to thaw a frozen turkey. It entails leaving the turkey in the fridge overnight for 10-12 hours therefore requires planning.

Most chefs will advise you to use this method because:

  • It allows you to defrost your turkey in the same bag you froze it without any safety issues.
  • It does not require monitoring as opposed to microwave defrosting which requires flipping at intervals of 2 minutes.
  • It allows uniform thawing and does not require another method to complete the thawing process.
  • You can refreeze turkey defrosted in the fridge immediately without necessarily cooking it.
  • It is the safest method since it is less equipment-intensive. Also, your ground turkey does not reach the dangerous 40-140 degrees zone that allows bacterial growth.
  • Turkey frozen in the fridge can last up to 12 months uncooked and still be safe.

Using Water To Defrost Ground Turkey

You can put your bag with frozen ground turkey over running tap water and still thaw it. However, this method wastes a lot of water adding your water bill and filling your sewer tank.

You ought to be an economical chef therefore thaw ground turkey in water as follows:

  • Put enough water to submerge the ground turkey in a bowl.
  • Leave your turkey to thaw in water for 30 minutes.
  • If it is not completely thawed, you can add ice cubes to maintain low water temperatures or change the water altogether.
  • You should cook the thawed turkey immediately before it gets contaminated.
  • You can also use hot water to defrost your minced turkey if you are short of time though it is not very recommended.
  • Hot water temperatures are unsafe for frozen protein since it allows the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Ground turkey should be cooked immediately and should not be left at room temperature.

Safety tips for defrosting ground turkey in a microwave

You will need to observe the following tips as you defrost ground turkey in the microwave:

  • Transfer your ground turkey from the storage bags to a microwave-safe plate. Most storage bags are microwave-unsafe hence leaching harmful toxins into your turkey when they melt.
  • You should cook turkey defrosted in the microwave immediately to avoid microbial growth which causes food-borne illnesses.
  • Flip the turkey block at intervals to ensure even thawing otherwise the outer layer tends to cook before it is fully thawed.
  • You can leave the minced turkey in the microwave to finish thawing if the defrost time lapses without melting all the ice.
  • Cover your turkey with parchment paper as you defrost it to prevent excessive drying.
  • Never refreeze raw turkey previously defrosted in the microwave. You must cook it before you refreeze.


Can You Defrost Ground Turkey In Microwaves?

Yes, it is fast, safe, and convenient to defrost frozen turkey in the microwave. You need a microwave-safe plate that can withstand microwave heat and run the appliance on defrost mode for 2 minutes.

A pound of frozen turkey will take you 2 minutes to defrost in the microwave if you forgot to place it in the fridge overnight.

The method is fast and does not require prior planning, unlike the fridge method which takes 10-12 hours.

Modern microwave appliances have a defrost option making the defrost process easier.

Why Do You Need To Defrost Turkey Before Cooking?

The following reasons will make you defrost turkey before you cook:

Most recipes require you to defrost frozen turkey before cooking.

Defrosting ground turkey is necessary because:

It reduces the cooking time.

It eliminates ice hence safe to fry your ground turkey in oil.

Defrosted ground turkey cooks uniformly.

Can You Refreeze the Defrosted Turkey?

Yes. Can you refreeze the defrosted turkey under the following conditions?

If you defrosted your ground turkey overnight using the fridge method, you can refreeze it within 48 hours.

If you use any other method to defrost frozen turkey (either soaking it in water or the microwave), you need to cook it before refreezing.

Cooking counters the growth of harmful bacteria associated with food poisoning.

Final Thoughts

Defrosting ground turkey in the microwave is a simple 5-step process that takes approximately two minutes.

You place ground turkey in a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a paper towel, and place it in the microwave. Run the microwave on defrost mode for two minutes flipping the turkey block at an interval of 60 seconds.

You can leave your turkey to rest in the microwave for a couple of minutes to allow all the ice to melt. You should use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the turkey’s temperature and maintain it below.

You can run the microwave again to complete the thawing process if you still find ice traces on the ground at the dangerous 40-140 degrees.

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