How Long to Defrost Ground Turkey in a Microwave? (Ultimate Guide)

Ground turkey is a crucial ingredient for lots of recipes. And if you have it in your freezer, you need to know just how long it’ll take to defrost it in the microwave for a quick fix.

You should also know how to defrost it without destroying the quality or cooking some portions in the process.

How to defrost the ground turkey in a microwave depends on the weight and thickness of the meat. The wattage of your microwave also plays a significant role.

In this article, we’ll discuss how long you can defrost ground turkey meat in a microwave. Keep reading to learn more.

Can You Thaw Ground Turkey in a Microwave?

You can defrost ground turkey in the microwave with ease. It’ll only take you 2 minutes at 30% power to defrost a pound of ground turkey in a microwave.

You can also thaw the ground turkey by leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours or submerging the package in cold water for about an hour. A microwave completes the same process in minutes.

How Long Will It Take You to Defrost Ground Turkey in a Microwave?

As aforementioned, the time taken to thaw ground turkey in a microwave depends on the thickness and weight of the frozen meat. The wattage of the microwave has a significant impact as well.

How Long to Defrost Ground Turkey in a Microwave

Normally it’ll take you 2 to 4 minutes to thaw a pound of frozen ground turkey. Just use the defrost feature of the microwave to get your turkey ready for cooking.

However, if your microwave doesn’t come with a defrost function, set the unit to defrost your ground turkey at 30% power.

How to Thaw Frozen Ground Turkey Fast

There are 2 methods to thaw your frozen ground turkey quickly and safely. They include:

  1. Defrosting it in the microwave
  2. Submerging the frozen ground turkey in a bowl/pot of cold water

Defrosting in the Microwave

Thawing your frozen ground turkey in the microwave is the fastest method. You’ll get your meat ready in about 2 minutes.

This is how you go about it:

  • Remove your frozen ground turkey from its original packaging and put it in a microwave-safe dish.
  • Defrost the turkey at 30% power for 2 minutes or use the defrost function.
  • If it’s not perfectly thawed after the initial cook time, keep defrosting it in increments of 1 minute.
  • Consider rotating the meat in the appliance after the first 2 minutes if you need to thaw it longer for even defrosting.

After getting the desired results, cook your ground turkey right after it’s thawed to avoid letting bacteria grow.

Defrosting Frozen Ground Turkey in Cold Water

Defrosting frozen ground turkey in cold water is relatively fast. Although not as fast as thawing it in a microwave, it won’t take you more than 1 hour.

To thaw your frozen ground turkey in cold water:

  • Remove your frozen turkey from its original packaging and place it in a Ziploc bag. Ensure that the meat is completely sealed in the bag to prevent water or bacteria from getting in.
  • Note that thawing the turkey using this method is faster than using the fridge. You, however, have to pay more attention during the entire process.
  • Place the Ziploc bag with your turkey in a container and fill it with cold water. Ensure that the bag is completely submerged.
  • Leave the turkey for 1 hour. For faster results, change the water in the container every 30 minutes.
  • If the turkey is evenly thawed, cook it right away to avoid bacteria growth.

Never use hot water to thaw ground turkey as it increases the risk of bacteria growth.

Things to Look Out for When Defrosting Ground Turkey in the Microwave

When thawing frozen ground turkey in a microwave, check it at 1-minute intervals since you don’t want to cook it instead. Some parts of the microwave heat faster than others, making some portions start cooking.

In addition, ensure that you cook the thawed turkey within an hour. You don’t want to risk the growth of bacteria in your meat, right?

Also, never attempt to cook the ground turkey when still in its frozen state. The results might be disappointing.


Q. Can you thaw ground turkey in hot water?

You can’t thaw frozen ground turkey in hot water. The temperature hastens the growth of harmful bacteria in your meat.

Q. What is the safest way to defrost ground turkey?

Although not the fastest method to defrost your ground turkey, thawing it in the fridge is the safest. Here, the temperature is low to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Also, after thawing your meat in the fridge, you don’t have to cook it immediately. You have up to 2 days to do the cooking.

Q. How long can my frozen ground turkey sit out?

You should never thaw your meat on the counter. Room temperatures boast a temperature range from 40 to 140 degrees F and can encourage bacteria to grow in your ground turkey.
Do not let the frozen ground turkey sit out for more than 2 hours.

Q. Is it safe to defrost ground turkey in a microwave?

Yes, it’s safe to defrost frozen ground turkey in a microwave. It’ll take you about 2 to 4 minutes to thaw your turkey evenly in the microwave.

Q. Can I refreeze ground turkey after defrosting it?

Yes, you can refreeze the ground turkey after defrosting it in the microwave. Ensure that you cook it first to prevent the growth of bacteria.

Q. Must I defrost frozen ground turkey before cooking?

Yes, you must defrost your ground turkey before cooking if you want to have an easy time in the kitchen. Thawing it first makes it easier to cook.

Q. What’s the shelf life of ground turkey after defrosting?

Just like any other meat, if you defrost it in the fridge, it should last for 2 to 3 days. If you used the microwave or cold water, you have to cook it within 2 hours to prevent bacteria growth.


Defrosting frozen ground turkey in the microwave takes about 2 minutes at 30% power. You just need to remove it from its packaging, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and put it in your microwave.

Thawing ground turkey in the microwave is the fastest method. However, if you have an hour to spare, you can defrost it in cold water for better results.

After defrosting the turkey in the microwave or cold water, ensure that you cook it immediately to prevent rapid bacteria growth.