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How to Defrost Ground Turkey in Microwave

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Frozen ground turkey is convenient to have on hand and is useful in several recipes, but you will have to defrost the frozen turkey before starting to cook it. But, it is safe to defrost ground turkey in the microwave?

How do you defrost ground turkey in the microwave? To defrost ground turkey, remove the minced meat from the original packaging, transfer it to a microwave safe plate and nuke on the defrost setting, or 30% power level, for 2 minutes per pound.

According to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, you can defrost frozen ground turkey by using any of the three ways including refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Though each method is useful in their own way, it is best to defrost ground turkey in microwave if you cannot wait for long. 

In this write-up, we are going to discuss the best ways of defrosting ground turkey safely and effectively in the microwave. Shared below are helpful tips and microwave hacks that will save you time, so continue reading for detailed answers to your frequently asked questions.

Can you defrost ground turkey in the microwave?

Yes, you can easily defrost ground turkey in the microwave. At 30% power level, it will take 2 minutes to defrost 1 pound of ground turkey in the microwave.

If you have forgotten to thaw it in the fridge overnight, then quickly defrost frozen ground turkey in the microwave to start preparing a dish in just a few minutes. 

Other methods to thaw turkey, such as leaving it in the fridge overnight or running the package under cold water, may take anywhere between 1 to 24 hours to completely thaw the ground meat. 

However, a microwave can be used to complete the process within just a few minutes.

Is it safe to thaw ground turkey in the microwave?

Yes, it is safe to defrost ground turkey in the microwave.

According to USDA FSIS, ground turkey can be thawed safely. Either place the frozen ground turkey in the fridge, which may take up to 24 hours, run the package under cold water for at least one hour, or microwave on the defrost setting for a few minutes to completely thaw the ground turkey.

Do I need to defrost ground turkey before cooking?

Yes, you need to defrost ground turkey before cooking so that you can cook it easily without experiencing ice cold or raw parts in the center.

According to USDA FSIS, it can be easier to cook the food if you defrost ground turkey before cooking it. After thawing, it should not be left at room temperature for more than two hours as it can increase the risk of breeding bacteria that may cause a food borne illness.

If I defrost ground turkey can I refreeze it?

Yes, you can refreeze ground turkey after defrosting it, even if you have cooked it or not.

According to the Food Safety and Inspection Service of USDA, if the ground turkey has been defrosted in the fridge and handled properly throughout the process you can refreeze it within three days of thawing it. 

The USDA safe handling procedures considers ground turkey to be a perishable food item that should not be left at room temperature for longer than 4 hours. If the time limit is exceeded, then it is best to food food safety guidelines and discard the ground turkey.

Either way, it should never be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours if you are going to store the leftovers. According to safe food handling guideline, it is not safe to refreeze thawed turkey if it has been left out on the counter for longer than 2 hours as it can be risky for your health.

How do you defrost ground turkey quickly?

The quickest way to defrost ground turkey is in the microwave. Use the defrost setting or 30% power level and nuke for 2 minutes.

Though you can defrost ground turkey in the fridge as well as under running cold water, but both methods take time. However, ground turkey can be defrosted in the microwave within just a few minutes.

How long does ground turkey take to defrost in the microwave?

The time taken to defrost ground turkey in the microwave can depend upon the weight and thickness of the frozen meat you want to defrost as well as the wattage of your microwave.

Normally it takes 2-4 minutes to thaw one pound of ground turkey. You can easily defrost the turkey just by using the defrost feature of your microwave. 

How to defrost ground turkey in microwave without defrost button? If the microwave does not have a defrost button, then set the power level at 30% to defrost frozen ground turkey quickly.

Tips to defrost ground turkey in the microwave

To successfully defrost ground turkey in the microwave, follow the tips discussed below.

  • Put the frozen ground turkey on a microwave-safe plate. Remove the ground turkey from its original package and put it on a microwave safe dish. The plate should be glass or ceramic, and large enough so that there remains a 1-inch space around the ground meat so that it can catch the juices that drip away from the turkey. Never microwave ground turkey in its regular packaging as the styrofoam and plastic can catch fire or melt.
  • Defrost 1 pound of ground turkey for 2 minutes at 30% power. Set the microwave power at 30%, or press the defrost button, and put one pound ground turkey into the appliance. Check it afterwards, and if necessary continue with one minute increments until the ground turkey is evenly thawed. To thaw the ground meat more evenly, rotate the block of meat every minute. If the turkey is already partly defrosted, reduce the time to 1 minute per pound.
  • Cook thawed turkey immediately. After defrosting the ground turkey, cook it in a recipe as soon as possible to avoid the rapid growth of bacteria. Since defrosting in the microwave starts cooking to some extent while thawing, the growth of bacteria has already been initiated. The leftover thawed turkey should be placed back inside the refrigerator or freezer immediately to use it some other time and minimize the growth of food borne bacteria.
How to defrost ground turkey in microwave

Best way to defrost ground turkey in the microwave

The best way to defrost ground turkey in the microwave is to take it out of the original packaging, put it on a microwave-safe plate, cover it with a lid and microwave on the defrost setting or 30% power level for 2 minutes per pound.

You should not keep it in its packaging as the styrofoam container or plastic film cannot resist the high temperatures generated in the microwave. Adjust the power level and cook time of the microwave, based on the size and weight of the ground turkey you want to defrost. 

For one pound of ground turkey, set the defrost timer for 2 minutes at 30% power. The time taken to defrost ground turkey can also depend upon the wattage of your microwave. 

Defrosting Ground Turkey in Microwave: Final Thoughts

Though you can also use the fridge or cold running water for this purpose, both methods take a much longer time to completely thaw the minced meat. The quickest way to defrost ground turkey is by using the microwave.

Remove the frozen ground turkey from its packaging. The containers may not be suitable for heating in the microwave, therefore it’s best to transfer the frozen meat to a microwave safe plate before defrosting.

Microwave the frozen ground turkey using the defrost setting, or 30% power level if your microwave doesn’t have a defrost setting. Nuke for 2 minute per pound to thaw the meat quickly.

After defrosting, cook it as soon as possible to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria. If you plan to store the leftovers, then refrigerate or freeze the meat within 2 hours of being thawed.

There you have it, everything you need to know about defrosting ground turkey in the microwave. It is easy, safe and quick to defrost ground turkey in microwave, and the previously frozen meat can be used to prepare the recipes of your choice. 

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