Can you cook frozen ground turkey?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you cook frozen ground turkey” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook the frozen ground turkey. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to freeze and thaw the ground turkey.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you cook frozen ground turkey?

Yes, you can cook frozen ground turkey but it takes about 50% more cooking time to thoroughly cook frozen ground turkey as compared to the fresh ground turkey or the one that has been thawed first. The particular method that you want to use to cook your ground turkey depends upon your personal preference as you can grill, fry, or bake your frozen ground turkey.

To properly cook the frozen ground turkey, you should start cooking it at a low temperature and increase the temperature gradually (but make sure that the temperature won’t be lower than 350 degrees Fahrenheit for safety concerns). Moreover, you should scrape the ground turkey every 3-5 minutes to ensure even heating. 

If you are cooking frozen turkey in the pan, then it is recommended to add a small amount of water to it to ensure that the meat won’t get burned. 

It is worth mentioning that the time it takes to cook ground turkey depends upon several factors like the quantity of ground turkey, whether it was frozen or not, the internal temperature to which ground turkey is cooked, the way you are going to cook it (roast in the oven, boil in a saucepan or fry in the pan), the storage conditions in which the ground turkey was kept, slaughter age, the time for which the ground turkey has been stored, humidity and temperature. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you should cook the ground turkey thoroughly till its internal temperature reaches about 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The proper way to freeze ground turkey

You can easily store the ground turkey by wrapping it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and afterward putting it in the plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container before storing it in the freezer to protect your ground turkey from freezer burns. 

Moreover, to preserve the quality of the ground turkey for quite a long time you can opt for vacuum sealing it which is quite effective in prolonging its shelf life.

Vacuum sealing involves the process of putting the ground turkey in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. 

The reason behind doing vacuum sealing is to ensure that there is minimum air present in the plastic zipper bag with the ground turkey. As air has moisture and oxygen in it that favors bacterial growth, so by removing air, ground turkey can retain its freshness for a long time.

It is a good practice to divide the ground turkey into portions or serving sizes that you generally need. By doing so you will be able to just thaw the quantity of ground turkey that you need while the rest of the ground turkey can stay in the freezer untouched. Thus keeping the ground turkey in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the ground turkey.

Other FAQs about Turkey which you may be interested in.

How big is a turkey egg?

How many eggs do turkeys lay?

How to boil a whole turkey?

The proper way to thaw ground turkey

When it comes to thawing the ground turkey, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending upon your choice.

  1. The recommended way to thaw the frozen ground turkey is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. 
  1. You can thaw the frozen ground turkey in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 
  1. If you are thawing the ground turkey in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 

The reason behind cooking the ground turkey immediately after thawing them in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm the ground turkey using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the ground turkey gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed ground turkey immediately until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the ground turkey properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

You can read how to make ground turkey taco meat here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you cook frozen ground turkey” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can cook the frozen ground turkey. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to freeze and thaw ground turkey.


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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.