Turkey is a very famous & must-have dish during Thanksgiving but you can always include this in your meal all through the year.
It is a very low-cost lean meat & you can include ground turkey in almost every staple dish like pasta, sandwich, meatballs, etc.without having to put in much effort.
Ground turkey can be bought in packaged form as well as freshly cut in meat shops. In both cases, you need to freeze it in a freezer at 0°C for preventing microbial growth & spoilage.
Defrosting the meat for further consumption is very crucial & using a microwave is the easiest way to do so.
So, here’s a comprehensive article with tips, instructions & frequently asked questions on how you can appropriately defrost the ground turkey in the microwave & use it further to make amazing recipes.
How to Prepare the Ground Turkey for Defrosting in a Microwave
If the meat is in a packaged container then transfer the ground turkey into a microwave-safe dish, preferably glass or ceramic ware before putting it in a microwave.
If the meat was already frozen in a microwave-safe bowl, then remove any ice chunks that might be attached to the meat.
This will prevent sogginess & help in evenly defrosting the meat.If that is not possible due to the hardness of the frozen thing, then proceed with the process anyway.
- A microwave-safe dish or bowl, something made of glass, ceramic or microwaveable plastic.
- A vented lid
- Kitchen flipper or stirrer
- Place the frozen ground turkey in a microwave-safe dish – Transfer the meat from its original package to a microwave-safe dish, preferably glass or ceramic ware.
Microwave-safe plastic containers can also be used. Then cover it with a vented lid to retain moisture.
Make sure the dish being used, has a space of at least 1 inch or 2.5 cm between its sides & the meat so that the juices coming out of the turkey don’t drip down from the edges.
- Microwave settings – Place the dish inside the microwave & press the ‘defrost’ button.
Defrost the ground turkey for 2 minutes initially then add an increment of 1 minute until the meat is evenly thawed.
If the microwave you are using doesn’t come with a ‘defrost’ button then set the appliance at 30% power level , place the bowl of ground turkey inside it & defrost it for 2 minutes.
Keep adding an increment of 1 min until the meat is completely defrosted.If the meat is partially thawed then start defrosting it for 1 min initially then add increments accordingly.
- Flip the meat – Keep flipping the meat every minute to defrost it evenly & to prevent cooking of the meat on any side.
If the meat is still in a chunk then keep rotating the entire chunk of ground meat.
- Stop defrosting – There is a high chance of the meat getting cooked so make sure you are vigilant & stop defrosting once the meat is still a little cold but has turned softer than it initially was.
When you have defrosted the ground turkey successfully then cook it immediately to avoid any type of health hazards.
Temperature: No need to set
Tips to Remember while Defrosting Ground Turkey in a Microwave
Please follow these tips while defrosting the ground turkey in a microwave quickly & safely:
- Use microwave-safe containers – Use microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers. Microwaveable plastic wares can also be used. Please check the bottom of the container to read labels that indicate whether it’s safe or not to use it in the microwave . Do not use the original Styrofoam or plastic packaging they come in inside the microwave to defrost the ground turkey . It can cause fire or may melt due to the heat which may lead to the chemicals leaching into the food .
- Use a big-sized dish – The container should have enough space to keep the ground meat at least 2.5 cm away from the edge of the dish. This will prevent any juices coming out of the ground turkey to spill out. Defrost 1 pound at a time.
- Use a vented lid – Cover the bowl of frozen ground turkey with a vented lid to lock in the moisture & for even heating in the microwave. This also helps in containing the pungent smell of the meat & prevents the appliance from stinking all day through.
- Refrain from using metal or foam – Do not use any metal containers in the microwave. Avoid using foam trays or plastic & paper wraps, aluminum foils, paper napkins & colored paper plates as they can melt or release toxins that will lead to serious health complications .
- Keep flipping – Keep rotating the lump of meat or stir the ground turkey every minute to prevent accidental cooking. The heat gets evenly distributed on stirring the meat.
- Don’t defrost for long – To prevent accidental cooking of the ground turkey, stop the timer in advance of the set time if required. Check whether the meat is softer or not. If yes, stop defrosting.
Alternate Ways to Defrost Ground Turkey
Another efficient way to defrost the ground turkey is by refrigerating it overnight.
Keep the ground turkey in its original packaging or a tight leak-proof container & refrigerate it on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator overnight.
This process will take around 12-24 hours but you will be able to refreeze the meat again for 2-3 days if required without worrying about any spoilage.
You can also pack the ground turkey in a sealed bag & submerge it in a container filled with cold water for an hour. Change the water every 30 min to keep the optimum temperature & to prevent any microbial growth.
This process is faster than refrigerating the meat overnight & it also defrosts the meat evenly as the temperature around the ground meat is uniform at all times & there is no external heat involved.
Check out how to easily & safely defrost the ground turkey in this video by ‘cookingguide’:
How to Store Defrosted Ground Turkey
According to USDA, the only way to store ground turkey defrosted in the microwave is by cooking it before refreezing it again. Try to cook the ground turkey immediately to avoid spoilage due to bacterial growth.
The ground meat while defrosting in a microwave gets very close to getting cooked & when it is again stored in such a condition then there is a high probability that bacteria will start growing on it & spoil the meat.
So, it’s better to cook it as soon as it is thawed in the microwave.
If the ground turkey is defrosted in the refrigerator overnight then it is safe to refreeze it for a few more days without cooking but make sure to not keep the defrosted meat outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours
Yes, it is safe. According to the USDA, defrosting the ground turkey in a microwave is safe but it brings the food to a temperature (40°F-140°F) which is optimum for bacterial growth, so it is advisable to cook it immediately.
It is safe to cook the ground turkey even if it is not completely defrosted & is still in a solid chunk. Only the time required for cooking it will be a little more.
The water coming out of the frozen turkey on cooking may also affect the taste of the dish but it is not something harmful.
Do not thaw meat on the counter or with hot water as it will accelerate bacterial growth.
The meat should not reach a temperature of 40°F – 140°F as this is perfect for any microbial growth & spoilage.
I hope this comprehensive article helped you in defrosting the ground turkey in the microwave easily.
If you have any queries regarding the process, feel free to ask us. Also, if you know any other methods or tips please let us know so we can add them to our article to make it even better!
Do share this with your family & friends who may want to defrost the ground turkey in the microwave & help them out too.