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Thaw a Turkey - Microwave Method

Check Your Microwave Manual for Specifics

You can safely thaw a turkey or rather some turkeys in a microwave, but it is usually not your best alternative.

Turkey Thawing in Microwave It is not a bad method of getting a quick start on your bird if you haven’t planned ahead, but, because of differences in thickness of the meat, and the strange shape of the bird some parts of the turkey will usually start to cook while other parts remain very cold if not frozen.

Unfortunately, we cannot give the best advice as to what size turkey will safely fit in your microwave or how long it will take to defrost. We can't even explain exactly how to best move it around to expedite thawing. That depends on your specific microwave.

You can often find that information in the manual that came with your microwave or from your microwave’s manufacturer.

You will find that some microwaves will defrost a small turkey quickly in about an hour, while others will take 2 hours including a flipping sequence - from front down to back down and waiting 15 minutes and flipping from one side to the other side and standing for a half hour, sometimes in water.  

This procedure works best with smaller turkeys. And, as mentioned above they may not defrost uniformly, but the outside of the turkey will thaw enough that you will be able to remove the giblet packet, season the bird, and even cut it up.

THIS IS IMPORTANT! Do not use a microwave to thaw a turkey and then store the bird in the refrigerator or refreeze it without first completely cooking it. It must be cooked immediately after it has been defrosted in the microwave. After being defrosted in the microwave, some parts of the turkey are in the temperature danger zone and bacteria are growing.

    Tips For Defrosting A Turkey In A Microwave

    1. Only defrost turkeys of the size recommended by your microwave manufacturer;
    2. Defrost for the time and at the power setting recommended by your microwave manufacturer;
    3. Follow all recommendations of your microwave manufacturer;
    4. For this type of defrosting, first remove the turkey from its wrapping;
    5. Remove any metal that might be holding the legs together;
    6. Place the turkey in a microwave safe container that will catch the juices;
    7. Remember that he turkey may not be completely thawed – but you should be able to remove the giblets, season it, or even cut it into pieces;
    8. Remove the giblets as soon as possible when defrosting in a microwave - they can cause the turkey around them to start cooking prematurely
    9. If the turkey is not completely thawed, just know that the roasting time will take a little longer than usual.
    10. Never deep fry a turkey that is not completely defrosted.

Other Turkey Thawing Methods

Thaw Turkey in Water

Thaw Turkey in Refrigerator

Cook Turkey without Thawing

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