Can You Cook Frozen Ground Turkey?

While dealing with a frozen ground turkey, you might get confused about whether you should defrost it first. You might also ask questions like- Can You Cook Frozen Ground Turkey? is it safe to cook? What’s the right way to cook a frozen ground turkey?

In short, The answer is Yes, you can cook frozen ground turkey and it’s 100% safe to do so. But there are some extra steps you’ll want to take to get great results. The cooking process varies on factors like whether you’re cooking in a pan or an air-fryer.

Don’t worry. This article will show you 3 different and useful ways to cook frozen ground turkey. Also, we’ll share some delicious recipes you can try using a frozen ground turkey.

What’s The Right Way to Cook Frozen Ground Turkey?

Before we delve into the great ways of cooking frozen ground turkey, take a glance at these must-consider factors you should know in the first place.

  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the ground turkey is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Ensure that when preparing your ground turkey, there is enough liquid in the pan to cover half of the surface area.

Though you can cook frozen ground turkey in various ways. Here I discussed the top three most straightforward ways. So let’s explore it.

Method 1: Cooking in A Pan

cook ground turkey in a pan

Follow the steps below if you have to use a pan for the job. 

  • First off, defrost the package of meat (about two hours in the refrigerator).
  • After that, take it out of the fridge and wait around 30 minutes.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized skillet and wait until the pan is hot. Once your wait is over, add the ground turkey and relax unti it gets brown in color. 
  • Meanwhile, peel and dice an onion and add them to your skillet.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste as you cook.
  • When there’s no pink left in the meat, drain off any liquid that may have accumulated at the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve with desired fixings like fresh green beans or canned cranberry sauce.

Method 2: Cooking in An Air-Fryer

Ground turkey meatballs in air fryer
Ground turkey meatballs in air fryer

In case, you find it better to cook your frozen ground turkey in an air-fryer, here’s what you can do. 

  • If your air-fryer has a basket, put the frozen turkey into the basket and sprinkle it with salt and pepper before cooking. If you do not have a there’s basket in the air-fryer, simply place the frozen turkey on a metal rack or on top of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  • Cook for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • After that, turn the timer off and leave the ground turkey to stay warm. Make sure to periodically check to see if it needs more cooking time by cutting it into a piece to see if it is cooked all the way through.
  • Once it is cooked all the way through, serve as desired.

Method 3: Cooking in A Ninja Food

Using A Ninja Foodi, you can cook frozen ground turkey in minutes. Before work:

  • Set your Ninja Foodi to cook at 180 degrees in the morning.
  • Place your frozen ground turkey on the pan and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  • When your timer goes off, let it sit for a few seconds while it finishes cooking, and then serve!

Is It a Must to Defrost Frozen Ground Turkey?

Frozen Ground Turkey in a container waiting to deforest

Yes, it’s a must to defrost the turkey first. Otherwise, the frozen ground turkey can take a very long time to cook because of the thick layer of ice on its surface. If you do not thaw it first, the exterior will burn before the interior has a chance to cook. Thawing will make sure that the heat reaches evenly into the turkey resulting in an evenly-cooked dish. 

How to Defrost Frozen Ground Turkey?- The Best Way

Defrosting frozen ground turkey can be a time-consuming process. Follow these simple steps to maximize your time and save money on the bill.

  • Place the turkey in the refrigerator 24 hours before cooking to allow it to defrost. 
  • If you don’t have that much time, place the turkey in cold water for one hour per pound of meat to thaw it out. Changing the water at least once during this process is essential, or else bacteria will start forming on the meat. 
  • Allow two hours for every five pounds of meat from frozen ground turkey. You might need to add more oil or butter because all the fat may not be visible in your package, but it should still taste delicious!
  • Keep an eye on your frozen turkeys while defrosting so they do not get too close to room temperature, creating a different texture when cooked.
  • After your turkeys are finally defrosted, follow the instructions as written on any other kind of poultry recipe.

5 Best Recipes that Use Frozen Ground Turkey

We love ground turkey because it has a lot of flavors and is low in fat. And since it’s already cooked, you can do all sorts of things with it:

  • Stuff an omelet with it.
  • Add it to your favorite soup.
  • Top a pizza with some crumbled ground turkey instead of pepperoni.

And, here’s a basic idea about some great recipes you can try with frozen ground turkey.

Turkey Meatloaf

Cooking Turkey Meatloaf with frozen ground turkey is an excellent option for cooking on a budget. In this recipe, you can use some common ingredients like onions, celery, and eggs to give it some flavor while keeping the cost down. 

The texture will be different than meatloaf made from fresh ground turkey because of the freezing process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good meal. Most recipes will call for thawing the ground turkey first and then adding the other ingredients to make your dish. This is because cooking will destroy the texture and flavor of frozen meat. 

So, when using frozen meat in your recipe, remember to add more seasoning than you would if you were using fresh meat.

Unstuffed Peppers

Unstuffed Peppers Recipe that Uses Frozen Ground Turkey showcases how easy it is to cook with the frozen ground turkey by using these ingredients: 

  • One package of frozen ground turkey 
  • One jar of tomato sauce -A green bell pepper -Chopped onion -Olive oil -A few cloves of garlic -Minced parsley or basil (optional)

Turkey Taco Skillet 

Frozen ground turkey can be used in recipes that call for pre-cooked ground meat and are thawed before cooking, like the Turkey Taco Skillet Recipe here.

Just place one pound of frozen ground turkey in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag with freezer-friendly extras such as chopped onions, crushed tomatoes, corn kernels, or fresh herbs. 

It’s also super easy to store!

Quinoa Enchilada Crockpot

If you’re looking for a healthy, low-cost meal, then the Quinoa Enchilada Crockpot is the right option for you. It’s delicious and easy to make! It takes about five minutes of prep time before the crockpot does all the work. Once this recipe is done, there are only three ingredients:

  • Quinoa, 
  • Black beans
  • Enchilada sauce. 

Quinoa is a grain that has more protein than any other grain or seed. Black beans also provide protein, fiber, potassium, iron, and magnesium. 

The enchilada sauce provides an array of vitamins like vitamins A and C and minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Combining these three basic ingredients into one dish provides essential nutrients such as complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and protein – which means your diet can be complete in just one meal!

An additional benefit is that this dish doesn’t use many common allergens, which makes it perfect for anyone with food allergies or intolerance.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

The recipe for Turkey Sloppy Joes is a comfort food recipe that is quick and easy to make. It can be modified in many ways to change the taste, or it can be made with other types of meat. 

The ingredients are simple.

  • Ground turkey
  • Onion 
  • Bell pepper
  • Tomato sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Seasonings. 

This dish is a great way to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas while having good family bonding time in the kitchen.

Frequently Asked Question

How long should I cook a ground turkey if frozen?

It would be best to cook ground turkey for a few minutes on medium heat with a bit of oil before adding any other ingredients. This will help thaw out the turkey while also cooking it thoroughly. Make sure to cook the frozen ground turkey until it is no longer pink and is fully cooked to kill bacteria.

Why does frozen ground turkey explode?

Frozen ground turkey can explode because it expands as it cooks, and the pressure from the expanding meat causes the bag to burst. This problem is worse when cooking a ground turkey for extended periods, such as when making a casserole.

If you’re using a slow cooker, cook a frozen ground turkey on low heat and ensure not to fill the bag with too much liquid.

How can you defrost frozen ground turkey quickly?

One of the easiest ways to defrost a ground turkey is to put it in a bowl and cover it with cold water about three inches deep. Change the water every 30 minutes until the ground turkey is fully defrosted. Another way to defrost frozen ground turkey quickly is to place it on a cookie sheet and set it in a low-heat oven for 15 minutes.

Is it safe to cook with frozen meat?

Yes, cooking with frozen meat is safe, but it has a few drawbacks. The first issue is that the meat will take longer to cook because it has to be thawed out first. That can lead to overcooking or burning if you’re not paying close attention. 

Secondly, you’ll need to give your frozen meat more time to brown in the pan before flipping it because it’s been sitting there for much longer without being exposed to heat.

Last Thought

Still, you have a question, Can You Cook a Frozen Ground Turkey?

We hope you’re saying ‘NO’ as we’ve tried our best to serve the detailed information in front of you. You can cook a frozen ground turkey but it’s best to thaw the turkey before cooking to ensure it cooks evenly. You can do this by defrosting in the refrigerator or soaking in cold water.

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