How to Cook the Perfect Frozen Turkey

how to cook a frozen turkey

It’s this time of year again. All the leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp, and pumpkin spice everything has returned in season.

Of course, as with any big holiday feast, there’s one dish that takes center stage: the turkey. And if you’re like me, you want to make sure your turkey is cooked perfectly.

 But how do you do that? Follow these simple how to cook a frozen turkey tips, and you’ll have a delicious dinner everyone will love!

1. Thawing Your Turkey

The first step in cooking your turkey is to make sure it’s thawed properly. This can take several days, so be sure to plan ahead! The best way to thaw your turkey is in the refrigerator. Simply place the frozen turkey in a roasting pan and allow it to thaw slowly in the fridge. Depending on the size of your bird, this process can take up to four days.

If you’re short on time, you can also thaw your turkey using cold water. However, this method is much faster and can lead to uneven cooking if not done correctly. To thaw using cold water, simply place your frozen turkey in a sink or large cooler filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold, and cook your turkey immediately after it has thawed.

2. Brining Your Turkey

Once your turkey is thawed, it’s time to start thinking about seasoning. One of the best ways to ensure that your turkey is flavorful and moist is to brine it overnight. To brine a turkey, simply mix together a gallon of water with ¾ cup of kosher salt and ¾ cup of sugar until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Then, add any additional seasonings (we like garlic, rosemary, and sage) and submerge your turkey in the mixture. Cover the container and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove your turkey from the brine solution and pat dry with paper towels. At this point, your turkey is ready to be roasted!

3. Roasting Your Turkey

Now for the fun part: actually cooking the turkey! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place your turkey breast side up on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Rub the skin of your turkey with olive oil or butter, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven for 20 minutes before reducing the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continuing to roast until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit—about 2½ hours total roasting time for an 8-pound bird.

Once your turkey is cooked through, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. This will give the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier bird.

Delicious Recipes Made With Frozen Turkey

Below are some of the delicious recipes that I have made with frozen turkey:

1. Turkey Pot Pie

This recipe is perfect for those cold Thanksgiving nights. It’s warm, comforting, and will definitely leave you feeling satisfied. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover turkey you may have. To make this dish, you will need

  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
  • Half a  cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups of cooked, cubed turkey
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In the saucepan, cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in flour, thyme, and pepper until mixed. Add in chicken broth. Boil ook it for 1 minute or until thickened. Add mixed vegetables and turkey; heat through. Pour mixture into pie crust. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and parsley; pour over the filling. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly hot. Serve immediately.

2. Turkey Cranberry Sliders

These sliders are perfect for Thanksgiving because they’re easy to make and can feed a crowd! They’re also a great way to use up any leftover cranberry sauce you may have. For this dish, you will need:

  • 2 pounds ground frozen turkey
  • 1 envelope of onion soup mix
  • 1 can (8 ounces) cranberry sauce
  • 12 slider buns and
  • 12 slices cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.In a bowl, mix together ground turkey, onion soup mix, and cranberry sauce until well blended. Shape into 12 patties. Grill or broil patties for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Place on slider buns; top with cheddar cheese slices. Enjoy immediately.

3. Turkey Tetrazzini

This creamy dish is perfect for using up any leftover turkey you may have from Thanksgiving dinner. It’s also super easy to make and can be on the table in less than an hour! The ingredients you will need for this dish are:

  • 1/2 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 1 can of condensed cream of mushroom-based soup
  • Half a  cup dry white wine
  • 1 package (10 ounces) of frozen peas
  • Half a  cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to approximately 350 degrees F. Cook spaghetti according to the instructions on the package; drain it and set aside. In a big saucepan over the medium heat, melt the butter; stir the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth paste forms. Gradually add milk while whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil; cook for 1 minute or until thickened slightly. Stir in cooked spaghetti, cubed turkey, cream of the soup, white wine, peas, and Parmesan cheese; mix well then pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly around the edges. 

4. Turkey Chilli

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of kidney beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of black beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is one of our favorite ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Simply shred or chop the cooked turkey meat and add it to your favorite chili recipe along with some beans and spices.  We love to serve this chili with some shredded cheese and sour cream on top.

5. Turkey curry

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

This recipe is perfect if you want to switch things up from the traditional Thanksgiving fare. Just cook up some chopped veggies (onions, carrots, celery, etc.), and add them to a pot with cooked chopped turkey, canned coconut milk, curry paste or powder, and your favorite seasonings. Let it all simmer until everything is hot and flavorful, then serve it over rice or quinoa.

Read More: How To Cook Frozen Turkey – The Easiest Guide

FAQ: Cooking The Delicious Frozen Turkey

Can you cook a frozen turkey without thawing?

It’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen or partially frozen turkey. In fact, many people prefer to cook their turkeys this way because the outer skin will be nice and crispy while the meat inside is still juicy and moist.

Is it better to cook a turkey frozen or thawed?

Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly safe to cook a frozen turkey. In fact, doing so may actually result in a juicier bird.

Do you cover a turkey while cooking?

The idea is to let the bird spend time both covered and uncovered so that it can brown evenly. If you’re using a foil tent, make sure to leave some space open at the top so the bird can “breath.”

Why never thaw a turkey at room temperature?

The turkey will thaw on the outside and rise well above the “danger zone” of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature at which bacteria can start to grow. This could lead to food poisoning.

Do you wash the turkey before cooking?

No. You should never wash your turkey! The bacteria on the bird will splash all over your kitchen and make you sick. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey.

How often should you baste a turkey?

You should baste a turkey every forty minutes. Basting helps the turkey to cook evenly and prevents it from drying out. It’s also a good opportunity to add more flavor to the bird. You can use either butter or olive oil for basting. If you’re using butter, make sure it’s melted first so that it coats the bird evenly.

Do you put water in a roaster oven when cooking a turkey?

No, you should not add water to the bottom of the pan when cooking a turkey in a roaster oven. The moisture from the turkey will be more than enough to create steam and keep your bird moist. Adding water could actually cause your bird to become soggy.

Should you put foil over the turkey?

It’s preferable not to leave a turkey covered with foil while it’s cooking. The main issue is that you can’t get nice crispy skin if the bird is covered in foil. If you want to cook your turkey on the bone, then tenting it with foil will help keep the meat moist.

What oil do you use for turkey?

It is recommended to use olive oil. It’s a good choice because it has a mild flavor and a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to a high temperature before smoking or burning. Plus, it’s a heart-healthy oil that is rich in monounsaturated fats.

Should turkey be at room temp before roasting?

Yes, the turkey should be at room temperature before roasting. Room-temperature poultry cooks more evenly than cold poultry. If you try to roast a cold bird, the outer parts will cook too fast and the inside won’t be cooked through.

What do you put in the bottom of a turkey roaster?

You put in chopped onions, celery, and carrots to add flavor and moisture to the turkey. These vegetables also help to make a delicious gravy.

Is it better to cook a turkey at 325 or 350?

The turkey should be cooked at a temperature ranging from 325°F to 350°F. Higher temperatures will cause the skin to become too crispy and the meat to become dried out.

Do you season the bottom of a turkey?

You should season the inside of the turkey, not the bottom. The cavity of the bird is where you put your stuffing (or dressing) and all of your favorite aromatics.

Should you prep turkey the night before?

You should definitely prep your turkey the night before! Rubbing herbs and salt all over the bird will help to add flavor, and popping it in a plastic bag will help to keep it moist. You don’t need to thaw your bird before cooking it – simply slide it into the oven when you’re ready!

How do you wash a turkey before cooking?

To properly wash a turkey, you will need to use cold water and thoroughly rinse the bird inside and out. Make sure to remove any excess dirt or debris, and then pat the turkey dry with a paper towel.

How do you get my turkey golden brown?

To achieve a golden-brown turkey, start by roasting it at a high temperature. This will Cook the turkey quickly and produce a crispy skin. You can baste the turkey with melted butter or oil during cooking to keep it moist and prevent drying out. Place the rack in a roasting pan so that heat circulates evenly for browning all over.

Your Favourite Turkey During These Holidays

Well, there you have it – my guide to cooking the perfect frozen turkey.

I hope this helps take some of the stress out of your holiday preparations.

Remember, if anything goes wrong (or even if everything goes perfectly), don’t forget that we all have a lot to be grateful for!

Read More: How To Cook Frozen Turkey Breast? – 7 Quick And Easy Ways!