Roasting a Frozen Turkey

It’s ok and actually safer to cook your turkey (under 15 lbs.) when it’s frozen. A frozen turkey won’t drip juices around the kitchen, won’t waste water as you try to thaw it, and will come out of the oven juicy and full of flavor. It’s critical that the final temperature of the deep portions of the turkey reach at least 165°F to prevent food-borne illness. The National Turkey Federation recommends that the temperature reach 175° to 180°F in the leg/thigh portion. Here are the directions for cooking a frozen turkey.

You’ll Need:

  • 12-15 lb. frozen turkey–do not use this method for birds larger than 15 pounds
  • Large shallow baking pan and rack
  • Aluminum foil
  • Food thermometer (bimetallic quick read or digital quick read)

Time: Depends on size; add 50% more time than for thawed turkey the same size. Plan on 5 – 5 1/2 hours for a 12 – 14 lb. turkey.

End Temperature: A minimum of 165°F at the deepest part of the breast or thigh (make sure not to touch the bone with the thermometer). For better quality, the temperature should be 175° – 180°F.


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F, making sure that the pan will fit on the middle shelf.
  2. Line the baking pan with foil and place the rack in the pan.
  3. On a clean surface, unwrap the frozen turkey and place it on the rack.
  4. At 3 hours: If turkey is defrosted, giblet packages can be removed with tongs and/or forks. Giblets packaged in plastic should be removed and cooked separately; if the plastic bag has melted or been altered, do not consume the giblets. Giblets packaged in paper can be removed and cooked separately, or cooked completely in the bird making sure they reach 165°F.
  5. At 4 to 5 hours: Measure temperature at deepest point in the breast.  Minimum temperature: 165°F. Keep roasting if it’s not 165°F.
  6. When done, remove from oven and place a foil tent over turkey. Wait 20 – 30 minutes before carving.
  7. Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.

If you’re looking for menu ideas, check out $30 Serves 8 A Healthy Holiday Dinner…the recipe for Guiltless Pumpkin Pie is awesome!

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