How to Roast a Frozen Turkey

Total Time
5hrs 30mins
Prep 0 mins
Cook 5 hrs 30 mins

Because the breast is so much thicker than the legs and thighs, it thaws more slowly, so the breast and lower quarters will reach their (different) done temperatures at the same time. This is an ideal approach for people who have forgotten to thaw the turkey,or who have small refrigerators; it does fill up the oven a lot longer, though. Since there are no juices from the defrosted turkey, there will be no risk of cross-contamination (just be sure to wash your hands well). For a larger (19-20 lb) bird, add 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Adapted from instructions at -


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F about 6 hours before you want to serve. Line a rimmed cookie sheet (NOT a roasting pan) with foil and place a rack on it. Unwrap the turkey and place it on the rack. (Don't worry about the bag of giblets; you'll remove it later.).
  2. Place the turkey into the oven for 2 1/2 hours. By this time, the thighs should be about 100°F, but the breast should still be icy, around 25°F If you have an insert-and-leave-it type of thermometer (dial, or digital probe), insert it into the thickest part of the breast at this time. If not, start checking the temperature of the breast every 30-45 minutes.
  3. By 3 1/2 hours, the thighs should be around 150°F and the breast around 50°F Remove the giblets bag at this time (and make stock from it, if desired). If you wish to stuff the turkey, do so at this point; use silicone gloves to protect your hands, as the bottom of the bird will be hot, and preheat the stuffing if possible before spooning it into the cavity. Do not overpack.
  4. Between 4 1/2 and 5 hours, the thighs should be done at 175-180°F, the breast should be done (but still moist) at 160-165°F and the skin should be nicely browned. If the bird was stuffed, the temperature in the center of the stuffing must reach 165° for safety.
Most Helpful

I have to say... this actually worked. I cooked it for two hours. Then removed the giblets, neck. And seasoned with a mixture of lemon juice, soy sauce, and dijon mustard that i poured over the turkey. I also placed a whole onion and a bundle of fresh herbs inside the bird. I basted 2 hours later with pan juices (there were a lot). Once cooked, I let rest for 20, then carved. I was very impressed at how moist this was. I didn't expect it to so good. Probably one of the best turkeys I've ever roasted. Thanks for sharing.

Maya's Mama October 14, 2012

This method seems to be in line with the other recipes I have found in the past for cooking a turkey from frozen. One of the main thing I have found, not having a rack, is to put the pan on the lower rack of the oven (doesn't matter if it's roasting or cookie at that point) and put the turkey on the top rack of the oven (just above the pan to catch drippings). you may want to put a few cups of water in the pan with some onions and carrots and celery cut up-- could make for some yummy gravy with the drippings. This is a great recipe and I only ever cook my turkeys from frozen due to lack of planning/fridge or sink space. Think about basting with olive oil or melted butter when you remove the giblets- makes for a really nice brown turkey.

moonprints September 17, 2015

This worked perfectly! Thank you so much you saved the day and my turkey too! Basted the breast meat every hour with the pan juices. As others stated, watch timing and don't over cook. I was very impressed at how moist this was. One of the best turkeys I've ever roasted. Thanks for sharing.

askmom4me December 25, 2012