How to Cook a Frozen Turkey

Jill Corleone
- October 20, 2017

Cooking Frozen Turkey is as Easy as Cooking a Thawed One

How to Cook a Frozen Turkey

It's the morning of a major holiday and your turkey is still frozen—but don't panic. You can cook a completely frozen turkey and still make it delicious. The key is to cook it low and slowly so it cooks evenly without drying out. The only downside to cooking a frozen turkey is that it increases the cooking time by 50 percent. So, instead of 4 hours, you're looking at about 6 hours to cook a 14-pound turkey.

Total Time: 4 to 6 hours | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 10


  • frozen turkey, 

    14 pounds 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon dried basil * 1/4 cup melted butter


  1. Heat the oven to 325F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, place your turkey on a rack. Do not remove the giblets or season.
  3. Cook the turkey for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Take the turkey out of the oven and carefully remove the giblets. If the turkey is too frozen to remove the giblets, continue cooking and check every 30 minutes until you're able to remove them.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, paprika and basil.
  6. Brush the turkey with the melted butter and sprinkle on the herbs.
  7. Return turkey to the oven and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165F, about 2 to 3 hours.
  8. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes, then carve and serve.


A frozen turkey holds onto water. While cooking, tilt the turkey as needed to drain the juices that gather in the cavity.


Do not deep fry a frozen turkey. The cold turkey versus the hot oil can lead to the oil boiling over which can cause injury or a fire.

About the Author

Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post and Diabetes Self-Management.