Cooking a Turkey in a Microwave – All You Need to Know

Can you cook a turkey in a microwave? This is a question so many people have been asking, especially on Thanksgiving days.

With so many ways to cook the stuffed bird, you can guess how most people react to this question. Some children have been pranking parents on social media, asking them steps to microwave a turkey.

You may have come across the Twitter hashtag “turkey challenge.”

Cooking a Turkey in a Microwave

Responses vary from some advising never trying it, while others were explaining simple and safe steps. So, what is the real deal? Read on to discover.

Microwaving a Turkey – Facts

The microwave is not an ideal method of cooking any bird. However, in the USA, it is possible when you follow the USDA guidelines.

It’s easy, and the turkey cooks within a few minutes, compared to using any other method.

Ovens come with risks that perhaps you already know.

We have seen or heard of disasters happening when they break. Apart from that, not everyone can afford an oven.

A microwave could be the most convenient method at the moment. The cooked bird can be surprisingly edible if done right.

Before putting anything in a microwave, it’s important to read and understand the manual. Cooking a turkey is no exception.

In 2015, the FSIS posted a piece explaining how you can use a microwave to thaw a turkey perfectly.

However, it advises cooks to consider how much weight their appliances can handle. You can either cook the turkey as a whole or in part.

How to Microwave a Turkey

Before writing, we sort to find out from other users how they felt about this topic. Most respondents mentioned the size of your bird as a very crucial factor.

A 25-pound turkey should be good enough.

Sized determines the heat setting, where the best setup is medium to high. Don’t forget to check the toppings and all other ingredients you may want to include in your cooking.

Here is what to do:

Necessary Items

  • A thawed turkey, about 15 pounds or so
  • Microwave friendly bags
  • Microwavable plate
  • A meat thermometer
  • Spices and other preferred ingredients

Step 1: Cleaning the Bird

The primary step is to clean your turkey. In this step, you need to remove its giblets and ensure the bird is completely free of anything you can’t cook.

Assuming you have already removed the insides, wash the turkey under running water, perhaps inside your sink. You can repeat until it’s completely clean.


You should always have some paper towels in your kitchen. Use them to pat your bird until it’s completely dry.

Leaving any water dripping can be catastrophic in the microwave oven.

Once this is done, get the salt, herbs, and spices you wish to use in your meal. The choice of ingredients depends on where you are and what is available, although you can order anything from the Internet today.

Step 2: Setting Up Your Turkey for the Microwave

How do you normally use your microwave to, for instance, warm up your food? By placing it in microwaveable utensils, correct?

After seasoning the turkey, the next step is placing it in a microwave-friendly bag. Not every plastic bag is safe for the oven, so we insist on checking its viability.

Another important thing to note is steam forms inside the back. Hence, it’s crucial to leave a small home on the bag to allow it to escape.

A saran wrap can also be used in microwaving a whole duck.

However, a plastic bag is more recommended because it assures an evenly cooked duck. The last thing you want is dealing with some parts of the duck cooked, others less cooked, or a thigh overly cooked.

Now that your turkey is well bagged, put it on the microwave-safe plate.

Remember to check the plate carefully to see if it can withstand microwave heat.

Glass is the most preferred material, although you must also confirm that it does not have any impurities.

Step 3: Place it in the Microwave

The way you place the turkey inside the microwave matters a lot. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure it does not touch the upper part of the sides of the microwave. This is because you will have trouble if the microwave heats, causing the bag to stick.
  • Set your power to 50% for ten minutes, keeping it steady for every pound. For instance, if you are using a 12-pound turkey, it will require about two hours to be fully cooked.
  • Note that microwaves are manufactured differently. If you are not sure how your specific model works, consult the manufacturer.

As stated above, the size of your turkey determines how much it will take to cook. If you know, it is too big, try cutting it into smaller pieces unless you must cook it stuffed.

Step 4: While in the Oven – Turn It

One way to ensure your turkey cooks well is by turning it over and moving them to different areas across the cooking space.

If your microwave has a caroused-cooking base, it will reduce the required turning and moving.

For a stuffed turkey, turning it is crucial. If the microwave does not have automatic turning, you will have to do this manually at least every 15 minutes.

Be careful as the plate and the turkey might get quite hot. Use gloves wherever necessary, keeping an eye on the hotter areas.

Step 5: Remove Cooked Turkey

Take the turkey out of the microwave and then use the meat thermometer to confirm its internal temperatures.

You need to ensure the bird is well-cooked before serving it.

Ideally, turkeys require 165 degrees F to cook well. Do not consume anything below this.

If you don’t have a thermometer, cut through the bird and check the juices.

If they run clean, it is well cooked. But if the juice is pink, consider taking it back to cook some more.

Step 6: Serve

Now that you have confirmed your turkey is well-cooked, it is time to enjoy the meal. Let it for a few minutes, about 20, before eating.

How To Cook a Turkey in a Microwave

Top Tips for Microwaving a Turkey

Cooking a turkey in a microwave has become a very common practice today.

While the flavors and perhaps the taste might not be as you would expect, it’s still a great option. Consider these tips.

  • Safety is crucial. Always use microwave-friendly utensils. A microwave heats items from the inside using water molecules; anything with such molecules will melt or crack.
  • Use your favorite flavors to get the best taste.
  • Read all microwave instructions as defined by the manufacturer.
  • Use the meat thermometer to ensure your turkey is well-cooked before serving.
  • Use the microwave for cooking smaller turkey pieces, like middle wings or wing tips. Large or whole turkeys are more challenging.
  • The thicker the turkey or its piece, the lower you should set the heat to get it thoroughly cooked.


It’s Thanksgiving, and you have been wondering how to get your turkey cooked in a short time. Well, there you have it. Consider using a microwave.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend it unless it’s the only option. Keep in mind all the safety tips we have shared above. Enjoy your meal!

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I am a professional appliance repair expert and write articles that help average users diagnose and troubleshoot their kitchen gadgets, like microwaves, dishwashers, etc. I’m a foodie by heart and love reviewing food recipes, ingredients, and the cookware products used in them for meal preparation.