Roast Turkey from Frozen

16 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Set 20 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 35 minutes

Roast Turkey From Frozen is perfect if you forgot to thaw! It takes more time, but you can roast frozen turkey to crispy and tender.

This turkey recipe comes out just as tender and flavorful as a classic Roast Turkey. So don’t worry! If it’s the morning of Thanksgiving and you still have a frozen turkey, you can still make the Ultimate Holiday Dinner.

Roast Turkey from Frozen turkey in bag in roasting pan


Lot’s of folks prep Thanksgiving Dinner well in advance. Whether you’re picking out the recipes, brining the turkey, or pre-baking Holiday Dessert Recipes, it’s always nice to be on top of things. But sometimes the time just gets away from you. So, if you find yourself up against Thanksgiving and your turkey is still frozen solid, then this recipe is the solution. Even if you’ve just bought a frozen turkey the morning of, there’s no need to panic!

That’s right, you can make a delicious roast turkey without defrosting the bird ahead of time. Just pop the turkey in the oven for 2 hours while it’s still frozen and the oven will speed up the thaw time. Once it’s been defrosted you can clean out the giblets and season the turkey, then just roast it as usual.

You’ll be amazed just how great it turns out. The skin is golden brown and crisp and the inside is tender and juicy. It’s the perfect main dish for any holiday! Serve it up with your favorite Thanksgiving sides like Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole.



  • Prep: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap the turkey and put it on a roasting rack while it’s still frozen solid.
  • Roast: Pop the frozen turkey in the oven while still frozen and roast it for 2 hours.
  • Season: After roasting the turkey it will be thawed so you can remove the giblets. Then season the turkey with salt and pepper, and rub it down with unsalted butter.
  • Roast: Put the turkey back into the oven and roast it for 2 to 2:30 hours. Keep an eye on the turkey. If it starts to brown too quickly, then tent it with foil while it is cooking. To make sure the turkey is cooked properly put a thermometer in the thick part of the thigh and make sure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
  • Serve: Remove the turkey from the oven, and tent it with foil while it rests for 20 minutes. Carve and serve.
Roast Turkey from Frozen in roasting pan


What herbs and seasonings can be used for Roast Turkey?

For some delicious flavorings try adding some seasonings and herbs at the same time you rub the butter over the turkey. Flat-leaf parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, or cajun seasoning will all taste great.

Can you use a brown sugar rub on turkey?

For some sweet taste in your holiday main dish try adding some brown sugar at the same time you put butter over the turkey as a dry rub. You can mix it with salt, pepper, and other seasonings.

What should I put inside the turkey cavity when roasting?

Try putting some different ingredients in the turkey cavity. Celery, onions, carrots, sliced oranges, apples, or cinnamon sticks will add some nice flavor to the turkey.

Roast Turkey from Frozen sliced on plate with sides and dinner roll



  • Serve: After taking the Roast Turkey out of the oven and serving, don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Store: Carve up any leftover turkey and store the pieces in a ziplock bag or other airtight container. It will stay good for 3-4 days in the fridge.
  • Freeze: You can also refreeze the turkey. Seal it in an airtight container and it will keep well for 2-3 months. To reheat the frozen turkey let it thaw in the fridge, then pop it in the microwave or reheat it in the oven.
Roast Turkey from Frozen in roasting pan with breast sliced open

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Roast Turkey From Frozen

Roast Turkey From Frozen is perfect if you forgot to thaw! It takes more time, but you can roast frozen turkey to crispy and tender.
Yield 16 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 35 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 12-14 pound turkey
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Remove turkey wrapping and place the solid frozen turkey on a roasting rack.
  • Roast for 2 hours.
  • Remove the giblets and season with salt and pepper.
  • Rub with unsalted butter.
  • Put back in the oven and roast for 2 to 2:30 hours until the thickest part of the thigh reads at 165 degrees.
  • If the turkey browns too quickly, tent with foil while it continues to cook.
  • Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes before serving.



Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg
Roast Turkey from Frozen Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Roast Turkey from Frozen in roasting pan
Roast Turkey from Frozen collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. Last spring my family was craving a turkey but all were frozen at the stores. None fresh! We bought one and followed this recipe to the letter and it was the best turkey I’ve ever cooked. Very juicy and tender. Thanks for sharing.

  2. hoping you take a look at this page… you have errors in your first paragraph about Sabrina… no big deal just thought you would like to know…. the really terrible thing is you have adds about RATS with disgusting photos over and over in here…. who wants to look at that when thinking about food…. jeeeeeze

  3. sounds great…..wondering if you can stuff it when returning back to oven?

    If so, how longer to bake it.

    Will keep this for next year! Mine is already thawed…..

    Your recipes are GREAT!!!!

    1. I wouldn’t stuff the bird. It is too risky with salmonella and will certainly throw off the roasting time. Also thanks for the kind words! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Never knew you could do this! Such a great idea, if you don’t have time to thaw. Thanks for these tips, worked great!

  5. What happened to washing the turkey inside and out? I always wash all of my meat; think of the processing plants and the handling. I know there has been info regarding not washing poultry, but I cannot omit washing meat and poultry.

    1. You should wash your hands but washing the bird isn’t going to get rid of any bacteria or anything. In fact, sometimes in the process you can actually be splashing it around your sink and kitchen.

  6. This is a Fabulous Recipes !! Nice Blog to Follow !! I’ll Definitely Try it !! Thank You so Much for the Recipe !!