Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is the most common subtype of thyroid malignancy and has a good prognosis and low mortality rate. Surgery is the standard treatment for patients with primary and recurrent thyroid cancer. Although patients with PTC usually exhibit excellent treatment outcome, the incidence of recurrence in the neck ranges from 20% to 59%. When a patient with thyroid cancer is contraindicated for surgery, ultrasound (US)-guided ablation techniques, including ethanol ablation (EA) and thermal ablations, are suggested alternatives. In this review, we evaluated the indications, devices, techniques, clinical outcomes, and complications associated with US-guided EA and thermal ablations based on available scientific evidence and expert opinions regarding the use of ablation for primary and recurrent thyroid cancers.