How To Cook Ground Turkey

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Learning how to cook ground turkey any other way than plain was revolutionary for my family’s meals. Blending spices like cumin and chili powder for a Mexican flair or oregano and garlic for a Mediterranean spin can create just the lift your cooked ground turkey needs, too!

Suitable for low carb, Keto, Paleo, whole30, and gluten free diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

a close up view of the finished version of this how to cook ground turkey recipe

Each family has their own take on how to cook ground turkey, and that’s the beauty of preparation in the kitchen. Variety is the spice of life and the spice of the kitchen!

The versatility of cooked ground turkey really can’t be overstated. And learning how to cook ground turkey is the key to unlocking mealtime success!

Ground turkey is the star of healthy recipes like my Slow Cooker Weight Watchers Turkey Chili and Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs, but it’s not just its health factor that makes cooked ground turkey stand out from the meaty crowd. 

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What makes cooked ground turkey so fabulous is its flexibility, lending itself to an array of healthy dishes, from savory ground turkey taco meat and comforting chili to zesty stir-fries and wholesome salads.

It’s a lean source of protein, making it an ideal choice for those aiming for a healthier diet, while still savoring the flavors they crave.

top down view of how to cook ground turkey in a skillet

What To Do With Ground Turkey

The real secret lies in its ability to absorb flavors and spices, transforming ground turkey into the perfect canvas for any cuisine. It’s ideal for incorporating into all sorts of recipes, from soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles to tacos, burritos (or other types of wraps) and transforming into an awesome stir fry.

Whether you’re in search of a quick, midweek dinner or planning a gourmet feast, cooked ground turkey steps up to the plate. It’s no wonder so many people choose ground turkey for their meals!

Why Make This Cooked Ground Turkey Recipe

  • Easy meal prep – It’s so comforting and satisfying to know that dinner can come together quickly with pre-cooked meat!
  • Healthy choices – It’s easy to make an unhealthy, fast food choice so having pre-cooked meat in the fridge or freezer makes it easier to choose a healthy meal!
  • Versatile options – The sky’s the limit when it comes to meals with ground turkey. Soups, salads, casseroles, burgers and stir fry – all of different flavors and textures

Learn how to cook food with fantastic cooking guides, step-by-step tutorials, knife skills, and essential cooking methods, substitutions, and more. These will help you master cooking in your very own kitchen at home.

a bowl of stiry fry made using this how to cook ground turkey recipe

Ingredient Notes

  • Vegetable oil  — Especially when using lean meat like turkey or venison, you need fat to keep it from drying out or sticking to the pan. You can use olive oil or even butter depending on your calorie and flavor preference. 
  • Ground Turkey Meat — The lean protein of choice for this tutorial is ground turkey meat, however, you can use beef, pork, or venison in the same way. 
  • Salt — Salt enhances the natural flavors in foods and is essential in seasoning meats. You can use the salt of your preference, including sea salt, kosher salt, or even a low sodium/no sodium substitute. 
  • Seasonings — What’s in your pantry or your spice drawer? Let’s use that!

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

How To Cook Cooked Ground Turkey on Stove

Don’t forget to check out my healthy recipes for delicious dishes the whole family will love.

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card further below.

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add one tablespoon of oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the ground turkey to the skillet and stir for a couple of minutes to break the meat up.
  3. Season generously with salt and other seasonings of your choice.
  4. Stir regularly for 5-7 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature. of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.  
  5. Turn off the heat and serve as is, or add to other recipes. 
image collage showing the steps for how to cook ground turkey

Cooked Ground Turkey To What Temp?

You may be wondering what temp you should cook ground turkey to before serving. It is important to cook until the meat has thoroughly browned and reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C when checked with a digital meat thermometer.

Pro Tips

  • Opt for lean or extra lean ground turkey, which contains less fat. This is healthier but requires careful cooking to prevent it from drying out.
  • If using a lean or extra lean ground turkey, add a splash of broth, tomato sauce, or olive oil while cooking. This helps prevent it from becoming too dry. If the turkey is not a lean cut, then adding liquid isn’t needed. 
  • Ground turkey can be bland, so season it generously with herbs, spices, or sauces to add flavor. Consider using the seasoning variations mentioned below.
  • If the meat has a higher fat or water content and there is a lot of liquid while cooking, then carefully drain and continue cooking. Likewise, you can simply cook the turkey until adequate moisture evaporates. 
  • Overcooked ground turkey can become dry and crumbly, so watch it closely. Cook until it reaches the safe internal temperature, then remove from heat.
  • Ground turkey can be mixed with vegetables, beans, or grains in dishes like chili or casseroles to add protein and flavor.
  • Cover the pan with a lid while cooking ground turkey in recipes like chili or stews to help trap moisture.
  • Stir or flip the turkey regularly to ensure even cooking and prevent sticking of lower fat content cuts. 

Delicious Variations 

  • Italian Seasoning — Use a blend of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary for Italian dishes like turkey meatballs or turkey Bolognese sauce.
  • Taco Seasoning — Create a Tex-Mex flavor with a mix of chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic for turkey tacos or taco salads.
  • Mediterranean Seasoning — Combine oregano, garlic, lemon, and parsley for Mediterranean-style turkey burgers or kebabs.
  • Other Seasonings – You can use any combination of your favorite seasonings. Try using garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, chopped onions, pasta sauce, lime juice, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, dried oregano, or whatever fits your taste buds.
a close up view of the finished version of this how to cook ground turkey recipe

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Cook ground turkey 3-5 days in advance to use for meals later in the week. It’s the perfect meal prep hack!
  • Store – Allow cooked ground turkey to cool completely, then seal in an airtight container for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. 
  • Freeze – Freeze cooked and cooled ground turkey in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2-3 months. This works great for large batch cooking!
  • Reheat – Thaw cooked ground turkey in the refrigerator for a day then warm through on the stovetop. You can add a little water or broth so the turkey doesn’t dry out as it reheats. 

FAQs 

How long to cook ground turkey?

How long to cook ground turkey on the stove top, as this recipe suggests, is 5-7 minutes when cooked over medium-high heat. 

What is the safe temperature for ground turkey consumption? 

The safe temperature for ground turkey consumption is 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.

How long is cooked ground turkey good for?

When stored in an airtight container inside the refrigerator, cooked ground turkey is good for 3-5 days. If you have a larger batch and won’t be using it within that timeframe, you can freeze it. In the freezer, cooked ground turkey is safe to eat for 2-3 months when stored in an airtight container or freezer bag.

How many calories are in 1 pound of ground turkey?

How many calories in one pound of ground round turkey depends on the lean-to-fat ratio, with leaner options having fewer calories.
93% lean ground turkey contains approximately 140-150 calories per 4-ounce cooked serving, 372-400 calories per pound. 
85% lean ground turkey contains around 180-190 calories per 4-ounce cooked serving, 432-456 calories per pound. 
80% lean ground turkey typically has about 200-220 calories per 4-ounce cooked serving, 480-528 calories per pound. 

How can I use cooked ground turkey?

You can use cooked ground turkey so many ways! Seasoned ground turkey is perfect for making ground turkey tacos, taco salad, lettuce wraps, and pasta dishes and makes a delicious alternative to ground beef.

Is ground turkey healthier than ground beef?

Generally speaking, there are fewer calories in ground turkey than in ground beef or ground pork. You can find ground turkey that is anywhere from 80/20 to 93/7 percent lean-to-fat ratios (the second number is the percentage fat content).

Ground Chicken vs Ground Turkey

In the ground chicken vs ground turkey match up, there are many similarities. They can be used interchangeably in a variety of recipes, as they have similar nutrition and flavor profiles. However, ground turkey has a slightly milder taste, and tends to be a bit more dry and crumbly in texture. Ground turkey is also richer in protein and slightly lower in calories.

close up of how to cook ground turkey seasoned and inside a skillet

Ground Turkey Recipes

Looking for more EASY, delicious, and flavorful recipes? I’ve got you covered. Check out my full collection of healthy recipes, or start a few of my most popular recipes:

Serve with:

  • Pair with a serving of this Greek Rice for a flavorful and healthy meal.
  • Add it to this Easy Pasta Sauce and serve over pasta.
  • Taco Tuesday? Tuck it into these homemade corn tortillas and add your favorite toppings.

More How To Recipes

Be sure to check out some of my other helpful how to recipe posts and guides;

Recommended Tools

  • Use a large enough skillet to accommodate at least one pound of meat.
  • An instant read digital meat thermometer for ensuring your turkey is fully cooked.
  • A great set of spices to add tons of amazing flavor.
  • For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

Weight Watchers Points

There is 1 Blue Plan SmartPoint in one serving of this.

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the completed how to cook ground turkey recipe in a skillet
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5 from 1 vote

How To Cook Ground Turkey

Delicious cooked ground turkey that can be used in a variety of recipes.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Western
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat
Servings: 4
Calories: 127kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 1 pound (453g) ground turkey
  • salt and other seasonings of your choice

Instructions

  • Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • When the oil is hot, add the ground turkey to the skillet and stir for a couple of minutes to break the meat up.
  • Season generously with salt and other seasoning of your choice.
  • Stir regularly for 5-7 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature. of 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
  • Turn off the heat and serve as is, or add it to other recipes.
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Notes

  • Opt for lean or extra lean ground turkey, which contains less fat. This is healthier, but requires careful cooking to prevent it from drying out.
  • If using a lean or extra lean ground turkey, add a splash of broth, tomato sauce, or olive oil while cooking. This helps prevent it from becoming too dry. If the turkey is not a lean cut, then adding liquid isn’t needed. 
  • Ground turkey can be bland, so season it generously with herbs, spices, or sauces to add flavor. Consider using the seasoning variations mentioned below.
  • If the meat has a higher fat or water content and there is a lot of liquid while cooking, then carefully drain and continue cooking. Likewise, you can simply cook the turkey until adequate moisture evaporates. 
  • Overcooked ground turkey can become dry and crumbly so watch it closely. Cook until it reaches the safe internal temperature, then remove from heat.
  • Ground turkey can be mixed with vegetables, beans, or grains in dishes like chili or casseroles to add protein and flavor.
  • Cover the pan with a lid while cooking ground turkey in recipes like chili or stews to help trap moisture.
  • Storage – you can keep cooked and cooled ground turkey in an airtight container inside the fridge up to 5 days.
  • There is 1 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 127kcal | Protein: 27g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 335mg | Vitamin A: 28IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

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