Whatever dishes you make using ground beef, you can also make with ground turkey. Just like ground beef, the leaner the meat is you cook with, the better the health benefits are.
However, you have to be more careful to avoid a tasteless and dry meal when you use ground turkey breast because it’s 99% lean.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Ground Turkey?
Your ground turkey will take between 14 and 16 minutes to cook from start to finish. Your turkey is cooked when it has even browned on it, and there is no pink. You can make sure your ground turkey is cooked through by using a thermometer and waiting until it reads 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
Many people like to swap out ground turkey for ground beef due to the health benefits, but there is an art to cooking it because it’s extremely easy to dry out and render tasteless.
We’ll outline everything you need to know below.
What is Ground Turkey?
Turkey actually originates from Mexico instead of Turkey, and Israel is the world’s biggest eater of this type of meat.
Turkeys get famously eaten whole in the UK on Christmas Day, and households in the United States eat it on Thanksgiving.
However, you can choose from several different cuts when you shop, including sausage, diced, strips, burgers, and ground minced.
Ground turkey is a mix of turkey meat that the butcher grounds together until it takes on that classic ground form you know.
It’s usually a lot cheaper in this form because it uses meat from the drumsticks and thighs instead of the breasts, and it can be healthier than traditional ground beef.
If you want something that is extremely healthy, you should pick out a variety that is fat-free, and the meat has to come from the leanest part of the turkey as it possibly can.
How Long it Takes to Cook Ground Turkey on the Stove
You should cook your turkey in a bigger nonstick skillet over medium heat, and you want to stir it occasionally to break up clumps for three to five minutes until it’s no longer pink. The ground turkey will need between 14 and 16 minutes from start to finish to cook.
As soon as your turkey is browned evenly all over and has no pink that you can see, it means that it’s done.
If you’re not 100% sure, you should get a thermometer and wait until it’s 165-degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it’s completely done and safe to eat.
How to Cook Ground Turkey Without Drying it Out
If you overcook your ground turkey, it gets crumbly and dry before it loses its flavor. You should keep a close eye on the cooking time and have an instant-read thermometer on hand.
You should remove the ground turkey from the heat once it reaches 165-degrees Fahrenheit.
This 165-degrees is considered to be a safe temperature to eat your ground turkey because it’s hot enough to kill off any bacteria.
This bacteria gets introduced to the meat mixture during the grounding and packaging process, so cooking it thoroughly will reduce the chances of you getting sick if you eat it.
The Consequences of Eating Undercooked Ground Turkey
Cooking your ground turkey all of the ways through is one way to kill off the bacteria that causes Salmonella.
When you eat undercooked, raw, or unpasteurized meat, you’re at a high risk of contracting this bacteria and getting sick.
Salmonella food poisoning is commonly caused by undercooked turkey, chicken, or other types of poultry.
Is it Safe to Eat Ground Turkey That is a Little Pink?
The only way to accurately determine that your turkey or other poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165-degrees Fahrenheit is to use a food thermometer.
Turkey can look slightly pink even after it hits the safe temperature of 165-degrees Fahrenheit. So, yes, it’s safe to eat a turkey that is a little pink as long as you double-check the temperature.
How to Tell if a Turkey is Done Without a Thermometer
If you don’t have a meat thermometer on hand to test the internal temperature of your turkey, you want to get a knife and pierce the turkey’s thigh.
When you do, you should pay close attention to the juices that run out. The juices will be clear if the turkey is done, and the juices will be reddish-pink if the turkey needs to cook a little longer.
What Ground Turkey Smells and Looks Like When It Goes Bad
One of the best ways to tell if your turkey is bad is to smell it because the spoiled ground turkey will have a very sour smell with a slimy texture and dull color to it.
If the turkey has grey coloring or brown areas on it, it’s also a good idea to get rid of it, as this can be a sign that it’s going bad. Ground meat can go rotten in the freezer too, so it’s important to periodically check on it.
Does Ground Turkey or Beef Cook Faster?
You’ll notice differences when you cook ground beef and turkey, and the biggest one is that ground turkey will dry out much quicker than beef.
This can lead you to mistakenly thinking that your turkey is done before it actually is. So, you should test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
Beef should be a minimum of 155-degrees Fahrenheit, while poultry should be 165-degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum.
Will Ground Turkey Turn White When You Cook It?
As long as you’re going to simmer the turkey and it’s hot enough for it to cook all of the ways through, having white turkey isn’t bad.
Turkey doesn’t necessarily need to brown to be safe to eat, but you have to cook it. Food generally finishes cooking long before it turns brown.
How to Cook Ground Turkey Using Your Oven
Heat your canola or olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Once the oil gets hot, you can add your carrots, onions, and garlic before sauteeing until the vegetables get soft.
Add the sauteed vegetables, parsley, ground turkey, eggs, bread crumbs, or egg substitute and pepper into your mixing bowl and mix them to combine everything.
Spray your loaf pan with a light coating of vegetable oil before spooning your turkey mixture in. Pat the meat with a spoon to gently pack it into the pan and run the spoon around the edges of the pan to create a small space.
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit and bake your ground turkey meatloaf for 40 minutes.
Insert a meat thermometer to test for doneness into the meatloaf’s center. It should read at least 140-degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the pan from your oven and allow it to rest for five minutes before getting a spatula and using it to remove the meatloaf from the pan and put it on your serving plate.
It’s possible to safely cook ground turkey in the oven or on the stovetop to create a heart-healthy meal.
We’ve outlined how to ensure it’s safe, what temperature to look for, and how to create a delicious meal in a short amount of time.