Skip to Content

The Best Recipe for How to Cook Ground Turkey

Cooking Ground Turkey offers a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional ground beef opening up a world of delicious possibilities in this best recipe for how to cook ground turkey

ground turkey meat in the frying pan.

The best way to harness the savory potential of lean ground turkey involves a thoughtful approach to preparation. 

Begin by choosing quality lean ground turkey, which doesn’t compromise taste. Using olive oil as the cooking medium enhances moisture retention and infusion of flavor. 

The Chef’s secret is that they key to perfecting the art of cooking ground turkey lies in understanding the nuances of the process – ensuring it’s not only a wholesome choice but also a culinary delight! 

How to Cook Ground Turkey

Raw Ground turkey can be used in for easy weeknight dinner in easy recipes like 

  • turkey meatloaf,
  • ground turkey tacos,
  • turkey chili,
  • turkey meatballs,
  • ground turkey stir fry,  
  • turkey burgers and any number of other favorite ground turkey recipes! 

In fact, any of your red meat favorite recipes can be turned into healthy ground turkey recipes!

Turkey is a lean protein and because of that ground turkey needs to have a lot of flavor added and you will always need to add a bit of fat and seasoning to ground turkey meat.

1. In a large skillet, heat some oil (avocado oil works or any vegetable/olive oil is fine). 

2. Over medium heat, brown a pound of ground turkey.

3. Add seasonings for amazing flavor! (taco seasoning, garlic powder, ancho chili powder to name a few!).

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Package of ground meat
  • Oil
  • Seasoning of your choice (salt, pepper, sage, cayenne, red pepper, thyme and Italian seasoning are all good options too).
ground turkey meat in a zip lock bag.

What About Leftovers

Leftovers are a great way to make easy ground turkey recipes! 

  1. Add lettuce wraps, sour cream and brown rice for a delicious and quick meal the whole family will love! 
  2. Mix with brown sugar, tomato sauce and a few other ingredients for sloppy joes
  3. Another family favorite is taco salad or nachos using your favorite taco toppings, black beans and tortilla chips!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can I Freeze This Recipe?

Absolutely you can! Save in a freezer safe package, remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.

How long Does This Recipe Last?

Lasts up to 5 days if kept covered in the refrigerator.

Tips and Tricks

  • Ground turkey is a GREAT addition to other ground meats. It’s perfect to add to ground pork or ground chicken to give those bulk or less fat.
  • Ground turkey meat mixture holds together about the same as ground beef and is kind of sticky. You can directly substitute it for other ground meats.
  • When cooking ground turkey as a burger, use a nonstick skillet and allow the meat to completely sear and cook on one side before trying to turn. Otherwise, the meat may stick to the surface and tear the burger.
  • Break up the meat as you are putting it into the pan. Pinch off or break off small pieces to put in the pan, this makes breaking them up as they cook much easier.
  • Use this cooked ground turkey for all kinds of dishes including spaghetti sauce and taco pie!
  • To store leftover cooked turkey, save in a freezer bag or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Watch Me Make This Dish

Can You Give Me A Hand?

Please leave a 5 STAR comment in the comment section below. That helps others to find the recipes at Loaves and Dishes. Thank you!!

How to cook ground pork

How To Cook Ground Turkey

Once you know the basics of cooking ground turkey you'll have no trouble substituting it for all kinds of other recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook ground turkey
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 175kcal


  • 2 Tbs oil optional, based on fat content of the ground beef.
  • 1 lb turkey ground
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder


  • In a frying pan set over medium heat on the stove top, add oil to the pan if your ground turkey is very low fat. Use your fingers to break up and pull off pieces of the ground turkey chunk and put into the pan.
  • Once the ground turkey is all added to the pan, use a potato masher to mash and break up the ground turkey into fine and small pieces. Repeat this as the ground turkey cooks. Add the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Continue to stir frequently until the meat has turned all brown.
  • Turn off the heat and proceed with whatever recipe you plan to use finely crumbled ground turkey for.


  • Turkey is very lean and you may not have any fat to drain, don’t worry about this. 
  • Turkey will need more seasoning that beef, usually. 
  • Allow the meat to cook and sear well before trying to flip or turn. When the meat is completely seared, it will release from the pan, but before that, it will stick and it makes trying to brown the meat a bit nightmarish.
  • If you do not have a potato mashing tool, use a meat pounder or wash a can of soup very well and then use that instead.
  • Add salt to your ground meat before using it in your recipe, this will lend a lot of flavor to your recipe.


Nutrition Facts
How To Cook Ground Turkey
Amount Per Serving
Calories 175 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 672mg28%
Potassium 180mg5%
Sugar 0.05g0%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 45IU1%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

This article originally appeared on the pages of Loaves and Dishes September 12, 2022 and has been updated with new photos, updated recipe card, tips and tricks and new format.

A Verse to Share

Why does God allow evil? If you see a man who is hungry and you don’t do anything, your faith is dead. That pretty much says it all.

James 2:14-15

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

Recipe Rating


Friday 20th of October 2023

aggregate ratings test


Monday 31st of October 2022

Hello! Is it possible for me to send you a question unrelated to ground turkey? (I do make it your way!)

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Yes of course. wendi(at sign)loavesanddishes(dotnet)


Want My 9 Secrets to Immediate Kitchen Confidence?