Learn how to cook ground turkey so that it has moisture and flavor. No dry turkey here, I’ve got a great tip you’ll love!
Ground turkey is a great lean option for protein but can end up quite dry if not cooked correctly. Learn how to cook ground turkey perfectly so that it has great flavor no matter how you end up using it. I’m sharing a basic version in the recipe card, as well as a fantastic version that adds moisture and great umami flavor thanks to an added ingredient.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Type Of Turkey Do I Need?
For this basic recipe, we’re talking about cooking ground turkey, but you may find you have a couple different options at your grocery store. I prefer to pick up 80/20 ground turkey, which means it’s 80% lean meat and 20% fat. This ground turkey is a mix of the light and dark meat.
You may also find ground turkey breast at the store. This is ground white meat that only comes from the turkey breast and is a lot leaner than the regular ground turkey. This means that it can also end up on the dry side because of the lack of fat adding moisture. Keep reading below to learn how I use mushrooms to improve upon that.
How to Cook Ground Turkey Perfectly
For this ground turkey recipe, I’m keeping things basic so that you can use the meat in any recipe, but feel free to add additional spices or seasoning blends to yours. Some onion and garlic powder is always good as a simple addition. The method for cooking ground turkey is very similar to how you would cook ground beef.
Get started by heating butter or oil in a skillet over high heat. Add in your ground turkey and use a spoon or tongs to start to break it apart.
Sprinkle your salt and pepper over the turkey and let it cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Leaving it untouched for this long lets it really caramelize on the bottom, which adds so much flavor. It also prevents the cooked turkey from getting a gummy texture. After the 5 minutes are up, continue to break the cooking turkey into crumbles.
Continue cooking the ground turkey, giving it a stir occasionally, until there’s no longer any pink, about 5-7 minutes more.
The cooked ground turkey can be used immediately. Or let it cool and transfer the meat to an airtight storage container and put in the fridge for up to 3 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Using Mushrooms In Ground Turkey
Ok, here’s a game changing tip for you – add mushrooms when cooking ground turkey!
This may sound odd, but it’s a really nice addition, especially if you have lean ground turkey breast. The mushrooms add moisture and umami flavor to the ground turkey, which can otherwise end up on the dry side. It doesn’t make everything taste like mushroom, and in fact the texture blends nicely with the cooked and crumbled turkey. It’s also a great way to stretch the ground turkey a little further.
Want to give it a try? Here’s what to do.
- 8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp. butter or cooking oil, divided
- 1 lb. (80/20) ground turkey
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. ground pepper (optional)
1. In a medium skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over high heat until melted. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms just begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
2. Add turkey, salt, and pepper. Using a spoon or tongs, break turkey apart in pan.
3. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Using the same spoon or tongs, break turkey into crumbles.
4. Cook until the ground turkey is no longer pink anywhere, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
Use immediately or let cool and transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
Uses For Ground Turkey
There are so many great uses for your ground turkey meat, basically any dish where you would use ground beef or ground chicken. Try making ground turkey tacos or add it into your pasta sauce. You can use ground turkey for turkey chili, lettuce wraps, stir-fries, and so much more.
I can’t wait to hear what ground turkey recipes you come up with. Let me know in the comments!
Podcast Episode About Making Ground Turkey
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:Print
- 1 Tbsp. butter or cooking oil
- 1 lb. (80/20) ground turkey
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground pepper (optional)
- In a medium skillet heat butter over high heat until melted. Add turkey. Using a spoon or tongs, break turkey apart in pan.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over turkey. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Using the same spoon or tongs, break turkey into crumbles.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink anywhere, about 6 to 7 minutes more.
- Use immediately or let cool and transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 3 months.
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