Ground turkey recipes take up a ton of space in my cookbook. Lean ground turkey turkey is a healthier alternative to ground beef, simple to cook yet still incredibly flavorful. It’s is a budget friendly way to add lean protein to just about any recipe, from turkey meatballs to meatloaf to stuffed peppers and tacos.
Ground Turkey Recipes
Who says turkey is just for Thanksgiving? If you aren’t cooking with ground turkey, you should be! It’s a great way to shave a few calories off your weeknight dinner routine. It easily replaces beef in just about any recipe and cooks up in the same amount of time with a lot less fat. Turkey has a great flavor and it’s easily influenced by whatever flavors you want to throw at it.
Is ground turkey better for you than ground beef?
Ground turkey is a healthier alternative to beef. Although it does depend on the lean meat to fat ratio. You do want to make sure you are purchasing LEAN ground turkey (turkey breast). Although you can find very lean ground beef, turkey will still beat out it’s competition for lower calories and fat.
Tips and Tricks for cooking
- Season properly – Ground turkey is notorious low in fat but also can be quite bland just on it’s own. It’s important to season the meat while cooking. I always saute my ground turkey with fresh onion and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Great for freezing! Make up a double batch of ground turkey when you’re cooking it for your recipe and freeze it to use later.
- Be careful not to over-handle the meat. As with ground beef, turkey can become tough when over-mixed. Handle the meat as little as possible when shaping into burgers, meatballs and meatloaf and use a soft touch to prevent pushing too much air out of the mixture. That’s what’s going to yield the most tender and juicy bite.
- Don’t overcook the meat. Because of it’s low fat content, ground turkey can quickly dry out and become tough. To avoid this, keep an instant read thermometer on hand to check the temperature. It should reach 165 degrees when fully cooked.
Freezing and Storage
You have two options when freezing ground turkey – raw or cooked.
- Freezing raw ground turkey – You can place this into the freezer directly in the package from the grocery store or re-wrap it tighter to help prevent freezer burn. To thaw frozen turkey, unwrap and place in a microwave safe dish and use the defrost setting on your microwave. Be sure to turn it in the dish a few times to ensure even defrosting. Of course you can also thaw overnight in the fridge. Thawing on the counter is not recommended as the uneven temperature can cause bacteria to develop.
- Freezing cooked ground turkey – Cook the turkey in a big batch with whatever seasonings you like. Allow it to cool completely (but for no longer than 2 hours), then place portions into freezer bags or airtight freezer containers. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then add to soups, tacos, wraps and more. Or, store cooked meat in the fridge in an airtight container. Use it up within 4 days. Great for lunch prep or adding to soups, tacos, etc. throughout the week.
- Refrigerating – Store cooked turkey in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for batch cooking ground turkey:
Basic Cooked Ground Turkey
- 3 pounds lean ground turkey
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Melt a tablespoon of oil in the pan.
- Add ground turkey, diced onion and minced garlic. Break up ground meat with a spoon.
- Cook until the onions are translucent and turkey is tender; about 7-10 minutes. Drain any extra grease.
- Cool meat completely, then portion into freezer bags. I usually will portion 2 1/4 cups of meat per bag, which equals about a pound. Be sure to label with a date - frozen cooked ground turkey will last about 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 4 months in the freezer.
The Best Ground Turkey Recipes
Ready to cook up some delicious, budget friendly and healthier meals? Here are some great ground turkey recipes to add to your weekly meal rotation:
- Ground Turkey and Rice Soup with Kale – This soup is a family favorite and only has around 200 calories per serving.
- Ground Turkey Teriyaki Rice Bowl – One of our most popular recipes, this better-than-takeout recipe is a little bit sweet and a little bit savory.
- Turkey Meatball Subs – An Italian classic made a little lighter with ground turkey in place of beef.
- Homemade Turkey Meatballs Recipe – Great for making ahead of time and using serving with sauces or soups, or on sandwiches.
- Turkey Taco Stuffed Peppers – Make up a big batch of taco meat and portion out some for these stuffed peppers.
- Turkey Taco Burrito Bowls – And more for these burrito bowls!
- Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs – You’ll love the tangy sauce on these delicious meatballs. Great as an appetizer or served over a bed of rice.
- Creamy Cheesy Turkey Taco Pasta – Spicy, cheesy and so incredibly delicious.
- Turkey Taco Stuffed Shells A Mexican inspired spin on an Italian classic.
- Turkey Taco Soup – A healthy soup with flavorful turkey, veggies and broth.
- Spicy Turkey Meatloaf Recipe – A Mexican version of the diner classic.
- Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs – Tender, juicy ground turkey meatballs swimming in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce.
- Ground Turkey and Black Bean Baked Tacos – Super simple high protein taco recipe, baked in the oven to make them extra flavorful.
- Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps – Sweet homemade Teriyaki combined with lean ground turkey and veggies wrapped in crisp lettuce.
- Healthy Turkey Chili – tender turkey and protein packed beans in a rich tomato broth.
- Spicy Pineapple Barbecue Turkey Meatballs – Tender, fresh Turkey Meatballs are smothered in a homemade Spicy Pineapple Barbecue Sauce.
- Turkey Meatball Soup – Super delicious comfort food!
- Zucchini Boats – Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are a seriously easy recipe that’s full of delicious flavor without all the guilt!
- Skillet Turkey and Cornbread Casserole – A cheesy ground turkey recipe with salsa, black beans, and corn.
- Skinny Enchilada Turkey Soup – Skinny Turkey Enchilada Soup is a simple soup with all the flavor of enchiladas and none of the fuss.
- Turkey Burgers – These turkey burgers are so easy to prepare and are just perfect for a midweek meal.