How to Cook Ground Turkey on the Stove

You can limit your red meat consumption, and still enjoy your favorite hamburger comfort foods by opting for ground turkey instead. Ground turkey cooks in much the same way as hamburger, but because it contains only about 3 percent fat, compared to 10 percent for ground round, it needs added moisture or fat from vegetables or oil. Whether you make turkey burgers, or crumble the meat for sloppy Joes, chili or soups, your meal will satisfy both meat lovers and health-conscious diners.

Versatile Turkey Crumbles

Step 1

Saute ground turkey and a little bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it apart with a spatula or spoon in the same way you would ground beef. Season it to taste. You'll know the turkey is cooked thoroughly when it turns completely white with no pink color.

Step 2

Drain excess fat from the pan by pouring it off or blotting it in the pan with paper towels.

Step 3

Add the turkey crumbles to chili, tacos and minestrone soup, or use them for the base for sloppy Joes. For sloppy Joes, add cooked, chopped onions, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and a dash of hot sauce to the cooking pan, and heat all the ingredients thoroughly before serving it over hamburger buns.

Everybody Loves Burgers

Step 1

Add aromatics and vegetables, if you wish, to give the burgers flavor and additional moisture. Wash and finely chop them, then saute them in a bit of olive oil until they are soft. Possible additions include sweet or hot peppers, corn, onions or shallots.

Step 2

Mix a little olive oil into the turkey to keep your patties moist if you're not using chopped vegetables.

Step 3

Form the ground turkey into patties, gently, making them slightly larger than the hamburger buns since they will shrink as they cook. Use no more than a tablespoon of vegetables for each burger you make -- too many will keep the burger from holding its shape. Press a small indentation with your thumb in the center of each patty to help them maintain their shape in the pan. Season each side with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Preheat a skillet to medium-high. Once it's hot, add a coating of olive oil and place the turkey burgers inside. Cook the patties for about 5 minutes on the first side until the meat's juices begin to run.

Step 5

Flip the burgers, then add cheese if you want. Use Monterey Jack with peppers for a Southwest burger, or blue cheese crumbles for a more potent flavor. Cook the patties for another 5 minutes. The burger should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read meat thermometer.

Things You'll Need

  • Olive Oil

  • Aromatics and vegetables, optional


Experiment with adding vegetables either raw or cooked and see which preparation you prefer.


Read labels on ground turkey packages carefully if you want a low-fat choice. While ground turkey made with turkey breasts is very low-fat, ground turkey with both white and dark meat and some skin contains about 10 percent fat and ground turkey with all dark meat and the turkey skin has about 15 percent fat, about the same as ground sirloin.

Use a leftover can for the fat instead of pouring it directly into the sink, which can cause clogs or damage septic systems.

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