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Turkey burgers have been gaining popularity in the last few years as a healthy alternative to fattier beef burgers. The lack of fat in the standard turkey burger also makes it very prone to drying out while cooking.
This makes cooking turkey burgers extremely tricky. The minimum safe temperature for ground poultry is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Any ground turkey products such as turkey sausages, turkey burgers, and turkey crumbles need to be cooked to this temperature to destroy all harmful pathogens.
You need to keep this temperature in mind as well as the leanness of the ground turkey when you’re cooking your burgers.
The difference between a moist delicious burger and a dried-up hockey puck can be only a minute or two longer on the stove or grill.
Not to mention the frozen variety of turkey burgers which can be nearly impossible to cook to a moist end result.
Well, we’re going to fix that.
In this article, I’m going to show the proper way to prepare and cook both types of turkey burgers, fresh and frozen.
I’ll also show you ways to impart more flavor and moisture to your turkey burgers so that they don’t turn out dry and flavorless.
A Turkey Burger Is Done Cooking at an Internal Temperature of 165 Degrees Fahrenheit
Ground poultry needs to be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit/73.8 Celsius to be safe for consumption according to the USDA.
This is higher than the minimum safe temperature for hamburgers, which is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to this higher temperature and the lower fat content, turkey burgers tend to turn out dry while cooking them.
How do we combat homemade turkey burgers’ tendency to dry out?
One of the easiest ways is to mix in some moist ingredients while forming the burger patties.
These ingredients can be fruits and vegetables such as grated apples, chopped onions, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.
Another trick is adding extra olive oil to the meat mixture. However, doing this negates some of the reasoning behind eating a lower fat option, but, to each their own.
So, what are some options if you want to make a turkey burger out of ground turkey?
There are tons of options, let me show you.
How to Make Turkey Burgers
To explain how to make all types of turkey burgers I will defer to the experts.
Here’s a link to the Jennie-O turkey brand website and 79 turkey burger ideas. I noticed their Volcano burger recipe, not really healthy but a cheese volcano coming out of the burger? Uh, yeah, I gotta try that sometime!
I personally have had great results with some grated apple, a little dijon mustard, a little Worcestershire sauce, and some breadcrumbs mixed in with the ground turkey. Healthy, juicy, and delicious.
As for cooking the turkey burgers, whether it be on the grill or on the stove, I find that a nice medium-high heat works well to start. You will want to cook the burgers about 5 to 7 minutes on each side so that they are well browned. You can then either turn the heat down on the stove or move the burgers to a cooler part of the grill if they aren’t finished cooking.
The key to keeping them moist? Pull them off the heat after they register 160 degrees Fahrenheit/ 71 degrees Celsius and let them rest for 5 minutes. The carryover heat from the cooking process will raise the temperature of the burgers to 165 degrees Fahrenheit/73.8 degrees Celsius.
Pulling them off the heat a little before they are done, along with the moist ingredients in the meat mixture, will ensure a juicy burger every time.
That’s great you say, but what if you have a frozen, pre-made turkey burger? Well, I can help you with that too.
How to Cook Frozen Turkey Burgers
Frozen turkey burgers are great in that you can just pull them out of the freezer and put them right in a skillet or on the grill.
You never want to thaw a frozen turkey burger before you cook it. It will turn out mushy as well as fall apart on the grill or in your skillet.
Don’t believe me? Try it, it’s not pretty.
Cooking frozen turkey burgers are incredibly easy, just brush the outside with a little olive oil so they don’t stick to your pan or grill grate.
Then you cook them for 6 to 8 minutes a side on medium heat. Again you want to pull them off the heat around 160 degrees Fahrenheit/ 71 degrees Celsius to ensure they don’t dry out too much.
Let them rest for 5 minutes and then check to see if they’ve reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit/73.8 degrees Celsius on an instant-read digital thermometer.
A side-note on the frozen variety of turkey burgers. They can contain anywhere from 6 to 8 times the amount of sodium per burger than if you just made them yourself with ground turkey.
This is due to the preservatives in the frozen variety. Just something to think about if you are watching your salt intake.
Turkey burgers, when cooked the proper way, can make a great meal. After reading this article you will be ready to tackle any type of turkey burger and make it great.
Thanks for reading this article. For more helpful articles and information on how to cook and serve foods at the proper temperatures, you can find them here.