The Temperature of Turkey Sausage When Done

Closeup image of turkey sausage that was cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit
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The internal temperature of turkey sausage when it’s done is 165 degrees Fahrenheit/ 74 degrees Celsius.

All raw ground poultry products such as turkey and chicken sausage should be cooked to a minimum safe serving temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit/ 74 degrees Celsius, according to the USDA.

In contrast, the minimum safe temperature for sausages made from pork like some breakfast sausages is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are also many types of turkey sausage that are already fully cooked. If the turkey sausage package states that it’s fully cooked, then you just need to simply heat it and serve.

Raw turkey sausage in a tube is one of the most widespread forms available and can be cut into patties or chopped into crumbles.

Raw Turkey Sausage in a tube

Raw turkey sausage in a tube.

Why is temperature important? Turkey sausage is very lean and will dry out if you don’t carefully monitor it while it cooks.

Every extra second your turkey sausage spends cooking over 165 degrees Fahrenheit means a drier sausage for you to eat.

And you can’t know the temperature without an accurate meat thermometer. Don’t guess if it’s done. Guessing is the first ingredient in overcooked food.

The nutritional facts on the back of a turkey sausage tube

The nutritional facts on the back of a turkey sausage tube.

How long does it take turkey sausage to cook to a minimum safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit? A two-ounce turkey sausage patty that isn’t frozen will take 10 minutes to cook to a minimum safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit on the stovetop over medium heat.

The amount of time it takes to cook your turkey sausage will depend on the size of the sausage, what type of cooking method, and what temperature you’re cooking your sausage at.

In this post, I will show you how long it takes to cook turkey sausage to a minimum safe temperature on the stovetop and in the oven. I will cook the turkey sausage in both frozen and unfrozen forms.

What is the best way to cook turkey sausage so that it doesn’t dry out? Read on.

Three turkey sausage patties on a plate.

Serve the front two patties to guests and eat the burned one in the back by yourself alone in the kitchen later, with remorse.

How to Cook Turkey Sausage

Since turkey sausage is pretty low in fat you will want to avoid any cooking methods that will dry out the sausage.

The best method to cook your turkey sausage is also determined by if it’s frozen or not. Cooking frozen turkey sausage in a pan on the stovetop can be difficult in that it is hard to evenly cook it without burning the outside.

The best method for cooking frozen turkey sausage is in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, or more, depending on the size of the patties.

You can cook unfrozen turkey sausage on the stovetop or in the oven. Both cooking methods result in a moist and flavorful turkey sausage patty.

You’ll want to avoid extreme temperatures when cooking turkey sausage on the stovetop or in the oven. I find that medium heat in a pan on the stovetop works best.

An oven temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit seems to work best for cooking turkey sausage that results in a nicely-browned exterior with a moist interior.

These aren’t arbitrary cooking times and temperatures I’m advocating, I’ve tested them multiple times with highly-accurate meat thermometers.

I performed a few different cooking methods tracking the internal temperature of multiple two-0unce turkey sausage patties.

I cooked the turkey sausage patties in a pan on the stovetop, in both frozen and unfrozen forms.

Next, I cooked both frozen and unfrozen turkey sausage patties in an oven.

Each cooking method had its own benefits and drawbacks.

A well-browned turkey sausage patty cut in half revealing a dry interior.

A well-browned turkey sausage patty cut in half revealing a dry interior.

How to Cook Turkey Sausage in a Pan

What’s the best way to cook turkey sausage in a pan?

I find that cooking turkey sausage in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat yields a moist and flavorful end result.

A pan that is heating over medium heat on the stovetop should reach a surface temperature of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit within five minutes.

A pan on medium heat on a stovetop measuring a surface temperature of 406 degrees Fahrenheit on an Infrared thermometer

For reference purposes, I am cooking on a standard electric stovetop range with a somewhat heavy, All-Clad non-stick pan.

I placed three, two-ounce turkey sausage patties in the pan that had been heating over medium heat for five minutes. I then inserted a highly-accurate WiFi meat thermometer probe to track the cooking progress on its mobile application.

Monitoring the internal temperature of turkey sausage cooking in a pna over medium heat with a probe thermometer

The turkey sausage patty that I was monitoring with a thermometer probe measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit at the five-minute mark.

I then flipped the patties over to finish cooking on the other side. It took them just another five minutes to reach a minimum safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turkey sausage patty in a skillet measuring 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read meat thermometer

Below is a graph showing the changes in the internal temperature of the turkey sausage patty being monitored over the ten-minute cook time.

Time and temperature graph showing the internal temperature of a turkey sausage patty increasing from 43 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in ten minutes.

Time and temperature graph showing the internal temperature of a turkey sausage patty increasing from 43 degrees to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in ten minutes over medium heat on a stovetop.

How did the turkey sausage patties turn out?

They definitely had a lot of browning on the outside and the interior was still somewhat moist. Turkey sausage patty cut in half.

What about frozen turkey sausage patties? Can you cook them on the stovetop?

You can, but you will get better results by cooking them in the oven.

I will now show you the best way to cook frozen turkey sausage patties if you can’t use an oven.

How to Cook Frozen Turkey Sausage in a Pan

The biggest obstacle you need to overcome when cooking frozen turkey sausage in a pan is heating it evenly without burning the outside.

A frozen turkey sausage patty measuring 17 degrees Fahrenheit

A frozen turkey sausage patty measuring 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best way to cook frozen turkey sausage in a pan on the stovetop is to add a little water to the pan and cover it with a lid.

First, put your turkey sausage patties in a pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on medium-high heat and cover the pan.

A frozen turkey sausage patty cooking in a covered pan on the stovetop.

A frozen turkey sausage patty cooking in a covered pan on the stovetop.

It is around the ten-minute market that most of the liquid in the pan is gone and the sausage will begin to brown on the bottom.

Turkey sausage in a covered pan measuring 145 degrees Fahrenheit after ten minutes of cooking

At the ten minute mark, no water is left in the pan and the turkey sausage patty is 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Uncover the pan and flip the sausage over to brown the other side for two minutes. The turkey sausage patty should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in twelve minutes if you use this method.

Turkey sausage patty with an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit in a pan on the stovetop

Browning the other side of the sausage patty, less than a minute from being done.

Here are the time and temperature graphs charting the internal temperature of the turkey sausage patty throughout the cook:

Time and temperature graph showing a beginning internal temperature of 17 degrees Fahrenheit for a frozen turkey sausage patty.

Time and temperature graph showing a beginning internal temperature of 17 degrees Fahrenheit for a frozen turkey sausage patty.

Time and temperature graph showing the internal temperature of a frozen turkey sausage patty reaching over 165 degrees Fahrenheit in just twelve minutes.

Time and temperature graph showing the internal temperature of a frozen turkey sausage patty reaching over 165 degrees Fahrenheit in just twelve minutes.

The results after cooking the turkey sausage patty were just okay.

A turkey sausage patty with very little browning on the exterior

A turkey sausage patty with very little browning on the exterior.

Although the patties were definitely cooked, it was difficult to obtain any kind of flavorful browning on the outside without drying the inside out.

This method will work when you’re in a pinch, but you will find better results if you cook your frozen turkey sausage patties in the oven.

How to Cook Turkey Sausage in the Oven

Cooking turkey sausage in the oven is relatively easy and fast. This cooking method works for both frozen and unfrozen turkey sausage patties or links.

A frozen turkey sausage patty registering an internal temperature of 16.5 degrees Fahrenheit on a probe thermometer.

A frozen turkey sausage patty registering an internal temperature of 16.5 degrees Fahrenheit on a probe thermometer.

  • First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Next, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, add a little oil and place your turkey sausage patties on it.
  • Once your oven hits a temperature of 400 degrees, place your turkey sausages in the oven.
  • If you are cooking unfrozen turkey sausage patties, check the internal temperature of them around the 10 to 12-minute mark.
  • If you are cooking them from frozen, check the temperature at around 15 minutes. They should be at or close to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s all you need to do. I’ve documented the process for cooking frozen turkey sausages in the oven in the photos below.

A 2-ounce frozen turkey sausage patty will take 15 minutes to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit in a 400-degree oven.

Monitoring the internal temperature of turkey sausage in the oven with an oven-safe probe meat thermometer

Monitoring the internal temperature of turkey sausage in the oven with an oven-safe probe meat thermometer.

I also monitored the ambient air temperature of the oven in close proximity to where the turkey sausage patty was on the baking sheet. (Notice the temperature probe to the left of the patty.

Time and temperature graph showing an internal temperature of 23 degrees Fahrenheit for a frozen turkey sausage patty cooking in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Time and temperature graph showing a beginning internal temperature of 23 degrees Fahrenheit for a frozen turkey sausage patty cooking in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.

Time-temperature chart showing a frozen, 2 -ounce turkey sausage patty going from 23 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in 15 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven

Time-temperature chart showing a frozen, 2 -ounce turkey sausage patty going from 23 degrees Fahrenheit to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in 15 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.

As you can see from the pictures above, it will only take 15 minutes to cook a 2-ounce turkey sausage patty, even from frozen.

Cooking frozen turkey sausage patties this way also resulted in a moister surface than the direct heat method of cooking them on the stovetop.

Turkey sausage patty cooked in the oven from frozen with a nice brown exterior.

The sausage patty also had a nice brown exterior as well.

Oven-cooked turkey sausage with a visibly moist exterior

Oven-cooked turkey sausage with a visibly moist exterior.

Final Thoughts

Cooking turkey sausage to a safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit takes less time than most people think. You can cook a turkey sausage patty from frozen in as little as twelve to fifteen minutes.

Why is this important? Because any extra time that your turkey sausage spends above 165 degrees means a drier sausage for you and others to eat.

This information is vital to know when you consider that the current popular advice for cooking turkey sausage in the oven recommends a cooking time of 20 to 25 minutes.

I can only imagine how dry your turkey sausage will be at that point. Thankfully, we know better, don’t we?