How To Cook Ground Turkey on The Stove

Learn how to cook ground turkey on the stove and make your favorite recipes even healthier by subbing ground turkey for ground beef. This guide will answer all your questions and help you cook like a pro!

Have you seen ground turkey at the store and wondered how to cook with it? You’re not alone! Lots of people don’t know how to cook ground turkey on the stove – but it’s actually easier than you might think. If you’ve ever had dry, unappealing, flavorless ground turkey before, this article will show you how to cook it properly every single time.

By the way, if you don’t have a stove, you can still enjoy this ground white meat! Check out this article about how to cook ground turkey without a stove.

How To Cook Ground Turkey on The Stove


Ground turkey vs. ground beef

Generally speaking, ground turkey can act as a lower-fat substitute for ground beef. It also can be enjoyed just for the robust, fulfilling flavor it has when cooked properly. This protein-packed meat is delicious on its own or added into soups and pasta dishes.

Ground turkey is cooked similarly to ground beef, but it requires more moisture or grease because it has less fat. This article will teach you how to cook ground turkey on the stove so it’s moist instead of dry.

Want even more tips for how to make your meal amazing? Check out these tips on how to make ground turkey taste great every single time.

How to cook ground turkey on the stove

Here you go! This is a basic guide that you can use to make any number of creative recipes.


  • Ground turkey (as much as needed)
  • Olive oil or any other cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • 10 to 12-inch skillet
  • Spatula
  • Thermometer


These are the exact steps you need to follow to easily cook ground turkey on the stove.

raw ground turkey before cooking

1. Preheat the pan and oil

When cooking ground turkey in a skillet, it’s important to get the pan up to temperature before adding the meat. Start by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet over medium-high heat and cook for about a minute. Don’t add the ground turkey to the skillet until the oil is hot.

2. Toss in the ground turkey

Using a wooden spatula, break up the ground turkey rather than leave it as a single block. Let it cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Wait for it to brown

The ground turkey will begin to brown, initially appearing white-grey. Keep splitting the meat into bits as it cooks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Try not to stir too much – allow the ground turkey to finish cooking on its own.

4. Serve with your favorite meal

After the ground turkey is fully cooked, you can use it in your favorite meal.

  • Add it to marinara sauce and serve it over your favorite kind of pasta.
  • Use the cooked ground turkey in cheeseburger soup.
  • Layer it into your favorite dishes such as stuffed peppers or lasagna.
  • Switch it out for the beef in this yummy homemade sloppy Joe recipe.

Basically, any recipe that calls for cooked ground beef can be made with cooked ground turkey instead.

How to cook ground turkey burgers on the stove

prepackaged turkey burgers

Everyone has a craving for a juicy burger now and then. You can enjoy a delicious turkey burger without having to deal with the effort or inconvenience of turning on the grill.

Turkey burgers cook well on the stove, as they are wet enough to hold together in a frying pan rather than dropping through the grates of a barbecue. Furthermore, because they are flat, they are cooked quickly and uniformly without charring or drying out in any area.


Here’s how to cook turkey burgers on the stove. Just follow these easy steps, and you’ll have healthy, juicy burgers ready in a few minutes!

Time-saving tip: Turkey burger patties can be made in advance and then refrigerated (or frozen) until you are ready to cook them. You can also buy premade patties if that is easier.

1. Prepare the baking tray

To begin, prepare a large baking tray by lining it with baking parchment paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. You can also use a non-stick silicone baking mat.

You’ll use this baking tray to chill the ground turkey patties, so make sure it is prepared so that the meat doesn’t stick to it.

2. Season the ground turkey

Then, add the ground turkey and any seasoning you like in a large mixing bowl. Mix it up with your clean hands. You can use a wooden spoon to mix it together, but I found that mixing with my hands is a lot faster and easier. If this makes you a bit squeamish, you can put on food-safe disposable gloves.

3. Make the patties

Now, divide the meat into equal-sized balls and place them on the parchment paper. Press each one into a thin patty using the palm of your hand. If you have a burger press, use it instead of forming the patties by hand.

4. Chill the patties

Put them in the fridge for approximately 20 minutes. You can even store them in the fridge or freezer for later use.  They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to three days and in the freezer for up to 6 months.

5. Fry the turkey burgers

When you’re ready to cook, just drizzle a small amount of oil into a non-stick skillet and cook the turkey burgers on medium-high heat. Cook each side for 6-7 minutes.

You’ll know the burgers are fully cooked when the internal temperature is at least 165F.

6. Serve the ground turkey burgers

Put the cooked burger on a bun or bed of lettuce and enjoy!

FAQs: How to cook ground turkey on the stove

Here are some questions people often ask about how to cook ground turkey on the stove or how to use ground turkey in their favorite recipes.

What is a good seasoning for ground turkey?

Cumin, flavored salt, Italian seasoning, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, chili flakes, and oregano are some of my favorite spices to use in ground turkey recipes.

However, you can add any spices you want to customize this recipe to your liking. Fortunately, practically any spice or herb pairs well with ground turkey.

Do I need to drain the oil after cooking ground turkey on the stove?

Yes, after you cook or brown the ground turkey, always drain the oil. If you’re cooking ground turkey in a skillet, make sure to drain all the oil when it’s finished. Place it on a dish with a few paper towels on top and set it aside.

Even though ground turkey has less grease than ground beef, you still need to remove as much as you can before you eat it.

How do you store leftover cooked ground turkey?

Cooked ground turkey can be eaten right away, but it can also be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Store leftovers in an airtight container or freezer storage bag.

How do you make ground turkey taste better?

The best way to make ground turkey taste better is to season it generously. Try experimenting with fresh herbs and spices when grilling ground turkey in a pan or making turkey burgers. Try seasoning the burgers with sage, basil, rosemary, or parmesan cheese! Don’t be afraid to add some hot sauce to your turkey too.

How do I know ground turkey is fully cooked?

You’ll know ground turkey is fully cooked when it is no longer pink. If you’re making ground turkey burgers, cook them until the internal temperature reads at least 165F.

The cooking time for ground turkey is around 14-16 minutes. When it’s all evenly brown and no longer pink, it’s done. When the ground turkey is properly cooked, it turns white and loses its pink hue.

Just keep an eye on it and be careful not to overcook it, as cooking ground turkey for too long can make it very dry.

More ways to enjoy turkey


How to Make Gravy from Turkey Drippings with Cornstarch


How To Heat Up Brie – 3 Easy Ways