Ground Turkey Tips: Safe Handling & Cooking
Burgers, tacos, chili, meatballs, lasagna – yep, ground turkey can do it all. We love cooking with ground turkey because this lean protein is just so versatile. And did we mention that it can be a low-fat alternative to ground beef? While we encourage you to get creative and test out turkey’s versatility in your mealtime favorites, there are some specific food safety tips to follow when handling and cooking ground turkey.
Ground Turkey Food Safety Tips
Any raw meat – not just turkey – can contain bacteria. Handling and cooking it properly can eliminate the risk of foodborne illness. Following the “Core Four Practices of Food Safety” will help keep you and your crew food safe. By the way, go ahead and keep these tips in mind any time you’re in the kitchen no matter what you’re cooking…
Clean – Wash hands and kitchen surfaces often. Scrub those hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. Make sure to toss the packaging and sanitize the counter. Not sure of the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Check out these helpful guidelines from USDA.
Separate – Don’t cross contaminate! Use separate cutting boards, mixing bowls, plates and utensils for raw ground turkey than you use for other ingredients. That plate you used for the raw burgers? Wash it with soap and hot water before placing the cooked burgers back on it or, better yet, grab a clean one.
Cook – Use a digital meat thermometer to verify ground turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F. To test burgers for doneness, insert the meat thermometer horizontally from the side. Always make sure to test the thickest burger as well! Color is not a good indicator of doneness – go for the temperature instead.
Chill – Safely store any leftovers in airtight containers and refrigerate within two hours of being cooked. Make sure your fridge is at 40°F or below. Discard any food that has been sitting out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F).
Click here to dive a little deeper into the Core Four.
So, how would you like that turkey burger cooked?
TRICK QUESTION – the answer is always 165°F. All the way. Done. No excuses. Do not consume turkey raw or partially cooked. Are we good on that?
Now that you know the food safety basics for handling ground turkey, you’re ready to get cooking!