turkey on farm at sunset

Ground Turkey

Ground Turkey - What It Is & How To Read the Label

If you are only looking for a ground turkey recipe click HERE.

Otherwise, we should consider what it is, what's in there.

Fortunately there are guidelines from the National Turkey Foundation which are accepted by the USDA. Unfortunately there is no requirement that a nutrition label be put on this product unless it is also labeled lean or extra lean.

In reality turkey which has been ground can have so much fat in it that some state beef councils use this fact to demonstrate that beef isn't so fatty. If only drumsticks and wings with associated skin are used ground turkey can be relatively high in fat and calories. If the turkey is ground breast meat it can be very low in fat and calories.

Here are values from the USDA based on 100 grams of product

Product Total Lipid (fat)

Fatty Acids,
Total Saturated



Beef, ground, 95% lean meat/5% fat, patty,cooked, pan-broiled 5.94 2.698 164
Beef, ground, 70% lean meat / 30% fat, patty cooked, pan-broiled 15.54 6.256 238
Poultry food products, ground turkey cooked 13.15 3.390 235
Turkey, all classes,wing, meat and skin, cooked, roasted 12.43 3.390 229
Turkey, fryer-roaster, wing, meat only, cooked roasted 3.44 .377 163
Turkey, all classes, leg, meat and skin, cooked, roasted 9.82 3.060 208
Turkey, fryer-roasted, leg, meat only, cooked, roasted 3.77 .860 159
Turkey breast meat 1.66 .480 104

So what does the table tell us?

1) The Beef Council is right, the less fat you add to ground meat the less fat it has.

2) If you add fat to one type of meat and don't add fat to another type of meat the one with less added fat might have less fat.

More seriously though, turkey wings and legs have considerably higher fat than breast meat. But the biggest difference for turkey fat is the skin. Not adding skin when grinding turkey greatly reduces fat. If you want to cut down on fat and calories look for ground turkey meat when buying this product or better yet if you have the time grind your own turkey. This gives you the ability to decide exactly what you want in your product. No skin, a little skin, all of the skin, a combination of turkey and other cuts of meat.


Ground turkey has skin: It is ground whole muscle (no giblets) with attached fat and skin. The amount of fat and skin included should be what is naturally from the turkey. Extra should not be added. So how much skin is associated with a turkey? About 15%. That is a lot but it is still about 5% less than a chicken.

Ground turkey meat is skinless: It is the ground muscle of the turkey without skin included.

If a particular cut is mentioned in the labeling, only that cut may be included in the turkey product.

Storage and Safety

Storage - According to the USDA uncooked ground poultry can be safely refrigerated 1 to 2 days or frozen 3 to 4 months; while cooked ground poultry can be safely refrigerated 3 to 4 days or frozen 2 to 3 months.

Safety - As all poultry, turkey which has been ground should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.(74 degrees celsius). Leftovers should be refrigerated quickly in small batches.

Using Ground Turkey

Turkey can be used in place of ground beef in recipes or can be added to ground beef in recipes. The less fat any meat has the more important it is to add flavor and moisture. This is why there are certain recipes that work especially well for for this product.

For ground turkey recipes that work click HERE.


Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
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