Facts about cooking turkey

Turkey is a low-fat, high protein and low GI meat that is great for family meals. So why isn't it seen more on the dinner table? We're here to answer your questions about cooking turkey, plus we have recipes for family favourites like burgers, lasagne, parmigiana and more using turkey.

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Ten questions and answers about cooking turkey

In a perfect world, our dinner menu would involve new and unique ideas each night that the family would absolutely love. All plates would be polished clean and the kids would say something like “thanks mum for my delicious curry served with brown rice and veg”… One can dream right?

The reality is, no matter how much we love to cook and try new things, we often turn to the kind of recipes that we know are family approved. So when we learnt about the benefits of cooking with turkey, and how easy it is to change up our dinners with this high-protein meat, we knew we were on to something!

We now make many of our favourites like homemade burgers and lasagne with turkey and we can’t recommend it enough.

Not only is turkey is a great addition to the diet thanks to it’s long list of health benefits, it’s also easy to cook and can be a simple substitute for fuller fat meats. For example, by simply using turkey instead of beef mince in your bolognese, you can still enjoy a favourite while having a meal that is lower in fat, higher in protein and is low GI.

So, because we love cooking turkey, but know that many of our foodie friends are unsure about cooking it (other than at Christmas), here is a list of commonly asked cooking questions:

Why is turkey meat healthy?

Turkey meat is low GI, which is great for the slow release of energy into the body. It means your family will stay fuller for longer, and feel satisfied after meals. Turkey is also low in fat and very high in protein.

Turkey also contains:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B3 and B6
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium

How long can you keep turkey in the fridge?

It's always best to keep meats in the coldest part of the fridge, usually at the bottom, and ensure it's not above any produce that it could drip on.

How long you can keep turkey in a 4°C fridge:

  • Cooked turkey: 3-4 days in the fridge stored in shallow airtight containers
  • Raw turkey: 1-2 days in sealed packaging or snap-lock bags

How long can you keep turkey in the freezer?

How long you can keep turkey based on a -18°C freezer:

  • Frozen cooked turkey: 2-3 months in airtight container (e.g. mince cooked into bolognese or meatballs)
  • Frozen raw turkey: 7 months in sealed freezer safe bags

Is turkey a red meat?

Turkey is technically a white meat. However, different cuts are lighter or darker. A portion of turkey breast or wings are white meat, whereas thighs and drumsticks are a darker meat.

How long does it take to cook turkey mince?

Turkey mince will take approximately 10-15 minutes to cook in a medium sized saucepan. However, the best way to know that your turkey is cooked is to wait until the meat is white and opaque, not pink or translucent.

Another way that you can test this is by ensuring that your meat reaches a temperature of 74°C using a thermometer, or ensuring it has simmered for at least 15 minutes if you don't have a thermometer.

What do you use to season turkey?

Turkey has a delicious flavour that can be easily enhanced with your favourite spices. When cooking mince, try starting with a base of chopped brown onion, garlic and olive oil and slowly add spices of your choosing as the meat cooks. For larger cuts, you can try making a dry rub by mixing spices together and rubbing it over the meat before cooking.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Paprika
  • Chili
  • Cumin

Is cooking turkey easy?

As most cooks are familiar with cooking turkey whole at Christmas time, they tend to think that cooking all cuts of turkey will involve the same kind of technicality.

The truth is, cooking turkey mince or short-cuts like turkey breast is actually quite easy. The key is to follow recipes closely and ensure that you don’t over-cook your protein.

Can you make bolognese with turkey?

Yes, you can use turkey in Bolognese. Simply add the same quantity of turkey mince as you would beef to your recipe and follow the steps as per normal.

Does turkey meat dry out?

Due to the low fat content of turkey shortcuts like turkey breast and mince, it can become a little drier than other proteins. However this is simply due to the fact that it is nice and lean. You can combat this by using a lower cooking temperature for a longer amount of time, or add a hint of liquid such as stock when you feel necessary.

What kind of recipes can I make with turkey?

Turkey is very versatile in the kitchen. The key is to know which cut of turkey is best for which recipe. See the variety of turkey mince recipes below for easy, and healthy weeknight inspirations.

Get the recipe: Turkey Meatball Pad Thai

Turkey mince meatballs add a healthy twist to this Thai takeaway favourite.

Get the recipe: Bubble and Squeak Turkey Fritters with Poached Eggs

This recipe is a great way to use up leftover turkey.


Get the recipe: Turkey, Broccoli And Quinoa Burgers

This toddler-friendly recipe is fantastic because you can make one meal for the whole family, burgers for the adults and meatballs for the bubs.


*DISCLAIMER: Recipes featured in this collation are a combination of paid partnerships from leading cooking & food brands. All opinions in this article are our own. 

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