When making turkey burgers, it's important to cook them at and to the right temperature to prevent them from drying out since ground turkey is such a lean protein. Knowing the appropriate temperatures for various cooking methods makes preparing this tasty food quick and easy.
Ground turkey needs to be cooked to a temperature of at least 165°F in order to kill any bacteria that may be in the burger. This is slightly higher than the optimally safe temperature for ground beef, which is 160°F. You will need to cook turkey burgers slightly longer than hamburgers.
However, you don't want to cook to a higher temperature because doing so may cause your turkey burger to be dry. To test the temperature of your turkey patties, use a digital meat thermometer.
A good rule of thumb in cooking turkey burgers for every method is to use medium-high heat, which is generally between 375°F and 450°F. Cooking at high heat is likely to cause the proteins to seize, resulting in a tough burger. Cooking at low heat will expose the meat to high temperatures for too long, causing them to dry out. Medium-high is the perfect temperature range because it allows for maximum moisture and tenderness.
When grilling turkey burgers, preheat the grill to medium-high heat, which is about 400°F to 450°F in this case. When the grill has come to temperature, place the burger directly over the heat source until it reaches the appropriate internal temperature. The length of time this will take depends on the size and thickness of your burger patty. Jennie-O recommends making the burger patty an even 1/2-inch thickness, which takes about nine minutes per side.
In a Skillet
Cooking turkey burgers in a skillet is similar to grilling them, so you'll want to preheat a skillet directly on a burner set to medium-high, which is about 400°F to 450°F. Once the skillet comes to temperature, cook the burgers in the skillet. Time to cook will depend on thickness of the patty, but for a 1/4-pound patty typically takes about nine minutes per side.
To broil a ground turkey patty, place the oven rack in the top quarter of the oven and preheat the broiler on high, which is about 500°F to 550°F. Broil on a broiling pan for about five to six minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the burger.
You can also cook the burgers in a preheated 375°F oven. Put them on a rimmed baking sheet and cook them for about 30 minutes until they reach 165°F internally.
Stove Top to Oven
Another method of cooking turkey burgers is to sear them on the stove to brown them and then transfer them to the oven to finish cooking. To use this method, sear them in a skillet placed on a preheated medium-high (400°F to 450°F) burner for about three minutes per side, until browned. Then, transfer them to a preheated 375°F oven until the turkey reaches 165°F internally. That should take about 10 to 20 minutes more.
Moist, Tender Turkey Burgers
Cooking turkey burgers at the right temperature for the method you use yields moist, tender burgers instead of dried out, tough hockey pucks. To make your turkey burgers as juicy as possible, allow them to rest off the heat for about 5 minutes before serving so the juices can reabsorb into the meat. Since animal proteins continue to cook when they are removed from the heat source and allowed to rest, you may want to take your burger off the heat when it reaches about 160°F and rest it, tented with foil, for five to 10 minutes. The burger will continue to cook for a few moments and rise about five degrees in temperature as it rests.