20 Ground Turkey Recipes To Add To Your Dinner Rotation

Bowl of ground turkey
Bowl of ground turkey - Ametist_Studio/Shutterstock

Ground turkey is a versatile and nutritious ingredient that can be used to create a wide variety of delicious meals. It has a lean profile and mild flavor, which makes it a great alternative to ground beef in many recipes. Whether you're looking to lighten up classic dishes or explore new culinary horizons, ground turkey offers countless possibilities in the kitchen. This protein can be used effortlessly in different cuisines and recipes, from hearty chili and comforting meatballs to flavorful tacos and juicy burgers. Its neutral taste lets it absorb the flavors of herbs, spices, and sauces, making it an ideal base for dishes with bold and complex flavor profiles.

One of the key benefits of cooking with ground turkey is its comparatively low-fat content. Ground turkey is also rich in protein, essential nutrients like vitamins B6 and B12, and minerals such as zinc and selenium. These characteristics make ground turkey a useful ingredient to have on hand -- as long as you know how to cook it. To that end, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite ground turkey recipes for you to try on busy weeknights and leisurely weekends alike.

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Cheesy Spaghetti Squash And Ground Turkey Bake

Spaghetti squash and ground turkey
Spaghetti squash and ground turkey - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

If you're looking to cut back on calories and carbs without foregoing flavor, substitute ground turkey for beef. The same is true for switching out regular spaghetti with spaghetti squash. This recipe combines these two tasty ingredients for an excellent, light meal.

The filling for this recipe is super easy to make. Just cook the turkey with onion, garlic, tomato, spinach, heavy cream, and various seasonings, and plop the mixture into your prepared spaghetti squash. Top with parmesan for that lovely cheesy effect, and bake everything together.

Recipe: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Ground Turkey Bake

Ground Turkey-Stuffed Eggplant

Turkey stuffed eggplant
Turkey stuffed eggplant - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

Get your protein and vegetables all in one place with this ground turkey-stuffed eggplant. The turkey will soak up all the herby, creamy flavors without overwhelming the eggplant.

Moreover, between the turkey, homemade béchamel, and roasted eggplant, each bite of this dish is like savoring a fine Greek moussaka. Serve with a simple side salad for extra veggies and color. We think it's the perfect recipe to prepare in the summer when eggplants are abundant.

Recipe: Ground Turkey-Stuffed Eggplant

Ground Turkey Flatbread With Cranberry Chutney

Flatbread with turkey and cranberry
Flatbread with turkey and cranberry - Jessica Morone/Tasting Table

It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving for you to be able to savor the delightful combination of turkey and cranberry. You can dig in any time of year with this ground turkey flatbread with cranberry chutney.

If you have plenty of time on your hands, you can make the flatbread yourself, or you can buy a good quality one at the bakery. But for best results, be sure to make your own chutney, as a cranberry sauce from the store might end up being too sweet. The vinegar curbs the sweetness and creates a perfectly balanced topping.

Recipe: Ground Turkey Flatbread with Cranberry Chutney

Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps

Turkey burgers on plate
Turkey burgers on plate - Chanel Murphy-Lowe/Tasting Table

Turkey burgers don't have to exist only as a sad substitute for beef burgers. They can be delicious in their own right, as in the case of this tasty and nutritious turkey burger lettuce wrap.

And don't let the lettuce wrap fool you, either. The ground turkey is so flavorful and interesting, thanks to the liquid smoke, so you won't need the added heft of a burger bun anyway. The panko breadcrumbs mixed into the ground turkey should be more than enough to satisfy any carb craving. Or, if you're looking to go gluten-free, you can leave them out or use gluten-free panko instead.

Recipe: Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Taquitos With Cranberry Chipotle Salsa

Taquitos on a plate
Taquitos on a plate - Tess Le Moing/Tasting Table

A classic taquito can always be counted on as a filling meal. But beef and chicken are not the only proteins that can deliver. Ground turkey can be just as good, especially when combined with a spicy cranberry chipotle sauce that turns a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on its head.

We recommend serving the cranberry salsa in a small saucer and then dipping the prepared taquitos in it. This is also a helpful solution if you have guests who aren't fans of spicy ingredients.

Recipe: Turkey Taquitos with Cranberry Chipotle Salsa

Sweet And Savory Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Turkey meatloaf muffins
Turkey meatloaf muffins - Leah Maroney/Tasting Table

For moments when a muffin won't suffice, there's this sweet and savory turkey meatloaf muffin recipe. It comes packed with all the flavor and protein of ground turkey and is super easy to make. Just mix all the ingredients in one bowl, bake the batter in a muffin tin, and in a short time, you've got yourself a wholesome dinner idea.

That said, you can eat these muffins as an entire meal rather than just a snack by pairing them with a side. The muffins go well with mashed potatoes and gravy, a simple salad, or steamed broccoli.

Recipe: Sweet and Savory Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Easy Breakfast Turkey Sausage

Turkey sausages on plate
Turkey sausages on plate - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Bacon and pork sausages make for great breakfast sides, but it's nice to change up the routine occasionally. For the days when you want to try something new, make these breakfast turkey sausages. If your first thought is that the turkey will likely turn dry in sausage form, put those worries out of your mind. The inclusion of mayonnaise will keep the meat nice and moist.

As for the rest of your breakfast, feel free to proceed as usual. Serve this turkey sausage with your favorite style of eggs, along with some tomatoes, baked beans, toast, and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Recipe: Easy Breakfast Turkey Sausage

Actually Juicy Turkey Burger

Turkey burgers on board
Turkey burgers on board - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

As nice as turkey burgers can be, they're not known to be particularly juicy -- that honor is reserved for their beefy counterpart. That isn't the case with this turkey burger recipe, which bolsters the moisture with condiments like mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. It also includes a surprising touch of goat's milk, which gives the meat mixture the extra fat that is naturally present in beef.

It's also important not to overcook the patty. Otherwise, you risk drying out the meat. As for flavor, a good dose of herbs, like thyme and allspice, can help beef up this non-beef patty.

Recipe: Actually Juicy Turkey Burger

Turkey Cottage Pie

Turkey cottage pie on a plate
Turkey cottage pie on a plate - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

A cottage pie is a layered dish often made with ground beef and potatoes. A shepherd's pie is one example, which uses lamb instead of beef. Apparently, there is no specific name for the same dish made with turkey, so we'll call this version a turkey cottage pie.

Although this dish may be leaner than the traditional cottage pie because of the turkey, there are many filling elements. Copious amounts of butter, milk, potatoes, and cheese should easily fill you up and satisfy your meaty cravings.

Recipe: Turkey Cottage Pie

Rich Turkey Tomato Bolognese

Pot of turkey bolognese
Pot of turkey bolognese - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

Bolognese sauce is usually made with ground beef, but there's no reason the recipe can't also utilize any other type of ground meat, including turkey. Aside from the turkey swap, this recipe remains largely unchanged. It still includes the best elements of a Bolognese that contribute to its tastiness and heartiness, including herbs like dried thyme and bay leaves, as well as a hearty pour of whole milk.

Recipe: Rich Turkey Tomato Bolognese

White Turkey Chili

Turkey chili in a bowl
Turkey chili in a bowl - Jess Case/Tasting Table

If you've been cutting back on red meat but are having a chili craving, try this white turkey chili to get the best of both worlds. The fun part of this recipe, aside from the protein switcheroo, is the flexibility to add different ingredients and play with the recipe.

While strictly following the instructions will get you a fine bowl of chili, you can also add your favorite vegetables for an extra dose of fiber. Peppers, squash, and zucchini would all make excellent choices.

Recipe: White Turkey Chili

Thanksgiving-Style Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs
Turkey meatballs - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Whether you're looking for an easy variation on a laborious Thanksgiving dinner or just a regular turkey recipe for a Tuesday night, these Thanksgiving-style turkey meatballs will fit your needs. Between the gravy, sage, and heavy cream, the dish has flavor and heartiness to spare.

And because of all the creaminess, you'll need something starchy to go with these meatballs. Try some mashed potatoes for the sake of tradition, and serve them with some cranberry sauce on the side for a nice, balanced tang.

Recipe: Thanksgiving-Style Turkey Meatballs

Smoky Turkey Chili

Bowl of turkey chili
Bowl of turkey chili - Molly Madigan Pisula/Tasting Table

Smokiness is a key element of many cuisines, and this smoky turkey chili is not to be outdone in that department. It calls for smoked paprika to impart complex notes and evoke meaty undertones, which in turn helps amp up the flavor of the turkey.

To make this dish even smokier, you can also add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. The recipe also calls for a surprising element, cinnamon, to help bring out the flavor of the smoked paprika and add a hint of sweetness.

Recipe: Smoky Turkey Chili

Herbaceous Thai Turkey Burgers

Turkey burger with cole slaw
Turkey burger with cole slaw - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

This Thai burger recipe shines not only because of the spices and flavors that go into the patty but also because of the accompaniments that join it on the bun. The meat mixture will be instantly brightened by the addition of lemongrass and ginger, carrot slaw, sriracha mayo, and a Thai basil garnish.

And don't worry if you can't find any Thai basil in your grocery store. The licorice-like flavor profile of Italian basil can add a fresh element, while cilantro can take care of the citrusy notes you may be missing.

Recipe: Herbaceous Thai Turkey Burgers

Turkey And Butternut Squash Chili

Bowl of chili
Bowl of chili - Alexander Roberts/Food Republic

You may have heard of the practice of adding cinnamon, chocolate, maple syrup, or even brown sugar to chili for extra sweetness. This recipe accomplishes this task by including butternut squash, a naturally sugary gourd, which also adds a new texture to the dish.

On the other hand, if you're not a fan of sweet chili, you can balance the sugars out by amping up the spiciness. Feel free to add finely diced jalapeño peppers or some dried cayenne. Be sure to taste the chili to ensure you've reached the desired heat level.

Recipe: Turkey and Butternut Squash Chili

Ultimate Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf on plate
Turkey meatloaf on plate - Jessica Morone/Tasting Table

Meatloaf has a reputation for being a bit bland and basic, but neither of those attributes can be applied to this turkey meatloaf recipe. Not only does it swap out the beef for turkey, but it also includes a long list of fun and unexpected ingredients, like crushed potato chips, which add saltiness and crunchiness to the loaf.

Use any flavor of chips you'd like for this recipe. The plain kind is already exciting enough as it is, but if you want to play with flavors, sour cream and onion or barbecue with work nicely with the rest of the ingredients.

Recipe: Ultimate Turkey Meatloaf

Hearty Turkey Chili

Bowl of chili and rice
Bowl of chili and rice - Catherine Brookes/Tasting Table

You might think that calling a turkey chili "hearty" might be an exercise in duplicity, as turkey is widely known for being lighter than other meats. But the tomatoes, kidney beans, and a host of spices have conspired here to create a deep, layered flavor without the need for beef.

You ought to treat this chili like you would any other. Pair it with sour cream and top it with fresh cilantro, both of which can help balance out the complexity and heaviness.

Recipe: Hearty Turkey Chili

Turkey Enchilada Skillet

Enchilada filling in a pot
Enchilada filling in a pot - Jessica Case/Tasting Table

This deconstructed enchilada recipe is exactly what you need when you're in the mood for enchiladas but can't stand the thought of cooking a laborious meal. With this recipe, all you have to do is toss cooked ground turkey, onions, jalapeño, peppers, black beans, diced chiles, corn, and enchilada sauce into a pan with the proper seasoning, and you're more than halfway there.

For the finishing touch, instead of toiling away on enchilada wraps, just stir in some tortilla chips and cheese. Serve this enchilada casserole with the usual trappings, like cilantro and avocado slices.

Recipe: Turkey Enchilada Skillet

Southwest Turkey-Stuffed Baked Pepper

Stuffed peppers
Stuffed peppers - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

One of the beautiful things about stuffing meat and rice into a vegetable -- like a zucchini, eggplant, or, as in this case, a pepper -- is that you get a complete meal with every bite. The assembly instructions are relatively straightforward and easy for kitchen novices.

Just be sure to drizzle some oil on your peppers and season them thoroughly with salt and pepper before you add the filling. Or you might end up with too sharp a contrast between the warm and rich flavors of the turkey mixture and a bland and boring outer shell.

Recipe: Southwest Turkey-Stuffed Baked Pepper

Turkey Bolognese Bianco

Pasta with turkey bolognese
Pasta with turkey bolognese - Taylor Murray/Tasting Table

Switch up your meat sauce repertoire with this light, tomato-free Bolognese bianco. In fact, the "bianco" title means that, unlike regular Bolognese, this sauce contains no nightshades. It's perfect for those with sensitive stomachs or folks who don't like the acidity of a standard sauce.

Instead, the acidic component comes from a splash of white wine, while butter and parmesan cheese work together to create a creamy texture. Serve this sauce with rigatoni or your preferred pasta shape.

Recipe: Turkey Bolognese Bianco

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