Does Ground Turkey Take Longer To Cook Than Beef? The Surprising Truth

Ground meat is a staple ingredient for many quick and easy meals. But when it comes to cooking times, there’s an ongoing debate about whether ground turkey or ground beef cooks faster. As ground turkey has grown in popularity as a healthier alternative to beef, more home cooks are wondering if they need to adjust cook times when substituting one for the other.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the factors that impact cooking times for ground meats and settle the turkey vs beef cooking time debate once and for all. After reading this article, you’ll know exactly how long you need to cook ground turkey compared to ground beef to get perfectly browned, safe-to-eat meat every time.

What Impacts Cooking Times for Ground Meats?

Several factors affect how quickly ground meat browns and cooks through

  • Fat content – Fattier meats like beef take longer to cook than leaner meats like turkey. The fat needs time to render and brown.

  • Grind size – Finely ground meat will cook faster than coarse grinds. More surface area is exposed to the heat at once.

  • Moisture content – The more moisture in the meat, the longer it takes to cook down and evaporate the liquid.

  • Cooking method – Grilling, broiling, and pan frying cook faster than roasting or baking

  • Doneness – Meat cooked to higher safe internal temperatures will take longer than less done meat.

  • Quantity – Smaller batches cook faster than large batches. Meat starts to steam instead of brown if the pan is overcrowded.

With these factors in mind, let’s see how ground beef and turkey compare when it comes to cook times.

Ground Turkey vs Ground Beef: Cook Time Comparison

Due to its leanness and the way it’s processed, ground turkey generally cooks faster than ground beef:

  • Pan frying – Ground turkey takes 5-7 minutes to brown and cook through while ground beef takes 8-10 minutes.

  • Grilling – Ground turkey grills in 6-8 minutes compared to 9-11 minutes for ground beef.

  • Baking – Baked ground turkey is done after 15-17 minutes in the oven whereas ground beef takes 18-20 minutes.

  • Roasting – Roast turkey browns and cooks through in 20-22 minutes. For beef, expect at least 25-27 minutes.

The differences may seem small per pound, but they add up, especially when cooking larger batches. Ground turkey’s lower fat content and looser grind are key factors that speed up cook time.

Tips for Faster Cooking Times for All Ground Meats

You can reduce cooking times for both ground beef and turkey with these handy tips:

  • Use a coarse grind – Larger pieces cook faster than fine, dense meat. Or give store-bought extra pulses in a food processor.

  • Remove excess moisture – Blotting with paper towels speeds up browning.

  • Preheat cooking surface – A hot pan or grill sears the meat faster.

  • Cook in small batches – Avoid overcrowding to prevent steaming.

  • Stir frequently – This prevents sticking and evens out cooking.

  • Slice larger pieces – Halve thick turkey and beef patties to reduce grill or pan fry time.

  • Use a meat thermometer – Cook only to the minimum safe internal temperature needed.

The Verdict: Ground Turkey Cooks Faster Than Ground Beef

So does ground turkey or beef cook faster? After comparing all the factors, ground turkey is the clear winner when it comes to cooking times. On average, ground turkey browns and cooks through 2-3 minutes faster per pound than ground beef.

The next time you’re making tacos, meatballs, or burgers on a weeknight, consider lean ground turkey to get dinner on the table quicker. Or when substituting turkey for beef in recipes, reduce oven or stovetop cook times by a few minutes to prevent overcooking.

With a little planning, you can enjoy all the same classic ground meat dishes with quicker cooking ground turkey. Just follow the tips above to speed up ground beef cook times as much as possible too.

Now that you know precisely how long ground turkey and beef take to cook using various methods, you can easily adapt recipes and cooking times to suit your schedule and preferences. And you’ll never again have to wonder whether to add a few extra minutes when cooking lean turkey instead of beef.

-Does Ground Turkey Take Longer To Cook Than Beef? The Surprising Truth
-Ground turkey vs ground beef: Factors affecting cooking times
-Cooking time comparison: Pan frying, grilling, baking, roasting
-Ground turkey cooks 2-3 minutes faster per pound
-Tips to speed up cooking for all ground meats
-Preheat surface, cook in batches, blot moisture, stir frequently
-Verdict: Ground turkey cooks faster due to leanness and grind
-Adjust recipes and cooking times when substituting turkey for beef

Does ground turkey take longer to cook than beef?


Do you cook ground turkey the same as ground beef?

Food Network explains that ground turkey needs to reach a higher internal temperature than ground beef. Ground turkey is done at 170 to 175 F, while ground beef is at 160 F. Ten degrees might not sound like much, but it will make a significant difference in the outcome of your dish.

How long does it take to cook ground turkey?

Cook Time
Microwave in an Anyday dish
5 mins
10-15 mins
Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker)*
15-20 mins

Does turkey cook faster than ground beef?

A 3.5-ounce turkey burger cooks in 3 to 4 minutes per side; a beef patty cooks in 6 to 8 minutes per side. In a microwave oven on full power, a pound of ground turkey cooks in just 5 to 6 minutes. On the other hand, ground turkey, unlike beef, should never be served rare.

How long does turkey take to cook?

Cook Time (Unstuffed)
Cook Time (Stuffed)
7-10 lbs.
2½-3 hrs.
2¾-3½ hrs.
10-18 lbs.
3-3½ hrs.
3¾-4½ hrs.
18-22 lbs.
3½-4 hrs.
4½-5 hrs.
22-24 lbs.
4-4½ hrs.
5-5½ hrs.

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