Ground turkey is a tasty and potentially lower-fat substitute for any recipe calling for ground beef. Its very leanness can make cooking ground turkey a challenge, though, when it comes to re-creating that all-American favorite--the hamburger. The key is to choose the right grade of ground turkey and not overcook it. How long does it take to cook a turkey burger? Less than 10 minutes.
Lean But Not Too Lean
The key to cooking juicy turkey burgers is starting with meat that is not overly lean. If you use extra-lean ground turkey, you'll likely end up with a very dry and unappetizing burger. It's better to start with a mix that includes some dark meat, somewhere in the 90-percent lean range. That small percentage of fat will keep the burger moist and flavorful after cooking.
Eight Minutes to Well-Done
A turkey burger cooked to medium-well should take about eight minutes. Start with 1.5 lb. of ground turkey and form into four 1-inch-thick patties. Brush both sides of the burgers with canola or olive oil, season with salt and pepper or your spices of choice and cook for four minutes per side. Cook on medium-high to high heat to lightly char the outside and cook the inside through without drying it out.
Cheese It Up at the Last Minute
If you want a turkey cheeseburger, add a slice of your favorite cheese during the last minute or so of cooking. You want the cheese to melt but not so much that it loses all texture.
Food-borne illnesses such as salmonella are a concern for any undercooked poultry product. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of your turkey burger is at least 165 F prior to serving.
Don't Press It
A common error in burger cooking is constantly pressing down on it with a spatula, to try to bring more heat to the meat. That's a recipe to cook a burger desert-dry. A spatula is for turning, not "burning." Pressing down only robs the burger of moisture, pushing much-wanted juices out of the meat. Put the burger on to cook and leave it alone, turning once only.