How To Tell If A Turkey Burger Is Done: Think Beyond Pink

Cooking turkey burgers is easy once you know how, but can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out.

If you’re not used to cooking with turkey, you might be wondering how to tell if a turkey burger is done.

How To Tell If A Turkey Burger Is Done: Think Beyond Pink

In this article, I will explore how to tell if a turkey burger is done, as well as some important information you need to know when cooking turkey burgers.

Let’s get started.

How To Tell If A Turkey Burger Is Done

There are a variety of different ways you can tell whether a turkey burger is done.

The Temperature Method

The most accurate way to test your turkey meat for doneness is with an instant read thermometer. When the temperature reads 165 degrees, the turkey burger is safe to eat.

When using the temperature method, you will need to insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the turkey burger.

It’s important to note that the edges of the turkey burger will cook at a quicker rate than the center will.

As a result, if you place the thermometer in the sides of the meat, this won’t be an accurate reading for the center. 

The Juice Test 

Another way to see whether your turkey burger is done or not is to use the juice test.

To carry out the juice test, you simply need to slice into the meat with a knife. You will need to examine the juices closely as they seep out.

If the juices look as if they are clear, then the turkey burger is done and ready to eat.

However, if the juices are pink or red, then you will likely want to leave the turkey burger to cook for a few more minutes.

It’s a good idea to check it every 2 to 3 minutes from this point to ensure that you don’t overcook the meat.

The Time Test 

Another simple way of knowing whether your turkey burgers are cooked all the way through is the time test.

Generally speaking, raw turkey burgers should be cooked over a medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side.

In addition to this, you will want to keep the lid of the grill closed as much as possible to lock in the heat.

If you are cooking the turkey burgers from frozen, then you will need to ensure that you account for this in your cooking time.

Generally speaking, you will want to cook them for around 8 minutes on each side.

It’s important to note that these timings are just a general guideline, and could differ significantly depending on the thickness of your burger.

For the most accurate results, make sure that you follow the cooking guidelines on the back of the packaging of your turkey burgers.

The Touch Test

Last, but by no means least, we have the touch test. If you suspect that your turkey burger is ready to come out of the pan, then another way of checking whether it is done is through touch.

You will need to press your thumb into the center of the turkey burger to gauge whether it is ready.

If the center of the meat still feels cold and almost fleshy in its texture, then it will require further cooking time.

On the other hand, if the turkey burger is uncomfortably hot and is firm and springy in texture, then it’s likely ready to eat!

A Note On Turkey Burgers That Are Pink In The Middle

If you notice that the inside of your turkey burger is still pink, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the burger isn’t ready.

This is especially true if you’re making smoked turkey burgers, as the pink center is almost always unavoidable. 

However, if the burger is very pink and cold, this is when your safety could be compromised by eating the meat.

Are Turkey Burgers Safe If They’re Pink In The Middle?

Yes, turkey burgers that are still pink in the middle can be safe.

You want to make sure that the outside of the turkey burger is golden brown. However, as I’ve mentioned above, pink doesn’t automatically mean that your burger isn’t done.

Provided that the internal temperature of your turkey burger is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be safe to eat your turkey burger.

Once you’ve checked to see if the turkey burger is cooked through, you can tuck in even if it is pink in the middle.

That being said, if you’d rather live on the side of caution, then you can always cook your turkey burger for a few more minutes.

If in doubt about the doneness of a turkey burger, it’s better to be safe than sorry as you don’t want to be at risk of food poisoning.

If you do put your turkey burger back in the pan or under the grill for more cooking time, just be careful to not overcook the meat, as your tender burger could quickly become very dry if you’re not careful.

Tips When Cooking Turkey Burgers

How To Tell If A Turkey Burger Is Done: Think Beyond Pink

Invest In A Reliable Meat Thermometer

As the easiest way to tell if a turkey burger is done is to use a thermometer, you will want to ensure that you’re investing in a high quality, reliable meat thermometer.

In addition to this, you will want to make sure that you calibrate your thermometer regularly to ensure that you are getting an accurate reading.

To calibrate your thermometer, you will need to place the probe of the thermometer in a glass of ice water.

You will need to wait around 30 seconds. If the thermometer reads 32 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should be good to go.

Regularly Check The Meat

If you decide that your turkey burger needs a little more cooking time, you will need to make sure that you are regularly checking the meat afterwards.

There is a fine line between done and overdone, and you don’t want to ruin a perfectly good turkey burger by allowing them to cook for too long.

Make sure that you are checking the meat every 2 to 3 minutes to ensure that you don’t overcook the meat.

Close The Grill Lid

When you’re cooking your turkey burger, you will want to make sure that you keep the lid of the grill closed in order to lock in as much heat as possible.

Bearing this in mind, you won’t want to open the lid of the grill until you think the turkey burgers are done.

However, if they do need to go back on the grill after this point, make sure that you keep the lid closed as much as possible to stop too much of the heat escaping.

What Happens If You Eat Undercooked Turkey Burgers?

You will want to avoid undercooking your turkey burgers for your safety. Eating raw or undercooked turkey can increase your risk of becoming very ill with salmonella poisoning.

Salmonella bacteria thrive in the intestines of poultry and other animals such as sheep and pigs. As a result, raw meat can carry these bacteria, and contamination can make you very sick.

If you have salmonella poisoning, some of the symptoms you might experience include but are not limited to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal cramps

If you begin showing signs and suspect that you’ve got salmonella poisoning, be sure to call your doctor to see what they would recommend.

In Summary

The safest way to check whether a turkey burger is done is to use an instant read thermometer.

The internal temperature of the turkey burger should be a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hopefully after reading this article you have a better understanding of the methods of testing you can carry out to see whether your turkey burger is done.

Good luck cooking your turkey burgers at home!

John Rinder