Turkey breast is a tasty cut of meat. It’s perfect for a family dinner, or perhaps for a perfect Thanksgiving feast! It’s an American staple for a reason, and a sure-fire hit with whoever you find yourself serving it to.
But here’s the thing – poultry needs to be cooked at a certain temperature to be safe to eat. It’s one of the only kinds of meat that can hurt you if you’re not careful about ensuring it has been properly cooked.
At best, eating undercooked turkey can make you sick – at worst, you could end up in hospital – so it’s very important you learn to cook it correctly.
So let’s say you’ve heard the correct temperature of a cooked turkey breast is 150°F – this is the one you want to aim for. But how can you know it’s a safe temperature? How can you be sure that your turkey is going to be delicious and nothing else?
If you’re wondering about this – don’t worry! You’ve come to the right place. We’re going to be taking you through everything you’ll need to know about cooking turkey safely. We’ve also included a short FAQ to answer some other food safety questions you might have!
How Can Meat Make You Sick?
To start with, we need to understand why the internal temperature of a piece of meat should matter. When you cook something, you are essentially killing bacteria in the food. Bacteria are everywhere. They live on our skin, they live inside us and they even live inside plants.
So when you cook food, you kill off all those little critters. But what if you didn’t kill them all? What if there were still some left alive? And what if they were still alive after you’d finished eating the food? Well, then you could get sick.
That’s because once bacteria start multiplying again, they can cause illness.
What Is A Safe Temperature For Turkey Breast?
So now let’s get into what the safest temperature for Turkey Breast is. To put it in a nutshell, the safe temperature for Turkey Breast is between 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason this is important is that most bacteria will die at temperatures above 150°F.
So as long as you keep your Turkey Breast below this point, you won’t have any problems.
How Can I Check This?
This is where a thermometer comes in! To check the temperature of your turkey breast, simply insert a probe from an instant-read digital thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
The best way to do this is to use a sharp knife to slice the meat so you can easily find the middle. Once you’ve found the center, stick the probe straight down into the meat.
You may notice that the probe will go up slightly as it hits the bone. Don’t worry though – this isn’t a problem. Just make sure to remove the probe before taking the picture below.
Now that you’ve got the probe inserted, take a look at the display on the back of the thermometer. You should see a number between 150°F and 160°F. That’s the perfect temperature range for turkey breast. Anything above 160°F means the meat is too hot.
Anything under 140°F means the meat isn’t done yet. So keep checking until you reach the perfect temperature.
Now that you know the ideal temperature for a cooked turkey breast, you might be thinking “but what if my thermometer says it’s over 160°F?” Don’t worry. There are many ways to tell whether or not your turkey breast is ready to serve.
One easy way is to poke it with a fork. If the juices run clear, then you’re good to go. Another way is to press down on the top of the meat with your thumb and index finger. If the meat feels firm but springy, then it’s probably ready.
However, if you feel resistance, you’re better off waiting a bit longer. Sometimes it’s okay to sacrifice a little bit of flavor, to make sure that the food you’re cooking is safe to eat.
If you’re worried about being overcooked, then there’s no need to panic. Simply cover the turkey breast in foil while it rests. This will help retain its heat and prevent it from drying out. After resting, you can unwrap the foil and continue cooking.
So there you have it! You want to check that your turkey is properly cooked before you eat it. Food hygiene may seem like something you can cut corners around – but it’s one of the most important aspects of food hygiene and you need to make sure you follow all the rules.
As long as you stay on the side of caution, you’re likely to make sure that your next turkey dinner is a hit!
We hope that this article has given you the information you need and that you now feel a lot more confident about checking the temperature of your turkey breast, but if you still have some additional questions, check out our short FAQ section below!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take For A Turkey Breast To Cook?
It depends on how big your turkey breast is and how much weight you add to it. Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on size.
What Should I Do With My Leftover Turkey Breast?
We recommend wrapping leftover turkey breast in aluminum foil and storing it in the refrigerator. This will help retain the heat and prevent it from getting dry.
Can I Freeze Turkey Breast?
Yes, you can freeze Turkey Breast just like other meats. Make sure to wrap it well and store it in the freezer for 3 months maximum.
What Are Some Other Ways Of Cooking Turkey Breast?
You can also cook Turkey Breast by baking it. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the turkey breast on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes per pound (500g). The internal temperature should read 165°F (74°C).
Do I Have To Use A Food Thermometer?
Not necessarily. You can use your hand to test the temperature of your turkey. You can also check by sight, though this is much less reliable. If the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the meat, then it’s done.
If they run red, then wait a few minutes and repeat the process until they turn clear again.