Undercooked Turkey Burger: Is it Safe To Eat?

Eating undercooked turkey burger is not healthy as it can lead to salmonella infection. Although it is not illegal to sell or buy undercooked turkey burgers it is not entirely safe to consume.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all poultry be cooked to a proper doneness level before consumption. This is 165 degrees Fahrenheit; at this temperature, all the bacteria present are dead.

If you want to know more about undercooked turkey burger, what happens if you eat them, and how to tell if your turkey burger is done, then read on.

What are turkey burgers made of?

Turkey burgers are burgers made with ground turkey, onion, bread crumbs, eggs, and other seasonings. If made properly, it is a perfectly healthy dish, and this is because it has a high nutritional value.

SEE: Are Medium Rare Burgers Safe?

Nutritional value of turkey burgers

According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 4-ounce (100 grams) serving of turkey burger contains the following nutrients;

  • Calories: 153
  • Fat: 11g
  • Protein: 22g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg
  • Carbohydrate: 15g

It also contains sodium, dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, and C, calcium, iron, sugar, niacin, selenium, and phosphorus.

Is it safe to eat an undercooked turkey burger?

It is not safe to eat an undercooked turkey burger. This is because ground turkey contains a virulent strain of bird flu that can affect humans in various ways.

The most common effect of eating undercooked turkey burger is salmonella bacteria. This bacteria is a dangerous form of food poisoning and can further lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramp, and fever.

These symptoms could manifest as quickly as 12 hours after consumption; in some cases, it takes up to 3 days. It usually takes between 4 to 7 days for symptoms to clear, and if they persist, then you should see your doctor immediately.

SEE: Turkey Leg Ties – What Are They & How To Use Them

Can you eat an undercooked medium-rare turkey burger?

Although it is allowed to eat turkey burgers medium-rare, it is not safe. This is because the bacteria inside may still be alive as the meat has not been cooked to a safe eating temperature.

SEE: Can You Eat Lamb Medium Rare Or Is Not Safe?

How can you tell if a turkey burger is done?

Because turkey is lean meat, it needs to be well cooked before it is eaten to avoid food poisoning. But the question is, how can you tell if a turkey burger is done?

There are three ways of checking the doneness level of a turkey burger. They include;

1. Using a meat thermometer

Each variety of meat requires a different cooking temperature to attain the best level of doneness. Ground turkey must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The easiest way to achieve this temperature is to insert the meat thermometer in the center of the burger. Once the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the burger is properly cooked.

SEE: How to Use a Food Thermometer to Avoid Undone Meal

2. Taste the juices

Although the meat thermometer is the best way to check for doneness, another way of ensuring that your turkey burger is done is to taste the juice coming from the patty.

Simply use a knife or a fork to slice or pierce the patty, then check the juice coming out of it. The best practice is to pierce the thickest part of the patty; if the juice runs clear, then it is properly cooked.

But if the juice is pinkish or red, then you may need to cook your burger a bit further. Remember to check the juice again after a short period.

3. Color

When using the grill for burgers, the meat should have a nice golden-brown color with crisp edges. If the color Is still pinkish, then there is a good chance the patty is still undercooked.

How do you defrost frozen turkey burgers?

There are 3 methods of defrosting turkey burgers. They include;

1. Grilling method

One of the easiest ways of defrosting frozen burgers is by using the grill. Simply;

  • Preheat the grill to a medium heating temperature.
  • While the grill heats up, brush both sides of the frozen burger with oil (preferable, avocado oil or olive oil).
  • Place the burger on the grill and heat for 8 minutes on both sides.
  • Use the meat read thermometer to further ensure it reaches the recommended cooking temperature.
  • Serve and enjoy your burger.

SEE: Best Grill Temperatures to Make the Best Steaks

2. Broiling method

If the weather looks bad for grilling, another effective method of defrosting turkey burgers is broiling. Simply;

  • Preheat your oven setting the baking sheet lining with wax paper or aluminum foil in the upper middle position.
  • Brush both sides of the frozen burger with oil (avocado or olive oil).
  • Place them on the sheet pan and broil for 16 minutes, that is 8 minutes on both sides.
  • Use the meat thermometer to ensure it reaches the required temperature.
  • Serve and enjoy.

SEE: Is Roast And Broil The Same? See The Key Differences

3. Frying method

Another effective method of defrosting frozen burgers is the frying method. Simply;

  • Preheat the non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Spray oil (olive or avocado) on each side of the burger patty. This helps prevent the buns from sticking to the skillet, also keeping the burger juicy and nice.
  • Cook the burger for 12 minutes, that is, 6 minutes on each side.
  • Check the temperature of the turkey burger.
  • Serve and enjoy with other side dishes.

SEE: How To Fry Spam


Which cut of turkey is best for turkey burgers?

Turkey breast is the best lean meat option for burgers. This is because they contain less bone and blend well with other seasonings.

What are the best side dishes for turkey burgers?

Some of the best dishes to enjoy alongside your turkey burgers include; zucchini fries, seasoned roasted-corn salad, or chargrilled broccolini.

Is it okay to eat a turkey burger that is a little bit pink?

Yes, it is. As long as the burger is cooked to a safe eating temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then you are good to go.

Do all turkeys have salmonella?

Yes, they do. Turkey and other poultry have salmonella present in their digestive tract. However, they are not harmful if the meat is cooked to the proper cooking temperature, and if proper hygiene is maintained.

Are turkey burgers healthy?

Yes, they are. They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals and are also lower in saturated fat than other beef.

Conclusion: Is undercooked turkey burger safe?

Undercooked turkey burgers are not safe, because raw and undercooked poultry have been associated with salmonella, a type of food poisoning. It is best to make sure that your burger is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should see how to identify undercooked chicken thigh.

Thank you for reading this article.