We can all agree that ground turkey is pretty boring on its own.
Although mean, lean, and high in protein, it can be lackluster if not seasoned properly.
That’s where ground turkey seasoning recipes come in handy.
If you have enough of them in your arsenal, you can conquer its blandness in any dish.
Before it was touted for its health benefits compared to red meat, turkey was almost exclusively a holiday treat.
That’s why there are a few distinct flavors that will come to mind when you think of turkey.
But that’s not where it ends!
Ground turkey is a blank canvas you can flavor with whatever you have on hand.
You don’t have to stick with a specific formula.
So let’s get started!
The Best Seasoning Blends for Ground Turkey
Here are some ideas for ground turkey seasoning recipes you’ll love:
1. Dried Rosemary
Dried herbs are always great to have on hand when you’re trying to whip up something quick and delicious.
As for ground turkey and healthy chicken dishes for that matter, dried rosemary is a wonderful pairing that makes its unique flavor shine in any dish.
You can use it with any recipe you already have for an extra kick of sweet, woodsy, and warm flavor.
2. Fresh Thyme
Fresh thyme is vibrant, resinous, and oh-so-wonderful with any long-stewed dish!
It also goes so well with other bright flavors, such as lemon and black pepper.
Using it with ground turkey in Italian-inspired dishes, like turkey meatballs or ground turkey pasta, is an absolute treat.
I personally love adding whole sprigs to my ground turkey ragout and then fishing out the stems later. Easy peasy!
3. Herbes De Provence
This spice mixture is absolutely brilliant with poultry of any kind.
It contains the usual suspects, rosemary, thyme and oregano.
But that’s not all:
It also has the lesser-known herbs savory, marjoram, and lavender.
These provide a unique blend of flavors you won’t find anywhere else, and they marry so well with ground turkey it’s insane!
I personally add a few pinches to my turkey burgers when I’m feeling fancy, and it never disappoints.
4. Thanksgiving Turkey Rub
For the next ground turkey seasoning recipe, we’re taking a page out of the holidays’ book.
If you’re a fan of the herbaceous, warm flavors of thanksgiving, this one’s for you.
This Thanksgiving turkey rub has everything!
From seasoned salt to premade poultry seasoning, you’re getting that flavor and then some.
Using this with ground turkey in a burger or even a simple hash will throw your nose for a loop.
You’ll literally think it’s Thanksgiving dinner already and your pies aren’t out of the oven yet!
You can incorporate these gorgeous herbs into a turkey meatball recipe that will compete for the “fall favorite” award on any dinner table.
For the seasoning blend (makes ¼ cup):
- 4 tsp ground dried sage
- 3 tsp ground dried thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp ground dried rosemary
- 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp finely ground black pepper
For the turkey meatballs:
- 1 lb ground turkey
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1–2 tsp of the seasoning blend (to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
- In a large bowl, break up the ground turkey
- Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, egg, seasoning blend, parmesan, and salt
- Mix the ingredients until homogenous
- Form into 12 small or 8 large meatballs
- Arrange the meatballs on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil
- Bake in a 375-degree F oven until browned, about 15–20 minutes
- Use to top pasta with marinara sauce or serve on toothpicks as an appetizer
5. Celery Salt
While we’re on that Thanksgiving theme, why not try celery salt as an addition to your turkey meatball soup?
This flavor and aroma will take you right back to that healthy helping of stuffing you had right next to your turkey.
Just don’t overdo it, or else your soup will taste like medicine.
6. Teriyaki Sauce
Teriyaki is the perfect food. There I said it!
The delicate balance of sweet, savory, and acidic just makes it the ultimate sauce you can put on any protein to instantly elevate it.
This visually gorgeous and absolutely addictive Teriyaki ground turkey skillet from AndiAnne’s Blog is heaven.
You should definitely give it a try!
7. Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta
There’s something about the freshness of Mediterranean cuisine that’s always delightful.
You can see that in all of its glory in this Mediterranean turkey meatball recipe from The Roasted Root.
You get your sun-dried tomatoes, your olives, and most importantly, your Feta!
And for a baked dish, the meatballs come out extremely tender and delicious.
8. Mexican-Inspired Taco Seasoning
If you’re a huge fan of fast-food tacos but are trying to make healthier choices (vs Mexican seasoned ground beef), then ground turkey tacos are the way to go.
But here’s the problem:
Most fast food joints inject their tacos with a ton of fat and sodium to make their low-grade ground beef palatable.
This sort of tricks our brains into craving these tacos and makes any substitutes less exciting.
Fear not! You can make a delicious Mexican-inspired seasoning that will elevate your ground turkey taco and nacho meat ad infinitum.
For the seasoning mix (makes ¼ cup):
- 2 tbsp ancho or chipotle chili powder
- 1 tbsp toasted then ground cumin seeds
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper or cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp dried Mexican oregano (optional)
- ½ tsp Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (optional)
For the taco/nacho ground turkey mixture:
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 tbsp neutral oil or butter
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp seasoning mix
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- In a large skillet, melt your oil or butter, then add your ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces and cooking until no longer pink.
- Add the seasoning mix and toast in the hot fat until fragrant, for about a minute.
- In a small bowl, combine the 1 tbsp cornstarch with some cold water until dissolved, and add to the pan.
- Cover the ground turkey mixture with boiling water and leave to simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.
- Top your tortilla shells or chips with the mixture and add all the taco and nacho fixings you like!
9. Thai-Inspired Larb Seasoning
If you’re anything like me, you love a delicious Thai food experience after a night out with friends.
Something about the fragrant, spicy, yet super harmonious flavors makes it unforgettable.
But sometimes, you want to make the same food in the comfort of your own home and it could be intimidating.
Take Larb, for example, it might seem like a difficult recipe to recreate, using ground turkey of all things, but it’s not.
Making this at home is all a matter of finding the ingredients, which is easier nowadays thanks to Asian grocery stores and online vendors, and just going for it!
For the filling:
- 1 ½ lbs ground turkey
- ½ cup shallots, chopped
- 2 tbsp lemongrass, chopped
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
- 1 small red Thai chile, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp Thai fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
For the salad cups:
- Iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp Sriracha sauce
- Cilantro for garnish (optional)
- In a clean food processor bowl, add the filling ingredients and pulse for 1 minute until the mixture is homogenous.
- In a non-stick skillet, add a tablespoon of neutral oil, like canola, and wait until it’s shimmering.
- Add the turkey mixture to the skillet and use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller pieces.
- Once it’s golden brown, crispy, and cooked all the way through, add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to each of the prepared lettuce cups.
- In a small bowl mix the dressing ingredients until the brown sugar is dissolved.
- Serve alongside the lettuce cups and garnish with cilantro.
10. Korean-Style Seasoning
Even if you’re not a fan of K-Drama, you must have seen a fusion-y thing or two on a menu utilizing delicious Korean food flavors.
This delicious ground turkey bowl from EightyRecipes uses Korean chili flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic to make a truly spectacular dish.
The flavors are intense but not too spicy, and you can scale up the recipe for leftovers. Win-win!
11. Chili Seasoning
Who doesn’t love a warm bowl of chili with grated cheese and crackers (or tortilla chips) crushed on top?
I’ll go out on a limb and say no one.
Well, why not make your chili a tad bit healthier by substituting ground beef with ground turkey?
With these rich, warming spices, I guarantee you won’t taste the difference!
12. Meatloaf Seasoning
Meatloaf is a classic for a reason. It’s the epitome of comfort food that yanks us right out of the current moment to a beloved childhood memory.
That said, if you’ve made meatloaf, you know how much grease comes out of ground beef.
To avoid having to do the whole “chill and skim” routine, you should definitely try this turkey meatloaf recipe.
It’s every bit as flavorful and moist as traditional meatloaf.
The spicing from the onions to the marjoram and the Worcestershire sauce is just perfect.
13. Breakfast Sausage Seasoning
Last but certainly not least, you should definitely try making breakfast sausage with ground turkey.
The sage, thyme, and cloves are the essential flavors you get from breakfast sausage that you definitely won’t miss the pork!
It’s also super helpful to start with a measured recipe if you’re trying out different sausage styles.
You can do Italian sweet or spicy sausages next. We all know there’s fennel seed to look forward to.
14. Simply Balanced Salt and Pepper
Salt and pepper are a simple, yet surprisingly effective seasoning for any protein.
So if you’re making a turkey burger, going for the simplest seasoning could prove to be the best route to take.
That said, you should never skimp on the amount of salt needed to properly flavor your burgers, or else they’ll turn out exceptionally bland.
Here’s a quick recipe:
Turkey is pretty lean, unlike ground beef, so you’ll have to add a few ingredients to make the patties
- Taste like something.
- Tender and succulent, not bone dry.
- 1 lb ground turkey
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Oil & butter (to cook the patties)
- Buns, ketchup, mustard, and mayo
- Tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and pickles
- In a large bowl, break up the ground turkey into small pieces
- Add the breadcrumbs, egg, salt, and pepper to the bowl
- Mix with gloved hands until just combined
- Divide the mixture into 4–6 patties
- In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter
- Wait until the butter melts then add the turkey patties
- Cook until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F.
- Serve on a bun with any additional condiments and toppings you like.
Don’t forget to add some great toppings to your tasty turkey burger!
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Ground Turkey
1. Season Liberally
Salt is the most important seasoning you can add to any recipe.
If you don’t season your ground turkey enough, you won’t have a good time with it!
A great trick I learned when I was still starting out in the kitchen is to add the salt evenly over the protein, that way I’ll know how much salt covers the surface.
After a while, you’ll get a feeling for how much salt any kind of protein needs, which is a great skill to have in the kitchen.
2. Add Ingredients for Moisture
This is a huge help when you’re making turkey meatballs or burgers. Fillers!
Unlike the olden days when you’d add breadcrumbs or eggs to stretch the meat, you do it now for flavor and texture.
Ground turkey is extremely lean and has a tendency to dry out while cooking.
Adding fillers makes the turkey more moist and delicious, and saves you a couple of bucks, too!
3. Brown the Meat
People complaining about how bland, boring, and gray ground turkey is just don’t cook it properly!
Just like beef, turkey is a protein that can get some exceptional flavor from the Maillard reaction.
What’s that, you might ask?
It’s simply the browned, caramelized layer that forms on the surface of the meat.
It adds an amazing depth of flavor and improves the texture every time.
So next time you make turkey meatballs, brown them in a skillet first, and thank me later.
So what’s your favorite seasoning for ground turkey?
Any and everything can work! You can go traditional with Thanksgiving spices or kick things up a notch with a Thai Larb seasoning.
Ground turkey is a wonderful jumping-off point in any recipe. It’s super versatile and comes out delicious every time.
Best Seasoning for Ground Turkey: From Bland to Memorable
- Herbes De Provence
- Turkey Rub
- Celery Salt
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta
- Taco Seasoning
- Larb Seasoning
- Korean-Style Seasoning
- Chili Seasoning
- Meatloaf Seasoning
- Breakfast Sausage Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper
- Choose your desired seasoning recipe.
- Gather and organize needed ingredients.
- Create tasty seasonings for ground turkey to complete your meal!