Tacos, meatballs, spaghetti sauce... All of them have one thing in common, and that tends to be ground beef. However, with the ongoing concern over the health of American society as a whole, the debate of ground turkey vs ground beef has become more and more prominent when making every day choices for meals.

mince, cereal, ground beef, oatmeal, beef, meat
Alex Frank

My family is one of those who have explored ground turkey vs ground beef, and we've found little differences in taste, as long as you cook it right. We tend to mix ground turkey into spaghetti sauce, but keep ground beef in our tacos.

But we've never really paused to consider which is actually healthier, regardless of the taste. Common knowledge says that turkey is lighter than beef, therefore healthier, but let's dig into the facts before the overwhelming majority influences our decisions. 

BeefNutrition compared USDA's data on 93% lean/7% cooked patties, one made with ground turkey, the other with ground beef. Here is what they found. 


Rachel Davis

In terms of caloric content, ground turkey and ground beef stack up pretty evenly. Surprisingly enough, it's the turkey patty that came with more calories, 176 compared to the 162 found in the beef version.


bacon, lettuce, cheese
Karen Tran

The matchup of ground turkey vs ground beef turns now to the protein content in each. This category comes to a deadlock, with each patty matching the other with 22 grams of protein per serving.

Saturated Fat

Turkey burger fans, rejoice. By switching to a turkey patty rather than a beef one, you'll save yourself more unhealthy fats than you would if you were eating a beef burger - about 4% of your recommended daily amount, which seems small, but can really add up in the long run.


salsa, meat, chili, vegetable, tacos
Dylan Stilin

If you watch your macros and micros, these patties are, again, pretty much equal. Don't worry too much about the differences in Zinc, Iron, and Vitamin C, because across the board, they'll both give you almost the exact same benefits.

With these basic facts in mind, still be cautious and wary of your purchases. Overall, ground turkey is still seen to be more healthy than beef. However, it really depends on the lean meat to fatty meat ratio that you find in the ground turkey or beef that you purchase. Typically, light meat turkey will always be leaner than dark meat turkey and beef.

cheese, bun, beef, cheddar, lettuce
Maria Wang

Some people say that by picking turkey, you lose the taste and it sometimes becomes flavorless. However, I find that to be false, especially when using it in sauces, soups, tacos, or casseroles. Seasoning is always necessary for ground meats, and if you're cautious about sodium intake, there are great low-sodium seasonings, such as Mrs. Dash.

Another thing to be wary of when you are choosing turkey is how much dark meat is in the ground turkey. A mix of both light and dark is the perfect combination for both your health and your tastebuds. 

Though the overwhelming opinions out there say that in the comparison of ground turkey vs ground beef, that turkey is healthier, there is not much difference, unless you're vigilant about your purchases. If you're worried about losing flavor, try these packed with flavor, homemade turkey burgers for a weeknight dinner. And I promise, I haven't noticed a difference since making the switch.