12 Ways to Substitute Ground Turkey or Chicken for Ground Beef

Take unhealthy meats off the menu with these delish options.

Taking control of your weight or health? Fantastic! One basic step you can take toward creating a healthier, fitter body is by nourishing it with the right kind of meat. If your home has been eating from a red meat menu, it’s time to switch to ground beef substitutions. We’re sharing 12 ways to substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef.

Lean ground turkey is a healthy source of protein. For example, per ounce, it’s lower in calories and saturated fat than ground beef. And while ground turkey is lower in protein, the difference is only a couple of grams. Lean ground turkey is also surprisingly rich in calcium, offering about 37 grams in a 4-ounce serving. Always look at nutrition labels when purchasing ground turkey because some brands use a higher proportion of dark meat, raising the fat content.

In some areas, lean ground chicken isn’t as common on grocery store shelves. However, you can ask the meat department to grind chicken breast for you. Lean ground chicken is high in protein and offers less saturated fat than ground beef.

Ground chicken and ground turkey recipes are delicious and easy to prepare. Try one of our favorites tonight!

Check out How to Avoid Dry or Tough Meats in the Slow Cooker and DIY How to Defrost Meat Quickly.

1. Slow Cooker Turkey Stroganoff
We spruced up a classic recipe so it’s both tasty and healthy—and only 235 calories per serving.

2. Turkey Sloppy Joes

Don’t sacrifice taste to serve the family a nutritious meal. Our version uses 100% clean-eating ingredients to satisfy everyone at the table.

3. Slow Cooker Turkey Loaf
Lean ground turkey recipes like this one offer far less fat than beef, plus our take on this classic is made in the slow cooker for easy prep any day of the week.

4. Soft Chicken Tacos
Make taco night a nutritious night with ground beef substitutions like this recipe.  

5. Slow Cooker Lasagna
Use lean ground turkey to prepare this healthy lasagna recipe—always a family favorite.

6. Turkey Veggie Burger
Satisfy the burger hounds in your house with this burger recipe that’s big on taste, not fat.

7. Caribbean Mango Chicken Burgers
Here’s another yummy alternative to beef burgers; it’s super flavorful and made with whole ingredients you’ll feel great about serving.  

8. Easy Turkey Enchilada Skillet
Use ground turkey or chicken to prepare this delicious, easy-prep recipe.

9. Italian Meatballs

Whether you have a hankering for a meatball hoagie or want to “beef” up whole wheat spaghetti, ground turkey recipes like this one are a tasty alternative to less healthy meats.   

10. Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros
Ground beef substitutions never tasted so good—indulge in Greek-style yumminess without the guilt by putting this healthier gyro recipe on the menu.

11. Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Lean ground turkey makes this a delicious alternative to traditional cabbage roll recipes—it offers fewer than 220 calories in each 2-roll serving.  

12. Slow Cooker Cheesy Spaghetti with Homemade Sausage

This is a super-tasty alternative to regular ol’ spaghetti and meatballs because the sausage is made from lean ground turkey.  

Check out Skinny Ms. on Pinterest. We share recipes and meal planning resources, including Skinny Slow Cooker and Easy Recipes.

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Amy Wagner

Amy is a writer specializing in health & wellness, business, and entrepreneurship. She's a long-time martial arts teacher who has earned a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. When Amy's not writing or kicking, she's wrangling sons, reading fiction, or crushing on BBC actors.

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