Can Babies Eat Turkey? Ground, Deli Meat + More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Turkey is a nutritious protein source that comes in many forms, from ground to deli-style and more. This article will cover how to give your baby turkey safely. 

Overall, turkey is safe for your baby at six months old as long as it is fully cooked and served in the appropriate texture for your baby’s age. However, high-sodium turkey products, such as deli meat, should be provided only in moderation. 

Read on for more information on safely preparing turkey for your baby, nutritional information, and more. 

Can Babies Eat Ground Turkey? When is it Safe? 

Ground turkey is safe for your baby at six months old as long as the turkey is cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (source: United States Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

Whether you are using your own ground meat or store-bought, it is important to use a metal stem-type thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey, especially ground turkey. This is because ground meats have increased surface area for bacteria to live.

cooking ground turkey meat in frying pan

When your baby reaches six months old, they can have pureed turkey that has a thin and watery consistency — more on this below (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia).

At seven through nine months of age, your baby can then have thicker purees. Finally, at ten months old, your baby is ready for soft and chewable chunks of food. Therefore, you can serve finger foods such as tender, soft, bite-sized pieces of ground turkey. 

Let’s summarize this information in the table below (source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). 

Age in MonthsCan Your Baby Have Ground Turkey?
6Yes, pureed to a thin and watery consistency.
7Yes, pureed to a thicker consistency.
8Yes, pureed to a thicker consistency.
9Yes, pureed to a thicker consistency.
10Yes, soft and bite-sized pieces are safe. 
11Yes, soft and bite-sized pieces are safe. 
12Yes, soft and bite-sized pieces are safe. 

How Do You Serve Ground Turkey to Babies? 

Once your baby reaches ten months old, it can transition from pureed turkey to soft and chewable pieces of meat.

When cooking ground turkey, limit the amount of sodium and excess fat you are adding in. You could even experiment with different spices and herbs, such as a bit of garlic or lemon. If you can, avoid buying frozen ground turkey and other turkey products with a lot of salt in them.

Additionally, ground turkey can be an option for baby-led weaning. The turkey crumbles can easily be picked up by your baby and brought to their mouth to feed themself. Pair your baby’s ground turkey with soft fruits or vegetables for a balanced well-rounded meal or snack. These combinations can also introduce your baby to more variety in texture and flavor. 

Can Babies Eat Pureed Turkey? 

Pureed turkey is safe for babies once they are at least six months old. When pureeing turkey, make sure it is fully cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit first. Then puree or blend with some breast milk or infant formula to make the puree into the appropriate thinness for your baby’s age. 

Can Babies Eat Turkey Deli Meat? 

Babies who are at least ten months old can have very small pieces of turkey deli meat or turkey hot dogs, with some safety considerations. To reduce the risk of foodborne illness from eating turkey deli meats or turkey hot dogs, such as listeria, ensure you reheat it to steaming hot or to 165 degrees Fahrenheit (source: FDA). 

Also, turkey deli salad is a popular side dish. However, it is best to stick with fresh turkey salad made at home rather than turkey salad from a store, restaurant, or deli (source: FDA). 

It is important to note that turkey deli meat and turkey hot dogs are often high in sodium, so opt for the low-sodium varieties and only serve them in moderation. 

cooking turkey bacon on a pan

Is it Safe to Give Babies Turkey Bacon or Sausage? 

Turkey bacon and turkey sausage are also safe food for baby. However, just make sure it is pureed or chopped up in an age-appropriate way for them (see the table above). Follow the directions on the product packaging carefully to ensure that the product is cooked thoroughly at 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Similar to deli meat, turkey bacon and sausage are often very high in sodium, so opt for low-sodium varieties here as well. 

Is Turkey Good for Babies? The Nutritional Benefits

Turkey is an excellent source of protein that is needed to help your baby grow and develop. Turkey also contains some vitamins and minerals, including iron (source: United States Department of Agriculture). Iron is important in the health of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. 

Overall, turkey is a nutritious option for your baby, as long as you avoid turkey products that are high in salt and saturated fat content.

I hope this article helped provide guidelines for preparing and serving turkey to your baby.