HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


What's the verdict on turkey bacon?

Better for you than regular bacon?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Turkey bacon has a lot of sodium & tastes awful.

    3 Replies
    1. re: thymeoz

      Uh - REGULAR pork bacon "has a lot of sodium" as well. Also a LOT of fat.

      And unless you've eaten every single brand of turkey bacon out there (which I doubt), just as with pork bacon, there're a lot of differences in flavor. Not all pork bacon is up to snuff flavorwise either. Blanket generalizations really have no place when it comes to food.

      1. re: Bacardi1

        Bacardi1, could you recommend a turkey bacon that's exceptional. I'd welcome a brand that satisfies.

        So far I've tried store brand to turkey farmer and the level of induced smoke turns me off. The strips dry out very quickly off the griddle. The flavor beyond smoke is rather bland.

        But I'm open to hearing your recommendation on some spectacular turkey bacon I've missed out on. TIA!

        1. re: HillJ

          We've used turkey bacon for a number of years now. For years I used Butterball. Now I buy Oscar Meyer. I believe Butterball is a good product but I can't easily get it where I live now. I don't care for Jennio-O.

          I cook the bacon on a CI grill pan, and I get good results. If you cook turkey bacon too long it does get stiff, so strive for doneness just shy of stiffness. I also have had good results baking many strips at a time in the oven. I blot the bacon on a paper towel, before plating.

          I believe that Whole Foods also carries a turkey bacon, but I've never tried it. Try several brands to find the one that you like the best.

    2. I hate it with a passion. I'm currently staying in Kuala Lumpur, where it's largely Muslim and most restaurants have the "halal" certification, and so served turkey bacon in place of the real thing. Been encountering it on a regular basis for the past two years. HATE IT!

      1 Reply
      1. re: klyeoh

        I've encountered a lot of it in KL hotel breakfast buffets. It's not a pleasant experience. I eat it to be polite if I have to
        but avoidance is preferable.

      2. not sure if it's better for you than pork... My MIL is the only one I know who uses it - because she can't eat pork. I am not a fan. The taste and texture are very unpleasant.

          1. Define "better". One regular slice of bacon has 30-40 calories. That is not exactly a lot, even if you have 3-4 slices. And really, how much more bacon does one eat in one sitting?

            Oh, ok. Maybe 5 slices :-)

            1. It may be "better" for the body but most certainly not for the soul.

              1 Reply
              1. Gross. I don't know of any health benefit of eating turkey bacon compared to the center cut bacon that I eat. Sure I guess if you compare it to the big thick cut bacon it's healthier I suppose.

                I buy "Private Selection" brand center cut bacon, which is Kroger's fancy store brand, and 2 slices is only 50 calories, 4 g of fat (1.5 saturated). Hormel also makes one that is 70 calories, 5g of fat (2 saturated). The calorie amounts aren't THAT much different than regular bacon, but the fat content is a decent amount less, and it still tastes good.

                This is compared to say, 2 slices of Louis Rich turkey bacon, which has 70 calories, 5 g fat, )2 saturated). 2 slices of butterball brand is 50 calories, 3 g of fat (1 saturated)

                  1. I don't eat bacon that often, maybe twice a year. So I don't take into consideration the health benefits. In all honesty, I'd prefer my own pork belly smoked than anything in the stores, however, turkey bacon is my very last choice of all.

                    1. Ugh nasty. Turkey bacon is an insult to turkeys.

                      1. I thought I was doing something eating turkey bacon. I get the oscar meyer from costco. I don't love it, but it still tastes good on a BLT. Which I sometimes eat.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                          If it's only *sometimes*, you might as well go with good (actual) bacon.

                          1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                            One thing I've found in my research (I've lost a lot of weight in the past 16 months or so) is a lot of the old "ways" of eating/dieting healthy were rooted in ideas that aren't really true. Like... the whole 80s "low fat" stuff. Eating fat doesn't make you fat. In fact most "low fat" foods have a lot of crap in them that you don't want to be eating, or they replace the fat with sugar. My thoughts are.... eat the real thing, just don't eat too much of it.

                            1. re: juliejulez

                              True that! ALL things in moderation.......even coke.

                              1. re: grampart


                                I hope you mean.... coca cola :)

                                1. re: juliejulez

                                  Yes, that is a bigger issue with turkey bacon for me. It is too "processed" for me, similar to deli meat.

                                  Pork bacon comes from the side or belly from a pig. Where does turkey bacon come from? Ground up, heat pressed and molded bits of turkey meat would be my guess. I would also guess they don't choose the best cuts of the bird for that process either.

                                  I am not convinced that is "better", health-wise, but we each have our own idea of what is healthy.

                              2. I don't eat red meat so its good on a BLT..but it sure looks weird and ain't got nothing on bacon.

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: sarahendipity

                                    Some define red meat as the mammals and only eat fish and fowl.

                                    1. re: sarahendipity

                                      The Pork Council has done it's job. Someone gets a raise.

                                      But, yes. Pork may be white, but as melpy notes, it is considered red meat.

                                  2. I tried it a couple of years ago on the recommendation of a young woman who was a professional cheerleader. She thought it was Fabulous and said it's great to be able to eat bacon and still look like her. I wanted to like it. ;))

                                    I will never eat it again. I'd rather look like me. It might be "better for you" in terms of calories and fat, but it doesn't taste anything like bacon, or act like bacon in a recipe, or taste even acceptable.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Terrie H.

                                      Agree with you. In fact, why even use the term "bacon" to refer to processed turkey. It automatically generates comparison with the pork product. It also seems to suggest that the turkey one can be used as a substitute, which you really can't.

                                      1. re: M_Gomez

                                        I changed to eating good bacon but less often. Works for me.

                                    2. As long as so few responders as giving you a thumbs up on "turkey bacon," let me throw out the idea of "beef bacon," if you are not familiar with it.

                                      I stopped eating pork about 5-6+ years ago, I guess, and I thought turkey bacon might be the reasonable substitute when I had a craving for bacon or a good BLT. Nope,
                                      I'll join the negative reviewers.
                                      BUT I discovered beef bacon and the taste is reasonably close to pork bacon, and so we often seek out Gwaltney Beef Bacon in a blue package. I couldn't vouch that it is "better for you," but it meets our needs at this house.
                                      Florida Hound

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: Florida Hound

                                        I tried the beef bacon from Trader Joe's a year or so ago, and didn't like it at all. Very salty, jerky-like flavor. As I recall (it's been many years since I ate turkey bacon), I found turkey bacon better-tasting, and closer to the real stuff, than the beef version. I realized I don't eat enough bacon to deny myself the real thing.

                                        1. re: greygarious

                                          I agree, reminded me of jerky but didn't hate it, just different than pork bacon.

                                        2. re: Florida Hound

                                          I hope your switch from the pork product was for primarily religious reasons because from a health standpoint, the beef version is probably a lot worse for you.

                                          As for turkey bacon, the dark meat version is somewhat edible (barely) but the white meat version is just plain foul.

                                          1. re: The Professor

                                            I found an interesting website (2 articles, same site) that the O.P. might want to check out re: turkey bacon: Livestrong.com:


                                            That said, I went on to read some information at the same website that compared beef bacon fairly favorably, nutrition-wise, to regular bacon, Professor:


                                            "Gwaltney beef bacon has 35 calories in one cooked slice of bacon, according to The Daily Plate. A slice of beef bacon has fewer calories than a similar slice of pork bacon, based on information from FatSecret.com.

                                            "One cooked slice of Gwaltney beef bacon is 64 percent fat. If you eat two slices of bacon, you are consuming 70 calories and 50 of those calories are from saturated fat. According to MedlinePlus, saturated fat should be limited to 10 percent of the total calories. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to a high LDL, which is the "bad" cholesterol. High cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and lead to heart disease.

                                            "A slice of pork bacon has 43 total calories with 30 calories from saturated fat -- that's 71 percent of the calories. Two slices of pork bacon have 86 calories compared to the two slices of beef bacon that have only 70 calories."

                                            So, they conclude, "Beef bacon may be a healthier alternative to the pork bacon."

                                        3. I've never tried a brand of turkey bacon that I've liked. To me..bacon is one of those foods that you don't fool around with because nothing is going to be as good as the original.

                                          If you want a breakfast meat based in turkey..stick with turkey sausage.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: BlueMagic

                                            I was just going to add that turkey sausage can be delicious. :)

                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                              In a world without pigs, turkey would be king? ;-)

                                              1. re: grampart


                                                i do love me some real pork-y bacon goodness! But, on a day to day basis, I have Jimmy Dean's pre-cooked turkey sausage crumbles in my freezer. I think the flavor is really good, very similar to their pork sausage products, and it's very convenient to throw a bit in my morning eggs. When i don't eat oatmeal... ;)

                                                1. re: grampart

                                                  In the world of birds, Turkey is the "pork" of birds.

                                                2. re: jujuthomas

                                                  LOVE turkey sausages; chicken too! And there are so many absolutely fabulous artisinal varieties/flavors available now. Practically anything you can think of.

                                                  We have a local farm store that makes amazing "Buffalo-Style Chicken Sausages" - really spicy. I love turning them into sub sandwiches with the bread spread with blue-cheese dressing & shredded iceburg lettuce. Wonderful stuff. Same store also makes a "Red Wine & Garlic" chicken sausage that is absolutely sublime paired with pasta in a light sauce.

                                                  As for turkey sausages, I have some excellent spicy "Southwestern-Style" in the freezer, that I'll be slicing up & serving on spicy-flavored Devil's Angel Hair pasta soon. Also some "Maple & Apple" that will be making their way to a date with some waffles for breakfast.

                                                  And as for turkey bacon, I'll continue to buy & use it whenever/wherever bacon is called for in recipes. Hubby likes it, & that's all that counts for me.

                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                    we had a really good chicken sausage from whole foods recently. cant remember what exactly the flavor was, just remember we liked it. :)

                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                      Yes - Whole Foods has some really nice house-made chicken sausages. We really enjoy their "Spinach & Feta" variety, along with a southwestern flavor as well. Oh, & their hot Italian chicken sausage. Great stuff.

                                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                                        If you have Sprouts in your area (I call it the poor man's whole foods!), they have some pretty nice house made chicken sausage as well, and it frequently goes on sale for 2.99/lb. I use their spicy italian chicken sausage whenever a recipe requires for italian sausage and it's delicious.

                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                          you mentioned Sprouts in another thread recently. I've never heard of it - would love a "poor man's whole foods" around here! :-D

                                                          1. re: jujuthomas

                                                            Yeah I love it! There's no Trader Joe's here yet (in the process of building) so it's nice to have a store that has more unique things that doesn't cost an arm and a leg like Whole Foods. Their meat etc is probably not as high of quality as Whole Foods, and I believe their produce, while cheap, is grocery store "seconds"... ie weird shapes or older or on the smaller side. But most of the time it works out just fine for me. I got organic fuji apples there the other day for $1.25/lb... they're $5/lb at my normal store.

                                              2. Turkey "bacon" is a total thumbs DOWN for me. Don't know why I even tried it... musta had a GOOD coupon?? Dogs loved it!?! Bought turkey "Italian Saisage" ONE time... again musta either been super on sale or had a great coupon. Bought some nice rolls in anticipation of sausage and pepper sandwiches. Smelled and looked great. Texture was NOT right, for me anyway. And flavor... all I could taste was sage? I fished the sausages out of the sauce and replaced with REAL Italian PORK sausage... again, dogs loved the t-sausage.

                                                1. Rea bacon is much better tasting, but when I was doing Weight Watchers, I would buy and eat and "enjoy" turkey bacon but ONLY because it has fewer "points."

                                                  It is a processed food that I put up with temporarily. The dark meat version is somewhat better than the white meat version. Center cut pork bacon, while more expensive than both turkey and regular bacon, is similar in "points."

                                                  Once I stopped that diet, I went back to real bacon. One slice is usually sufficient to satisfy. Or I go with Canadian bacon.

                                                  1. I'll take "parsnip bacon" over turkey bacon any day

                                                    5 Replies
                                                        1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                          I have never tried it, and until this post started, had never heard of it. But try this link: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pa...
                                                          and you'll find "crisp, salty, and smoky vegetable strips, from chef Quinn Hatfield of Hatfields in L.A." The ingredients seem simple and logical enough: 1 large parsnip, vegetable oil, and smoked salt.

                                                          1. re: Florida Hound

                                                            All these manufacturers insist on calling their product bacon and therein lies the rub. Once they open themselves up to the inevitable comparison, they lose.

                                                        2. I love bacon but don't eat it regularly. When I do, I want the real thing.

                                                          I can see that turkey bacon could be desirable if bacon were a steady part of one's diet, but I haven't tried one that I like well enough to eat alone.

                                                          1. I cook mine in the oven for 10-15 min, to make it crispy. If I think of it as turkey jerky it's fine. It's not bacon though.

                                                            1. I don't love turkey bacon plain, but I do have one recipe that I've subbed it for regular bacon with success. It's an old recipe from the original Crockpot cookbook that involves wrapping a chicken breast in bacon, covering it with a mixture of cream of mushroom soup and sour cream, and slow cooking it. The regular bacon was just flabby and icky, but the turkey bacon gave the dish that bit of smoky bacon ish flavor, and the texture of it just melded with the texture of the chicken breast.
                                                              The original recipe had the boneless breasts stuffed with a bit of dried beef, too, but that made it too salty for me.

                                                              1. Mr.Sueatmo asked me to cook this after his bypass about 12 years ago. It is a little lower in fat than regular bacon, but check the label. We like Oscar Meyer the best; after that I'd choose Butterball.

                                                                We have gotten used to the taste. I learned to make it in a grill pan. If I eat breakfast out, and order bacon, I am often irritated by the twisted up half burned pieces that are served. But turkey bacon will never be as good as really nice thick, peppered bacon cooked properly and blotted for excess fat. That is the best.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: sueatmo

                                                                  What does the grill pan do? I'm surprised so many hate it. It's not that bad. It's good like I said in a BLT and on baked potato etc...

                                                                2. Honestly, I've had a lot of varieties and I think it's all positively awful. I would rather eat a vegetarian meal than one with turkey bacon. That being said, I've found some veggie sausages aren't that bad, so when I'm looking for a lower fat breakfast alternative, I go with a veggie or chicken sausage. But I think turkey bacon is just nasty.