Turkey Bacon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Turkey bacon, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

If you’re a bacon purist, you may not believe that “real” bacon could come from anything other than pork. But in recent years, amid concerns over red meat’s impact on heart disease risk—and a general desire to eat healthier—many consumers have turned to turkey bacon as a lighter alternative to the traditional breakfast meat. While it does have fewer calories and less saturated fat than bacon made from pork, turkey bacon is still a processed meat product. Since it contains saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates, it should be eaten in moderation.

Turkey Bacon Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for two slices of turkey bacon (16g) prepared in the microwave.

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 4.2g
  • Sodium: 328mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.7g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Protein: 4.8g

Carbs

Other than added flavorings and preservatives, turkey bacon is 100% meat, so it contains almost no carbohydrates. Some brands list up to 1/2 gram of carbohydrate per two-slice serving, which likely comes from sugar added for sweetness.

Fats

Two slices of turkey bacon contain anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 grams of fat, broken down into about two-thirds unsaturated and one-third saturated fat.

Protein

At 4.8 grams per serving, turkey bacon contributes a meaningful amount of protein to your daily diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

The primary micronutrient found in turkey bacon is sodium. Depending on how it’s preserved and processed, turkey bacon can contain up to about 328 milligrams of sodium, which is 14% of the recommended daily amount (RDA).

People on a low-sodium diet may need to be mindful of how much turkey bacon they consume. Sodium content may vary by brand, but most turkey bacon contains minimally lower amounts than pork.

Other nutrients in turkey bacon include small amounts of B vitamins and zinc. Certain vitamins, like selenium, vitamin B12, and niacin, are more abundant in regular bacon.

Health Benefits

Compared to pork bacon, turkey bacon does offer some advantages, particularly when it comes to fat content.

Pork Bacon (1 slice)

  • 40 calories

  • 3g total fat; 1g saturated fat

  • 3g protein

Turkey Bacon (1 slice)

  • 30 calories

  • 2g total fat; 0.5g saturated fat

  • 2g protein

Current recommendations from the American Heart Association suggest that no more than 5% to 6% of daily calories should come from saturated fat. If you eat about 2,000 calories a day, that translates to 13 grams of saturated fat. You could eat a few more slices of turkey bacon (vs. pork) and stay under your limit, depending on what else you eat in a day.

Despite these advantages, turkey bacon is still considered processed meat, and according to the World Health Organization, all processed meats should be eaten sparingly.

As with any packaged food, one of the best ways to ensure you choose the healthiest option available is to read nutrition facts labels. When grocery shopping, compare the numbers and values on these panels of various turkey bacon products. Pay special attention to sodium and saturated fat content, as these tend to be the nutrients of most concern in turkey bacon.

Allergies

For most people, turkey bacon is unlikely to cause any allergenic reactions. If you’re able to eat both turkey meat and pork bacon without issue, you’re probably in the clear to enjoy turkey bacon. However, some additives may pose problems for those with food sensitivities. If you know you need to avoid synthetic nitrates, don't consume turkey bacon. When in doubt, consult with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Adverse Effects

A common concern many people have about regular bacon is its nitrate content. When these preservatives enter the body, they’re converted into compounds called nitrites, which have been linked to cancer.

All types of bacon—turkey included—is processed with nitrates, whether the synthetic kind or “natural” kinds like celery juice. (The body doesn’t distinguish between synthetic and naturally occurring nitrates, so it really doesn’t matter which type you consume.) On the plus side, however, scientists are still sorting out exactly whether nitrates are the real underlying link between processed meats and cancer.

Some believe that it’s the heme iron and high cooking temperatures, rather than nitrates, that make bacon carcinogenic. Turkey bacon’s lower content of heme iron might mean it’s less carcinogenic than pork.

Varieties

There are two types of turkey bacon, and they come from different parts of the bird. The first is made from ground white and dark meats from various sections of the turkey. This mixture is brined and sliced into strips.

The second version of turkey bacon is made with larger chunks of dark meat from turkey thighs, which are tumbled in a flavoring solution until they cohere into a mass. This mass is then sliced and packaged.

Storage and Food Safety

Turkey bacon must be stored in the refrigerator. Because turkey is poultry, it should be cooked to a higher temperature than pork. Poultry is considered safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas pork only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees. Check the package label for safe handling instructions; these are required by U.S. law.

How to Prepare

In general, you can cook turkey bacon the same way you would cook pork bacon; pan-frying, baking, and microwaving are all recommended. The length of time required to cook turkey bacon to doneness may differ from pork, however, so be sure to follow package instructions.

Cooking with turkey bacon may involve a bit of a learning curve if you’ve only ever used the traditional variety of pork bacon. While it can easily stand in for pork bacon in many recipes, don’t expect to be a perfect substitute. Because of its lower fat content, turkey bacon may not get as crispy as pork, and may not crumble as easily. Still, for salty, meaty flavor with fewer calories and fat, it’s an alternative worth exploring.

Recipes

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bacon, turkey, microwaved. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. American Heart Associated. The American Heart Association diet and lifestyle recommendations. Updated August 15, 2017.

  3. World Health Organization. Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat. Updated October 2015.

  4. National Cancer Institute. Nitrate. Updated February 2019.