Turkey time! Here’s how to make doggone delish and extra crispy dehydrated turkey mince dog treats. This easy homemade turkey dog treat recipe is double cooked to create crunchy turkey biscotti bites. It requires a little time, but most of that is hands-off for baking and dehydrating. Otherwise, it’s a simple treat to make and can be easily adjusted for different flavour combinations.
Making Homemade Biscotti Dog Treats
We’re not baking biscotti cookies for dipping in our puppuccinos, although these would probably be a tasty dog-friendly option, if you’re keen! We’re borrowing the the term biscotti as being twice cooked or baked for the double heating steps used to make these dehydrated turkey mince dog treats. Like biscotti, our batter is first baked, then sliced, and then heated again to make dry and crunchy treats. It’s a handy method to make our batter easier to shape and position on dehydrator trays than trying to dehydrate these ingredients from raw. It also does double duty as a pre-heat food safety step for the raw minced meat in these treats, making the finished treats safer to handle and enjoy.
This recipe was created to be double processed, but you can use this method of double-heating to make other types of homemade dog treats extra crunchy. It works particularly well for baked biscuits. I usually bake our biscuits as pre-cut shapes, but the simple shortcuts for bulk baking biscuit dog treats show examples of easy pan bake, slice, and (optional) re-bake or dehydrate methods much like we’re using here. You can use a food dehydrator (affiliate link) for the second step or put the treats on a baking sheet and pop them back into the oven.
Using Mince (Ground Meat) to Make Dog Treats
Ways to Use Mince for Making Homemade Dog Treats
Mince (ground meat) can be a versatile and affordable option for making meat-based dog treats or as a meaty addition to other types of homemade dog treats and snacks. Often in our recipe posts we’re using raw cuts of whole meat or fish to make jerky-style dog treats or minces to make meatloaf cakes and meatball dog treats. Minces can also be pre-cooked and added to batters for chunky-style baked biscuit dog treats, just like other finely chopped cooked meats. They can also be used raw in the dough mixtures for biscuits or cakes.
Making Jerky-Style Treats with Mince
Making jerky with mince is possible, but it’s not as easy or as portable for pocket-treats as sliced muscle meat. It tends to be fragile, and you need to ensure that the meat is really lean to avoid a greasy crumbly mess. It’s also difficult to form into nice thin pieces and get them onto trays for dehydrating. You can use a special jerky gun (affiliate link), try to replicate a similar function with a cookie press or piping bag, or do your best effort by hand. Be forewarned, my husband thought my hand-formed log attempts looked like dehydrated poop treats. Sigh…
The best results I’ve had so far is by cutting hard-pressed cubes or logs of lean mince (easiest from semi-frozen) into thin slices for dehydrating into crispy treats. You can even use ready-to-serve raw dog food mince cubes or rounds if they’re small enough (or if you cut them to size) as long as the ingredients are safe and suitable. The firmer the mince mixture is pressed into shape (and the cleaner the cuts if slicing), the less crumbly and brittle the finished dehydrated treats will be. And yes, I’ll add a post to our to-do list!
Creating a Custom Dehydrated Mince Biscotti Dog Treat Mixture
These dehydrated turkey mince dog treats draw from our experiments with dehydrating eggs and sliced omelette bites. The recipe was also inspired by our puppy pal Cooper’s owner, who bakes blended liver cake and slices it into small pieces for his treats. She mentioned using coconut flour in a recent batch and that the scents made Cooper extra crazy for his liver cake bites. I’ve seen the crazy eyes in action, pulling out every trick he knows in the hopes of getting rewarded. Liver isn’t something I use in our purine-moderated Dali diet, but there are lots of other meats for experimenting. Turkey has been high on our hit list recently as mentioned in Humphrey’s turkey and apple birthday cake post.
I started with lean ground turkey, combined it with cooked carrot and raw egg, and processed them to create a smooth puree. The smoother the puree, the easier it will be to slice cleanly and handle without crumbles. The thick puree could be baked as-is, but I’m using a little extra flour to help soak up any juices during baking and create a firmer biscuit texture. I usually combine oats with mince when making dog treats, but I’m using coconut flour here, inspired by Cooper. Hehe. If you’re switching for oats, grind them or use an oat flour to keep your mixture super smooth. You also might like to add a little extra for oats or other flours. Coconut flour is very absorbent, so a little goes a long way.
Dehydrated Turkey Mince Biscotti Dog Treat Recipe
Homemade Double-Baked Extra Crunchy Turkey Dog Treats
These dehydrated turkey mince dog treats combine tasty turkey with cooked carrot, egg, coconut flour, and optional extra seasonings to create a thick batter that’s first baked, then sliced, and then heated again in a dehydrator until the treats are dry and crunchy. The carrot can be swapped for a similar quantity of other smoothly pureed dog-friendly vegetables, noting that texture and/or crunch may vary. Seasonings are optional and can also be swapped. See the notes above on creating a custom mixture, and refer to the treat making tips and tricks at the end of the recipe post for other helpful hints.
- Approximately 400g lean ground turkey (or other meat of your preference), thawed if using from frozen
- 2 carrots, washed, trimmed, pre-cooked, and cooled to room temperature
- 2 eggs
- Dog-friendly seasonings (optional). I used Ceylon cinnamon and ginger in the pictured batch of treats.
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
I’d usually reach for pumpkin when making a puree for this sort of treat, but cooked carrot is a very easy option for small-batch prep if you’re starting with fresh veggies. If you’re swapping the turkey for another meat, keep it lean. A fattier mince will be greasier when baked and alter the texture, handling, and dehydration. You can use whole meat as long as you have the ability to finely process it into a smooth puree.
The carrot should be washed, trimmed, cooked and cooled before you start prepping the batter. For speed when prepping from fresh, I microwaved my carrot in rough chunks, covered to retain moisture. If you’re using prepared frozen puree instead, defrost for use at room temperature. Cooked and cooled leftover (or made to share) carrots are ok too, as long as they’re unseasoned.
Preparing the Batter:
- Preheat your oven to 180C (or local equivalent) and gather together your baking ingredients and materials. Line your baking pan with baking parchment or similar for easy removal (and clean-up).
- Combine the turkey, carrot, eggs, and any optional seasonings in a food processor. Pulse to combine, and then puree into a smooth mix.
- Transfer to a suitable mixing bowl. Add the coconut flour and mix thoroughly. You can adjust the quantity and/or use additional flour to create a consistency that you like, and the aim is to thicken up the puree but still keep a spreadable texture.
- Spoon the puree mixture into your prepared lined pan and gently spread out into a thin, smooth, even layer. I used a spatula to incrementally press and spread my turkey mixture into my pan, with extra attention to edges and corners to be as even as possible.
Baking the Batter:
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes (time will depend on size, thickness, and moisture), until cooked through and set firm.
- Remove from the oven to cool and further firm-up. You can start preparing for the next step when it’s cool enough to easily handle.
Dehydrating the Turkey Biscotti:
- Using the baking parchment, lift the baked mixture out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
- Slice the baked mixture into the desired size. I’m showing two examples in the photos here. Little bite sized squares and longer crunchy treat strips. Alternatively, cutting into multi-square dog treat bars with scoring could be an option if you’re feeling extra creative.
- Transfer the pieces carefully onto your dehydrator rack(s).
- Dehydrate according to your specific machine’s instructions and settings. I used the standard setting for meat on my dehydrator, checking on a regular basis. Dry time will depend on size, moisture, settings, and preferences. Mine took around 6 hours.
- Once the treats are dehydrated crisp enough for your liking, allow them to cool before serving and storage. Although I caught Dogdad giving Humphrey and his visiting furfriends sneaky samples out of the dehydrator partway through making this batch of treats.
As noted above, if you don’t have a food dehydrator (affiliate link) for the second step, you can use your oven to mimic the function of a dehydrator. You can put the treats on a lined baking try and flip them periodically for exposure, but putting them on a heat-safe rack over the tray is easier, if you have one. You might want to check your rack gap sizes before cutting the treats to make sure they won’t slip through.
Additional Treat Making Tips and Tricks
- Sniffing around new treat making territory? A great starting point is the comprehensive post on making and storing dehydrated dog treats. It will take you through the basics of dehydrating treats, different types of dehydrated treats, food safety, and treat storage tips.
- Treats like these are ok briefly at room temperature or short-term in the fridge, but freezing is the safest option for longer term storage. Homemade dog treats don’t have any preservatives and usually have a much shorter shelf life than commercial treats. Most are best enjoyed fresh or frozen for defrosting in small quantities. To preserve the crunch of dry treats, you’ll want to keep moist ambient air out of any fresh storage containers and try to avoid condensation when defrosting.
- As noted above, the initial baking step of these treats does a double duty of heating the ingredients to safe wet-heat temperatures for consumption and handling, which can sometimes be a concern when dehydrating raw meats.
- There’s no need to add extra seasonings to the tasty scents of turkey, carrot, and coconut. I just couldn’t resist adding some extra zip to the coconut scent. Other dog-friendly herbs, spices, or flavourings could be easily swapped. Dried rosemary (another dog fav here) would be a great pairing, but also a little chunkier in the mix unless you ground it before adding it to the puree.
Bandana? Bib? Both?
Eagle eyes might have spotted (hehehe) the paisley bandana in our photos. Humphrey’s dapper and drool buffering biscotti bandana bib that is one of our many homemade dog bandanas. It’s a DIY serged edge dog bandana from a simple fold-over square of gorgeous fabric. So cute, but also so easy! There are lots of different DIY dog bandanas in our archives, including different sewing techniques and no-sew styles.
The colours in this blue and orange paisely really suit Humphrey. And coordinate beautifully with our biscotti, too. Haha! Like many of our bandanas, it’s versatile for wearing any time, but also has great seasonal shades. It’s springtime here, but our northern furfriends are slipping into autumn and all the lovely colours that come with the change of seasons. Turkey always makes me think of Thanksgiving, no matter where I am in the world or what season it might be for me. And as far as Humphrey is concerned, any time is a great time for turkey.
Hungry for more tasty treats? There are all sorts of homemade dog treat ideas in our blog archives. You can use the category and tag labels to find other recipes that might be of interest or use our internal search tools to find something specific. Remember, treats (bought or homemade) are for spoiling your pup in moderation. We share ideas from treats that we’ve made ourselves for our pets, but different animals have different preferences (likes/dislikes), just like people. Some pets may have special dietary requirements and/or food allergies/intolerances. If you are ever in doubt or have questions about what’s suitable for your pet, have a chat with your trusted vet.