Do you shy away from turkey burgers because they're dry and bland? Yep, me too! That's why I've been working for over a year to make a turkey burger that's easy to make, tastes amazing, and isn't dry. I have to say, these are the tastiest turkey burgers I've ever had! If you want to mix things up and try a healthier burger, give this one a try.
Are Turkey Burgers Healthy?
These healthy burgers are juicy and packed with flavor. Turkey is naturally lean and high in protein to fill you up and keep you satisfied. They're also so easy to make using just a few simple ingredients.
Is a turkey burger healthier than a hamburger? Ground turkey burgers are a healthier alternative to ground beef hamburgers. Turkey is naturally lower in saturated fat and high in protein. It's also an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering niacin (also known as vitamin B3), the antioxidant selenium, calcium, potassium, and zinc.
But because turkey meat is lean—and poultry needs to be cooked all the way through before consuming—it's also very easy to dry out. The key to preventing this is to amp up the flavor and moisture in your turkey burger recipe with healthy ingredients.
Top Tips for Making a Better Turkey Burger
So how do you get a tasty, juicy turkey burger that's still healthy?
- Ground turkey often comes in two options: 99% lean and 93% lean. Start with ground turkey meat that’s 93% lean, which is still lean and the extra natural fat will help prevent it from drying out. If you only have the 99% lean option available, no problem! Add an extra tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to your meat mixture to add a little good fat back in.
- Add spices for better flavor.
- Use mix-ins that contain moisture (I use natural ketchup), fresh herbs, and water-rich vegetables (like red onions, spinach, carrots, or zucchini) to add moisture as well as vitamin A and vitamin C.
- Chill your patties for at least 15 minutes before cooking to ensure patties are easy to handle and hold together better.
You’ll want a medium or large bowl to really mix the ingredients together before chilling them.
Is a turkey burger expensive? Turkey patties can be more expensive at restaurants than beef burgers, but making them at home can be inexpensive and easy.
If you’re looking for extra heat, you can also add hot red peppers, chipotle, or jalapeños into the patties or on top.
No More Boring Turkey Burgers
These burgers are so easy to make! All you need to do is mix a pound of lean ground turkey meat with a few simple ingredients. The condiments and spices add a great umami taste to the meat while helping to keep it moist and juicy.
I don’t use breadcrumbs like some other recipes; they only add empty carbohydrates and make things more difficult for my gluten-free readers.
For these flavorful burgers, I use:
- Green onions (you can substitute any onion you want)
- Garlic (not garlic powder)
- Natural ketchup (I like Sir Kensington's; I get it on Thrive Market)
- Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), or coconut aminos (you can also use sugar-free Worcestershire sauce)
- Sea salt and pepper
And that's it! Just make your patties and chill them for at least 15 minutes and you're ready to go.
What's the best way to cook a turkey burger? I find the best way to cook a turkey burger is on the stovetop in a cast-iron pan because it gives them a flat surface to form a nice golden brown crust. Just be sure to let it preheat over medium-high heat for a few minutes and add at least 2 tablespoons of oil to help them cook. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side or until the center reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
You can also make turkey burgers on a grill—if you choose that option be sure to heat the grill to a high heat and oil the grates to prevent them from sticking (if using a grill, the best option might be to put a cast-iron skillet directly on the grill). Again, cook for about 5-6 minutes per side. Then, just top with your favorite ingredients like cheese, lettuce, onions, and ketchup, and enjoy!
Customizing Your Turkey Burger Patties
This basic recipe is also easily adaptable! With just a few simple tweaks you can customize the burger to match your craving. Here are just a few ideas.
What toppings do you put on a turkey burger? You can change the bun and toppings on a turkey burger easily to keep things interesting. Some of my favorite ideas include:
- Gluten-Free Burgers: Use your favorite gluten-free hamburger buns. Or skip the bun and use lettuce as a wrap to go low-carb.
- Greek Turkey Burgers: Add a cup of chopped fresh spinach and some oregano to your turkey burger meat. Then top your cooked patties with feta cheese, Tzatziki sauce, and some sliced cucumbers and fresh dill.
- Asian Turkey Burgers: Add ¼ cup shredded carrots to your burger patties. And top your burger with some crunchy slaw tossed in my Thai Peanut Sauce, a few chopped roasted cashews, and some cilantro.
A Few More Helpful Suggestions
- Oil Your Grill (or Pan): To keep your burgers from sticking to your grill or grill pan, make sure to generously oil the grill grates. If you're using a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. My favorite is extra virgin olive oil. You can also use avocado oil or grapeseed oil. I would avoid coconut oil here unless you want your burgers to taste like coconut.
- Use a Metal Spatula: Keep your burger patties from falling apart by using a sturdy spatula to flip your burgers. If your grill or pan is well oiled, they should flip easily if you let them cook for 5-6 minutes without touching them on each side. Let them form a nice golden brown crust before flipping.
- Cook Your Burgers: Make sure to cook your burgers all the way through (until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit). If you're unsure, you can use an instant-read meat thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, make sure it's completely opaque all the way through.
- Make-Ahead Instructions: You can make your patties a few hours ahead of time and keep them covered in your refrigerator.
This is the best turkey burger recipe out there! These easy-to-make burgers are healthy and super flavorful. And you can make them on a grill or on the stovetop (I prefer the stovetop in a cast-iron pan). If you make these, make sure to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you!
- 1 pound (93 percent lean) ground turkey*
- ¼ cup finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)
- 1–2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
- 2 tablespoons ketchup (I like Sir Kensington's brand)
- 1 tablespoon tamari** (or coconut aminos, low-sodium soy sauce, or sugar-free Worcestershire sauce)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
- a few spins of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or other healthy cooking oil) for the pan
- Burger buns of your choice, or romaine lettuce leaves for a bunless burger
- Topping ideas: cheese of your choice, lettuce, onions, sliced tomatoes, natural ketchup, and/or mustard (or see variation ideas below)
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix the turkey meat, diced onions, minced garlic, ketchup, tamari, salt, and pepper. Your clean hands work best to mix it all together.
- Using your hands, form into 4 patties each about ¾-inch-to-1-inch thick. The meat will be wet. You can lightly coat your hands in oil, if needed, to help form the patties.
- Let the patties chill in your refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, up to 2 hours. (Don't skip this! It helps them hold together.)
- In the meantime, heat your cast-iron pan over medium-high heat (or your grill to about 450°F if you're grilling outside). Generously oil your grill or grill pan grates (or add 1 tablespoon oil to your skillet, if using).
- Add burger patties and cook untouched for 5-6 minutes.
- Using a sturdy spatula, flip the burgers and continue cooking until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, another 5-6 minutes.
- If you're adding cheese, add to the top of the patties in the last minute of cooking.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for a minute or two. Serve on buns or lettuce wraps with condiments of your choice.
*If you only have or prefer 99% lean ground turkey, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the turkey burger mixture to add a little fat back in to prevent it from drying out and sticking to the pan.
**Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce. "Coconut aminos" is a gluten-free, vegan liquid seasoning sauce made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt. It tastes similar to Worchester sauce or soy sauce and adds a great umami flavor.
You want to use real onion and garlic, not garlic or onion powder. The taste is remarkably better with fresh ingredients.
- Gluten-Free Burgers: Use your favorite gluten-free burger buns. Or skip the bun and use lettuce as a wrap.
- Greek-Style Turkey Burgers: Add a cup of finely chopped fresh spinach and ¼ teaspoon dried oregano to your turkey burger meat. Then top your cooked patties with feta cheese, Tzatziki sauce, and some sliced cucumbers and fresh dill.
- Asian-Style Turkey Burgers: Add ¼ cup shredded carrots and 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to your burger patties, then top your burger with some crunchy slaw tossed in my Thai Peanut Sauce and some cilantro.
- Calories: 281
Keywords: turkey burger, burger, healthy turkey burger
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