tasty turkey burgers

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Let’s play a little word association game!  When I say “turkey burger,” you say …?  I think I heard “bland,” “dry,” “flavorless,” “pointless.”  You know what I say?  “No thank you!”  Until now.

I have never been a big meat-eater, even though I think there’s a place for high-quality grass-fed beef in one’s diet if you like it.  At barbeques, I’m usually the one looking for the non-beef burger option, but I had never met a turkey burger that I liked.  Father’s Day is around the corner, and there are lots of dads who are trying to cut back on beef, so I think now’s a good time to post a great turkey burger recipe.

My goal is not to make a turkey burger that tastes like beef, because it won’t.  But I want to make the turkey taste savory and moist and like something you would actually want to eat, as opposed to something you are settling for and all the time wishing you were actually eating a hamburger.  I also want a basic burger that everyone in my family will like, especially my hamburger-loving husband who once claimed that real men don’t eat turkey burgers.  I accept the challenge!

It’s amazing what a few simple ingredients do to boring ground turkey.  I add a little olive oil for fat, minced onion for flavor and moisture and worcestershire for a meaty undertone.  A bit of dijon and ketchup get mixed in for an additional boost and my husband declared he would eat this turkey burger any day.  Of course, you can tailor this burger to your liking and make it a little fancy, if you want.  Add in some finely chopped sundried tomato and basil or go Tex-Mex with some red bell pepper, corn, cilantro and cayenne.  How ever you make it, I have a feeling you’ll hear “Mmmmm……that’s tasty!”

Tasty Turkey Burgers
Serves: makes 6 patties
  • 1 ½ pounds ground turkey (white or dark meat)
  • 6 Tablespoons minced raw onion (cook the rest of the onion for a delicious burger topping)
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed olive oil + more for the griddle
  • ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 6 sprouted grain or whole wheat buns or lettuce leaves
  • Toppings: grilled onions, avocado, sprouts, tomato, lettuce, cheese, barbecue sauce
  1. Heat a griddle to 400 degrees or an outdoor grill to medium heat.
  2. In medium bowl, mix the turkey with all the other ingredients. This is a very moist mixture.
  3. Form into 6 patties, about 5-inches in diameter.*
  4. Brush the griddle or grill with a small amount of olive oil.
  5. Carefully transfer the patty to the griddle and cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 4 minutes, or until cooked through.
*If making these in advance, place on a parchment or wax paper-lined platter to remove easily.


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  1. Jennifer says

    I just discovered your blog the other day and just love your recipes and articles. While I do not eat it, my husband and two sons like to eat meat. I had some ground turkey in the fridge and decided to try your turkey burger recipe. My husband loved it and ate two burgers and my 9 year old proclaimed this to the BEST burger recipe ever. My 7 year old (who is my mr. picky) didn’t hate it. Victory!
    Thank you!

    • Pamela says

      Nice to have you here, Jennifer! You and I are alike. I don’t really like meat and poultry much, but my kids and husband like them very much. These turkey burgers are my son’s favorite! Thanks for writing in. :)

  2. Ashley says

    These sound delicious! I don’t have a grill, and I learned from you that grilling is not the ideal method of cooking anyways : ) so my question is: How would you suggest going about cooking these indoors?

    • Pamela says

      I don’t grill animal protein that much, you are correct! I make these on a griddle pan with a little oil. You could use a large skillet as well or whatever you make pancakes on. :)

  3. Kim C says

    I made these burgers tonight and my teenage sons loved them! Question-while I was frying the burgers they were falling apart. Not completely, but parts would break off. Do you have any thoughts about what I did wrong? I didn’t exactly measure 6 TBS of minced onions. I used half an onion. Do you think it was too much onion? Thanks for any insights…

    • Pamela says

      Sorry they were falling apart on you. I have made these probably about 50 times (or more!) and they’ve never fallen apart. In fact, I think the mixture is really sticky. I am thinking that you used too much onion. 6 Tablespoons is probably about an 1/8 of a normal onion. I’ve chopped a whole onion before and gotten about 1 1/2 cups from it, so half of that would really be too much. And the onion is minced so it’s really small. I am confident that if you try them again with the correct onion measurement they’ll be perfect!

    • Pamela says

      The oil is helpful for keeping the burger moist since turkey is low in fat. I personally don’t use other vegetable oils, but if you use safflower or canola oil, those would work here. Hope that helps!

  4. Rafaela says

    This was great. Thank you. I heard somewhere that olive oil when heated at a high temperature oxidizes and no longer becomes a “good” fat. Is that true? Would it be better to use grape seed oil?

    • Pamela says

      Absolutely true about olive oil! I try my best to keep the temperature at medium when I’m using olive oil on the stovetop, but once in a while I’ll go a little higher. The best fats to use with high heat are saturated fats like coconut oil and ghee (clarified butter). I don’t use any refined oils since they’ve already oxidized in the refining process. Grapeseed is almost always refined.

  5. Rebecca Foster says

    Your baked oatmeal from class was a big hit at breakfast. I hope these burgers will be a dinner hit. I made them into smaller patties (10 total). Should this effect cooking time?

    • Pamela says

      Great about the oatmeal! I think the burgers would be fine for a minute or two less, but not more than that.

  6. cristina says

    This recipe looks so delicious! We eat turkey burgers every week. I can’t wait to try them this way. I’ll let you know how how it goes.

  7. Lygia says

    These are SO good-I have been making them since I saw the recipe in Elle! What’s the yummy looking side dish in the picture?

    • Pamela says

      I had a feeling someone would ask about the side dish. I served the turkey burgers the other night for dinner with a mixed green salad and homemade baked beans. I’m still tweaking the baked bean recipe, but it’s close. Stand by!

  8. Pamela says

    Thanks, Kathy. Mr. Picky JUST started eating these after 2 years of “no thank you’s” and commented, “OK, fine. They’re good.”


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