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Tasty turkey burgers

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!”

5.0 from 3 reviews
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. My daughter’s favorite! We make these all the time. Sautéed mushrooms and onions her favorite topping! I’ve done them baked in the oven and as well as on a grill pan. Prefer the latter as baking brings about so much moisture tastes more like meatloaf. Still delish- just a bit less burger-y.

    • Completely agree that grilling these burgers result in a better flavor. Glad to hear these are a hit!

  2. 6 thumbs up!

    • Thank you, Susan!

  3. I just realized that I have made these a couple of times now and didn’t tell you how fantastic they are. So moist and flavorful. I just like them by themselves. The kids got leftovers in their lunches the last time I made them. Even if you aren’t a fan of turkey burgers, these may change your mind. 🙂

    • That’s a huge compliment! I have taken to eating these in lettuce cups lately and I prefer that to really taste the flavor of the burger!

      • What kind of lettuce do you use for the lettuce cups?

        • I like to use butter lettuce or little Gem lettuce. You can use any green lettuce and pick out the smaller leaves.

  4. I don’t always love turkey burgers….would this work with ground chicken?

    • Absolutely!

  5. My friend Leslie Scheid shared your website with me, I needed quick, easy and healthy meal plans. I am now hooked and my husband is forever greatful! 🙂

    • It’s so nice to have you here! Lucky husband! 😉

  6. 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!

    • 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. 🙂

  7. 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?

    • 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. 🙂

  8. 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…

    • 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!

  9. What is a good substitute for O.O. If someone is allergic to it?

    • 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!

  10. 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?

    • 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.

      • Interesting, I did not know that about grapeseed. Won’t be using it anymore! Thank you!

  11. My absolute favorite meat burger ever! Such a juicy flavor and everyone loves it.

  12. We love this recipe! Very tasty!

  13. 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?

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

  14. 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.

    • Please do!

  15. 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?

    • 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!

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

  17. These are a family favorite!! Definitely “kid approved!”

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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