It’s a bold statement to be sure, but I stand by it: these are the best Turkey Burgers you’ll ever make! Perfectly seasoned and oh-so-juicy, they’re a healthier choice that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.
Turkey burgers have a bad reputation, and let’s be honest: they’ve kind of earned it.
Dry, bland, and generally disappointing, many turkey burgers leave us wishing we had just made regular burgers instead.
While I’ve shared turkey burgers here before (my Italian Turkey Burgers and Chipotle Sweet Potato Turkey Burgers are reader faves!), I wanted to make a basic turkey burger recipe with the same versatility as a beef burger patty.
It took a lot of trial-and-error, but this is the one.
What Makes This the Best Turkey Burger Recipe
How do you make a turkey burger that’s not terrible?
Let’s address the top two (often true) turkey burger complaints: They are 1) Dry and 2) Flavorless.
The dryness comes from the fact that turkey is so much leaner than ground beef.
We like that because it means a turkey burger is healthier, but the trade-off is that you end up with a burger that’s much less juicy.
Here’s how to keep a turkey burger from drying out:
- Use 93% Lean Ground Turkey. Do not use any leaner than this (95% or 97% are no-gos), but you can use lower if you’d like. 90% is even a little juicier.
- Add Breadcrumbs and Egg. They do double duty to bind the meat (so your turkey burger doesn’t fall apart) and they keep your turkey burgers moist.
- Use a Meat Thermometer. When you’re working with lean meat like turkey, it’s so important that you don’t overcook it because there’s less margin for error.
Once I tackled the dryness, it was time for the easy part—adding flavor!
I’ve got you covered here with tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder.
Each of these delivers a piece of that umami flavor you get from a traditional beef burger, all with the health benefits of lean ground turkey.
These turkey burgers are here to WOW!
How to Make Juicy Turkey Burgers
Other than the turkey itself, cooking up these turkey burgers isn’t that different from the process of making burgers with ground beef.
The meat mixture is a little softer and wetter, but that’s because we have to introduce that extra moisture to keep the burger patties nice and juicy.
If you ask the meat counter or butcher shop, they may be able to supply you with a ground turkey that’s all dark meat, which will yield an extra-juicy turkey burger.
- Lean Ground Turkey. I used 93% lean ground turkey meat. 90% is also fine; do not use any leaner than 93%.
- Panko Bread Crumbs. Homemade breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs work too, but I always love using Panko. The texture is just right.
- Worcestershire Sauce. Don’t skip it! If you have seafood allergies, use a bottle of vegetarian Worcestershire sauce. It’s key to the flavor of these burgers.
- Tomato Paste. Pro-tip: freeze the leftovers in one-tablespoon portions, pop them in a freezer bag, and next time you need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, you won’t need to buy a whole can.
- Hot Sauce. Optional and adjustable; use as much or as little as you like.
- Onion Powder. This adds onion flavor without having to dice an onion.
- Salt & Pepper. Classics.
- Egg. Binding agent.
- Canola Oil. Or another high smoke point oil you like to use for cooking.
- For Serving. Whole wheat hamburger buns, cheese, sliced avocado or Homemade Guacamole, and/or any other burger toppings you like.
1. Combine the turkey with the panko and seasonings in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the egg to the bowl, then use a fork to mix all of the ingredients together.
3. Preheat the oil in a cast iron skillet and shape the turkey mixture into patties.
4. Cook the turkey burgers in the skillet, add the cheese, and assemble on buns with your choice of toppings. ENJOY!
- Chicken Burgers. Ground chicken has a lot of the same issues as ground turkey when it comes to making burgers—which means this recipe is also great for making juicy, flavorful chicken burger patties!
- Juicy Lucy Turkey Burgers. Make 8 thin turkey patties; top 4 of them with a slice of cheese, then place the other 4 patties on top, sandwiching the cheese in the middle. Pinch the edges together to seal them and cook as instructed.
- Onion-y Turkey Burgers. Finely chop half a yellow onion, cook it with a splash of oil in your skillet until it’s nicely browned, and fold this into the ground turkey mixture. Top with Quick Pickled Red Onions.
- BBQ Bacon Burgers. Top burgers with Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon and Barbecue Sauce.
- Mushroom Swiss Burgers. Top with Swiss cheese and Sautéed Mushrooms.
- To Store. Cooked burgers will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrap them tightly or store them in an airtight container.
- To Reheat. Reheat in the microwave, in a skillet over medium heat, or in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer set to 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze turkey burgers for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag with parchment paper between the layers.
To keep them from drying out, it’s best to freeze turkey burgers before cooking them. Shape them into patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and pop it in the freezer until they’re frozen through. Transfer the patties to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
What to Serve With Turkey Burgers
- French Fries. Burger and fries—you can’t go wrong with that! Try my Sweet Potato Fries, Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries, or classic Homemade Fries.
- Vegetables. Give your fries a veggie twist with Zucchini Fries, or make a simple vegetable side like my Air Fryer Green Beans or Smashed Brussels Sprouts.
- Light Salad. Keep your meal light by pairing your turkey burgers with this Spinach Strawberry Salad or Fruit Salad.
- BBQ Sides. Healthy Coleslaw, Potato Salad, and Easy Baked Beans are all burger side dish classics.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. I love these glass mixing bowls because they do double-duty for meal prep and serving.
- Cast Iron Skillet. This one is made in the USA, it will last a lifetime, and it’s under $20. Score!
- Measuring Spoons. Magnetic measuring spoons to keep your kitchen drawers tidy.
- Instant Read Thermometer. Check the internal temperature for perfect turkey burgers!
Give them a try and I think you’ll agree—your family is going to gobble up these turkey burgers!
Frequently Asked Questions
Ground turkey has less saturated fat than beef, and it may also have fewer calories depending on the type of ground beef and turkey being compared. Healthy, of course, is subjective and depends on your health goals, but most experts consider turkey burgers healthier than hamburgers.
In this recipe, egg and panko help bind the turkey burgers and keep them from falling apart.
I like cooking turkey burgers in a skillet. Because the turkey mixture is soft and wet, it’s not ideal for grilling, and baking them in the oven will result in dryer burgers, without the nice sear you get from stovetop cooking.
For the Turkey Burger Patties:
- 4 whole wheat hamburger buns or buns of choice
- Thinly sliced or grated cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Other toppings of choice: tomatoes, lettuce, mayo (or my fave, nonfat Greek yogurt)
- Make the patties: In a large mixing bowl, place the ground turkey. Top with the Panko, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, hot sauce, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Crack the egg into the bowl. With a fork, scramble the egg to break up the yolk, the use the fork to gently combine all of the ingredients. Don’t over work the meat or the burgers may be tough.
- Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet (or similar sturdy skillet or a nonstick skillet), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Shape the mixture into 4 patties that are about 1/2-inch thick and 4 1/2 inches across. The mixture will be very wet and soft. Work gently and trust that it will hold together once it cooks. I find it easiest to shape the patties with my hands, then carefully lower them directly onto the hot cooking surface (vs. transfer them to a plate, then transfer them to the skillet from there).
- Once the oil is hot and shimmering, cook the turkey burgers for 4 minutes on the first side, flip, then continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, until the burgers reach 165ºF on an instant read thermometer inserted at the thickest part. If you’d like to toast the buns, do so during the last few minutes of cooking (see notes). If using cheese, place on top of the patties right after flipping. Transfer to a plate. Serve the burgers immediately on the buns, with avocado and your toppings of choice.
- TO TOAST BURGER BUNS: Spray or brush the cut sides with oil and toast them in the skillet for a few seconds, until they’re warm and golden brown.
- TO STORE: Cooked burgers will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrap them tightly or store them in an airtight container.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat in the microwave, in a skillet over medium heat, or in an oven, toaster oven, or air fryer set to 350ºF.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze turkey burgers in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
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