Recipes

Turkey Burger Recipe- The Best {Healthy & Flavorful}

Do you shy away from burgers made with anything other than beef? I did too! Over the years, I’ve challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone and give some healthier meat options a try. This turkey burger recipe has been a labor of love and one that certainly doesn’t disappoint. Full of flavor, packed with juicy vegetables and seasoned just right. 

Give this try, if you want to mix things up and eat a tasty, healthier burger.

Are Turkey Burgers Really Healthier?

This turkey burger recipe is flavorful and packed with nutrition. Turkey is naturally lean and high in protein. It’s also low in saturated fat. 

At the grocery store, you’ll find either 93% or 99% lean ground turkey. Always be mindful of what you are purchasing by reading the ingredient label. The ground turkey meat found in the meat section of the grocery store is your best bet. 

Note: Pre-made turkey burgers found in the frozen section usually contain darker meat and part of the turkey skin. This will increase the calorie, fat, and sodium content. My rule of thumb is the less processed the better. So avoid these if possible. 

raw turkey

Is a turkey burger healthier than beef?

It depends. Always purchase high-quality ground turkey meat with no additives (avoid pre-made turkey burgers found in the frozen section). When comparing 93% lean beef to 93% lean turkey, both contain similar amounts of calories; however, turkey contains less saturated fat. Of course beef can’t compete with 99% lean turkey– which contains both a high amount of protein, fewer calories and less saturated fat than beef. 

Because turkey meat is lean it can easily dry out. Hence, why mixing flavorful, healthy ingredients with the turkey is key.

TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST TURKEY BURGER

A few simple tricks will give you flavorful, juicy turkey burgers. Easy to make and full of good nutrition. 

How do you keep lean turkey meat from drying out?

  • Always purchase the highest quality meat you can find. Avoid pre-made turkey burger patties (found in the frozen section). Companies usually mix in dark meat and the skin which defeats the purpose of low calorie and low saturated fat. Stick with fresh ground turkey meat found in the meat department.
  • Ground turkey usually comes in two options: 93% or 99% lean. To start, go with 93% lean– which contains less saturated fat than beef but still some natural fat to help keep the hamburgers juicy. 
    • Stuck with only 99% lean? No problem! Add an extra tablespoon of healthy fat (like olive oil) to the recipe– or you can also add an egg. 
  • Add herbs and spices for more flavor.
  • Use water-rich vegetable mix-ins like red or green onions, carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, or fresh herbs. Natural ketchup is also a great way to add moisture. Be sure to avoid ketchup with high fructose corn syrup. (Sir Kensington’s is the brand I buy). 
  • Use a big bowl to combine your add-ins with the turkey meat. 
  • Turkey meat is a little bit more sticky than beef. After mixing everything together, you can cover the bowl and chill for 10-15 minutes. This helps make them a little bit easier to work with. Personally, I usually skip this step and go right to making the patties.

burger

TURKEY BURGER RECIPE THAT WON’T DISAPPOINT

At home, my kids and husband are my main taste testers and some of my pickiest eaters. They love this turkey burger recipe. It’s easy to make and a great way to sneak in extra vegetables. All you need is a pound of meat and some tasty mix-ins to obtain great, flavorful turkey burgers.

Many other turkey burger recipes use breadcrumbs or lots of different condiments like soy sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, etc. However, many of those condiments add extra sodium and sugar plus for my gluten-free friends, breadcrumbs are a no-go.

For flavorful, healthy turkey burgers I use:

  • Water-rich vegetables (carrots, red bell peppers, and green or red onions). 
  • Fresh tomato (I use this in place of ketchup). Only have ketchup? No problem! Be sure to use one without high-fructose corn syrup like Sir Kensington’s. 
  • Garlic (use real garlic, not garlic powder)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Additional options: use one tablespoon of fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or Greek oregano.

The add-ins like bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic are finely chopped. This helps hold the patties together easier. For the carrot, I find shredding it to be easiest. Both the carrots and red bell pepper add natural sweetness and flavor.  

How do you cook a turkey burger?

During the summer, I like to cook my turkey burgers on the grill. However, you can also cook them on the stovetop or in the oven.

Grilling tips:

  • Heat the grill on high with the lid closed until very hot. 
  • Brush the grates clean (if using a wire brush always be sure to check the grates closely before cooking to ensure no wire has been left on the grates).
  • Use tongs and a folded paper towel to apply a thin layer of a neutral oil that’s good at high temperatures (like sunflower, peanut or canola oil).
  • Use an instant-read food thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°. 
  • Tip to consider: To prevent overcooking, start the hamburgers on the hotter side (or section), then flip them over to a cooler spot to slow down the cooking. Grill on each side for 5-6 minutes.     

You can use a cast-iron skillet to cook the burgers on the stovetop. First heat the pan on medium-high heat, then add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. You can also bake them in the oven at 350° for about 15-20 minutes. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil or use unbleached baking sheet paper. The main thing you want to check for is an internal temperature of 165° or an opaque center. 

plated burgers

TURKEY BURGER TOPPING IDEAS

This turkey burger recipe is easy to customize to your liking. Here are just a few tips.

What toppings and customizations do you like on your burger? You can easily switch up toppings as well as add-ins depending on your preference.  

  • Want more fresh herbs? Add one tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs. Basil, thyme, and Greek oregano are all great choices. 
  • Like your burgers bunless? Simply top with lettuce, tomato, onions, and natural ketchup and enjoy with a fork. Or try wrapping the burger in some leaves of romaine lettuce. 
  • Greek-style turkey burgers: Add fresh Greek oregano (1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried) and fresh mint (2 teaspoons or 1/4 teaspoon dried) to the meat and ½ cup of finely chopped spinach. Top with feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce. 
  • Add some heat: Like a little bit of bite? Add a small, finely chopped jalapeño pepper (about 1 tablespoon) to the meat. You can also add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Spice it up to your liking.
  • Other topping ideas:  Fresh tomato, romaine lettuce, red onion, mozzarella cheese, edamame guacamole, barbecue sauce, natural ketchup, and mustard. If going Greek-style, serve with sliced cucumbers in place of pickles.  

Serve with some freshly baked sweet potato fries and a green salad.

grilled turkey burgers

ADDITIONAL TURKEY BURGER RECIPE CONSIDERATIONS

  • Need to make ahead: You can form the patties, cover, and store them in the fridge for a couple of hours before cooking. You can also freeze the patties either raw or cooked.
    • To freeze, place patties on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour. Next, individually wrap each patty with saran wrap first, then with freezer paper, and store in a freezer bag. Frozen hamburger patties (both raw or cooked) will keep for 1-2 months. 
  • Make sure your grill or pan is well-oiled. Turkey patties tend to be a little stickier than beef. You’ll want to add about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a cast-iron skillet if cooking on the stovetop, lightly coat your baking sheet with oil if baking, or be sure to oil the grates on your grill.
  • Only have 99% lean turkey? Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the meat mixture. This healthy fat keeps the burgers from getting too dry and provides a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat (good fat), specifically oleic acid– known to reduce inflammation
  • Finely chop your mix-ins. This will help hold the patties together easier. I use a grater for the carrots and finely chop the bell pepper, tomato, onion, and garlic. If adding fresh herbs, finely chop these as well. 
turkey burger recipe

Turkey Burger Recipe- The Best {Healthy & Flavorful}

This turkey burger recipe doesn't disappoint. It's one of the best ones out there. Turkey is naturally lean, containing fewer calories and saturated fat than beef. Full of flavor and veggies you'll certainly want to give this a try.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Optional: Chill time 10 mins
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 5

Equipment

  • Grill

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup carrots, finely shredded (about 1 large carrot)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped (organic)
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped (can also use red onion)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato*, finely chopped (includes juices, can also substitute with natural ketchup. I use Sir Kensington's)
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I use Redmond's Real Salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together by hand or with a spatula. Make sure to evenly distribute the add-ins.
  • Form into 1/2-3/4 inch thick patties. Makes about 5 round patties.
  • On a grill heated to high heat with the grates cleaned and oiled, cook the turkey burgers for 5-6 minutes on each side. To avoid overcooking, flip the burger onto a cooler section of the barbecue to cook the other side. The internal temperature should reach 165° with an opaque center.
  • Top burgers with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and serve with ketchup and mustard. Use whole wheat buns or go without.

Optional Chill Time

  • You can put the bowl of mixed ingredients in the fridge (covered) to chill for 10-15 minutes. This sometimes helps to make the process of forming patties easier.

If cooking on a Traeger

  • Turn the heat to 350° and cook burgers for 5-6 minutes on both sides.

Notes

* Tomatoes on the vine provide more juices than Roma tomatoes for instance. This helps with the water content in the overall meat mixture.  
** If using 99% lean ground turkey add an additional 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the meat mixture. 
*** If you decide to use ketchup in place of the chopped tomato be sure your ketchup doesn't contain high fructose corn syrup in the ingredient list. Sir Kensington's is the natural ketchup I use. 
Other Cooking Methods:
  • Stovetop: Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Cook the patties for 5-6 minutes on both sides, until the internal temperature registers 165° on a food-grade thermometer (with an opaque center).
  • Oven: Too cold to cook outside? Heat oven to 350° and place patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Again make sure the internal temperature reaches 165° on a food-grade thermometer (with an opaque center). 
Additional Options:
  • Want more fresh herbs? Add one tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs. Basil, thyme, and Greek oregano are all great choices. 
  • Like your burgers bunless? Simply top with lettuce, tomato, onions, and natural ketchup and enjoy with a fork. Or try wrapping the burger in some leaves of romaine lettuce. 
  • Greek-style turkey burgers: Add fresh Greek oregano (1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried) and fresh mint (2 teaspoons or 1/4 teaspoon dried) to the meat and ½ cup of finely chopped spinach. Top with feta cheese and Tzatziki sauce. 
  • Add some heat: Like a little bit of bite? Add a small, finely chopped jalapeño pepper (about 1 tablespoon) to the meat. You can also add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Spice it up to your liking.
  • Other topping ideas:  Fresh tomato, romaine lettuce, red onion, mozzarella cheese, edamame guacamole, barbecue sauce, natural ketchup, and mustard. If going Greek-style, serve with sliced cucumbers in place of pickles.  
Keyword burger, healthy burgers, Megan Sophie, turkey burger, turkey burger recipe, turkey burgers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




  1. […] (or yellow squash) fries pair well with my turkey burger recipe. They also work as a great stand-alone afternoon snack, that your kids will love. Eat them as is or […]