A turkey burger is a great way to lighten up your grill, but unless you know how to add some ingredients to make them flavorful and moist, everyone at your next barbeque is going to be lining up for the beef burgers instead.
Bring new turkey lovers into the fold by trying out some of the tasty and healthy turkey burgers in our list below. With a wide variety of flavors ranging from the Mediterranean to Southwestern style, there’s sure to be a turkey burger on this list for just about everyone.
What Is a Turkey Burger?
A turkey burger is a sandwich patty that is usually formed out of ground turkey meat held together with some kind of filler such as an egg or breadcrumbs. Turkey burgers can be served on a bun with condiments and toppings or they can be served alone as a protein entree for those who are avoiding carbohydrates such as burger buns.
Do Turkey Burgers Taste Good?
Turkey burgers have caught a bad wrap compared to regular beef burgers and generally have a reputation of being a diet food, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Knowing how to prepare turkey burgers properly goes a long way towards making them as moist and flavorful as any other burger.
Here are some key tips for keeping your turkey burgers delicious:
- Cook them right. There’s nothing worse than dry, crumbly turkey burgers. Many people actually dislike turkey burgers because they have had them cooked improperly when they were younger.
- Season them. Lack of herbs, seasoning, and spices can make turkey burgers feel more bland than other burgers. Make sure to ramp up the flavor to make these burgers just as appealing as beef or chicken.
- Deck them out. A plain turkey burger with no toppings or condiments will seem like a blah meal to most anybody, but going through the trouble to whip up some relishes, sauces, or fresh sliced vegetables for topping can make all the difference in the flavor of your final sandwich.
Adding Flavor to Turkey Burgers
Lack of moisture and flavor are the two biggest complaints you’ll hear about turkey burgers, so avoid them by learning how to add flavor to your turkey burger before you cook them. Here are a few tips for instantly making your turkey burgers better:
- Add a little oil. Adding some olive oil, grapeseed oil, or some other type of oil into your turkey burger mixture will help keep the mixture moist on the grill. Try sauteeing some onions or other aromatics like garlic in oil before folding them into the mix to get a double punch of oil and infused flavor too.
- Don’t smash them on the grill. Pressing down your turkey burgers on the grill might make you feel like you’re cooking them more quickly or searing off the bottom side, but you’ll only be squeezing out the juices that make the burgers delicious.
- Let the meat rest. Just like with other cuts of meat such as steak, letting the burgers rest for a few minutes after cooking allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the turkey burger patty. This results in a more flavorful, moist burger.
Other than learning how to dress them up and cook them right, the other secret to great turkey burgers is having plenty of variety in your turkey recipes to help keep things from getting boring. Check out the fifteen recipes below, and you’ll instantly have a pool of delicious turkey burger recipes to choose from any time you like!
Easy Turkey Burger Recipes for Your Next Barbeque
1. Caramelized Onion Topped Turkey Burgers
The grilled onions in this grilled onion-topped turkey burger recipe do double duty by adding intense charred onion flavor while also helping to keep the turkey patties moist on the burger. Splurging on a little homemade garlic aioli for your condiment can also help keep your turkey burger tender, but use low-fat mayo if you’re trying to keep things as healthy as possible. Most of the flavor in this burger should come from the caramelized onions you use as your topper. (via Mantitlement)
2. Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
Spinach and feta cheese add color, texture, and flavor to these Greek-inspired turkey burgers, but these secondary ingredients are also healthy in their own right. Spinach has a ton of essential minerals such as Vitamin A and iron, while feta adds an extra punch of protein and calcium to the mix. These spinach and feta turkey burgers are so good they may end up taking the place of your regular beef hamburgers for good. (via Belly Full)
3. Southwestern Style Turkey Burger with Guacamole
One of the easiest ways to keep turkey burgers from being boring is to add some strong seasonings to the mix. These burgers get their flavor from cumin, paprika, and cayenne, along with some fresh ingredients like red onion and jalapeno.
Creamy burger accessories like avocado slices and pepper jack cheese help round out this spicy sandwich. A homemade chipotle mayo with lime juice and canned adobo chilies tops everything off. (via Sweet Peas and Saffron)
4. Healthified Cowboy Turkey Burger
These light turkey burgers are called cowboy burgers because of the aromatic and spicy ingredients they include such as hot sauce, jalapenos, cilantro, and sharp cheddar. A little bacon is also mixed into these patties to help keep them moist while also adding an additional savory flavor note.
To help cool everything off and give the burger some refreshing crunch and texture, whip up the cool ranch slaw included in this recipe to spoon over each patty before serving. (via The Skinny Fork)
5. Sour Cream and Chive Turkey Burgers
Sour cream is a useful filler to add to turkey burgers to help keep them moist while adding a tangy note of flavor too. If you want to make them even lighter, you can use a reduced-fat sour cream and low-fat cheese.
Otherwise, most of the flavor in these burgers comes from various spices such as Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, garlic powder, and dried chives. Be sure not to forget to include panko crumbs since this ingredient can prevent the turkey burgers from falling apart on the grill. (via Sweet Phi)
6. Mediterranean Grilled Turkey Burgers
While turkey isn’t a traditional protein in Greece, the ground turkey in these Mediterranean turkey burgers is a low-calorie alternative to more traditional Greek chicken. These burgers use plenty of fresh ingredients such as fresh greens, yogurt sauce, and roasted red bell peppers.
Crumbled feta and fresh baby spinach also provide some additional texture. Add the feta directly into the meat mixture to get a pungent punch of flavor without a ton of extra calories. (via The Forked Spoon)
7. Greek Turkey Burgers
These Greek turkey burgers are similar to the Mediterranean turkey burgers above, with the addition of a few new ingredients: kalamata olives and oregano. Plenty of fresh condiments such as sharp red onion, baby spinach, and tomatoes make these Greek burgers as refreshing as eating a fresh salad. Cucumber and Greek yogurt also make good options for adding cream and crunch to these grilled sandwiches! (via SkinnyTaste)
8. Louisiana Cajun Turkey Burgers With Étouffée Relish And Creamy Cajun Sauce
Your guests will never complain about bland turkey burgers again if you serve them these spicy and savory Cajun burgers instead. Incorporating traditional Cajun flavors such as hot sauce, red onion, and bell pepper, there’s nothing boring or bland about these burgers. Replace the pre-made seasoned turkey burgers with your own homemade patties if you don’t want to buy frozen products. (via The Speckled Palate)
9. Thai Turkey Burgers
When you’re using turkey as your protein in burgers, your biggest challenge is making sure that the burgers have plenty of flavors. Luckily, ground turkey is great for soaking up the flavors of whatever spices and seasonings you decide to mix it with.
For a Thai fusion burger, incorporate flavors such as lemongrass, limes, ginger, basil, and shallots. Adding a cool sriracha aioli and cucumber ribbons helps cut the heat in the spicy turkey and cool things down. Increase the amount of sriracha in your aioli to increase the amount of heat to taste. (via Feasting at Home)
10. Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
Ever wish you could have roast Thanksgiving turkey more than once a year? These fantastic burgers help recreate the taste of the holidays by including ingredients such as cranberry sauce and sauteed celery.
Top each burger with a spoonful of turkey-based gravy and a dollop of whipped low-fat cream cheese to make these burgers decadent without adding a ton of extra fat and calories. These burgers come together in less than an hour too, which means they’re still a good option for busy weeknights. (via AllRecipes)
11. Grilled Chili Lime Turkey Burger
Nobody likes turkey burgers that are dry, flavorless, and falling apart. Avoid all of those turkey burger mistakes by sticking with these grilled chili lime turkey burgers. The lime juice helps break down the meat for a tender texture while the chili powder adds some much-needed spice.
If you serve these turkey burgers with fries, try tossing them in some taco seasoning and cooking them in the air fryer for maximum flavor with fewer calories. Keep in mind that lime zest tends to clump, so sprinkle it across your meat mixture instead of zesting it straight in to prevent your seasoning from being uneven. (via Mom’s Dinner)
12. Grilled Pesto Turkey Burgers
Pesto turkey burgers are a fun way to use up extra basil if you have an over-producing vegetable garden in the summer. Pesto is tasty and adds vibrant green color to your burger mixture. Along with being a flavor bomb, pesto is also good to add to turkey burgers because it is packed full of minerals and essential nutrients.
You should try to add fresh herbs to your healthy dishes whenever you can to get the benefit of extra nutrients and flavor with every meal. If you can’t make your own homemade pesto for these burgers, store-bought works fine too. (via The Lemon Bowl)
13. Buffalo Turkey Burger
Buffalo chicken burgers are popular, but ground turkey also makes for a healthy protein in buffalo burgers that works well with the hot sauce and blue cheese flavors of buffalo sauce. Using reduced-fat cheddar cheese to top the burger patty and going with a broccoli slaw can help keep these burgers light and healthy. Another healthy swap-out is the inclusion of whole wheat breadcrumbs and burger buns instead of white buns and white breadcrumbs. (via SkinnyTaste)
14. Jalapeno Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers
If you’re curious about including turkey burgers in your regular meal rotation but you’re afraid that they will be bland, never fear! There are plenty of aromatic and spicy turkey burger combinations that can help keep your palate satisfied.
These Jalapeno pepper jack burgers are spicy without being too hot to handle, but you can increase the amount of jalapeno pepper in the recipe or include extra hot pepper jack cheese to increase the level of heat. (via Sally’s Baking Addiction)
15. Italian Turkey Burgers
Another option for adding some fusion flavor to your turkey burgers is to look to Italy for inspiration. These Italian turkey burgers include zesty Italian sausage to mix into the ground turkey.
This helps add some flavor and fat to the mixture without adding a ton of calories. Smother these burgers in a little fresh mozzarella, asiago, and grilled bell peppers for some serious Tuscan flair without sending yourself into a food coma. Choose whole wheat buns for added fiber to keep things light. (via Well Plated)
Turkey Burger FAQ
Are Turkey Burgers Healthy?
Turkey burgers provide a high amount of protein with a low amount of fat relative to other kinds of meat. It’s the leanest animal protein available in terms of calories and fat. Turkey burgers are also a great source of the following vitamins and nutrients:
- Vitamin B6
Most turkey burgers gain extra calories and fat by adding fatty toppings such as mayonnaise, fried bacon, and blue cheese. However, if these condiments are replaced by healthy substitutions such as fresh vegetables or a vinegar-based slaw, many of these excess calories can be avoided.
Are Turkey Burgers Good for Weight Loss?
Turkey burgers are good for weight loss as a replacement for heavier sandwiches. Turkey burgers aren’t good for weight loss if you pair them off with fried side items or heavy condiments, but they can be a great addition to a keto diet if they’re eaten on their own without toppings or a bun.
How Do You Make a Turkey Burger Lighter?
It’s easy to make turkey burgers just as unhealthy as beef burgers if you dress them up with a bunch of fatty accessories. Luckily there are several alternatives for fixing your turkey burger that can help keep it a healthy dish. Try out these tips to lighten up your turkey burger recipes:
- Skip fatty condiments. Mayo and avocado spread are delicious on turkey, but they can significantly ramp up the included fat and calories. Instead, stick with light but flavorful condiments like chimichurri sauce and hot sauce.
- Use whole-wheat buns and breadcrumb filler. White flour is more processed and higher in calories than wheat flour. It also doesn’t provide as much fiber.
- Pile on the fresh vegetables. Adding vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles can add tons of flavor
What Are Some Good Condiments For a Turkey Burger?
The great thing about ground turkey being a somewhat bland protein is that it’s easy to change the flavor of it with condiments such as sauces and relishes. Here are just a few of the best condiments for dressing turkey burgers:
- Cranberry sauce
- Dijon mustard
- Avocado sauce/sliced avocado/guacamole
- Cheddar/American cheese
One of the main complaints against turkey burgers is that they aren’t as moist or flavorful as other burgers, but being generous with the condiments can help your turkey burgers compete against beef any day of the week.
Tips for Making the Perfect Turkey Burger
Turkey burgers have a mixed reputation as being dry or bland compared to other meats, but this is usually the result of not cooking them correctly. Here are some of the best ways you can perfect your turkey burgers:
- Boost the meat’s flavor. Turkey can be mild on its own, so be sure to add plenty of spices, seasonings, and herbs to help bolster the flavor of the meat.
- Add liquid to keep turkey burgers moist. Marinate your turkey burgers to keep the meat from drying out.
- Don’t undercook them. Unlike beef burgers, turkey burgers are classified as poultry and need to be served fully cooked to be safe for consumption. This means cooking the burgers to an internal temperature of at least 165F. This means the turkey burgers should be cooked for around five to six minutes on each side.
- Use a thermometer. Having a meat thermometer and using it on your turkey burgers is the best way to know exactly when they’re done. This will allow you to serve your turkey burgers fully cooked without overcooking them.
- Use a binder. Without something to hold the ground meat together, turkey burgers will fall apart on the grill. Mix breadcrumbs and an egg into your turkey burger recipe to help hold the meat together and keep the burger from crumbling under fire.
Can You Freeze Turkey Burgers?
A major advantage of making turkey burgers is that you can freeze them ahead of time and thaw them out later to cook. Here’s the process for freezing your turkey burgers for later use:
- Lay the turkey burgers out on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer until the burgers are frozen.
- Remove the frozen turkey burgers from the baking sheet and wrap them with press-and-seal wrap.
- Place the individually wrapped turkey burgers in a resealable freezer bag and place the burgers back in the freezer.
Turkey burgers are much less popular than burgers made of beef and pork, but this reputation is pretty unfair. There are plenty of flavorful and moist turkey burger recipes available to help you transform this healthy protein into the perfect burger base. No matter which recipe you choose, be sure to pick fresh vegetables, light condiments, and whole wheat buns for a healthy take on some old favorites.