Seriously the Best Turkey Burgers, Hands Down!
It’s about time we give turkey burgers a maaajor glow up, whaddya say??
With a notorious reputation for being dry, crumbly, & bland, I don’t blame you if you think of turkey burgers as an overall “blah” diet food or if you’ve written them off altogether. But stick with me here – that’s all about to change, I swear!
A few years back, as I began planning recipes for grilling season, I became more or less obsessed with creating the freakin’ best grilled turkey burgers recipe out there: juicy, flavorful, easy-to-grill turkey burgers. The kind of reliable go-to recipe that earns its way into the weekly rotation – a summer staple.
While there are plenty of great turkey burger recipes out there, most lean on other ingredients for flavor. But what about when you’re not in the mood for a Mediterranean turkey burger or a Southwest turkey burger? Sometimes you crave a straightforward, damn good burger – whether it’s made with ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey!
So that’s exactly what I set out to create: a tried & true, no frills or fuss, go-to grilled turkey burgers recipe. The kind of turkey burgers recipe that’s delicious on its own, but can also easily be customized with a gazillion variations to fit whatever cravings you might have. THIS is THAT recipe – the freakin’ best grilled turkey burgers you’ll ever have.
Best-Ever Turkey Burger Recipe Highlights
These are easily the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had. It took 10+ rounds of testing & tweaking to get them just right. A delicious labor of love, & I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they turned out. This recipe is…
MEGA JUICY & MEGA FLAVORFUL. Most importantly, these are NOT the bland & dry turkey burgers of your past. A well-considered ingredients list (with a few secret ingredients!) & a meticulously tested technique (+ plenty of tips & tricks) yields super juicy, flavorful turkey burgers every single time.
STRAIGHT-FORWARD. Aside from ground turkey, you need 5 basic pantry ingredients to make these turkey burgers. It’s a one-bowl operation without any fussy steps!
EASY TO MAKE. The turkey burgers take no more than 10 minutes to prep. They’re perfect for weekend summer BBQs or an easy weeknight dinner. The best of both worlds!
EASY TO GRILL. You don’t need to worry about these turkey burgers crumbling or falling apart on you while you grill. They grill up perfectly every single time!
Once you try these grilled turkey burgers, you’ll never go back to another recipe! ♡ Read on to learn more about these Grilled Turkey Burgers, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
Building a flavorful & juicy turkey burger starts with using the right ingredients. I cannot emphasize this enough! From the fat content of the ground turkey to some smart moisture- & flavor-boosting additions, every single ingredient in this grilled turkey burgers recipe plays an essential role.
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
The cast of characters includes…
- Ground turkey – Specifically, ground turkey with decent fat content. Fat translates to juiciness, so we’re not using the extra lean stuff here. Look for 93% lean ground turkey at most. If you can find 90-92%, that’s even better. If you’re purchasing from your grocery store’s butcher counter, ask for ground turkey thighs or dark meat.
- Mayonnaise – YES, mayonnaise. It’s my secret ingredient for juicy turkey burgers. The littlest bit of mayonnaise lends juiciness & flavor to the turkey burgers, & prevents them from drying out as they grill. Don’t skip it, but if you’d like to swap it with something you might already have on hand, an equal amount of sour cream or full-fat yogurt also works well.
- Fresh aromatics – Rather than using garlic powder or onion powder, we’re using fresh here for optimal flavor. I like to the onion & garlic into fine pieces that mix throughout the turkey burger patties evenly without disrupting the overall texture. Grated aromatics mix into ground turkey seamlessly, whereas larger diced pieces can lead to crumbling or falling apart on the grill.
- Worcestershire sauce – My favorite little secret weapon for adding tons of umami to burgers, whether they’re made of beef, poultry, or veggies. A little goes a long way!
That’s it! 5 simple ingredients, most of which you already have in your pantry or fridge. You’re well on your way to the best turkey burgers you’ll ever have!
How to Make the Best Turkey Burger Patties
One benefit of creating a no-frills & no-fuss recipe is the fact that these grilled turkey burgers really couldn’t be easier to throw together any night of the week. You need 5 ingredients, one bowl, & a grill – that’s it!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Grate half an onion. The only prep work involved in making this easy turkey burgers recipe is grating an onion. Simply run the onion along the side of a box grater, then blot the grated onion with a paper towel to eliminate excess moisture (which makes the turkey burger mixture more difficult to handle). Why? ⇢ When it comes to making burgers (& meatballs!), I like grating onions since the finer pieces mix throughout the turkey burger mixture evenly without disrupting the overall texture of the burger.
Mix the turkey burger ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl & use your hands to mix until just combined. Tip! ⇢ Avoid overworking the mixture, as it results in tough turkey burgers. The mixture will be pretty wet, which is totally expected at this point.
Form turkey burger patties. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, each just over 6 ounces. Use your hands to form each portion into a 1-inch thick patty that’s slightly larger than the size of your hamburger buns. Again, avoid overworking. Tip! ⇢ The mixture will still be very wet. Don’t worry if the burger patties aren’t totally perfect at this point. You’ll have the chance to reshape them before they go on to the grill.
Chill the turkey burger patties. Set the portioned burger patties on a small baking sheet & pop them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Why? ⇢ The turkey burger patties will be much easier to handle & will grill much more uniformly after they’ve chilled a bit.
Make-Ahead Turkey Burgers
Make burger night even easier by forming the turkey burger patties ahead of time. Skip chilling in the freezer altogether, & instead separate the patties with wax paper to prevent sticking & store in the fridge for up to 3 days. At dinnertime, all you have to do is preheat the grill & get cooking – easy! Refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for more storage & meal prep guidance.
How to Cook Turkey Burgers on the Grill + Tips & Tricks
Grilling turkey burgers can be a little tricky. Turkey meat is so much leaner than beef or pork, so it has a tendency to stick to the grill or fall apart when it cooks. There’s no reason to be intimidated or worried about grilling up this turkey burgers recipe, though. We’ve already won half of the battle by using the right ingredients – the only thing left is a little grilling technique!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Grill prep. Preheat the grill for medium-high direct heat cooking. Once it’s hot, be sure to clean the cooking surface by firmly brushing a wire brush over the grates. A few more quick tips to keep in mind before you grill…
Best grill temperature for turkey burgers? ⇢ In my experience, it’s best to grill turkey burgers with medium-high direct heat, 450-500 degrees F. Once the grill reaches cooking temperature, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before grilling. This simple step ensures the grill grates get nice & hot, which helps to prevent sticking. For more information, be sure to check out our step-by-step How to Light A Grill guide, which walks through everything you need to know to start both gas & charcoal grills.
Oil the grates. This is the secret of how to grill turkey burgers without falling apart! Whatever you do, don’t skip this step – it’s absolutely essential. Just before you place the turkey burger patties on the grill, use grilling tongs to run a wad of generously oiled paper towels directly over the grill grates. Since the grill grates are super hot, it’s best to use a high smoke point oil, such as grapeseed or avocado. I like to use an avocado oil cooking spray, as it’s a little easier to coat the paper towel.
Grill the turkey burgers. Finish forming the turkey burger patties into 1-inch thick patties. Pop ’em on the grates & grill the turkey burgers for 6-7 minutes per side, or until they’re cooked through. For a turkey cheeseburger, add a slice of cheddar or pepper jack in the last 2 minutes of cooking! Some burger night tips to keep in mind as you’re grilling…
Flip with a grill spatula. To keep turkey burgers from falling apart on the grill, flip them with a grill spatula, using a single, swift motion to slide under the patties. If the grates are well-oiled, the spatula should slide right under with no trouble.
Don’t press down on the burgers as they cook! The temptation is real, but pressing down on burger patties with a spatula as they grill is a serious no-no! Doing so pushes out all their juices & almost guarantees you’ll end up with a dry, crumbly turkey burger – no good!
Check doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Ever wonder how can you tell when a turkey burger is done? Because poultry burgers dry out so easily, it’s best to take the guesswork out of the equation – use an instant-read thermometer to determine doneness. Turkey burgers are ready to pull from the grill once the meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Alternate Cooking Methods
Stovetop Turkey Burgers
If you do not have access to an outdoor grill, you can also cook these turkey burgers on the stovetop. Rather than using a grill pan, I suggest using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Be sure to work in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pan. Refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for full stovetop cooking directions.
Easy turkey burger toppings. ⇢ We keep burger night pretty classic here at the PWWB House, most often serving our grilled turkey burgers with a platter of crisp lettuce, juicy summer tomatoes, & sliced onions. Feel free to kick it up a notch with grilled onions or whatever condiments you love most – ketchup, mustard, aioli, etc. – or build a lettuce wrap or turkey burger bowl instead!
Hamburger buns. ⇢ I always go for brioche burger buns. Brioche is pillowy soft but super sturdy, so it stands up to as many burger toppings as your heart desires! (ALDI sells great brioche buns, & they’re so affordable!) Take your buns to the next level with a quick toast on the grill. Lightly spritz with cooking spray, then place them directly on the grill grates. Keep a close eye on them – they get nice & toasty in under a minute!
Simple summer sides. ⇢ I always like to keep a simple summery salad in my fridge during the warm months as an easy add-on for any grilled meal. Try our Healthy Broccoli Salad, Greek Farro Salad, Falafel-ish Quinoa Salad, or Greek Orzo Pasta Salad. Since the grill is already lit, it’s also easy to throw together a grilled veggie platter.
Easy Turkey Burgers Variations
With the goal of creating straight-forward, no-bells-&-whistles turkey burgers, this easy turkey burger recipe yields a damn good & damn flavorful burger. There are countless ways you can play with this base recipe to create flavor variations to fit any cravings you happen to have this summer.
Some quick & easy ideas:
- Lemon herb – Zhuzh up the turkey burger mixture with lemon zest & a generous handful of chopped herbs. Any leafy green herbs would be amazing – fresh parsley, basil, dill, mint – so feel free to grab whatever looks good in your herb garden!
- Greek – Add a heaping teaspoon of dried oregano to the turkey burger mixture, & double the garlic while you’re at it. If you have a lemon, add in some zest, too. Serve the Greek turkey burgers with a quick tzatziki & Greek-style salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers & red onion.
- Spicy Chipotle – Add a finely-chopped chipotle pepper or two to the turkey burger mixture, or use a chipotle mayo in place of the mayonnaise. Serve the chipotle turkey burgers up with guacamole & salsa. Yum!
- Moroccan – My personal all-time favorite turkey burger! Add a heaping teaspoon of ras el hanout to the turkey burger mixture (or similar spices from your spice rack, such as cumin, cinnamon, coriander, ginger, allspice, cloves, etc.), & be sure to top off your turkey burgers off with a generous spoonful of chermoula sauce.
I absolutely cannot wait for you to try our PWWB Best-Ever Turkey Burgers. We’ve been 100% obsessed with them, & I know that they’ll quickly become a summer staple in your grilling menus.
If you do give them a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! Happy grilling! ♡Print
A few years back, I grew more or less obsessed with developing a recipe for the BEST grilled turkey burgers – the type of reliable recipe that yields juicy, flavorful, easy-to-grill burgers that only just so happen to be made out of ground turkey.
It took 10+ rounds of testing & tweaking to get them just right, but these are easily the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had. But don’t take my word for it! This recipe has been made & loved by thousands of PWWB readers since it was first published. If it’s new-to-you, you’re in for a treat!
There are a few secrets that make these the best, & they all have to do with the ingredients list. The burger patties are made with ground turkey & a few flavor-boosting pantry staples, like Worcestershire to create deeper flavor & the littlest bit of mayonnaise to fortify the burgers with the kind of richness that helps keep them incredibly tender & moist.
Be sure to read through the recipe & don’t skip any of the steps – chilling the burgers, heating the grill to just the right temperature, & oiling the grates are all small details that help ensure the turkey burgers don’t crumble or fall apart on the grill. ♡ Happy Grilling!
- 1 ⅓ pounds 93% lean ground turkey
- ½ medium yellow onion, finely grated & squeezed of excess moisture
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (see Recipe Notes)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- oil, for the grill grates
- for serving, as desired: burger buns, cheese of choice, toppings of choice (e.g. lettuce, tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, pickles, etc.), condiments of choice (e.g. mustard, ketchup, et.c)
- Prep: Line a small baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper or foil & set aside. Gather & prep all ingredients according to Ingredients List, above. To grate the onion, arrange a few paper towels on a cutting board, set a box mixer on top, & run the onion along the sides of the box mixer to grate it into fine, shredded pieces. Once grated, use the paper towel to soak up excess moisture from the onion. Too much moisture will make the turkey burger mixture very difficult to handle, so do not skip the extra 30 seconds it takes to blot the moisture from the grated onion. If your onion seems very wet, you can also wrap it in paper towels & wring out the moisture over the sink. Set aside.
- Mix the turkey burgers: Add the ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, mayonnaise, & Worcestershire sauce to a large bowl. Season with 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Use your hands to mix until just combined – overworking the turkey burger mixture leads to tough burgers; take care not to overmix.
- Form the turkey burger patties & chill: Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, forming each into a 1-inch thick burger patty. If needed or desired, spritz a little bit of olive oil on your hands to make handling the burger patties easier. The mixture will be very wet – this is expected & intended! There’s no need to fuss over making them look perfect at this point – just aim for forming them into the general shape & size you’re after. Set them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet with the turkey burger patties to the freezer. Chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Grill prep: Meanwhile, as the turkey burger patties chill, prep the grill. Prepare the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, about 450-500 degrees F. Once preheated, clean the cooking surface by firmly brushing a wire brush over the grates. Just before placing the burgers on the grill, generously spritz a wad of paper towel with nonstick cooking spray. Use grill tongs to run the oiled paper towel over the grill grates, generously oiling the grates to prevent sticking.
- Grill the turkey burgers: Remove the turkey burger patties from the freezer. At this point they should be quite a bit easier to handle; finish forming them into 1-inch thick patties, using your thumb to create an indent in the center of each patty. Press each turkey burger patty down onto the prepared grill grates. Grill the turkey burgers for 6-7 minutes per side, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the turkey burgers registers 165 degrees F. If you’d like to add cheese to your turkey burgers, do so when there are 2 minutes left of grilling time.
- Serve: Build your turkey burgers as desired. Here at the PWWB House, we like toasty brioche buns, leafy lettuce, juicy summer tomatoes, & a drizzle of mustard, ketchup, or aioli. Enjoy!
- Ingredient Notes:
- Ground turkey: The secret to an irresistibly juicy grilled turkey burger is using the right ground turkey. The turkey needs a decent fat content, otherwise the burgers will dry out. Look for 93% lean ground turkey at most, though if you can find 90-92%, that’s even better! If you’re purchasing from your grocery store’s butcher counter, ask for ground dark turkey meat.
- Mayonnaise swaps: The littlest bit of mayonnaise is the other secret to an insanely juicy & flavorful turkey burger. Don’t skip it, but if you’d like to swap it with something you might already have on hand, an equal amount of sour cream or full-fat yogurt will work well.
- Quick variations:
- Stovetop turkey burgers: If you do not have access to an outdoor grill, you can also cook these turkey burgers on the stovetop. Rather than using a grill pan, I suggest using a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the turkey burgers, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pan, & cook according to Step 5 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Flavor variations: Craving a Mediterranean turkey burger or Southwest turkey burger? Check the blog post, above, for plenty of inspiration!
- 15-Minute Meal Prep (make-ahead turkey burgers!): Turkey burger patties can be mixed & formed up to 3 days in advance. Follow Steps 2-3 of Recipe Directions above. Rather than placing the formed patties on a baking sheet & freezing to chill, transfer the formed patties to an airtight container, separating them with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. When you’d like to make your turkey burgers, simply preheat the grill & get cooking – easy!
- Storage & Reheating: Store leftover grilled turkey burgers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through & enjoy as desired.
Keywords: grilled turkey burgers, turkey burgers recipe, easy, grilling & smoking, summer, simple, gluten-free, low-carb, American
Ready to Hit the Grill?
If this all still feels new to you, I encourage you to head over to Grilling 101, a compilation of tips & tricks for all of the grilling basics – everything from how to light your grill to how to clean your grill.
All this talk about grilling have you feelin’ ready to hit the grill? Me too! Be sure to check out this post for my 15 go-to marinades you need this grilling season. At our house, a good marinade is at the heart of grilling season. I’m positive these marinades will be on repeat at your house this summer! For even more grilled goodness, be sure to check out all of our Grilling & Smoking recipes.
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