Best-Ever Grilled Turkey Burgers

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It's time to say goodbye to the days of dry, bland, & crumbly turkey burgers, THIS is the absolute Best Grilled Turkey Burgers recipe out there – super juicy, flavorful, & straight-forward! Made with just 5 simple ingredients, these turkey burgers are great for weeknights & summer BBQs alike. Tested endlessly to ensure it's just right – this is the best turkey burger recipe I've ever made, & I know you'll love it too!

Grilling tips & easy burger variations included!

Featured In Grilling Series
A grilled turkey burger served in a burger bun with lettuce, cheese & grilled red onion. Surrounding the burgers are sweet potato fries, & a small jar of burger sauce.

Seriously the Best Turkey Burgers, Hands Down!

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!

While lean poultry burgers have a notorious reputation for being dry, crumbly, and bland, it was time to give them a maaajor glow up.

It took 10+ rounds of testing & tweaking to get them just right, but these are easily the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had.

Extra juicy turkey burgers start with smart ingredients and a few simple grilling techniques…perfect every time!

The secret lies in…1) choosing the right ground turkey with a decent fat content, 2) mixing the turkey meat with a few super simple pantry ingredients to increase the moisture in the patties and boost their natural flavor, and 3) following a few easy but effective grilling tips!

The result? A reliable go-to recipe for irresistibly juicy, incredibly flavorful, and easy-to-grill turkey burgers that has been made and loved by thousands of PWWB readers since it was first published.

Say goodbye to dry, bland or crumbling turkey burgers of the past, and hello to the freakin’ best grilled turkey burgers you’ll ever have!

Key Ingredients for Extra Juicy and Flavorful Results

Building a flavorful and 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- and flavor-boosting additions, every single ingredient in this grilled turkey burger recipe plays an essential role.

A pacakge of Diestel ground turkey, Sir Kensington's mayonnaise, onion, garlic, & Worcestershire sauce are arranged on a white marble surface.
Don’t skimp on fat! Since turkey is naturally lean, look for a decent fat content for the juiciest results.

Ground turkey – As the star of this recipe, be sure to use ground turkey with decent fat content. Fat translates to juiciness, so we’re not using the extra lean stuff here. Look for ground turkey meat with at least a 93% lean and 7% fat content. If you can find 90-92% lean, that’s even better. If you’re purchasing from your grocery store’s butcher counter, ask for ground turkey thighs or dark meat.

A few more important additions…

  • MayonnaiseYES, mayonnaise. It’s my secret ingredient for juicy turkey burgers. The littlest bit of mayonnaise lends juiciness and flavor to the burgers, and prevents them from drying out as they grill. Don’t skip it! An easy swap An equal amount of sour cream or full-fat yogurt also works well too if you already have these on hand.
  • Fresh aromatics – Rather than using garlic powder or onion powder, we’re using fresh here for optimal flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce – My favorite little secret weapon for adding tons of savory umami flavor to burgers, whether they’re made of beef, poultry, or veggies. A little goes a long way!

How to Make the Best Turkey Burger Patties

One benefit of creating a no-frills and 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 just 5 ingredients, one bowl, and a grill – that’s it!

Ground turkey, mayonnaise, grated onion and garlic, and Worcestershire sauce rest inside of a clear glass mixing bowl. The bowl sits atop a white and gray marble surface.
Four turkey burger patties are arranged on a small baking sheet, atop crumpled parchment paper.
1

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. Why? ⇢ Grating the onion (and garlic) into fine pieces helps to mix the aromatics throughout the turkey burger patties evenly without disrupting the overall texture, whereas larger diced pieces can lead to crumbling or falling apart on the grill.

2

Mix the turkey burger ingredients. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and 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.

3

Form the 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.

4

Chill before you grill. Set the portioned burger patties on a small baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Why? ⇢ The turkey burger patties will be much easier to handle and will grill much more uniformly after they’ve chilled a bit.

Make-Ahead Prep!

Make burger night even easier by forming the turkey burger patties ahead of time. Skip chilling in the freezer altogether, and instead separate the patties with wax paper to prevent sticking and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. At dinnertime, just preheat the grill and get cooking – easy! Refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.

Close up of four raw and uncooked turkey burger patties arranged on a small silver baking sheet, atop crumpled parchment paper.
Chilling the turkey burgers helps them grill uniformly and maintain their shape. It’s a simple step with a big impact!

How to Grill Turkey Burgers + Tips and Tricks

Grilling turkey burgers can be a little tricky. Turkey meat is so much leaner than beef or pork, so it tends 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 burger recipe, though.

We’ve already won half of the battle by using the right ingredients – the only thing left is a little grilling technique!

Preparing the grill to grill turkey burgers. A woman's hand reaches into the photo with grill tongs holding lightly greased paper towel to grease the grill grates of a gas grill.
Oiling the grill grates is one of the best ways to prevent sticking – use grilling tongs while oiling to protect yourself from the heat of the grill!
1

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 and hot, which helps to prevent sticking.

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.

For more information, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide for How to Light A Grill, which walks through everything you need to know to start both gas and charcoal grills.

Four turkey burgers are cooked on a gas grill. A woman's hand reaches into the frame with a grill spatula to flip one of the burgers.
Flip the turkey burgers using a single swift motion…
A close up macro shot of a grilled turkey burger with grill marks.
…for beautifully charred grill marks!
2

Grill the turkey burgers. Finish forming the turkey burger patties into 1-inch thick patties. Pop ’em on the grates and 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 and 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.

No Grill? Use the Stovetop!

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.

Step-by-Step Video

Serving Suggestions

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, and a toasted brioche burger bun.

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!

Grilled turkey burgers arranged on a platter with toppings - sliced cheese, leaf lettuce, grilled red onions & a jar of burger sauce.
DIY burger bars set up with all your favorite toppings are a fun way to serve turkey burgers to a crowd!

Easy Recipe Variations

Since the goal of this recipe was to create a straightforward, no bells or whistles turkey burger, it truly does yield a damn good and damn flavorful burger.

They’re perfect as-is but 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 and easy ideas…

  • Lemon herb – Zhuzh up the turkey burger mixture with lemon zest and 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, and 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 and Greek-style salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers and 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 and 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.), and be sure to top off your turkey burgers off with a generous spoonful of chermoula sauce.
A stack of two grilled turkey burgers, the top one with a bite taken out of it. Surrounding the burgers are sweet potato fries, & a small jar of burger sauce.
Juicy, tender turkey burgers paired with your favorite toppings and a plate of sweet potato fries are a match made in heaven!

I absolutely cannot wait for you to try our PWWB Best-Ever Turkey Burgers. We’ve been 100% obsessed with them, and 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 and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! Happy grilling! ♡

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A stack of two grilled turkey burgers, the top one with a bite taken out of it. Surrounding the burgers are sweet potato fries, & a small jar of burger sauce.

Best-Ever Grilled Turkey Burgers (Extra Juicy!)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 47 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour (includes inactive time)
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Sandwiches & Burgers, Main Dishes
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

It’s time to say goodbye to the days of dry, bland, and crumbly turkey burgers, THIS is the absolute Best Grilled Turkey Burger recipe out there – super juicy, flavorful, and straightforward! Made with just 5 simple ingredients, these turkey burgers are great for weeknights and summer BBQs alike. Tested endlessly to ensure it’s just right – this is the best turkey burger recipe I’ve ever made, and I know you’ll love it too!

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!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ⅓ pounds 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely grated and 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)

Instructions

  1. Prep: Line a small baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper or foil and set aside. Gather and 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, and 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 and wring out the moisture over the sink. Set aside.Ground turkey, yellow onion, garlic, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce are arranged on a creamy white textured surface.
  2. Mix the turkey burgers: Add the ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce to a large bowl. Season with 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt and 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.Ground turkey, yellow onion, garlic, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce fill a clear glass mixing bowl sits atop a creamy white textured surface. The ingredients have not yet been mixed.
  3. Form the turkey burger patties and 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 and intended! There’s no need to fuss over making them look perfect at this point – just aim for forming them into the general shape and 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.Four raw, formed turkey burger patties placed on a small aluminum baking sheet atop crumpled parchment paper. The baking sheet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  4. 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.Weber Genesis II Propane Grill on a deck.
  5. 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.Four burgers sit atop gas grill grates while being cooked. Each have been flipped once revealing grill marks.
  6. Serve: Build your turkey burgers as desired. Here at the PWWB House, we like toasty brioche buns, leafy lettuce, juicy summer tomatoes, and a drizzle of mustard, ketchup, or aioli. Enjoy!A white oval shaped platter of burgers with cheese and buns rests atop a white and gray marble surface.

Notes

  • 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 and 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, and 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 and 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 and 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 and get cooking – easy!
  • Storage and 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 and enjoy as desired.

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love EatRachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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Comments

  1. 10.29.23
    Queene said:

    GOOD LAWD! Please know that this Turkey burger recipe converted this household to become loyal Turkey burger-believers! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your know-how!






    • 10.30.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      We’re SO happy to hear that, Queene!! We’re all about creating other turkey burger-believers! Thank you so much for the kind review! 🙂

  2. 9.10.23
    KayDubb said:

    I have done this recipe many times, five stars for holding together and juiciness. I usually use turkey dark meat along with lean ground and pop them in the freezer for 5-10 min before grilling. Mayo is the bomb as a binder! The flavoring is pretty basic, I usually amp it up with some Dijon and other seasonings in the mixture. I love a little minced habanero (try it you’ll like it) for extra kick. Thanks!!






    • 9.11.23
      Emma @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      LOVE the idea of adding minced habanero! Happy to hear the burgers turned out great for you, KayDubb!