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.
As we began planning recipe ideas for grilling season this year, I more or less became 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 delish turkey burger recipes out there, most lean on other ingredients for flavor – think Mediterranean turkey burgers, Southwest turkey burgers, etc. (We even have some of those kinds of recipes here on PWWB!) But sometimes you’re not in the mood for a burger with Mediterranean or Southwest flavors.
Sometimes you crave a straightforward, damn good burger.
So that’s exactly what I set out to create. A tried & true, no bells & whistles, no frills or fuss, go-to grilled turkey burgers recipe. The kind of turkey burgers recipe that’s delicious AF on its own, but can also easily be customized with a gazillion variations to fit whatever cravings you might have.
…and THIS is THAT recipe – the freakin’ best grilled turkey burgers you’ll ever have.
These are easily the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had. It took 10+ rounds of testing & tweaking to get the recipe just right. A delicious labor of love, & I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it’s turned out.
These grilled turkey burgers are…
- 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. 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.
& if that’s not a total grilling season win, I don’t know what is!!!
Grilled turkey burgers…complete summertime perfection. ♡ Read on to learn more about these grilled turkey burgers, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
The Best Turkey Burgers Start with the Right Ingredients:
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.
The cast of characters includes… (*Note, full Ingredients List, including measurements, is provided in the Recipe Card, below.)
- 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 least. 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 thigh 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, & will prevent them from drying out as they grill. I swear by it. For optimal flavor, use a high-quality mayonnaise. Sir Kensington’s is my favorite, by a longshot.
- garlic & onion – The easiest flavor-boosters! Rather than dicing, I like grating onion for burgers (& meatballs!). Finely grated onion sorta disintegrates into little shards of flavor without disrupting the texture of the burgers in the way that a larger dice would.
- Worcestershire sauce – My favorite little secret weapon for adding TONS of umami to burgers – whether they’re made from beef, poultry, or veggies. A little goes a long way!
- plus, kosher salt & ground black pepper, of course!
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 Burgers (it couldn’t be easier!):
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!
Note: full Recipe Directions provided in the Recipe Card, below):
First, prep work: grate half an onion. The only prep work involved in making this easy turkey burgers recipe is grating an onion. Pretty simple! 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. To grate, 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).
Next, mix the ingredients: Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl & use your hands to mix until just combined. Avoid overworking the mixture, as it will result in tough turkey burgers. The mixture will be pretty wet, which is totally expected at this point.
Then, form turkey burger patties: Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, just over 6 oz each. Use your hands to form each portion into a 1-inch thick patty. Again, avoid overworking & 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.
Lastly, chill: Set the portioned burger patties on a small baking sheet & pop them in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 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:
If you’re prepping in advance for a weekend BBQ or you’re the meal prepping type, you can totally make the turkey burger patties ahead of time.
Rather than chilling in the freezer, you can store formed patties in an airtight container, separating them with a piece of wax or parchment paper. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Cook Turkey Burgers on the Grill:
Note: for full Recipe Directions, be sure to reference the Recipe Card, below.
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 (I’ve totally been there!).
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 technique when it comes time to grilling.
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to do.
Preheat the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, about 450 degrees F, which is what I’ve found to be the best grilling temperature for grilled turkey burgers. Once the grill reaches cooking temperature, let it continue to heat for 5-10 minutes to ensure the grill grates are nice & hot, which will help prevent sticking. (For more information, be sure to check out our step-by-step How to Light A Grill guide, which walks through starting both gas & charcoal grills.)
Oil the grill grates: Once the grill is hot, & just before you’re ready to place the turkey burgers on the grill, use grilling tongs to run a generously oiled paper towel over the grill grates. If you’ve ever wondered about the secret of how to grill turkey burgers without falling apart, THIS IS IT. Generously oiling the grill grates is crucial to ensure your turkey burgers don’t stick to the grill. You can use any high-quality vegetable oil. I actually prefer avocado oil spray as it’s a little easier to evenly coat the paper towel.
How long to grill turkey burgers: To ensure the turkey burgers are juicy & delicious, this recipe makes thick patties. Grill them for about 6-7 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. 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 turkey burgers.
Finished cooking temperature of turkey burgers on the grill: The turkey burgers will be ready to pull from the grill once an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the turkey burgers reads 165 degrees F. Be careful not to overcook the turkey burgers – they will dry out.
Tips & Tricks for the Absolute BEST Grilled Turkey Burgers:
TL;DR? Here are the 6 things you absolutely need to know to grill up the best turkey burgers every single time:
- Use the right ingredients. Ingredients matter! Building a flavorful & juicy turkey burger starts with using the right ingredients. Avoid extra-lean ground turkey & opt instead for 90-93% lean or dark meat, then fortify it with a little bit of mayonnaise for extra juiciness & flavor.
- Don’t overwork the burger mixture. Mix the ingredients until just combined. Overworking the turkey burger mixture will result in tough turkey burgers!
- Chill the burger patties. Because the end goal of this recipe is a seriously juicy turkey burger, the burger mixture will be quite wet & difficult to handle at first. A quick stint in the freezer before grilling will chill the turkey burger patties, making them easier to handle.
- Oil the grates. If you’ve ever wondered about the secret of how to grill turkey burgers without falling apart, THIS IS IT. Just before you’re placing the turkey burgers on the grill, use grilling tongs to run a generously oiled paper towel over the grill grates.
- 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 turkey burgers. If the grates were well-oiled, the grill spatula should slide right under the burger patties.
- Use an instant-read thermometer. Ever wonder how can you tell when a turkey burger is done? The answer is quite simple: when an instant-read thermometer says they are! Because turkey burgers dry out so easily, it’s best to take guess-work out of the equation. This is the instant-read meat thermometer I use; I love it.
*More Grilling Tips & Tricks
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Feel Free to Customize! 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 – basil, dill, parsley, 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 these 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 me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
The absolute Best Grilled Turkey Burgers recipe! These easy turkey burgers are super juicy, super flavorful, & super straight-forward. Made with just 5 simple ingredients, these turkey burgers are perfect for weeknight grilling & summer BBQs.
- 1 1/3 pounds 93% lean ground turkey
- 1/2 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 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 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)
- Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Grate the onion: Arrange a few paper towels out 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.
GRILLED TURKEY BURGERS:
- Mix the turkey burgers: Add the ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt & ground black pepper to a large bowl. Using your hands, mix until just combined. Overworking the turkey burger mixture will lead to tough burgers; take care not to overmix.
- Form the turkey burgers: Divide the turkey burger mixture into 4 even portions, about 1/3 pound (5.3 ounces) each. Lightly coat your hands in oil (or mist with nonstick cooking spray) & form each portion into a 1-inch thick patty. The mixture will be very wet at this point, so there’s no need to fuss over making your burgers look perfect – just aim for forming them into the general shape & size you’re after. Set them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Chill the turkey burgers: Transfer the baking sheet with the turkey burger patties to the freezer. Chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Prepare the grill. Meanwhile, as the turkey burgers chill, preheat the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, about 450 degrees F. Just before placing the burgers on the grill, generously oil a wad of paper towel. Use grilling tongs to run the oiled paper towel over the grill grates, generously oiling the grates.
- Grill the turkey burgers: Remove the turkey burgers 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. Firmly press each turkey burger patty down onto the prepared grill grates. Grill the turkey burgers for 6 minutes per side, or until a thermometer inserted in the center of the turkey burgers registers 160 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: Allow the turkey burgers to rest for a few minutes (residual heat will increase the internal temperature to 165 degrees F) before serving as desired. Enjoy!
- 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.
- Make-ahead turkey burgers (15-minute meal prep): Turkey burger patties can be mixed & formed up to 3 days in advance. Follow Steps 1-2 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 cookin’ – easy!
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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