Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burgers with Pepper Jack & Guacamole

Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burgers are mega juicy, mega cheesy, & mega flavorful, with bursts of spicy chiles & creamy guacamole in every single bite. & aside from that, there’s still so much more to love about these stuffed turkey burgers. They are completely easy & weeknight-friendly. This turkey burger recipe takes no more than 10 minutes to prep (which you could do ahead of time as part of your meal prep or party prep!) & the burgers grill up in just 10 minutes more. 25-minutes, 1 bowl, minimal ingredients, & SO MUCH CHEESE. YES, please!
Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burger place on a burger bun with lettuce & guacamole. Burger is sitting on a light wood board, with a jar of salsa behind it.

This post is sponsored by Tillamook, whose cheeses & ice creams give me allll of the heart eyes. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own! 

If you’re the kind of person who thinks turkey burgers are impossibly boring, I’m happy to inform you that your turkey burger world is about to be flipped upside down.

Stuffed Southwest turkey burgers are the ultimate turkey burgers. Seriously.

I mean, how could we ever go wrong with these beauts? Thick & juicy turkey burgers (char-grilled to perfection, obvi), filled with the zesty & spicy Southwest-inspired flavor of ground cumin & green chiles, & topped with a big fat schmear of guac & salsa & whatever else your burger-loving heart desires. 

…& as though that’s not enough to convince you, we’re STUFFING THE WHOLE SHEBANG WITH CHEESE.

Zoomed in image of stuffed Southwest Turkey Burger place on a burger bun with lettuce & guacamole. Burger is sitting on a light wood board.

Tillamook cheese, to be particular. (Because when it comes to cheese, we owe it to ourselves to be very particular, you know?)

Here’s the deal: I LOOOVE Tillamook. Plain & simple. They’re a farmer-owned cooperative out of Oregon, & after working with them several times throughout the past year, their cheeses have earned their spot as a mainstay in my fridge. Tillamook is all about meltiness & cheesy flavor, & when it comes to a staple cheese like Monterey Jack or Cheddar, what more could you really want?

& the very best part? Tillamook is finally here in MN! (Find Tillamook near you HERE!)

Their arrival is worth celebrating 1000x over. So that’s exactly what we’re doing! Tillamook’s Melty Fest tour is stopping in the Twin Cities this month (learn more about the events at the bottom of this post!), & we’re celebrating with Minnesota-style…with a celebration of the Juicy Lucy, obviously!

You may recall my slightly controversial stance on Juicy Lucy-style burgers, but after having the opportunity to taste Juicy Lucys from top chefs in the Twin Cities by the likes of Justin Sutherland (Handsome Hog), Carrie McCabe-Johnston (Nightingale), & Karyn Tomlinson (Corner Table), I couldn’t help but feel inspired to create another epic stuffed burger recipe. 

I chose to use Tillamook’s pepper jack cheese since it melts beeeautifully (crucial!). Every bite is filled with good peppery flavor & a pop of heat – but not so much so that it’s too spicy (…even if you are a “Minnesota-spicy” type of person!).

Rather than using a big piece of cheese – Juicy Lucy-style – I make these stuffed turkey burgers by dicing the cheese into small pieces, which then get mixed throughout the turkey burger patties. The small pieces of cheese melt as the burgers grill, creating pools of melted cheesy goodness throughout the burger.

Hey, if there’s anything better than a pool of melted cheese, it’s tons of pools of melty cheese!

Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burger place on a burger bun with lettuce & guacamole. Burger is sitting on a light wood board, with a jar of salsa behind it. Burger is cut in half, showing the inside of the burger patty which has melted pepper jack cheese oozing out of it.

(…& I mean, are we turkey burger people yet, or what?!)

How to make turkey burgers with pepper jack and guacamole:

One of my favorite things about these pepper jack turkey burgers is that they take just 10 minutes to prep! (Told ya they are totally weeknight dinner material, didn’t I!?!) You can whip them up any night of the week, or even meal prep the turkey burger patties in advance. Either way, they come together in 3 really simple steps:

  • Form the stuffed burgers patties. Mix together the ground turkey with diced pepper jack cheese, green chiles, ground cumin, and a little bit of garlic powder. I like to get my hands in there & really feel the mixture come together since it’s important to be careful to not overmix (…more on that in a sec!)
  • Grill. With the patties formed, it’s time to grill your green chile turkey burgers. I have some grilled turkey burger tips & tricks below, but you’ll want to preheat your grill to medium heat (about 550 degrees F). If you don’t have a grill, you can always use a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on your stove. Grilling the burgers will take about 10 minutes, start to finish! 
  • Make the smashed avocado. These are guacamole turkey burgers after all! Simply mash avocado with lemon and lime juice, & salt. You can add in other spices & herbs (ground cumin, crushed red pepper, fresh cilantro, etc.), but I like to keep this smashed avo really simple. You can do this right as the burgers grill up – multi-tasking queen! ?
  • & lastly…serve! Your gourmet turkey burgers are ready for a toasted bun, avocado mash, salsa, lettuce, and any other toppings or condiments your fancy AF heart desires. YUM!!!

(…seriously, can you believe that took less than 25 minutes, start to finish??)

I hope you give this Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burger recipe a try very soon – I know you’ll love them! If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. One of my favorite things is seeing your pwwb creations! ? Grab the recipe & learn more about Tillamook’s Melty Fest events below. If you want extra turkey burger tips & tricks, I offer some thoughts at the bottom of this post about how to grill turkey burgershow long to cook turkey burgers, & tips for moist turkey burgers.  

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Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burgers with Pepper Jack & Guacamole

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  • Author: jess larson | plays well with butter
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: mains, burgers, sandwiches
  • Method: grill
  • Cuisine: American


Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burgers are mega juicy, mega cheesy, & mega flavorful, with bursts of spicy chiles & creamy guacamole in every single bite.



for the Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burgers:

  • 1 pound 90% lean ground turkey or chicken (see Recipe Notes)
  • 6 ounces Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles (mild or hot as preferred)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for brushing the grill
  • for serving, as desired: toasted burger buns, avocado mash (below), salsa, lettuce, etc.

for the avocado mash: 

  • 2 medium avocados, halved & pitted
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • optional: 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium heat, about 500 degrees F. 
  2. Form the stuffed Southwest turkey burger patties: Add the ground turkey to a large bowl with the diced pepper jack cheese, diced green chiles, cumin, & garlic powder. Season with salt & ground black pepper, adding cayenne pepper as desired. Using your hands, combine the mixture until the pepper jack & chiles are evenly dispersed. Be careful not to overmix. Using a burger press or mold, form into 4 equally sized burger patties (see Recipe Notes).
  3. Grill the stuffed burgers: Just before throwing the burgers on the grill, use grill tongs to swipe a piece of paper towel that’s been drizzled with vegetable oil over the grates to prevent sticking. Grill the burgers over direct heat for 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the burger registers 165 degrees F. The burgers should have beautiful grill marks & tons of melty cheese oozing out!
  4. Prep the avocado mash: Meanwhile, as the burgers grill, prep the avocado mash. Add the avocado to a medium bowl with the lemon juice, lime juice, and salt, seasoning with cilantro, garlic powder &/or cayenne pepper as desired. Mash to your desired consistency. Set aside. 
  5. Serve as desired, on toasted buns with the avocado mash, salsa, lettuce, & condiments. Enjoy! 


  • Choosing the right meat for your turkey burgers: Now’s not the time to use ground turkey breast or chicken breast meat, which is so lean that it will absolutely dry out by the time its cooked through on the grill. I always look for 93% lean ground turkey or chicken, or if the butcher counter sells ground “breast” vs “thighs, I opt for thighs. 
  • Burger press or ring moldAs someone who isn’t into keeping tons of kitchen gadgets on hand, use of a burger press or mold is key for taking your homemade burger game to the next level. The press/mold will help you be able to pack each patty very compactly, making for a much more enjoyable texture in your burgers. This one is $10 and has awesome reviews!
  • Meal prep tip! These burgers are super meal prep friendly & take just 10 minutes to prep. To meal prep: form the burger patties according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions. Store, layered with parchment, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. At dinnertime, all you have to do is toss them on the grill & prep your avocado mash – easy! 

Tillamook Metly Fest 2019

Chris & I with Chef Justin Sutherland at the Handsome Hog!

Tillamook is finally(!) here in MN! To celebrate, Tillamook’s Melty Fest Tour is stopping in the Twin Cities this month with fun events & tons of cheesy goodness.

It all culminates at Bauhaus with A Celebration of the Juicy Lucy this Monday, August 12 from 5-9 pm. Tons of local chefs created their own Juicy Lucys & they’ll all be available for tasting! Chris & I had the opportunity to preview some of the burgers & some other treats at Handsome Hog this week, & everything is seriously to.die.for. (Seriously: Bacon & Cheese Croquettes. Tillamook Mac & Cheese. Freakin’ Pimento Cheese Juicy Lucys!)

Bacon & Cheese Croquettes sitting on a plate, topped with microgreens.

If you can’t make it to the event at Bauhaus on Monday, be sure to head over to check out the Tillamook menu takeover at Handsome Hog. You can try Chef Justin Sutherland’s Tillamook Juicy Lucy from August 12-18th!

Mini cheeseburger on a plate with mini blue flag that says "Tillamook" coming out of it.

How to grill turkey burgers:

Grilling turkey burgers can be a little bit tricky since the meat is lean & has a tendency to stick or dry out. There’s absolutely no reason to be intimidated by, though!

Here are a few tips & tricks that’ll keep your grilled burgers pretty & juicy:

  • Grill temp: Heat your grill with direct medium heat, about 550 degrees F. Let the grill preheat for a good 5-10 minutes to ensure the grates are hot-hot-hot before you throw the turkey burger patties on the grill!
  • How to prevent sticking: Because turkey is leaner than beef or pork, it’s really helpful to oil the grates prior to grilling to help prevent sticking. Simply drizzle a little bit of vegetable oil (or another high smoke point oil) on paper towel. Using grilling tongs, carefully & quickly run the paper towel over the grates. 
  • How to prevent dried out burgers: There’s truly no need to cook your turkey burgers to death! Stuffed southwest turkey burgers are about 1/3-inch thick, so 10 minutes, flipping halfway through (5 minutes per side) should do the trick…but always double-check with a thermometer! The burgers will be ready once a thermometer inserted in the center of your turkey burger temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  • Stovetop burgers: If you don’t have a grill, you can also whip these burgers up on your stovetop, using a grill pan or a cast-iron skillet. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan – it’s what’ll help create that gorgeous crispy crust on your turkey burgers. 

(If all this grilling talk is feeling a little foreign, I’d suggest starting with my Grilling 101 post. It includes everything you need to know to start grilling and go from newbie to grillmaster in no time flat. I’ll teach you all about must-have grilling equipment, how to light your grill, how to clean your grill, & to understand grilling temperatures. Promise…you will be total a pro, girl!)

How long to cook turkey burgers: 

The goal is always moist turkey burgers, so we want them cooked just right. it will take about 8-10 minutes to grill (flipping halfway through).

because these stuffed turkey burgers end up being around 1/3 pound, I err towards the 10-minute end of the spectrum, and I always confirm the burgers are done with a thermometer.

your southwest turkey burgers will be ready once a thermometer inserted in the center of your turkey burgers registers 165 degrees F. 

Tips for moist turkey burgers:

If you want the juiciest turkey burgers, simply follow these three easy tips! 

  1. Choose the right meat. This is not the time to use ground turkey breast or chicken breast meat, which is so lean that it will absolutely dry out by the time it’s cooked through.  Look for 93% lean ground turkey or chicken, or if the butcher counter only sells ground “breast” vs “thighs”, always opt for thighs. Your burgers will still be leaner than red meat, but the extra fat content will prevent them from drying out entirely. 
  2. Do not overwork the meat. Add all the burger ingredients to a bowl & use your hands to mix just until everything is pretty evenly dispersed. There’s no need to overdo it – that’ll just cause the meat to toughen up on you. 
  3. Do not overcook! These stuffed turkey burgers should only take 4-5 minutes per side to register 165 degrees F in the center. Use a thermometer to double-check so that you don’t cook them too long. Even though the cheese in the patties makes these stuffed turkey burgers pretty forgiving, they will dry out if they overcook!
Stuffed Southwest Turkey Burger place on a burger bun with lettuce & guacamole. Burger is sitting on a light wood board, with a jar of salsa behind it.

*More Grilling Tips and Tricks

Grilling doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating, we’ll show you how!

We’ve created a completely FREE 5 Day Grilling Series dedicated to help you be your most confident self behind the grill this summer. We’ll guide you through Grilling 101 Tips and Tricks (and as a bonus, we’ll send you our BONUS 15 Grilling Marinades download right away!). Sign up now!

Let’s make this your best grilling season yet! 🙌🏼 🔥

More PWWB x Tillamook Recipes:

Still craving more? I don’t blame you! I’ve had the opportunity to work with Tillamook several times in the past year or so, & their cheeses are seriously top-notch. Find out where you can buy them near you HERE, & be sure to check out these other super delish, super cheesy Tillamook recipes soon!

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 and 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 and Smoking recipes.

And lastly! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be teaching you how to grill up some goodness all summer long, and we have so much fun on Instagram!

Want more grilling tips and recipes?

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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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  1. 10.12.22
    Kristen said:

    These burgers are SO GOOD! When I first made them, my husband wasn’t too excited about having turkey instead of beef but he has proclaimed these his favorite burgers over and over! I’ve made them a dozen times or more and usually cook them in a cast iron pan on the stove. I never have any problem with them breaking apart. If you haven’t tried them yet, make them tonight!!

    • 10.12.22
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      We SO love to hear it, Kristen! Mission accomplished. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop a comment, we’re so glad they’ve become a go-to dinner for you both! 🙂

  2. 5.21.21
    Brooke said:

    These are my GO TO burgers! They are so easy and so flavorful! Jess, thank you so much for helping me grow my confidence while grilling! I was so timid at first, but now I LOVE grilling!

    • 12.27.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Thanks Brooke! We are so glad you love this recipe & feel empowered to get behind the grill!

  3. 8.6.20
    Jeremy said:

    Hey, Jess! Have you ever tried freezing these? As household of 1, I’m wondering how they will hold up. Thanks!

  4. 7.19.20
    Aimee Lecointre said:

    These are amazing! The best turkey burgers we’ve ever had. So good we’ve been making them almost weekly this summer 😆

    • 3.12.21
      Erin @ Plays Well With Butter said:

      Aimee! Thank you so much for sharing! If you ever want a dang good classic turkey burger – try our Best-Ever Grilled Turkey Burgers too!

  5. 5.21.20
    Angela said:

    I’ve made this recipe as written a few times now in a cast iron skillet. The flavor of these is AMAZING, but I just can’t get the burgers to stay together. I don’t have a burger press or rings to help me out – is there anything I can add or do to get my patties to hold together better?

    • 5.21.20
      jess said:

      Hey Angela! I’m so sorry to hear you’re having trouble with the burgers staying together – are you finding they fall apart as they cook, or when you go to flip them? In my experience, pressing them into really compact patties is really key. I suggest a burger press or ring mold for this reason; you can form compact patties without over-working the meat. If using a burger mold/ring mold is not an option, I’d think the best bet would be to substitute the cubed cheese with shredded & to make sure you’re chilling the burger patties a good 20-30 minutes in the freezer before attempting to cook. Let me know if that helps!

      • 5.21.20
        Angela said:

        It’s usually when I go to flip them that the trouble starts, but I also can feel I’m not getting them formed as well as I should be. I will definitely give those tips a try – thank you! 😊

  6. 4.26.20
    Ruth said:

    I don’t usually like turkey burgers. I find them dry and often lacking in taste. These were amazing! Easy to make, moist, flavorful and loved by all! I made according to recipe with the addition of 1/4 cup grated white onion.

    Will definitely be making these again!

  7. 1.24.20
    Elizabeth Beckmann said:

    I made these burgers on a stovetop cast iron grill and let me tell you they were so good! Totally forgiving (though I did use a probe thermometer to make sure I didn’t overcook them) and super tasty – and they reheated really well for lunch the next day!

    • 1.25.20
      jess said:

      I’m SO glad you loved them, Elizabeth! I love a good ol’ cast iron burger!

  8. 8.14.19
    Lindsey said:

    These burgers sound absolutely KILLER!

    • 8.24.19
      jess said:

      thanks lindsey! they’re honestly SO good, especially considering how simple the ingredients are. hope you can try soon!