Learn how to make juicy turkey burgers from the grill or on the stovetop – and never suffer through a dry turkey burger again!
juicy turkey burgers
I love a solid turkey burger every now and then – esp in the summer when I want to grill in the backyard most nights (and as much as I love beef burgers, I can’t eat those every night).
I suggest using a ground turkey with decent fat content. Fat equals juicy flavor, so I don’t suggest going extra lean for these burgers. I wouldn’t suggest 99% lean. Look for 93% lean ground turkey, at least. If you can find 90/10, that’s even better.
Turkey is a very lean protein, and so it doesn’t take much to dry them out – but after following the recipe below, I have no doubts that you’ll never have to bite into another overcooked/dry tasting turkey burger again!
the secret ingredient(s)
To take a dry and dull turkey burger juicy and flavorful, moisten your meat mixture with mustard and dried minced onions from the pantry! That’s the secret.
These two condiments will help keep your turkey burgers from drying out – I swear by it!
Any mustard (yellow, Dijon, spicy, etc) will work for these burgers. I tend to use yellow mustard or Dijon the most. You can also use ketchup, bbq sauce or even mayo. Any of these condiments will ensure you have a juicy turkey burger on your plate.
Fresh onion that is minced or grated will add moisture to these burgers, but sometimes I just want as easy as possible and if I have to grate an onion, I’m not adding it. This is how I discovered a lazy accident; dried minced onion from your spice cabinet will work just as well as fresh.
tips to make juicy turkey burgers
Perfectly grilled turkey burgers are an easy, straightforward process, but there are a few steps to make sure you have a perfect patty every time.
- Season your turkey. Keep it simple. Five pantry staples stand between you and the best turkey burgers; salt, pepper, mustard, minced onions, and a little bit of Worcestershire sauce.
- Don’t overwork the turkey meat. Do not overwork the meat when forming your burger patties! Form them into a loose 4-ounce ball and flatten, add a dimple (more below) and then get ready to grill. If the turkey feels too warm after you form patties, you can refrigerate for 10-minutes to ensure the patties maintain their shape.
- “Dimple” the patties. Adding a slight indent into the center of each burger patty prevents it from puffing up too much during grilling. Using your thumb, you can add a ½-inch thick dimple in the middle.
- Flip sparingly. Once your patties are on the grill, let them be. Try to only flip your patties once. And do not flatten with a spatula.
patty hack: You can wet your hands with water if the turkey starts to stick to your hands while forming your patties.
Ideal grilling temperature for turkey burgers
You want the grill at a medium-high heat, approx 400F for direct heat (or follow below to make these in a skillet on the stovetop).
These burgers won’t take too long to grill – approx 5-7 minutes per side (10-12 minutes total). Grilling times vary depending on the thickness of your burgers and your preferred doneness. Having a solid meat thermometer will help you know when your burgers are done.
Cook until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 160 degrees F. It’s okay to cook these burgers about 5 degrees less than the desired temperature, because they will continue to cook for several minutes after we remove from the grill.
burger toppings to use
As-is, this turkey burger recipe is flavorful and juicy. These burgers are naturally whole30, low-carb and clean making them perfect any night of the week.
This basic juicy turkey burger is simple for a reason – I want it to be your go-to base recipe for any turkey burger so that you can top it however you like it!
- Keto – top with cheese + mayo, tomatoes, onions and pickles and wrap with lettuce.
- Whole30 – use a compliant mayo or burger sauce with fresh arugula, avocado, tomatoes, etc.
- Hawaiian Burgers – top with Swiss cheese and fresh pineapple – and a teriyaki sauce if you like!
- Caprese Burgers – use fresh mozzarella, pesto and a homemade basil mayo.
sides to make with turkey burgers
Juicy Turkey Burgers
- 1 pound ground turkey - Look for 93% lean ground turkey. If you can find 90/10, that’s even better. I would not suggest 99% lean.
- 2 tablespoons mustard (yellow mustard, Dijon, etc - can also use ketchup, bbq sauce or mayo
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- optional toppings: cheese, buns, lettuce, tomato, avocado, burger sauce, mustard, etc.
TO MAKE ON THE GRILL (CHARCOAL OR PROPANE)
- Prepare your grill for direct heat and preheat to medium heat (approximately 350-450F). While the grill preheats, gently blend ground turkey and dried spices + condiments into a large mixing bowl.
- Form each patty into a loose ball weighing approx 4-ounces press each patty down to a ¾-inch thickness, by about 4 ½-inches wide. If the turkey starts to stick to your hands, wet your hands with water.
- Create a dimple indent in the center of each patty, about ½-inch deep. If the patties feel warm after handling, chill the meat before grilling so it holds its shape better. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, if needed.
- Clean the grates and grease with oil to prevent the burgers from sticking.
- Grill the turkey burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 4-5 minutes. Flip patties. Cook turkey burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat once internal temperature is 160F**
- To serve, add any toppings you like and dig in.
IF USING A SAUTE PAN OR GRIDDLE (PREFERABLY CAST IRON):
- Heat 1 tablespoon of neutral cooking oil in the pan or griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the turkey burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 4 minutes. Flip patties. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat once internal temperature is 160F**. Top with cheese, if using, and remove from heat.
- To serve, add any toppings you like and dig in.
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