These Tender Greek Turkey Burgers are a hit. Ground turkey is blended with garlic, kalamata olives, feta, and capers. Stack’em how you want, but cucumbers, roasted red peppers, and spoonfuls of tzatziki are the true way to go.
Burgers: you can do so many fun things with them. And the restaurants in my little town do not shy away from being adventurous. Menus here are brimming with bold combinations that include bourbon maple bacon, guacamole and grilled pineapple, fried egg and béarnaise… but every time we go for burgers, I find myself ordering the same ol’ classic stacked with cheddar cheese, pickles, a tomato, crisp iceberg, an onion, ketchup, mayo, and mustard.
That, my friends, is the perfect burger.
But at home, I like to shake things up once in a while. And I certainly don’t regret shaking things up to bring you this beautiful beast.
How to make a juicy and flavorful turkey burger.
Turkey burgers get a bad rap for being dry and flavorless because they’re lean; fat is flavor. But there are ways around this.
Don’t overcook your burger. Overcooked poultry is a recipe for disappointment. I get it, salmonella is awful and we’re better safe than sorry—but safe doesn’t have to mean lacking in everything good. Get yourself a meat thermometer (one of the most important kitchen gadgets, in my opinion), and cook those patties until they reach an internal temperature of 160º F. Protein continues to cook after being removed from heat, so it will reach the preferred internal temp of 165º F once your burger is fancied up and you bite into it. A little side tip: using your thumb to press a dimple into the center of any burger patty will keep it from shrinking up and drying on the grill.
Jack up the seasoning. When it comes to flavor, poultry needs all the help it can get. So don’t be afraid to season the heck out of it. The rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of salt for every pound of ground meat. In my turkey meatball recipe, I cut the salt in half because the marinara they’re cooked in brings on extra flavor. But when it comes to burgers, salt’em up. Garlic powder, onion powder, herbs, and Worcestershire sauce go a long way, too.
Get the right kind of meat. Look for ground dark meat turkey. If you can’t find that, find a turkey that is, at max, 80-90% lean. (Butcher is best, but as Ina Garten would say, store-bought is fine.)
Add moisture. I always add an egg to any burgers I make as a binder, but here, the egg multitasks by bringing some extra moisture to the meat.
Refrigerate before cooking. This step is more to help with keeping the patties together than assisting with tenderness and flavor, but it’s crucial. I refrigerate my turkey burgers and meatballs for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking, if not a few hours longer.
Tender Greek Turkey Burgers.
I’ve been all about (and maybe overdoing) Mediterranean flavors lately. It shows in these antipasto sandwiches and in these stuffed pasta shells. But before taking a break from all of that good stuff, I had to bring you this recipe.
The patties are packed with garlic, kalamata olives, briny capers, feta cheese, red onion, and spices. Every bite is jam-packed with flavor, making these turkey burgers a total win for warm-weather dinners. When it comes to toppings, I like to slather on the tzatziki and pile on the cucumbers and roasted red peppers.
If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you.
Also, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme and be featured in our newsletter.
Looking for more recipes that swap ground beef for ground turkey? Check out my Tender Turkey Meatballs With Easy Marinara Sauce and my Instant Pot Ground Turkey Tacos.
Here are some more tasty ground turkey recipes…
- Ground Turkey Stuffed Peppers from Delightful Mom Food
- Sweet Potato Turkey Egg Bake from Crumb Top Baking
- Turkey Meatloaf from Pinch and Swirl
Tender Greek Turkey Burgers
These Tender Greek Turkey Burgers are made up of lean ground turkey, garlic, kalamata olives, feta, and tangy capers.
- 4 hamburger buns or kaiser rolls
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground turkey dark meat preferred, OR between 80-90% lean.
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup drained kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 TBSP drained capers, finely chopped
- 2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme or Italian herb mix
- Tomato slices
- Leafy greens
- Roasted red peppers
- Red onion
- 4 Hamburger buns or kaiser rolls
- Olive tapenade
- Pesto + mayo
Line a paper plate or baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Place the ground turkey in a large bowl. Add all of the ingredients from the kosher salt through to the dried herbs. With clean hands, get in there and mix the ingredients until well combined.
Shape four even patties with your hands. Ensure they're solid and well-formed, then set onto the parchment-covered surface. Wash your hands and place the patties in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, if not a few hours. This will help the patties become more sturdy and stay together when cooking.
If cooking on a skillet.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the patties. (Depending on the size of your skillet, I'd suggest no more than two at a time. You don't want to overcrowd the skillet.) Cook the patty for about five minutes. Carefully flip the patties, and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the patties reach an internal temperature of 160º F. (Protein continues to cook once removed from the heat, so once the burgers are prepared, they'll have reached the ideal 165º F.)
If cooking on the grill.
Always start with a CLEAN grill. This will prevent your meat from sticking and falling apart. Preheat the grill to high heat.
Grease up the grill by lightly dipping a ball of paper towels in olive or vegetable oil with tongs. Using those tongs, carefully glide the oiled paper towel over the grates until they're fully coated and glossy. (You may have to do this 3-4 times.)
Place the turkey burgers on the grill and cook for five minutes, covered, until you get some nice grill marks going. Then, carefully flip the patties and continue to cook them, covered, for 3-5 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 160º F.
Serve on fresh buns or kaiser rolls with your fave toppings. See ingredients list for suggested toppings.
To freeze: The uncooked patties can be frozen for up to three months. Freeze the burgers on a baking sheet or plate so that their shape sets, then transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container to store. To defrost the patties, place them in the refrigerator over night and keep them there until it's time to cook, then cook as directed.