We’re calling this the best turkey burger recipe for good reason! These patties are juicy, tender and perfectly seasoned.

Turkey burger with cheese on a bun sitting on a serving board.

Why You’ll Love This Turkey Burger

The most important part of a good burger is the patty, hands down. When you’ve got a juicy, tasty, well-seasoned patty, the rest is a cinch!

Unfortunately turkey burgers tend to get a bad rap because they’re leaner than beef and sausage, which both contain all of that flavorful fat. As a result, turkey can offer up a dry patty. But this hamburger defies all odds! It doesn’t dry out and it’s packed with savory smoky flavors. You have to try it—just check the comments at the bottom of the post and see for yourself!

What to Serve With Them

Quick Tips

  1. To prevent the hamburger patties from shrinking on the grill, press a divot into the center of each patty with your thumb.
  2. Refrigerate the patties for about 30 minutes prior to grilling. Cooling them helps firm them up so they don’t fall apart on the grill.
  3. Get yourself a meat thermometer so you can check the internal temperature of the patties.
  4. If you like spicy burgers, add some chili flakes to your ground meat blend!
Two turkey burgers stacked with condiments on a wooden serving board.

Ingredients

  • Ground turkey. Go for 93% lean ground turkey.
  • Salt & pepper. My rule for seasoning ground meat is 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat.
  • Onion powder. Despite using fresh onion in these burgers, I find that adding a bit of onion powder really enhances the flavor.
  • Italian seasoning. This ingredient is optional. If you like a nice herbaceous flare to your burgers, definitely add Italian seasoning. You could also use fresh parsley.
  • Garlic. Minced or grated with a microplane is best as it distributes into the mixture more evenly.
  • Red onion. I use minced or finely chopped onions for flavor and added moisture. You don’t have to limit yourself to red onion, however. White or yellow onions are totally fine!
  • Liquid smoke. This is the ticket, friends! Just a tablespoon of liquid smoke is what makes this so flavorful and brings the essence of a charbroiled beef burger to your bun. If you don’t have liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce will do the trick. You won’t get the smokiness, but you’ll still end up with tons of umami.
  • Panko breadcrumbs. This is your binder. Breadcrumbs will help keep your patties together. You could substitute for Italian breadcrumbs if needed.
  • Egg. Since first developing this recipe I’ve found that omitting the egg is okay. It helps with binding and adding a little extra moisture, but you can go without and still end up with fabulously juicy burger.

How to Make the Best Turkey Burgers Ever

  1. Prep a baking sheet. Before you get your hands dirty, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Blend your ingredients. Place the ground turkey into a large mixing bowl. Add all of the patty ingredients into the bowl and, with clean hands, gently blend everything until the mixture is cohesive.
  3. Form your patties! Divide the mixture into four equal portions and gently form them into patties. Place the patties on the parchment-lined baking sheet and gently press a divot into the middle of each patty.
  4. Chill. Pop the tray of patties in the fridge and let them sit in there for about 30 minutes. Refrigerating them helps firm them up so they don’t fall apart on the grill.
  5. Time to grill! Place the patties on the grill, cover, and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. Gently flip them (they should have nice grill marks on the cooked side), cover, and let them cook for another 4-5 minutes. (Scroll down for more cooking options.)
  6. Temperature check. At this point, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160-165º F.
  7. Burger assembly. Pop your patty onto a bun and top it with whatever you please! The flavors in these patties go with anything.
A mixing bowl with turkey burger ingredients in it next to four uncooked patties.

Cooking Turkey Burgers on the Stove

Lightly grease a cast iron skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, transfer the burgers into the pan. Cook them until browned—about 4-5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers and cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 160-165º F—which should be another 4-5 minutes. Use a splatter screen to prevent oil spitting all over your stovetop.

In an Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 360º F. Lightly grease the air fryer basket, then place the patties into the basket. Make sure there is space between the patties and that they aren’t touching one another. (Cook in two batches if necessary.) Air fry the burgers for 4-5 minutes per side, or until you reach that optimal internal temperature.

In the Oven

Preheat the oven to 375º F with the rack positioned in the center of the oven. Bake the burgers on a parchment-lined sheet pan for 25-30 minutes, or until they reach the necessary internal temperature (160-165º F). (If using the same sheet pan you used to let them set in the fridge, take it out about 20 minutes prior to cooking to let it come to room temp.)

Serving Suggestions

  • On a bun! These go well with any and all buns, including pretzel buns.
  • Over a salad. You could easily turn this turkey burger into a refreshing salad by omitting the bun and serving the chopped patty over lettuce with whatever toppings you enjoy.
  • Toppings. I love topping my turkey burger with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles, and mayo. You could also zhuzh it up but doing fried mushrooms, barbecue sauce, spinach, etc. Get creative.
The best turkey burger served on a serving board.

Storage, Freezing, & Reheating

  • Turkey burgers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.
  • If you plan on freezing your turkey burgers, it’s best to do prior to cooking so they don’t dry out when thawed and heated. Simply wrap the uncooked patties individually with plastic wrap and pop them into the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat cooked turkey burgers, bring them out of the fridge and let them sit out for about 20 minutes to come to room temp.
    • Air fryer—Preheat to 350º F and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the patties are heated through.
    • Oven—Preheat the oven to 350º F and cook the patties for 5-7 minutes or until the center is warm, flipping them halfway through.
    • Microwave—This is the quickest way to reheat a burger, and though the microwave can dry things out, I’ve never found that it dried out these turkey burgers! Simply reheat on a microwave-safe plate for about 2 minutes, checking halfway through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are turkey burgers healthier than beef burgers?

Both turkey and beef burgers offer nutrition through protein, fat, and various vitamins and minerals. However, turkey is lower in saturated fat, making it a great option for a heart-healthy diet. This burger in particular clocks in at 215 calories with 33 grams of protein.

What makes turkey burgers stick together?

Binder ingredients like breadcrumbs and eggs are what help keep turkey burgers maintain their shape. You could also use a tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Letting them sit in the fridge to set prior to cooking is also very helpful!

How do you season a turkey burger?

The best way to achieve flavor in a turkey burger is by using a variety of spices and components. Liquid smoke is a great way to get the essence of a charbroiled burger. Others additions include Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder or fresh garlic, onion powder, fresh onion, paprika, and herbs. Don’t forget salt and pepper!

 

Have You Made This Recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a STAR rating & commenting below with feedback!

You can also show off your creations on Instagram by tagging @killing__thyme

More Ground Turkey Recipes to Try

Close up shot of stacked turkey burger with greens, tomato slice, melted cheese, onions, and mushrooms.

Best Turkey Burger Recipe

We're calling this the best turkey burger recipe for good reason! These patties are juicy, tender and perfectly seasoned.
4.88 from 250 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Refrigeration:: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 269kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground turkey, 93% lean
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and grated to a paste (or finely minced)
  • 1 egg (optional) Adding an egg in addition to breadcrumbs just puts double duty into the binding, but it's optional.
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

Serving suggestions:

  • Fresh brioche buns
  • Sliced cheese
  • Your choice of condiments and toppings

Instructions

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • With clean hands, mix the ground turkey with all of the patty ingredients in a large mixing bowl with. Gently work the mixture until it's cohesive.
  • Divide the meat mixture into four equal portions and carefully form them into patties. Place the patties onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. With your thumb, press a divot into the middle of each patty; this will prevent the patty from shrinking on the grill.
  • Place the patties in the fridge and let them chill for about 30 minutes. This helps them firm up so they don't fall apart on the grill.
  • When it's go time, preheat your grill to medium-high heat—around 450º F. Clean the grill well. If you need to grease your grill, dip a wad of paper towels in some vegetable oil and glide the soaked towel along the grate with tongs. (I don't normally do this, but if you find that meat sticks easily to your grill, you might want to do this step to play it safe; you know your grill best.)
  • Once the grill is ready, transfer the patties to the grill, cover, and let them cook for about 4-5 minutes. Gently flip them (they should have nicely formed grill marks on the cooked side), cover, and let them cook for another 4-5 minutes. Check the internal temperature with a Meat Thermometer, looking for an internal temperature of 165º F. If you're not quite there yet, flip the burgers once more and cover for another minute or two. (If you're using cheese, place the cheese slices onto the patties about a minute before you think they'll be done.)
  • When the burgers are ready, transfer them to a clean plate or platter and serve them with fresh brioche buns and your choice of toppings.

Notes

Be sure to scroll up to the post for recipe tips, serving suggestions, and storage.

Nutrition

Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sugar: 1g