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Who knew Grilled Turkey Burgers could be so juicy and flavorful?! I’m sharing my tips and tricks for the best turkey burgers you’ll try all summer!
Grilled Turkey Burgers
Of course we have a serious love of classic beef hamburgers around here, but sometimes we opt for these satisfyingly moist turkey burgers for a change of pace and to keep things on the lighter side. Turkey burgers sometimes get a bad rap, but they can be super mouthwatering when done right!
We are amping up the flavor of these juicy turkey burgers with some delicious seasoning, grilling them to perfection so they aren’t dry, and mixing in a secret ingredients to hold the patties together on the grill to make sure they stay nice and moist.
Turkey burger ingredients
- Lean ground turkey: Look for ground turkey with a fat percentage around 93/7 or 85/15. The higher the fat percentage, the juicier the burgers will be. But since we are typically opting for turkey burgers from a perspective of making healthy choices, we usually go for 93/7.
- Mayo: This is my secret ingredient to help bind the patties together and keep them extra moist, tender, and juicy. I got the idea from Southern Living and it works so well that I don’t think I will ever got back to using an egg as a binder for turkey burgers. Mayo is essentially just eggs emulsified with oil and a little salt anyway, so it makes perfect sense to make to use it as a binding agent.
- Bread crumbs: Ground turkey is softer and less sturdy than ground beef. Bread crumbs help the turkey burger hold up on the grill more.
- Garlic: I think fresh garlic gives the best flavor for turkey burgers, but you could use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh on hand.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Onion powder: Unlike garlic where I prefer it fresh for turkey burgers, I find onion powder is better it mixes in better with the meat. If you want to use fresh, I recommend grating 1/4 of a medium onion.
- Cumin: Just a pinch. This is a strong spice and a little goes a long way.
- BBQ sauce: Just a bit to help flavor the meat before it goes on the grill. You can brush on more after flipping the burgers if you like.
How to make turkey burgers
Homemade turkey burgers are super easy to make. But keep in mind that the longer the meat is out of the fridge, the warmer it will get. Ground turkey gets hard to work with when it is not cold, so have things prepared before pulling the meat out to make the patties.
- Season and mix the meat. Add the ground turkey to a bowl with the mayo, bbq sauce, bread crumbs, and seasoning, then mix using your hands just until combined. You don’t want to overwork the meat.
- Shape the patties. Use your hands or a burger press to shape the mixture into patties approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick and slightly larger than the buns you plan to use since they will shrink some as they cook. Patties that are too thin cook way too fast and the turkey burgers dry out in a second. The thicker patties give you a little grace period so the burgers stay moist. I like to shape mine on foil so I can easily peel them off to transfer to the grill and then throw the foil away for easier cleanup.
- Stick the patties in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. They don’t need to be frozen, but sticking the burger patties will help them hold up and transfer to the grill better. This is a great time to pull together your sides or get toppings ready for the burgers.
- Grill the burgers. Heat the grill to medium-high heat and clean the grill grates. Spray the patties with a little cooking spray on both sides to help them not stick to the grill grates, then lay them directly over the flames or heat source. Flip only once, halfway through cooking, until the turkey burgers reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F when tested with an instant read digital meat thermometer .
How long to cook turkey burgers
If you are wondering how long to grill turkey burgers, it’s usually just slightly longer than when you are grilling regular beef burgers. Turkey burgers take about 5-6 minutes per side on the grill for a total of 10-12 minutes.
If you can’t grill the burgers for some reason (I swear we run out of gas in our gas grill once a summer and are never prepared for it), you can always fry them in a cast iron skillet with a little oil over medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side.
Serve these moist turkey burgers with your favorite buns and all the toppings so guests can assemble their own perfect burger and you’ve got a party!
Best turkey burger toppings
- mayo or homemade aioli
- bbq sauce
- sliced onion (I think red onion is best on turkey burgers)
- cheese (especially cheddar, montery jack, or pepper jack)
- green leaf lettuce
- sliced avocado
- sauteed mushrooms
- cilantro leaves
- crispy bacon
- bacon jam
Make ahead and freezing instructions
You can make the turkey burgers ahead of time if you are planning a party and want to have these ready before guests arrive so all you have to do is heat up the grill and cook the burgers.
They can be shaped into patties and refrigerated for 24 hours. Or you can even transfer the turkey burgers to the freezer and freeze them in a single layer, then stack with wax paper between them and store in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag until ready to use. They can even be grilled straight from frozen without thawing, although you will need to cook them slightly longer.
What to serve with turkey burgers?
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Best Baked Beans
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Raspberry Pretzel Salad
- Homemade French Fries
- Creamy Grape Salad
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Summer Fruit Salad
- Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream
Turkey Burger Patties
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (93/7 percent)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons real mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons bbq sauce
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of cumin
- Brioche buns
- Sliced cheddar, monterey jack, or pepper jack cheese
- Sliced tomatoes
- Green leaf lettuce
- Sliced red onion
- Sliced avocado
- Mayo or aioli
- Combine the burger ingredients in a bowl. Mix together using your hands, then shape into patties about 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick. Make an indentation in the center of each burger with your fingers. Place in the freezer for 20-40 minutes to help them firm up before placing on the grill.
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Make sure the grates are clean. Spray both sides of each burger patty with cooking spray, then place on the grill. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then flip and top with cheese. Cook for another 5-6 minutes on the other side until done. The burgers should reach 165 degrees F in the center when tested with an instant read digital meat thermometer.
- Toast buns, then assemble burgers with lettuce and tomatoes on the bottom bun followed by the burgers and other toppings.
- Make ahead and freezing instructions: The burger patties can be made 24 hours in advance and kept in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap. Or freeze for up to 3 months and grill from frozen, or thawed in the fridge.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 856Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 239mgSodium: 1436mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 52g