Juicy, tender turkey burgers are the perfect lean alternatives to cook for dinner or throw on the grill. It’s so flavorful, juicy, and tender, it will become your favorite recipe to make. Learn my secrets to making juicy turkey burgers below.
If forced to choose which burger is the best, would you choose beef, chicken, or turkey? This is such a hard debate for me and personally, I would be at a tie between turkey and chicken. Chicken burgers might have one advantage over turkey and that is the juiciness of meat. Turkey is a much leaner meat than most others and therefore, turkey burgers tend to be dry.
Not my turkey burgers though! I’ve had too many turkey burgers in my life where you have to pile sauce mile high just to be able to chew it. Dry burgers are not pleasant and that’s why I’ve tested out several little tricks to make it juicy and tender.
Juicy, tender turkey burgers that are also full of flavor are perfect for a summer cookout or a weeknight dinner. Depending on the toppings, I like to pair it either with a Brioche bun or a pretzel bun.
Brioche is a light and slightly sweet bun and goes great with a simple lettuce, tomato, and onion toppings. For a richer, more filling option, I use a pretzel bun and add cheese, mushrooms, onions, or bacon. You can come up with your own toppings and buns options, of course.
TIPS FOR MAKING JUICY TURKEY BURGERS
First of all, don’t choose turkey meat that is too lean. I’ve seen extra lean ground turkey on the market, do not get those for burgers. Fat is what adds juiciness to the meat, so select ground turkey that is no leaner than 93%-7% lean to fat ratio.
There are a three ingredients that I always include to help add and retain juiciness and that is diced onion, milk soaked bread, and grated Parmesan cheese. I use wet bread slices in ALL my turkey burgers as well as meatballs because it gives the best results versus bread crumbs.
Grated Parmesan cheese is great for enhancing the flavor and making turkey burgers juicier. Parmesan is not really noticeable in the burger because it doesn’t take over the flavor but it add a very special touch to take the flavor to the next level.
Finally, much like all other types of burgers, you want to handle the meat as little as possible. When mixing and shaping the patties, heat from your hands actually melts some of the fat in the meat and in turn, compromises the texture of the burgers. So mix and shape turkey mixture as fast as you can.
Shape all the burgers before starting to cook them so that all the burgers cook at the same time. That way one burger is not cooking while you’re shaping the next one.
HOW TO MAKE TURKEY BURGERS GLUTEN FREE
To make gluten free turkey burgers, use gluten free bread in the mixture. My favorite gluten free bread is Schar artisan white because it seems to resemble regular bread the closest. Give it a few extra minutes to soak because gluten free bread is usually denser.
HOW TO COOK TURKEY BURGERS
To prepare turkey burgers, mix all the ingredients together until completely incorporated throughout. Shape burger patties and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Shape all the burgers before starting to cook them so that all the burgers cook at the same time.
On The Stove
Preheat a large cooking pan over medium heat and add oil. Cook turkey burgers for 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the burgers.
On The Grill
Since turkey burger mixture is much softer than beef mixture, I don’t trust my burgers on the large grill grates. So when cooking it on the grill, I use a vegetable basket. Vegetable grilling baskets often have criss-cross and finer grate and it helps turkey burgers not break or fall through.
Make sure to spray the burger patties with oil on booth sides, not the grill. Set the coals the furthest away from the grill grate so the burgers don’t cook too fast on the outside.
Cook turkey burgers on the grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the patties.
HOW TO REHEAT TURKEY BURGERS
Store leftover turkey burgers in the refrigerator, in an air-tight container, for 4-5 days. Reheat them easily in a microwave, just make sure to cover the plate with a microwave lid or another plate.
You can also reheat it in a cooking pan, over medium-low heat. Cover the cooking pan with a lid while reheating.
FREEZING TURKEY BURGERS
To freeze turkey burgers, mix ingredients together and shape burger patties. Place patties on a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment paper and place in the freezer for about 2 hours.
Stack patties in twos with sheets of parchment paper in between and place them inside a freezer bag. You can freeze all burgers at the same time or portion them in several smaller freezer bags. Get all the air out of the bags, seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw burgers, place frozen patties on a plate, cover it, and slow-thaw it in the refrigerator.
SOME MORE RECIPES TO TRY
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- 3 lbs ground turkey 93% - 7% lean
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices of bread
- 1/2 cup whole milk (can use alternatives if needed)
- 1 Vidalia onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp fresh minced parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh minced dill weed
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Before combining the ingredients together, place slices of bread into a wide, shallow bowl and pour milk over it. Let bread soak up the milk.
- Combine all ingredients except the bread in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze out most of the milk out of bread slices and crumble the bread as finely as you can. Crumbling it will ensure that bread is spread evenly throughout. (Discard squeezed out milk.)
- Mix all ingredients together until combined.
- Cover a baking sheet or a large cutting board with parchment paper and shape the burger patties.
Cooking on stove-top:
- Preheat a large cooking pan over medium heat and add oil. Cook turkey burgers for 6-8 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the burgers.
Grilling turkey burgers:
- Since turkey burgers are much softer than beef hamburgers, use a vegetable grilling basket with finer grate to cook the turkey burgers on the grill.
- Make sure to spray the burger patties with oil on booth sides, not the grill. Set the coals the furthest away from the grill grate so the burgers don’t cook too fast on the outside.
- Cook turkey burgers on the grill for about 5-6 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the patties.