Grilled Ground Turkey Burgers Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Guess what: Turkey burgers don't have to be dry! Here's the secret to making juicy grilled turkey burgers, including a step-by-step recipe.

Updated: May 28, 2024

It’s hard to beat a juicy burger with a crisp pickle and a cold beer in the backyard. It’s a cookout classic. But beef burgers can be indulgent, so it’s smart to look for healthier alternatives you’ll enjoy just as much. Enter the turkey burgers. These often get a bad rap for being dry and tasteless, but they don’t have to be. Here’s how to cook the best turkey burger recipe right.

Turkey Burger Ingredients

  • Egg: An egg acts as a binder so the burger patties don’t fall apart.
  • Bread crumbs: Purchase soft bread crumbs for this recipe. We recommend whole wheat to get a little more fiber and nutrients in at dinnertime.
  • Vegetables: We use finely chopped celery and onion to bulk up the burgers. Plus, they’re a great way to seamlessly add vegetables into the main meal.
  • Herbs: Minced fresh parsley brightens up these burgers, while dried oregano adds a lovely aromatic, earthy note.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Never heard of it? Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment that’s made from umami-rich ingredients like onions, garlic, anchovies or sardines, vinegar and sometimes barley malt, molasses, cloves and tamarind.
  • Lean ground turkey: We like to use lean meat for our burgers, so we recommend a 93% lean ground turkey.
  • Hamburger buns: Buy your favorite store-bought buns, or make your own hamburger buns at home.

Directions

Step 1: Combine the binder and flavorings

In a small bowl, mix the egg, bread crumbs, celery, onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and spices.

Test Kitchen Tip: Pre-mixing these ingredients makes them easier to mix into the turkey meat. The less you handle the meat, the more tender it will be.

Step 2: Form the patties

Pinch off ground turkey over the bowl, and then lightly mix the mixture together. Form the meat into patties by plucking off a piece, rolling it into a meatball and pressing it between your palms or onto a sheet of waxed paper. (It’s easier if you get your hands wet first.) You should have enough for six patties. Don’t make the patties too fat or too thin; about 1/3-inch thick is ideal. Press a small dimple into the middle of each patty to encourage even cooking.

Step 3: Grill your burgers

Grease the grill grates. Cook the patties over medium heat, about five to six minutes per side. Begin to take the temperature with an instant-read thermometer after about nine minutes; this may be the most crucial key to preserving moisture. Closely monitor the temperature of the meat, and remove it from the grill as soon as it hits your target temperature—for turkey, that’s 165°F.

Searing over the highest heat on the grill will result in plenty of browning, but it can easily lead to overcooking. Cook the patties over medium heat for greater control and an even result.

Test Kitchen Tip: Don’t press down on the meat with your spatula like they do when cooking burgers in the movies. This will squeeze out tons of juice!

Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the Worcestershire: If you don’t have Worcestershire on hand and want to save a trip to the grocery store, use soy sauce, tamari or liquid smoke instead.
  • Add in extra herbs and spices: Get creative here! Turkey burgers can handle a ton of different flavors, just make sure the ones you do add make sense together. Use cayenne, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder or dried thyme. Pre-made spice blends are helpful too. Cajun seasoning, herbs de Provence or Greek seasoning would each work well in turkey burgers.
  • Make them gluten-free: If you’re feeding a gluten-intolerant or celiac individual, for this easy turkey burger recipe, just swap out the bread crumbs for gluten-free bread crumbs, double-check that your Worcestershire sauce is certified gluten-free and buy gluten-free hamburger buns.

How to Store Turkey Burgers

Once the turkey burgers have been cooked, let them cool completely to room temperature. Transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to three days.

How to Freeze Turkey Burgers

Before freezing the cooked turkey burgers, let them cool to room temperature, then transfer them to a freezer-safe airtight container. They can be frozen for up to three months.

Can you make turkey burgers in advance?

Turkey burgers can be shaped in advance and frozen, uncooked, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Once frozen, transfer the patties to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to three months. They can be grilled right from frozen, adding a bit more time to reach 165°. Store leftover grilled turkey burgers in the refrigerator for two to three days.

Ground Turkey Burger Tips

Can I cook these turkey burgers in a skillet instead?

Yes, you can cook these turkey burgers in a skillet. To make pan-fried burgers, place your skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is almost smoking, add in a bit of butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the pan. Add the turkey burgers to the skillet, cooking them until they’re no longer pink inside and have reached 165°, about five minutes on each side.

How can you make sure grilled turkey burgers are juicy?

If you want to know how to make your burgers taste better, one key is making sure they stay juicy. First, don’t overwork the meat—mix the ingredients lightly, and shape the patties gently. After you place the patties on the grill, top each one with an ice cube. It will create steam as it melts, which helps lock in moisture. While they are cooking, just let them be. Don’t press them with a spatula or turn them continuously. Last, for this juicy turkey burger recipe, cook them just until a thermometer reads 165°.

How do you keep turkey burgers from falling apart?

The secret to a well-grilled turkey burger that won’t fall apart while cooking is a great binder in the patty mixture. The egg and the bread crumbs in this recipe help bind the ground turkey and the mix-ins, so the patty stays together much more easily.

What other toppings can you put on grilled turkey burgers?

The sky is the limit when it comes to topping grilled turkey burgers. Classic toppings include ketchup, mustard, pickles, onion, crunchy lettuce and sweet tomato, but we have a long list of crazy-delicious burger toppings, spanning from pickled red onions to Memphis barbecue sauce for you to try.

What do you serve with grilled turkey burgers?

French fries and potato chips are always a welcome salty addition to a burger, but great side dishes for hamburgers go way beyond fried potatoes. Some other favorites are crunchy coleslaws, hearty potato salads and creamy macaroni salad recipes.

Watch how to Make Grilled Ground Turkey Burgers

Grilled Ground Turkey Burgers

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, celery, onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Crumble turkey into bowl and mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 6 patties.
  2. On a greased grill, cook, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165° and juices run clear. Serve on buns.

Nutrition Facts

1 burger: 293 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 110mg cholesterol, 561mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 4g fiber), 22g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch.

These juicy, tender patties on whole wheat buns make a wholesome, satisfying sandwich. We especially like to make grilled turkey burgers, but you could also pan-fry them. —Sherry Hulsman, Elkton, Florida