Turkey Burgers- juicy turkey burgers topped with cheddar cheese and a simple cilantro-jalapeño slaw. This is the BEST turkey burger recipe; perfect for cookouts or an easy weeknight dinner!
Burger nights are the best nights, according to my boys. They LOVE a good burger. They love our ultimate burger, but these Turkey Burgers are another favorite. They request them often, especially with fries on the side.
If you aren’t that excited about turkey burgers, I get it. It’s true that some turkey burgers are dry and don’t have a lot of flavor. If you’ve had a bad turkey burger experience, I am sorry, BUT don’t let that stop you from making our turkey burger recipe.
This is the BEST turkey burger recipe because the burgers are JUICY, tender, full of flavor, and delicious. Plus, they are kid approved:)
And now let me tell you the secret to making juicy turkey burgers. One word, zucchini. YES! Adding shredded zucchini to the ground turkey makes the burgers super moist. I promise you can’t taste it. Just trust me on this one.
We also add in onion, garlic, spices, that give the burgers lots of flavor. Grill to perfection and top with cheese. Serve on a toasted bun with the most incredible cilantro-jalapeño slaw. The slaw is sweet, tangy, and fresh! It is the perfect addition to the burgers, don’t skip it.
Turkey burgers are great for an easy weeknight meal or you can grill them up at your next family BBQ. I guarantee they will be a crowd pleaser.
Table of Contents
Turkey Burger Ingredients
- Ground turkey– dark meat preferred or 80-90% lean. If you get too lean, the burgers will not be as juicy.
- Zucchini– use a box grater to shred the zucchini and wring out all of the moisture in a paper towel. I promise you won’t taste it and it’s the secret to a JUICY turkey burger. Plus, you get an extra veggie in!
- Onion– chopped onion adds great flavor!
- Garlic– use fresh garlic!
- Paprika– you can use regular sweet paprika, but if you want a slightly smoky flavor, feel free to use smoked paprika.
- Crushed red pepper flakes– for a little kick!
The slaw isn’t mandatory but it really makes the burgers extra special. I highly recommend you make it to top off the burgers!
- Cabbage– shredded green and purple cabbage. I like to mix the two for color variation! Everyone loves a pretty slaw:)
- Cilantro– so fresh!
- Green onions-sliced!
- Jalapeño– remove the seeds and finely chop up the jalapeño. The slaw isn’t super spicy, the jalapeño gives it just a little kick. If you don’t like spicy at all, you can leave it out.
- Apple cider vinegar– tangy and tart!
- Olive oil– avocado oil also works!
- Lime– you will need the juice of 1 large lime.
- Honey– to balance out the vinegar and tart lime juice.
- Dijon mustard– for flavor and to help emulsify the dressing.
How to Make Turkey Burgers
- Line a tray or baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- To make the burgers, put the ground turkey in a large bowl. Squeeze out all the moisture of the shredded zucchini in paper towels. Add the zucchini, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to the turkey. Mix until combined, but don’t over mix. Form the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
- Place the patties on the prepared tray or baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Freezing the patties will prevent the burgers from falling apart on the grill.
- Make the slaw while the patties are chilling.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat and brush with oil. Grill the burgers until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, melting the cheese on top of the burgers during the last minute. Make sure you don’t over cook the burgers. Nobody wants to eat a dry turkey burger:)
- Place the burgers on the toasted buns and top with slaw. Serve immediately.
Alternative Cooking Methods
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can cook the the turkey burgers in a skillet or grill pan, in the oven, or even in the Air Fryer. The cook time will vary a little, depending on the thickness of the burger. A turkey burger is fully cooked when the center of the burger reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
- Skillet or Grill Pan– Heat your skillet or grill pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or avocado oil. Cook the burgers the burgers until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
- Oven– Baked turkey burgers are easy to make. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the patties on a a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes and then flip the burgers. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Air Fryer– Preheat your Air Fryer to 360° F. Spray the basket or rack with nonstick cooking spray. Place your burgers in the Air Fryer, in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch. Cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway.
Again, we highly recommend serving the burgers with the slaw. It is the BEST, but if you want to build your own burger, here are some other topping ideas.
Top the burgers with:
- BBQ sauce
- Lettuce or Arugula
- Red onion or pickled red onions
- Candied jalapeño’s
- Avocado or Guacamole
- Cheese- we use cheddar, but Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Provolone would be good too!
What to Serve with Turkey Burgers
You can keep things simple and serve the burgers with potato chips and a pickle or you can add a few side dishes. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Potato Salad
- Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges or Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
- Fruit Salad
- Easy Green Salad
- Easy Orzo Salad
- Easy Pasta Salad
How to Store & Freeze
- Leftover cooked turkey burgers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- You can make the patties in advance. Make the patties and place them on the prepared tray or baking sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- To freeze uncooked turkey patties, line a tray or baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the patties in a single layer on the prepared tray or sheet. Freeze for 1 hour or until patties are firm. Wrap each patty with plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or freezer container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or grill the frozen patties.
- You can also freeze cooked turkey burgers. Let them cool completely and store in a freezer bag or container. If you are going to stack them, put a piece of wax paper in between the burgers so they don’t stick. Thaw and reheat.
You don’t need to with this recipe because of the shredded zucchini. The zucchini keeps the burgers moist and binds them together.
After you form the burger patties, place them on a tray that has been lined with parchment paper and put them in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. This will prevent them from falling apart on the grill.
If you don’t have an outdoor grill, you can cook the burgers on a grill pan or in a skillet using the stovetop. You can also bake the turkey burgers in the oven or cook them in an air fryer.
Ground turkey is leaner than ground beef, but you can still make a juicy burger. Use ground dark meat from thighs and legs or a 50/50 combination of turkey thigh and breast meat, if you can find it. Ground turkey breast will work, but don’t use 99% lean, 90 or 93% lean is fine.
We also add shredded zucchini to the ground turkey to guarantee a JUICY burger.
More Burger & Sandwich Recipes
- Guacamole Bacon Burger
- Chipotle Burgers
- Fried Chicken Sandwich
- Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich
For the burgers:
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
- Oil, for brushing the grill
For the slaw:
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 small jalapeño, minced
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice 1 lime
- 3 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- Line a tray or baking sheet with parchment paper. To make the burgers, put the ground turkey in a large bowl. Squeeze out all the moisture of the shredded zucchini in paper towels. Add the zucchini, onion, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to the turkey. Mix until combined, but don’t over mix. Form the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
- Place the patties in a single layer on the prepared tray or baking sheet. Put the burger patties in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Freezing the patties will prevent them from falling apart on the grill.
- While the patties are chilling, make the slaw. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, green onions, and jalapeño.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, honey, and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss well. Set aside and let marinate while you make the burgers.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat and brush with oil. Grill the burgers until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, melting the cheese on top of the burgers during the last minute. A turkey burger is fully cooked when the center of the patty reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.
- Place the burgers on the toasted buns and top with slaw. Serve immediately.
Have you tried this recipe?
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I made these burgers last night for dinner and they are absolutely delicious! I did make the slaw, used Colby Jack cheese and toasted the brioche buns. I decided to cook them in a skillet and I loved how they were a bit crisp on the outside but very juicy inside. Don’t skip anything as the flavors blend so well. Our new favorite turkey burgers! Thank you, Maria, for so many great recipes!
I am thrilled you loved the turkey burgers. They are a favorite at our house.
Made these burgers tonight and they were INCREDIBLE. I used provolone cheese and made them with your sweet potato fries as a side. Honestly the best turkey burgers I have ever had. I am not a huge fan of turkey but these are so juicy and delicious. Just about every recipe I make from you is a hit. We even have a little joke in our house when dinner is really good we say “two peas”.
This makes me so happy. Thank you!
Made these Turkey last night! Yum-o! Flavorful and juicy! Hold the mayo. Thinking about when I can make them again! Thank you, Maria!
You are welcome. Glad you loved the burgers.
These are amazingly delicious! The recipe provides such delicious flavor and results in tender, juicy burgers. They are easy to make and I fried them on the stove-top. Restaurant quality. 5 stars plus.
Glad you loved the burgers.