When you don’t want red meat, but you want a really good burger, our grilled turkey burger gives you the best of both worlds. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly accessorized, this burger will satisfy your craving and keep you coming back again and again.
This insanely delicious burger will have you no longer looking at turkey burgers as just being healthy or feeling deprived. These sandwiches are just down right scrumptious. We made extras and crumbled them in salads the next day.
🍽️ Why This Works
Perfect Seasoning | A good turkey burger has to be seasoned really well because where the turkey lacks in robust flavor, the seasoning will close the gap. You can’t really make turkey taste like beef, but you can make it taste really, really good. Our recipe uses pepper jack cheese and panko breadcrumbs to make a moist and delicious burger.
Fun Toppings | The combination of pineapple slices and honey BBQ sauce is perfection in every burger bite. It’s so fun because it’s out of the ordinary. These two ingredients are also a great complement for ground turkey.
Good For You and Tasty | Eating food that tastes terrible is not sustainable for anyone! If you need to go low-fat or low-calorie, great tasting food is essential to make it stick. Our turkey burger has all the flavor without the less desirable qualities of red meat.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Lean Ground Turkey – This is a mixture of dark and light turkey meat with skin and fat ground together. It is sometimes called minced turkey. Grab some ground turkey breast for a lower fat option.
Pineapple – These are canned pineapple rings that have been drained. The syrup on the outside caramelizes for a beautiful sweet flavor.
Egg – This helps bind the ground turkey to the shape of a burger by acting as “glue”.
Panko – This kind of bread crumb is a flat, flaky Japanese bread crumb made from crustless white bread.
Pepperjack – A spicy white cheese, this gives your grilled turkey burger amazing flavor.
BBQ Sauce – We love the Honey BBQ Sauce from Sweet Baby Rays but you can definitely use your favorite for this burger.
Salt and Pepper – Brings out the flavor in the meat and other ingredients.
Olive Oil – This is used to oil the grill grate and oil your hands as you form the burgers. This actually sneaks a little bit of fat into the turkey burger. Mostly though, it just helps keep your hands from sticking to the very sticky meat mixture.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Grill. If you are in the market for a new grill, we love our Big Green Egg. Use your Weber, Blackstone, Z Grill or Coleman charcoal and gas grills.
Mixing Bowl. This will be used to mix the meat with other ingredients for your grilled turkey burgers.
Grill Spatula. Used to flip your burgers halfway through the cooking process.
Step One: Preheat the grill. Brush the pineapple slices with a little bit of olive oil to make sure they do not stick to the grill grate. Grill them for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Step Two: Combine the ingredients for the burgers and mix gently. Divide the burgers into quarters. Oil your hands and form the burgers.
Step Three: Place the formed burgers in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set up. This allows the burgers to hold the form and not crumble when placed on the grill. After 30 minutes, take them out of the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temp for 10 minutes before grilling. This will allow the burgers to cook more evenly.
Step Four: Place the burgers on the grill and cook on direct medium heat for 10-12 minutes, flipping half way. Always cook to temperature of 165ºF.
Step Five: Place the bun on a plate, add on the grilled turkey burger, slice of pepper jack cheese and drizzle with your favorite bbq sauce. Add lettuce or onion, if desired and top with the other bun.
Stove Top Instructions
Step One: Combine the ingredients for the burgers and mix gently. Divide the burgers into quarters. Oil your hands and form the burgers.
Step Two: Place the formed burgers in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set up. This allows the burgers to hold the form and not crumble when placed on the grill. After 30 minutes, take them out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temp for 10 minutes before cooking. This results in them cook more evenly.
Step Three: Heat up a heavy duty pan over medium high heat. We like to use a seasoned cast iron or a non stick All Clad that holds the heat. Drizzle a little bit of oil in the pan and place the burgers on the grill and cook on direct medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, flipping half way. Always cook to temperature of 165ºF.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Do not overcook grilled turkey burgers. They will dry out very easily because the meat has very little fat to begin with. Use your instant read thermometer to get the temperature exactly right.
For added deliciousness, butter and grill your buns for a few minutes. We did a whole article on the best buns for burgers, so be creative and try something unique.
One key for a juicy burger is to flip them only once on the grill about halfway through the cooking time.
Apply olive oil to your grill grate by pouring some on paper towels first and then rubbing the grates with it prior to pre-heating the grill.
Refrigerating your burgers for thirty minutes and then setting them out for ten minutes before grilling will give you the best chance of being evenly cooked.
Do not overcrowd your grill. Ensure separation between each burger. Keep an eye on the burgers and make sure they are cooking evenly. If not, rotate the burgers around the grill, moving each to a new spot as you flip them halfway through.
You can make this on the stovetop as well. Turn on a burner to medium-high heat and add the burgers to the skillet. Turn over half way through and make sure to use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temp reaches 165°F.
Internal Temperature of Turkey Burgers
Make sure the turkey burger temp reaches 165°F. This is the USDA recommended temperature for all ground poultry. It is better to be safe than sorry!
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Refrigerate any leftover turkey burgers in an airtight container for up to two days. Reheat to 165ºF before serving. Use your microwave or a skillet to reheat the leftovers thoroughly.
Freeze uncooked or cooked turkey burger patties in an airtight container for up to three months. Cook from frozen on the grill. Reheat from frozen using the microwave or a skillet on low heat.
We froze and reheated them and were thrilled that they didn’t taste dry after defrosting and a quick zap in the microwave.
Make the turkey burger patties one day ahead and keep them refrigerated so they are ready to go when you are. Pull them out ten minutes before grilling.
You can also make ahead the turkey burger patties and freeze them. Lay them out on a sheet pan so that they freeze separately, then place them in a freezer quality zipper bag or plastic container with pieces of parchment paper between each burger. These burger patties will keep for up to three months.
Additions and Substitutions
This same recipe will work with ground chicken or even ground beef.
If you have a whole pineapple, you can use that instead of canned pineapple. However, the pineapple is canned in syrup so that does add extra sweetness to caramelize on the grill so your fresh pineapple will be a little different.
While we love the Honey BBQ sauce from Sweet Baby Rays, you can use any sweet flavor of sauce you like. A sweet and sour sauce would work very well. More savory vinegar based sauces without as much sweetness would not be as good a choice.
If you want extra seasoning in your burger try to add garlic, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper for a nice combination. You can also purchase pre-mixed burger spice mixes from your grocery store or specialty store.
I also will add a couple of tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce to the ground turkey mix. It adds a lot of flavor. Some mustard, mayonnaise, tomatoes, pickles, avocados and ketchup are additional condiments that can add to the grilled turkey burger recipe.
This burger is fantastic with Smoked Pretzels, chips or seasoned fries. Level up your lunch with this classic: Grilled Bourbon Peach Baked Beans. Dress it up for dinner with Grilled Parmesan Sweet Potatoes.
❓ Recipe FAQ
10-12 minutes on direct medium heat on the grill. Flip halfway through. Make sure the temperature of the meat is 165ºF before removing it from the grill.
We love a mixture of grated pepper jack cheese and panko bread crumbs in the ground turkey with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper. This recipe for grilled turkey burgers is amazing!
You should use direct medium heat on your grill for best results. This is between 300º and 400º F.
We recommend a two-fold approach. First, refrigerate the turkey burger patties for at least thirty minutes before you grill them. This helps the meat stick to itself and all of the ingredients to meld. Then let them sit out for about ten minutes to reacclimatize before grilling. Second, coat the grill grate with a light coating of olive oil and pre-heat your grill to help keep the burgers from sticking.
Yes. Like all frozen burgers, you can put them directly on a hot grill and then just lengthen the cooking time appropriately keeping a close eye on internal temperature.
First, we include an egg and panko bread crumbs in the ground turkey mixture to help hold everything. These two ingredients act like a form of glue. Second, we recommend refrigerating the burgers for thirty minutes after forming patties so that these ingredients have time to meld. Then set them out on the counter to start coming back up to room temperature before grilling them. These two measures will help prevent your turkey burgers from falling apart on the grill.
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Grilled Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb Ground Turkey
- ¼ cup Pepper Jack Cheese shredded
- 1 Egg
- ¼ cup Panko
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
Grilled Turkey Burger Toppings
- BBQ Sauce
- Cheese slices
- Grilled Pineapple
- Heat the grill to medium (350-400°) on direct heat.
Grilled Pineapple Slices
- Brush the pineapple slices with a little bit of olive oil to make sure they do not stick to the grill grate. Grill pineapple slices for 2-3 minutes on each side to get a nice char.
Grilled Turkey Burgers
- Combine the ingredients for the burgers and mix gently. Divide the burgers into quarters. Oil your hands and form the burgers.
- Place the formed burgers in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to form. This allows the burgers to hold the form and not crumble when placed on the grill. After 30 minutes, take out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temp for 10 minutes before grilling. This will allow the burgers to cook more evenly.
- Place the burgers on the grill and cook on direct medium heat for 10-12 minutes, flipping half way. Always cook to temperature of 165 degrees.
- Place the bun on a plate, add on the grilled turkey burger, slice of pepper jack cheese and drizzle with your favorite bbq sauce. Add lettuce or onion, if desired and top with the other bun.