How to Grill Turkey Burgers

Fire up the grill and make the BEST Turkey Burgers today! These grilled turkey burgers are delicious year-round and incredibly easy to make if you know what you’re doing! Top them with lettuce, tomatoes, condiments and more and serve ‘em to your favorite people for any occasion.

A person holds a turkey burger topped with cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and more above a pink surface

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The BEST Grilled Turkey Burgers

There’s nothing like firing up the grill during the warmer months of the year. This is also nice in the wintertime, depending on where you live.

The sweltering days of the Texas summer will arrive before long, but I am thrilled that we can spend time by outdoors and take advantage of the nicer weather before it gets too hot.

This time of year is grilling season for us, and we’re all about firing up the grill and cooking meats and veggies on it.

Also, everyone in my house is down for the outdoor hangouts, especially if we can sip lemonade and avoid mosquitos while doing so.

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    This grilling recipe sings of summertime.

    After all, a great thing about the summertime is burgers and cookouts and backyard barbecues.

    Why I love this recipe:

    If you’ve never had a grilled turkey burger, you are going to love this recipe!

    • This burger recipe is a great, easy weeknight dinner made on the grill.
    • It is also perfect for warm weather entertaining and backyard BBQs. Who doesn’t love a grilled burger?
    • You can make a batch of these ahead of time and pop them in the fridge (or freezer) and then bake them off, so they’re a great choice for parties.

    More burger recipes to try: Pan Fried Hamburgers | Classic Salmon Burgers | Cajun Turkey Burgers | Juicy Lucy Burgers | Baked BBQ Turkey Burgers

    Ground turkey bricks on a sheet of parchment with a bowl of seasoning

    What you need to make this recipe:

    The Speckled Palate participates in affiliate programs. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please refer to my disclosure page for more information about these affiliate programs.

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Ground turkey — we want our turkey to have some fat in it, so we’re using 93% lean turkey for this recipe. Turkey is a tricky meat because it can stick to your grill, so I like using the less lean ground turkey.
    • Cajun seasoning — this adds an awesome kick to our burger meat. As my husband says, “You can never add too much of this stuff.” This is a spice blend that contains peppers, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and more. You could also use Homemade Creole Seasoning, if desired.
    • Salt and pepper — medium-grain kosher salt or similarly sized sea salt plus freshly-cracked black pepper will send these over the top.
    • Hamburger buns — purchase your favorite or use the best you can afford. Brioche buns are my favorite. Gluten-free buns work, too. And I won’t judge you if you want to skip the bun and enjoy this burger over a salad or as a lettuce wrap. (Though it’s a little messy!)

    These turkey burgers are pretty plain Jane in the sense that we do not add fillers, like breadcrumbs or eggs to work as a binder. They are meaty and delicious… and we’ve perfected the technique to prevent them from falling apart on the grill. More on this below.

    Grilled Turkey Burger toppings

    Burgers require lots of different toppings, right?

    Here’s what I suggest adding to your these delicious grilled turkey burgers:

    • BBQ sauce: A classic barbecue sauce is always good, or you can try different flavors like pumpkin barbecue sauce.
    • Pickles: Use your favorite here, or skip if you’re not a pickle person. Also, fried pickles are all worth trying.
    • Cheese: A slice of cheddar cheese is classic, or go for American, pepper jack, monterrey jack, goat cheese, white cheddar or whatever your favorite is.
    • Lettuce: A leaf of butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce will work well here.
    • Tomatoes: Highly recommend homegrown or farmers market tomatoes! Otherwise a slice of roma or beefsteak tomato works well.
    • Onions: Go for slices of red onion for the classic flavor. Step it up a notch with pickled onions, grilled onions or caramelized onions.
    • Sauce: If you like a saucy burger, add Homemade Tzatziki Sauce, Caramelized Onion Guacamole or homemade ranch dressing to these grilled turkey burgers.

    How to Grill Turkey Burgers

    These burgers are super simple to put together. Let’s take it step by step together:

    Preheat the grill. We want it around 475°F-550°F.

    Keep in mind that when you open the grill, it will lose heat quickly, so we want it screaming hot to begin with.

    Also, if you haven’t done it recently, use a grill brush to scrape any burnt food bits off the grill grates as it warms.

    While the grill preheats, form the burgers. You do not need a bowl for this! Season both sides of the ground turkey blocks with the mixture of salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.

    Divide the turkey into 6 even portions. Try to make them as equal as possible.

    If you’re feeling like you want to make sure they’re even, you can use a kitchen scale to do the math and ensure they’re perfect. We eyeballed it, and it always works OK for us.


    Place all the turkey rounds onto a piece of parchment on a flat surface.

    Use the palm of your hand to press each round into a patty. Make them about  ¾” thick and 4 ½” – 5” wide.

    Work quickly and press down only once or twice to form the burgers. Since turkey is so lean, it will stick and can fall apart more easily. You can oil your hands before pressing the turkey into rounds, if necessary.

    Ground turkey burger patties on parchment paper before grilling

    Be sure to use your thumb or a spoon to create a divot in the middle of the burger while it’s raw. This will prevent the meat from ballooning and becoming oddly shaped as it cooks.

    If your burger meat feels warm at this point, cover with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

    Brush the grill grates with a little avocado oil (or another high smoke point oil) before placing the burgers onto the grill.


    Transfer the burgers to the hot grill. You can flip them from the parchment onto the grill itself, use your hand or use a spatula. We’ve found that using a hand or placing them on individual pieces of parchment works best since the meat is sticky.

    Grill the turkey burger patties over medium-high heat, flipping once. We grilled ours for 5-6 minutes on the first side, then another 3-4 on the second.

    Keep an eye on them for any flare-ups because those could char the outside.

    Take the burger’s temperature with an instant read meat thermometer* (affiliate link). We want the turkey to reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe to eat.

    How long to grill turkey burgers?

    This is entirely dependent on how thick (or thin) your burgers are. Our 3/4″ thick patties took less than 10 minutes total, which was about 5 minutes per side.

    Keep an eye on the burgers and take their temperature to ensure they do not overcook.

    Pro tip!

    Food safety is key with poultry. These are NOT your regular beef burgers, so medium-rare isn’t a thing here. It’s gotta hit 165°F to be safe to eat… having it a little underdone is not OK.

    When the burgers are done, remove from the grill, and turn off the heat.

    Place the burger buns directly on the grill grates, and toast for 2-3 minutes, or until the buns are slightly toasty.

    Serve the burgers with your favorite toppings, and enjoy warm.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    You can easily make smaller portions (like sliders, even) if that suits you and your crowd better. But keep in mind that they will cook faster if they’re thinner and smaller, too.

    How to store and freeze

    There are a few ways to store these burgers:

    • Uncooked, in the fridge: Make these burgers ahead of time and stash them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. Don’t assemble them more than a day ahead, though.
    • Cooked, in the fridge: Store cooled, cooked burgers in a food-safe, airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat them in the oven at 250°F for about 15 minutes.
    • Uncooked or uncooked, in the freezer: If the meat has never been frozen, you can stash these in the freezer to make in the future. Flash freeze them on a baking sheet, then add them to a freezer-safe bag or container. For best results, thaw them the night before you plan to make them, then cook (or reheat) as directed. I do not recommend cooking them from frozen.
    Close up of grilled turkey burgers on a white plate on a pink surface

    What to serve with grilled burgers:

    Whether you are serving these at a potluck or having a grilled dinner at home, you’re going to want some classic burger sides.

    You can never go wrong with French fries and ketchup. You could also serve sweet potato fries or zucchini fries.

    Consider a cold salad, like potato salad or pasta salad. A summery fruit salad is fun, too!

    Coleslaw is a summertime classic that is also a BBQ favorite. You could also serve them with baked beans and mac ‘n cheese.

    And don’t forget the sweet stuff! For dessert, go for a no-bake dessert, like No Churn Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Pecans and Chocolate Chips, No Bake Peanut Butter Bars with Pretzels or No Bake Avalanche Cookies.

    Close up of a grilled turkey burger stacked with toppings on a grey plate on a pink surface

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Grilling burgers is a great way to host friends during the summer months. We love a backyard barbecue and an at-home tailgate party, so this grilled turkey burger recipe fits right in!

    If you want to make these juicy turkey burgers for friends or family, here are some tips and tricks to do so!

    • Double or triple the recipe. Depending on how many people you’re hosting, you might need to make more burger. (This recipe makes 6 burgers.)
    • Put together the burgers 1-2 hours before guests arrive, and keep them covered and cool in the fridge until it’s grilling time. This should help you feel less harried as you’re preparing the meal, as well as ensure that you don’t stress about the biggest part of your meal.
    • Transform a table into a burger bar. Once you grill the turkey burgers, set out the buns and traditional burger toppings, like lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, etc. Let guests go through and prepare their burgers to their liking!
    Grilled turkey burgers on a white plate next to bowls of condiments on a pink surface

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What temperature do you cook turkey burgers?

    Turkey burgers can be cooked at 475°F-550°F for 10(ish) minutes total. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature has reached 165°F (74°C). I also like to brush the grates of my grill with a little avocado oil before placing the burgers on it.

    How do you know if a turkey burger is done?

    You need to use an instant read meat thermometer* (affiliate link) to take the turkey’s temperature. The meat needs to reach 165°F.

    A person holds a bitten-into turkey burger above a pink surface

    Quick tips and tricks to making the best grilled turkey burgers

    • The shape matters. Be sure to leave an indention in the middle of the burgers so they don’t balloon as they cook.
    • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It needs to reach 165°F (74°C) to be totally cooked through.
    • Adjust the cooking time for the burger size. Thinner ones won’t need as much time as specified in the recipe card below, but larger ones will need more time. Use the meat thermometer as your guide.

    Here’s how you make these burgers…

    Close up of a grilled turkey burger stacked with toppings on a grey plate on a pink surface

    Grilled Turkey Burgers

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Fire up the grill and make the BEST Turkey Burgers today!These grilled turkey burgers are delicious year-round and incredibly easy to make if you know what you’re doing! Top them with lettuce, tomatoes, condiments and more and serve ‘em to your favorite people for any occasion.
    5 from 2 votes
    Servings 6 burgers
    Calories 291 kcal
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 15 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    Burgers

    • 2 lbs. ground turkey
    • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 6 burger buns

    Toppings

    • Lettuce
    • Tomatoes
    • Red onion
    • Ketchup
    • Yellow mustard
    • Mayonnaise

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the grill. We want it on a medium-high heat around 475°F-550°F. (Keep in mind that when you open the grill, it will lose heat quickly, so we want it screaming hot to begin with.)
    • While the grill preheats, form the burgers. Season the ground turkey on both sides.
    • Divide the turkey into 6 portions. Try to make them as equal as possible, and quickly form a rough ball with each.
    • Place the turkey portions on a sheet of parchment paper on a flat surface.
    • Press the rounds of ground meat into burger patties with the palm of your hand, about ¾” thick and about 4 ½” – 5” wide. They do not need to be perfect circles, nor do they need to be worked a ton. Since turkey is a lean meat, it is sticker than other meats. You may oil your hands.
    • Use your thumb or a spoon to create an indention in the middle of each burger to prevent the meat from warping as it cooks. If your meat feels warm, cover with plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
    • Brush the grill grates with a little avocado oil (or another high smoke point oil) before placing the burgers on the grill.
    • Grill the burgers over medium-high heat (between 475°F-550°F), flipping once. We grilled ours for 5-6 minutes on the first side, then another 3-4 on the second.
    • Take the burger’s temperature with an instant read meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the turkey needs to reach 165°F to be considered safe to eat. There is no such thing as a “rare” turkey burger.
    • When the burgers are cooked through, remove them from the grill, and turn off the heat.
    • Place the burger buns directly on the grill grates, and toast for 2-3 minutes, or until the buns are slightly toasty.
    • Serve the burgers on the buns with your favorite toppings, and enjoy warm.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1burgerCalories: 291kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 40gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 484mgPotassium: 508mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 203IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 3mg
    Keyword best turkey burger recipe, dinner, dinner recipe, easy dinner, easy turkey burger, grilled turkey burgers, grilling, grilling recipe, ground turkey recipe
    Course Entrees
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    9 Comments

    1. This looks beyond delicious! Love everything you made it with and it must be incredible grilled to perfection!

    2. These sound delicious! Grilling is generally what I prefer in the summer too but its been too hot. Love this site, Erin.

      1. Thank you! We’re big fans of grilling since we JUST got a grill, and I feel you on it being too hot. I cannot wait for the fall, but that won’t come here until at least October, so we’re trying to get used to the heat…

    3. So, my parents pick up Rendezvous AND Corky’s BBQ sauce every time they come through the Memphis airport in between MN and Huntsville trips. My house in MN was NEVER without Memphis BBQ sauce. I should see if they’ll ship some to me!

    4. These turkey burgers sound delicious. I would have never thought to mix the BBQ sauce in with the meat before cooking! I am sure it helped to keep the turkey nice and moist while cooking. Thanks for the great {and healthy} recipe!

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