By Christie Vanover | Published March 12, 2016 | Last Updated February 15, 2023
Charred Anaheim peppers and avocado salsa pack this healthy turkey burger with flavor without adding unhealthy fats.
How to prevent dry turkey burgers
A turkey burger is simply a hamburger that’s made with ground turkey instead of ground beef, providing a lighter option for those who are counting calories and focusing on healthy eating.
They get a bad reputation, because bad turkey burgers are either dry or they lack flavor.
To avoid that, it’s important to use the right part of the turkey and to season the meat properly.
The dark meat is the most flavorful part of the bird. This is the meat you’ll find on the drumsticks and thighs. It has a more rich, intense flavor and contains more fat than the lean breast meat.
In addition to seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, this healthy turkey burger recipe includes roasted Anaheim peppers, diced red onion and herbs and spices.
The peppers and onions will release extra juices into the meat while the patty cooks without adding extra fat.
Another way to add flavor without adding calories is to grill the burger over charcoal or with a few wood chips on a gas grill. Hickory and apple wood go well with this flavor profile.
Substitutions: You can also use canned green chilis, if you don’t want to grill your own.
How to grill juicy turkey burgers
You can cook these turkey burgers on any indoor or outdoor grill set to medium-high heat (375F degrees). You can also cook them on a grill pan over high heat.
Be sure your grill is clean. Oil the grill grates to prevent the burgers from sticking. You can do this by adding a little oil to a paper towel and wiping it on the grates. Or spray cooking spray on the grates, just be careful, because the spray if flammable.
- STEP ONE: Start by roasting the green chili. Place it on the grill and cook it for about 5 minutes per side. Then, place it in a plastic bag to steam. Remove it from the bag, scrape of the skin, remove the seeds and stems and chop.
- STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, combine the pepper with the ground turkey, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, salt and ground cumin. Combine well with your hands.
- STEP THREE: Divide the burger mixture into four equal portions and form patties. Place on a baking sheet and freeze the patties for 30 minutes. This will help them firm up, so they keep their shape on the grill.
- STEP FOUR: Grill the turkey patties over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the burgers and grill 5 more minutes. Add a slice of cheese and grill, until it’s melted. While the cheese is melting, toast the buns cut side down on the grill for about 30 seconds.
PRO TIP: Be sure to cook the meat all the way through to at least 165F degrees. Since we’re using turkey, medium rare is not a safe cooking temp. Use an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature. Insert it into the side of the burger for the best results.
How to serve grilled turkey burgers
Once the patties are cooked through, transfer them to a pan or plate. Then, assemble your burgers.
Smear the tops and bottoms of each bun with Avocado Salsa. Place a patty on the bottom bun. Top with a tomato slice and three halves of cooked bacon. Add the top bun and serve. They go great with sweet potato fries or Garlic Parmesan Ranch Fries.
If you prefer a keto burger, omit the bun and serve the burger on a plate with salsa and toppings or serve it in a lettuce wrap.
If you have any leftover turkey burgers, save the components separately in an airtight container. Then, you can reheat the cooked burger patty and bacon and assemble them on the bun.
You can also freeze cooked turkey burger patties or raw patties for 1-2 months. Store them in a freezer bag and lay a piece of parchment paper between each patty, so they don’t stick together.
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Frequently Asked Questions
A 1/4-pound turkey burger will take about 15 minutes to grill over medium-high heat. It’s important that you cook the turkey meat to an internal temperature of at least 165F degrees. Use a meat thermometer to get a precise temperature.
The calories in a turkey burger depend on if you’re using ground white meat or ground dark meat. This healthy turkey burger recipe uses a 1/4-pound of ground dark turkey meat per patty, which has about 200 calories. If you add cheese, bacon and the bun, additional calories should be added.
After forming the turkey burger patties, freeze them for about 30 minutes. This will help them stick together while they’re on the grill.
Grilled Anaheim Turkey Burger
- 1 Anaheim pepper
- 1 lb ground dark meat turkey
- 2 tbsp red onion chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 slices pepper jack cheese
- 4 toasted buns
- 4 tomato slices
- 6 slices cooked bacon
- Avocado salsa
- Roast Chili: Heat the grill to high. Place the Anaheim pepper over direct heat and grill about 5 minutes per side, until charred. Remove from grill. Place in a plastic bag. Let it sweat for 5 minutes. Remove from the bag, scrape off the skin and remove the stem and seeds. Chop.
- Mix: Place the pepper, turkey, red onion, cilantro, salt and cumin into a large bowl, and mix well with your hands.
- Shape: Divide into four portions and shape into patties. Freeze for 30 minutes to help firm up the patties.
- Grill: Grill over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Flip. Grill 5 minutes until cooked through. Top with a slice of cheese and grill until melted.
- Assemble: Smear the tops and bottoms of each bun with avocado salsa. Place a patty on the bottom bun. Top with a tomato slice and three halves of bacon. Add the top bun and serve.
This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator
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