turkey burgers

Working full-time sure is…time-consuming, isn’t it? I haven’t figured out yet what has to give. (First choice – chores!) Cooking, blogging, photography, gardening, exercising…sleeping. It’s hard to balance everything. It’s possible that I should cut down on meals that require grinding your own meat, huh?

Well, I would consider that, except that these burgers were so perfect. I made beef burgers a week later (also with home-ground meat – stop the insanity!), and I enjoyed the turkey burgers so much more. And I love beef, so it wasn’t a prejudice.

But once you add good buns and your various toppings, the turkey burgers don’t taste significantly different from beef burgers. These have about half the fat of good beef burgers, so that’s another advantage, although what I mostly care about is that I thought their texture was smoother and more cohesive, and their taste was at least as good.

Grinding your own meat isn’t as hard as it might sound, and you almost definitely have the equipment. All you have to do is cut your meat into chunks, freeze it until it’s firm, and process it in the food processor. Then you mix in a few tasty additions, sear them up in a pan and enjoy a perfect burger. Make some extra to freeze, just in case Future You has a rough day at work and needs an easy meal.

One year ago: Croissants (Tartine)
Two years ago: Franks and Beans

Printer Friendly Recipe
Turkey Burgers (not really adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Cooks Illustrated recommends 6 ounce burgers; I prefer mine significantly smaller. If you do too, don’t forget to reduce the cooking time.

2 pounds skin-on, bone-in turkey thighs or 1½ pounds skinless, boneless thighs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

1. If using skin-on, bone-in turkey thighs, remove the meat from from the skin and bones. Cut the thighs into 1-inch chunks and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until somewhat firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Working in 3 batches, place the semifrozen turkey chunks in a food processor fitted with the steel blade; pulse until the largest pieces are no bigger than 1/8-inch, twelve to fourteen 1-second pulses.

3. Transfer the ground meat to a medium bowl. Stir in the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard until blended and divide the meat into 4 portions. Lightly toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten the ball with your fingertips into a 1-inch-thick patty. Repeat with the remaining portions.

4. Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron or stainless steel with an aluminum core) over medium heat until very hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Swirl the oil in the pan to coat the bottom. Add the burgers and cook over medium heat without moving them until the bottom of each is dark brown and crusted, about 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over; continue to cook until the bottom is light brown but not yet crusted, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to low, position the cover slightly ajar on the pan to allow steam to escape, and continue to cook 5 to 6 minutes longer, or until the center is completely opaque yet still juicy or an instant-read thermometer inserted from the side of the burger into the center registers 160 degrees. Remove from the pan and serve immediately. (Alternatively, grill the burgers over a medium-low fire (you can hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill surface for 5 seconds) until dark spotty brown on the bottom, 7 to 9 minutes. Turn the burgers over; continue grilling 7 to 9 minutes longer.)


  1. So glad you posted this, because I was just given a new KitchenAid mixer that came with a free attachment, and I went with the meat grinder after much debate! I will have to try this!

  2. Mmm, burgers! If turkey is prized for its low-fat-ness, why doesn’t anybody make chicken burgers? Or pulled chicken burgers? (Think pulled pork.) Looks delicious! I love the look of anything pan-fried like that. The crust always looks amazing!


  3. love that it is just a wonderfully delicious and basic burger!!!

  4. yum! i loveeee turkey burgers, unfortunately hubby is not a fan 🙁 I don’t know what’s wrong with him cause they are soo delicious!

  5. I need to get myself the meat grinder attachment. I’ve been wanting one for awhile now.

  6. bridget says:

    Please note that you do NOT need a meat grinder for this recipe. The meat is ground in the food processor. I don’t have a meat grinder.

  7. Andrea says:

    Have you ever considered submitting one of your photos to foodporndaily.com?

  8. That is one irresistible looking turkey burger! I use dijon mustard too, but I also like to put a little diced onion and chili powder in the ground meat to give it that *oompf* of extra flavor. Great recipe!

  9. Have you tried the CI version with the ricotta cheese in it? I really like that recipe. I’ll have to try grinding my own turkey – in the food processor 🙂

  10. bridget says:

    Christine – I was actually intending to make those this time, but then I read the write-up in The New Best Recipe on turkey burgers, and they said these were even better. Grinding turkey in the food processor didn’t seem too hard, and it didn’t leave me with a partial container of ricotta to get rid of, so I went with this version! I’m still curious about the recipe with ricotta though.

  11. Thanks Bridget- I’ll try this version next time. I usually will make CIs skillet lasagna and just save 1/2 cup of ricotta and make turkey burgers the same week. I should try it both ways actually – have my husband do a taste test! 🙂

  12. Who would have thought you could grind up meat in a food processor? I ALWAYS thought I’d need a meat grinder. I’m so excited to try this out now. Thanks so much!

  13. And now I’m glad we registered for a good food processor 🙂 Once it started to get warm out, I started *craving* burgers, and these look just perfect!

  14. The version with the ricotta is good, too,if you ever have a little bit of it to use up…

  15. I’m so intrigued that you grind your own meat using the food processor! Why haven’t I ever thought of doing that?? Thanks for opening my world up to all kinds of possibilities!

  16. Yum. I added a teaspoon each of dried parsley and basil, and a few tablespoons of olive oil (since my ground turkey was a mixture of breast and thigh).