Tasty & Healthy Turkey Burger Recipe

Turkey burgers can be just as satisfying as beef burgers. They are a healthy dinner meal option with less saturated fat and just as much juicy flavor. Of the many turkey burger recipes I’ve tried in my lifetime, this one is by far my “old faithful”. Try this healthy turkey burger recipe tonight and let me know what you think!

🤩 If you give this healthy turkey burger recipe a try, leave me a recipe rating and comment below!

healthy turkey burger recipe

Turkey Burger vs Beef Burger

One obvious benefit of choosing turkey over beef is that turkey is generally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef. This is especially the case for those that tend to purchase ground chuck.

For reference, each 3 ounce serving of ground chuck has about 280 calories, 22 gm total fat, 9 gm saturated fat, and 71 mg of cholesterol.

In comparison, a 3 ounce serving of leaner ground sirloin is 200 calories, 11 gm total fat, 4.5 gm saturated fat, and 75 mg cholesterol. The sirloin is the leanest cut of meat however I think we can do better!

Compared to ground chuck and sirloin, a 3 ounce serving of 93% lean, ground turkey has 176 calories, 9.7 gm of total fat, 2.5 gm of saturated fat, and 90 mg of cholesterol.

Overall, the lower calorie and fat content of lean ground turkey over beef makes it the better choice for those looking for a heart-healthy burger option.

ground turkey vs ground beef infographic

American Heart Association Recommendations

One thing you may notice right away from the table above is that the cholesterol level increases as you compare beef chuck to sirloin to lean turkey meat.

This amount is going to vary depending on the brand and also how much fat present. Additionally, dark meat turkey has more cholesterol than white meat turkey.

In the past, the American Heart Association recommended that we limit our intake of cholesterol to less than 300 mg/day, and less than 200 mg/day for those with high blood cholesterol levels. However, when AHA guidelines were updated in 2015, these recommendations were no longer listed.

This is because more recent research shows there is “no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol” (1).

What the AHA does encourage is limiting your intake of saturated fat and trans fats to less than 6% of total daily calories. This is equivalent to about 13 grams per day if following a 2,000 calorie diet (3).

Eating too much saturated fat can lead to increasing cholesterol levels. And as a result, this can increase your risk of heart disease (3). 

Furthermore, they encourage limiting or avoiding the consumption of beef products. Instead, you should choose more skinless poultry, fish, or plant-based protein sources like nuts, beans and legumes (2).

If you choose to continue eating red meat, try to limit your portion size to 3 ounces. For reference, three ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.

serving size of burger patty

Long story short, if you have to choose between a beef burger or turkey burger, the turkey burger is still the better choice despite the slightly higher amount of cholesterol.

Ingredients

Ground turkey– I like to use extra lean, white meat ground turkey breast for this recipe. However, you can use any high quality, 100% pure ground turkey.

Egg whites– All you need to do is separate 2 egg whites from 2 large eggs. Either save the yolks for another recipe or toss. See the FAQ section below if you need a good substitute for these.

Whole grain crackers or Italian bread crumbs– I most often use whole grain Wasa Crisp bread for these burgers however if I’m all out of those, plain or Italian bread crumbs are a wonderful substitute.

Onion– I love adding vegetables into burger patties. For these turkey burgers, onion works perfectly. They help to add more flavor along with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and manganese.

Seasonings– other ingredients needed to make this healthy turkey burger recipe are garlic powder, a little salt, and some pepper.

How To Make Healthy Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers are as simple to prepare as any other burger recipe. Here’s the full step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Mix All ingredients

Start by mixing the lean turkey meat, egg whites, crackers or bread crumbs, and seasoning in a large mixing bowl. You can do this either with your hands or with a spoon.

This step is similar to making a meatloaf mixture. Once all ingredients are combined, your healthy turkey burger mixture is ready to form and cook.

Step 2: Form the Turkey Patties

Using your hands, form your turkey burger mixture into four equally sized patties. Each turkey burger patty should be ~4 ounces raw.

Keep in mind that once you cook your turkey burgers they will lose about one quarter of their weight. This will make them three ounces when cooked.

Step 2: Pan-Fry Your Patties

Heat a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add some non-stick cooking spray and place your turkey patties into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid to help them cook quicker.

After 5-6 minutes, flip the patties over to cook them on the other side. Your healthy turkey burgers will be done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and they are no longer pink inside.

Note: You can also grill these turkey burgers or broil them in the oven. Again, make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees to ensure they are cooked through.

Step 3: Add Toppings and Enjoy!

Once your burgers are heated through, it’s best to let them sit a few minutes to let the juices settle. You can get your toppings together while they rest.

Serve your healthy turkey burgers with any toppings, bun or lettuce wrap and your favorite side dishes. Keep reading for some excellent turkey burger toppings and bun ideas.

The Best Turkey Burger Toppings

Remember when adding your toppings, to be mindful of what you choose. Items like pickles, cheese, and many sauces, like BBQ sauce or ketchup can add to the overall sodium content.

You can never go wrong with adding veggies though! These could include:

  • any type of lettuce or spinach
  • tomato slices or compote
  • canned or roasted beet slices
  • red onion or caramelized onion
  • avocado slices
  • sautéed mushrooms and swiss cheese
  • any sauces of your choosing (ranch, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, etc.)

And if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake, you can always use a lettuce “bun” instead of a typical burger bun.

Burger Bun Options

For all the carb-lovers out there who aren’t excited about the idea of a lettuce bun, go ahead and enjoy these low calorie burgers between any type of bun you choose. Some burger bun options include:

  • whole grain buns
  • pretzel buns
  • sesame buns
  • tortilla wraps
  • pita bread
turkey burgers and toppings laid out on a wooden cutting board

Turkey Burger Sides

There are so many different sides that go well with this healthy turkey burger recipe. I feel like you can’t go wrong with French fries. Although if you are like me, they’ve got to be SWEET POTATO FRIES!

Here’s a list of my favorite sides to serve with this healthy turkey burger recipe. Choose one or two and you’ve got a great meal!

FAQ

Can you make turkey burgers taste like beef?


While they will not taste exactly like beef burgers, you can add seasonings such as steak seasoning, liquid smoke, Worcestershire, onion powder, garlic powder and/or black pepper to give it a more seasoned beef burger flavor.

How long do turkey burgers stay fresh in the fridge or freezer?


You can make the turkey burger mixture up to a day ahead of time and store in the refrigerator before cooking. After cooking your burgers, these will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

What can I use as a binder instead of egg?


If you need a substitute for the egg white in this recipe, try using plain or seasoned breadcrumbs, Panko, wheat germ, or oats and add a little water for moisture. You could also try a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water).

What kind of turkey should I use to make turkey burgers?


Don’t skimp by purchasing turkey meat in a tubular-shaped log. Stick with good quality, freshly ground, turkey such as Jennie-O, Honeysuckle, or any other 100% freshly, ground turkey with minimal ingredients.

I have a large family. Can I double this recipe?

Absolutely! You can even triple the recipe if you want. I double it every time I make it so we have leftovers the next day.

Other Healthy Dinner Ideas

turkey burgers and toppings laid out on a wooden cutting board

Tasty Turkey Burgers

A great basic turkey burger recipe that is sure to become part of your regular meal repertoire. This is the perfect healthy turkey burger recipe if you are watching your weight or want a lower calorie and saturated fat option for heart health. Double the recipe so you can have leftovers!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 burgers
Calories 140 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. extra lean white meat ground turkey breast
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup whole grain crackers or Italian bread crumbs crushed
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Cooking spray

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix them well. I mix it using my hands however you can also you a sturdy spoon or spatula.
  • Form the turkey mixture into 4 patties.
  • Spray a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Place the patties in the skillet and cover, cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the patties over and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until cooked your turkey burger patties are cooked through. The Internal temperature should reach 165°F.
  • Remove the patties from the pan. Serve with a bun or lettuce wrap and your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Notes

Additional Suggestions: 
  • Some other add-ins prior to cooking that will increase the nutritional value could include nutritional yeast or ground flaxseeds. 
  • If you don’t have whole grain crackers, try any type of cracker, oatmeal, or bread crumbs
  • You can also make your own bread crumbs by toasting a couple slices of bread, then pulsing them in your food processor. 
  • Do you like cooking in bulk? Double this healthy turkey burger recipe and keep some in the freezer for up to 3 months!
 
Nutrition Information Per Burger (Makes 4 burgers):
140 calories, 3 gm fat, 0.5 gm sat. fat, 7 gm carbohydrate, 28 gm protein, 1 gm fiber, 144 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol
Keyword broil, burger, easy, grill, quick, turkey, turkey burger

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