Chef John's Turkey Burger Recipe -
Chef John's Turkey Burger Recipe
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Chef John's Turkey Burger

Recipe by  

"This recipe uses some of the same techniques and seasonings as the shish kebab to improve the dull turkey burger. For something made with meat that is 95% fat free this is pretty good!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 burgers Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    10 mins

    1 hr 30 mins


  1. Combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, almonds, chili paste, garlic, ginger, salt, garam masala, lemon juice, yogurt, and cilantro; mix thoroughly with a spatula or clean hands.
  2. Shape ground turkey mixture into a ball and divide in 4 even pieces; refrigerate for 1 hour. Form each piece into a patty with damp hands.
  3. Preheat grill to medium heat and refrigerate turkey burger patties until the grill is hot. Grill turkey burgers until patty appears to be cooked about half way up the side and then flip, grilling each side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Burger is done when surface is cracked and juices start to rise to the top.
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  • Chef's Note
  • Serve on bun with mayo, red onions, tomatoes tossed in lemon juice, and cilantro.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jun 30, 2012

I had to try this burger after I saw the photo for a "Turkey Shishkaburger" while on here looking for dinner ideas. The name gave me a laugh - which is always good incentive - so I clicked on the link and was re-directed here (the written version of the Chef's video, I think). Whipped them up and they were a hit; fantastic burger! I prefer the flavours in my burgers to complement - rather than overpower - the taste of the actual meat, and this is just that burger. Beautifully moist with a nice mix of spicy and tangy without being cloying. I didn't have any chile paste, so added a pile of cracked pepper, and as usual I added an extra bit of fresh ginger and garlic. Refrigerating them first is a must: the patties are quite soft and this helps to solidify them a bit for the heat. Grilled them stove-top in a cast iron pan for 1 min. per side (to seal in all the juices!) then booted them in the oven at a high temp for 7min. Although we did top them with a little bloop of mango chutney, and the smallest sprinkling of caramelized onion and goat's cheese, these burgs would be fantastic all on their own. Glad I could be the first reviewer; Thanks, Chef.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 12, 2013

We didn't care for this recipe. The flavor of garam masala overpowered everything else. If you're going to try this one, I would suggest only 1/2 tsp. of the garam masala. We love Chef John's flour tortillas and Ham and Potato soup, but this one won't appear at our table again.

Aug 09, 2012

VERY good! one of the best turkey burgers I've ever had. My grocery only had 20oz packages of ground turkey vs. the 24 oz needed for this recipe so my burgers came out just a TAD salty but I will be making them again. I will keep everything else the same just reduce the salt by a half tsp or so. YUM!

Jul 07, 2012

This is a superb recipe! I followed it closely other than... didn't have garam masala, and the closest market didn't either, so I used some Rogan Josh seasoning. These were wonderful.

Aug 14, 2012

These burgers were wonderful! I was looking for a burger recipe that I could make for my non-red-meat-eating cousin and that had low sodium/cholesterol for me (I left much of the salt out). These were juicy, flavorful, wonderfully spiced - in fact, one of the guests who usually ate the regular beef hamburgers opted for my turkey burgers, instead! I made oven baked sweet potato fries w/ zesty dipping sauce on the side.

Aug 07, 2012

Out of this world delicious. The Greek yogurt really keeps the turkey from drying out and the flavor is extremely satisfying. I didn't have the almonds and only refrigerated for 30 minutes or so but they still turned out wonderfully. I served with a little lite mayo on a toasted sandwich thin. I'll have to use tomatoes next time! A recipe with minimal chopping and minimal cooking? What's not to like?

Mar 12, 2013

This was a huge hit with my family because I didn't think my dad would care for the garam masala, surprise, he loved the spiciness. I on the other hand thought it was a little overpowering. I will definitely use this recipe for turkey burgers going forward, but will substitute the garam masala for other spices. The texture of the burgers were fabulous and we all loved the addition of ground almonds. At the last minute during assembly I found out we were out of mayo - so I had to throw something together - I used some of the low-fat Greek and put it in the food processor with fresh cilantro, basil, ginger, lemongrass and fresh lemon - OMG, it was DELICIOUS and complimented the burger perfectly!

Jul 15, 2012

really, really liked this. what a great blend of spices. i'm so glad i have more in the freezer for lunch!


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  • Calories
  • 301 kcal
  • 15%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 5 g
  • 2%
  • Cholesterol
  • 136 mg
  • 45%
  • Fat
  • 16.3 g
  • 25%
  • Fiber
  • 0.7 g
  • 3%
  • Protein
  • 34.4 g
  • 69%
  • Sodium
  • 1026 mg
  • 41%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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