Spiced Up Turkey Burgers

Spiced Up Turkey Burgers on TheShiksa.com #healthy #grilling #recipe #4thofjuly

For many years, I’ve wanted to create a turkey burger that is full of flavor– tender, juicy, and the opposite of bland. Recently I discovered the perfect blend of flavors to make even the most boring ground turkey into a scrumptious, savory flavor bomb. I used my mother-in-law’s Ima Burger recipe as a base, then added smoked paprika, Middle Eastern spices and a touch of applesauce. The genius of Ima’s original recipe is the bread soaked in olive oil, which adds heart-healthy fat to the lean turkey meat. Instead of bread crumbs, which can dry out the meat, using bread soaked in olive oil gives the burgers moisture and flavor. Applesauce adds a little more moisture and just a faint touch of sweetness to balance out the spices; the touch of natural sugar also helps to make some great dark grill marks on the burgers. I’m so excited to share this recipe with you… and with 4th of July just around the corner, the timing seemed perfect!

Since we usually serve our meals mezze-style with lots of salads and dips, I generally prefer making my burgers slider-sized. This allows me to enjoy a burger without filling up on it, so I have room for all the other tasty side dishes. Of course, you can make the burgers bigger if you prefer… just substitute regular sized buns and use 1/2 cupful of meat mixture per burger.

I like to serve these spiced-up bad boys topped with freshly sliced tomato, baby kale, and a simple Lemon Herb Mayo sauce. They don’t really need a lot of “dressing up” with so many awesome herbs and spices in the mix. You can of course add your own favorite toppings… dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, sriracha… whatever you fancy! Grill these up for the 4th of July and get ready for a patriotic party in your mouth.

Spiced Up Turkey Burgers on TheShiksa.com #healthy #grilling #recipe #4thofjuly

Spiced Up Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey (1 package)
  • 1 slice white bread, crust removed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the burgers
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp onion, very finely minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp applesauce
  • Vegetable oil, for frying (optional, if not grilling)
  • 10 slider-sized buns for serving

Lemon Herb Mayo Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise (I like Spectrum)
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Optional Toppings

  • Baby kale or butter lettuce, fresh tomato slices, dill pickle slices

You will also need

  • Mixing bowl, grill and grill-safe spatula or frying pan, pastry brush
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: About 10 burgers
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Cut the crust off of your piece of bread. Pour olive oil onto a small plate. Soak the crustless bread in the olive oil, turning the slice once, till all the oil is soaked up by the bread.
  • Place ground turkey in a medium mixing bowl. Shred and crumble the oil-soaked bread into tiny pieces and add it to the meat along with the parsley, onion, egg, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and applesauce.
  • Stir ingredients with a fork and/or clean hands until the spices and herbs are well blended with the meat. Gather the meat mixture in 1/4 cupfuls and make small, thick patties (they will shrink up to slider sized during cooking). The patties will initially be soft, but will firm up as they grill.
  • If grilling, grease the preheated grill well before you start cooking. Cook the patties by grilling or frying (I recommend grilling). I like to brush the burgers with olive oil periodically as they grill to keep them nice and moist.
  • Grill for 15 - 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Cooking times may vary by grill type.
  • I also like to grill the buns. If you're doing this, brush the internal sides of the buns lightly with olive oil, then grill them open-side down for 2-3 minutes till they are warm and golden crisp around the edges.
  • If you prefer not to grill the burgers, you can cook them in a skillet using 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I like using olive oil; any oil with a somewhat high smoke point will do. Heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Fry the burgers for 10-15 minutes, flipping occasionally, until thoroughly cooked.
  • Serve turkey burgers on slider-sized buns with Lemon Herb Mayonnaise and your choice of toppings.
  • TO MAKE LEMON HERB MAYONNAISE: Mix mayonnaise together with herbs, lemon juice and lemon zest in a small bowl till well blended. Serve as a sauce for the Turkey Burgers.
  • Spiced Up Turkey Burgers on TheShiksa.com #healthy #grilling #recipe #4thofjuly
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Category: Entrees, Finger Foods and Dips, Healthy, In the Kitchen, Meat, Nut Free, Recipes, Slide Show, Tomato Free

Comments (25)Post a Comment

  1. Ibrahim Habu says:

    I love all your product and I well like to follow you to get more information

  2. Thanks for this! I´ve stuck to one turkey burger recipe for as long as I can remember (just ground turkey and a small can of diced green chilies), so it´ll be nice to change things up a bit this summer!

  3. Rachael J. says:

    Wow, these look super tasty! Thank you for sharing this recipe, I’m definitely going to make these for the 4th! I’ve never been able to stomach beef burgers, so looking forward to this mouth-watering alternative. Happy 4th of July! :)

  4. I gotta eat red, white or blue foods only on the 4th or risk feeling un-american!

    • Gina Block says:


      Tomatoes are red, the mayo is white, and add some bleu cheese!

      There you go! Enjoy.

  5. Love, love, love the olive oil soaked bread trick, is it a trick or a tip? Either way I adore the flavor of olive oil, so I can just imagine that these are delish!

  6. Allen Neuhauser says:

    I believe this recipe may return me to turkey burgers. I have avoided them because of being bland, dried out. Thank you.

  7. Interesting combo of ingredients! I love turkey burgers, so hope to try these for sure.

  8. Wow! Those look amazing!

  9. Shira Kestenbaum says:

    Am I the first to actually try these? Well, they definitely get my stamp of approval. Yummy, moist, and very lightly spicy ( I used sugarless applesauce, that may be why). I didn’t have smoked paprika so I used a grill chicken spice instead.

    • Tori Avey says:

      So happy you liked them! Sugarless applesauce shouldn’t matter, but the smoked paprika would have added more spice. You can also add additional cayenne for a kick.

  10. I just “tasted” a whole one (and not the slider size.) They are fantastic!

  11. I have the hardest time making ground turkey taste good … or taste like anything at all, for that matter. It can just be so incredibly bland. Looking forward to trying this and getting some serious flavor!

  12. adn says:

    Love these! Your food photography is beautiful! I wrote about our turkey burger recipe but they’re the super easy kind! These look amazing. I love your history recipes too!

  13. Gilly Martin says:

    Tried these yesterday, they were really great!

  14. Whitney says:

    If I don’t have applesauce, is there something close to it that I could substitute? No one in my house eats it and I would prefer not to buy an entire jar for just a small amount…

  15. whitney says:

    Made these tonight. My husband said it might be the best meal I’ve ever made. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!

  16. Naomi says:

    These are SO good. Even my picky eater gobbled one up. To me, they have a real Israeli flavor. There were none left.

  17. Deborah Liebman says:

    If I wanted to omit bread (because I don’t eat bread products), what would you substitute?

  18. Kate says:

    Do you think that quinoa or oats might be able to be substituted for the bread? I’m not sure how these would work with the olive oil if at all, but I was thinking that they may be able to be used for those of us with an aversion to bread products.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Kate, I have never tried either substitute so I’m not sure, although oats would probably be closer in terms of texture and flavor. If you try either one please me know how it works for you!

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