The Best Turkey Burgers

Serves 4

We found that the extra step of grinding fresh turkey thighs ourselves made the most flavorful, best textured burgers. If you want to save time, buy boneless turkey thighs. Pan frying develops a good, thick crust on the burgers, but grilling gives them a subtle smoky flavor that we love.


  • 1 turkey thigh, about 2 pounds, skinned and boned (or 1 1/2 pounds skinnless boneless thighs), cut into 1-inch chunks; arranged on sheet pan; frozen until semi-firm, about 30 minutes
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil


Working in three batches, place the semi-frozen turkey chunks in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade; pulse until the largest pieces are no bigger than 1/8-inch, 12 to 14 one-second pulses.

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.

Heat a heavy large 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, then add the burgers. Cook over medium heat without moving the burgers until the bottom side of each is dark brown and crusted, about 5 minutes. Turn the burgers over; continue to cook until the bottom side 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 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 F. 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 side, 7 to 9 minutes. Turn the burgers over; continue grilling 7 to 9 minutes longer, or until the bottom side is dark spotty brown and the center is completely cooked, or an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 8501

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