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Killer Turkey Burgers

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Turkey Burgers:

Extra-virgin olive oil, for coating the pan

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 

Kosher salt 

2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped 

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey 

One 8-ounce can water chestnuts, coarsely chopped (not too fine--they add GREAT texture) 

1/4 cup soy sauce, plus more if needed

1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves finely chopped 

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated 

2 tablespoons sambal oelek or Asian chili paste, optional (but recommended) 


1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sambal oelek 

4 burger buns (I like the seeded ones) 

4 slices American of Cheddar cheese (American melts better) 

4 slices beefsteak tomatoes 

4 slices red onion 

4 leaves butter lettuce 


  1. For the turkey burgers: Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and toss in the onion. Season with salt and bring the pan to medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and very aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, water chestnuts, soy sauce, cilantro, ginger, sambal if using and the cooked onions and garlic. (NOTE: Save the onion pan to cook the burgers in later!) Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to the mix--this will keep the burgers really moist! Use your hands to squish the mixture until everything is really well combined.
  3. Make, cook and eat a little tester patty to be sure the turkey is really delicious. If the seasoning isn't just right, add a little more soy or a sprinkey-dink of salt. When you're confident the burger mix is perfectly seasoned, form it into 4 equal patties.
  4. With a paper towel, wipe out the saute pan you used to cook the onion, coat the pan with fresh olive oil and bring it to medium-high heat. Add the burgers, being sure not to crowd the pan--if you need to work in batches, knock yourself out. Cook the burgers for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. The burgers should be browned and cooked through when done. (If working in batches, keep the first batch warm in the oven at 200 degrees F while cooking the second batch.)
  5. For the toppings: Mix together the mayo and sambal oelek in a small bowl. Toast the burger buns and top with the burgers. Garnish as desired with the cheese, tomato, red onion, lettuce and spicy mayo.