How To Cook Turkey Burgers In A Skillet – Recipe & Cooking Tips

Turkey burgers have a bit of a bad rep for being dry alternatives to the traditional beef burger.

It doesn’t have to be this way! In this article, I’ll explain how to cook great turkey burgers in your skillet at home.

Follow these simple instructions to make a great turkey burger base. The section after includes plenty of tips for fixing some of the most common problems readers run into.

How To Cook Turkey Burgers In A Skillet (Makes 4 Patties)

  1. Grate one shallot into a mixing bowl
  2. Add 1.25 pounds of ground turkey mince
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (light or full-fat)
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
  5. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly, using your hands
  7. Separate the mixture into four patties.
  8. Oil and preheat your skillet over a medium heat
  9. Fry for 4-5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 4-5 minutes
  10. Check the middle of the meat has cooked to 165F / 74C

Pretty simple! Once your turkey burgers have finished cooking, you can serve them in a bun if you wish, along with any of your favorite sides.

They’re not difficult to make by any means, but turkey can be quite a tricky meat to keep moist in particular.

In the rest of this guide I’ve answered some common questions about how you can cook a truly great skillet turkey burger at home.

(Want to learn more about working with cookware? Take a look through my archive for more guides and reviews.)

Frequently Asked Questions

In the rest of this guide, I’m going to answer some commonly asked questions about turkey burgers.

A turkey burger in a bun, served  on paper, with a pot of sauce nearby

How To Make Turkey Burgers Moist

Turkey burgers can be notoriously dry things, especially when you’re working with very lean meat.

To make them more moist, add a few splashes of milk while you’re creating the patty mix. A little bit of butter will also do wonders here, but don’t go overboard.

Can Turkey Burgers Be Pink?

It’s a question of temperature rather than color when it comes to playing safe with turkey burgers.

The most important thing to check is the temperature in the middle of the turkey burger. The safe limit for turkey meat is 165F / 74C.

I strongly recommend buying a digital meat thermometer for your kitchen, as it’s the greatest peace of mind you can have.

They’re relatively inexpensive, but make sure you pick one up that has a fast reading time.

I have the Kuluner TP-01 in my own kitchen. It’s fast, and it has a meat temperature guide on the outside that I find really useful for quick reference too:

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(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)

What Goes With Turkey Burgers?

You can’t go wrong with the classic burger sides here.

Barbecue sauce baked beans are always popular, while sweet potato fries and onion rings provide a wonderfully crunch accompaniment.

For a healthier option, try roasting some small tomatoes in a little oil, or adding a fresh pasta salad on the side.

Can Turkey Burgers Be Cooked From Frozen?

If you’ve purchased your turkey burgers from a store, check the packaging instructions. If they can be cooked straight from frozen, you’ll find the instructions there. 

Always follow the guidelines of the manufacturer, rather than anything you read on the internet.

When I make my own turkey burgers and put them in the deep freeze, I always thaw them out first.

Take them out of the freezer 24 hours before you plan to eat them, and put them in the refrigerator instead. 

Make sure they’ve thawed completely, and put them in a container that will contain all the liquid that releases during the thawing process. 

Have a read through my refrigerator hygiene guide for more tips on maintaining a well-organized – and safe – fridge.

What Cheese Goes With Turkey Burgers?

Like a beef burger, turkey burgers really benefit from the addition of a melting cheese. You can serve it in the bun, or melt it over the meat during the final minute or so of cooking.

Cheddar or Monterey Jack work really well if you want a recommendation that’s easy to source.

Turkey’s quite neutral in flavor though, so don’t be afraid to go a little wilder here. If you like the taste, try a sharp cheddar or even a bit of blue cheese.

Start with a little of these bolder flavors, and then add more next time if you need a bigger kick.

How Do I Know When Turkey Burgers Are Done?

Forget the color, forget the feel, the only thing that matters here is the temperature.

The middle of your turkey burger must have reached a minimum heat of 165F / 74C if you want to be sure that all bacterial traces have been cooked out of the food.

When Should You Season Turkey Burgers?

Right at the start and while you’re mixing the meat with any herbs, breadcrumbs or binding agents you like to use.

Why Are My Turkey Burgers Mushy?

Turkey burgers are often quite dry, and many people wish they could add a little more “mush” to their meal!

If your turkey burgers are coming out mushy though, try adding dry breadcrumbs to the mix before forming the patties.

These will absorb some of the excess moisture that’s created during the cooking process. 

Only start with a little though, otherwise you’ll end up with a turkey burger that’s far too dry instead – a much bigger problem in my opinion.

Why Are Turkey Burgers Better Than Beef?

“Better” is always a subjective thing, but if you want to reduce the fat content of your burger meals then turkey is an excellent option.

If healthier eating is your main consideration though, make sure your turkey burgers contain nothing but white breast meat. Darker parts of the meat increase the fat content significantly.

Some people simply prefer the taste of a turkey burger too!  

Although the flavor is often less immediately impactful than beef, turkey burgers accommodate experimental flavorings really well.

Are Turkey Burgers Keto?

Assuming there are no additives, a pure turkey burger is high in protein, healthy fats and has no carbs.

In that sense, it’s correct to say that turkey burgers are keto-friendly.

The devil is in the detail here, however.

You need to carefully watch the other ingredients you add if you’re making turkey burgers at home.

A bun for that burger is obviously not an option if you’re following a keto diet. Serve it without a bun altogether, or wrap it in lettuce leaves instead.

Are Turkey Burgers Healthy?

As Men’s Health reports, the answer to this question depends on how you qualify it. For the most part, it depends on the type of turkey meat you choose.

Ground turkey breast has the least amount of fat, but watch out for mince that includes darker thigh meat. This dramatically increases the fat content.

If you’re buying your turkey burgers from a store, watch out for added flavors and seasonings too.

These can significantly increase your salt intake, which obviously isn’t a good thing.

Wrapping Up 

Now you know how to cook the perfect turkey burger in your own skillet at home.

If you’re not happy with the results, read through the answers I’ve provided just above. It takes a little more practice to get this kind of burger just right, and you’ll find these tips go a long way.

Happy cooking!