4 Smart Tips to Make the Perfect Turkey Burger

By Erin Parekh

Sometimes, when faced with a piece of protein, the obvious question in front of you—How should I cook it?—can feel daunting. Good news: Whether it’s steak, shrimp, or tofu, there’s definitely an easy way to do it that will result in a delicious meal.

To prove it, we asked Nutritious Life-Certified holistic health coach and culinary nutrition expert Erin Parekh to show us how it’s done. Parekh coaches clients, hosts cooking classes, and does kitchen makeovers, and her website hosts a treasure trove of flavorful recipes that fit into her philosophy of “Living Well, Simply.”

In this series, “Simply Cooked Well,” she’ll be sharing simple ways to prep and cook different proteins. Up now: The perfect turkey burger!

Simply Cooked Well: The Perfect Turkey Burger

Turkey is the quintessential healthy choice when it comes to making burgers for summer backyard barbecues—a lighter, leaner option over ground beef.

But all too often those burgers (with so much potential!) fall flat in the flavor department. And they likely end up as dry as a hockey puck, too.

So what do you do?

Follow these four simple tips, and you’ll be enjoying deliciously flavorful, tender turkey burgers in no time.

RELATED: 7 Healthy Burger Toppings That Aren’t Ketchup and Mustard

how to make the perfect turkey burger

4 Turkey Burger Tips

1. Make fat your friend.

When choosing ground turkey, always opt for 94 percent lean, which is a blend of both breast and thigh meat.  The higher fat content and inclusion of dark thigh meat means you’ll have a juicier, more complex burger from the get-go. You’ll also want to opt for organic turkey (or at least antibiotic-free).

2. Season well.

Spices are key when it comes to a good turkey burger, but even adding enough salt and pepper does wonders. My personal trick is mixing in a dollop of Dijon mustard and a sprinkle of paprika for that little extra something. You can find both my basic turkey burger recipe and a veggie-packed curry carrot version, here <link>. Adding veggies and fresh herbs boosts nutrition, adds flavor, and keeps the burgers moist.

RELATED: How to Store Fresh Herbs so They Actually Last

3. Don’t overmix.

Over-handling the meat yields a compact, tough burger, so you’ll want to mix as little as possible. I like to premix my spices and add-ins before adding the turkey meat. Then, I’ll wet or oil my hands to prevent sticking and gently form the burger patties, being careful to not compress the meat.

4. Cook them just enough.

It’s a fine line between a fully-cooked turkey burger and an over-cooked turkey burger. Be sure to keep an eye on the cook time and pull the burgers as soon as the juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the center. Unlike ground beef, turkey should not be pink in the center.

Ready to get started? Get my recipe for Curry Carrot Turkey Burgers, here, or opt for the basic version before you dive into adding lots of veggies.

More From Simply Cooked Well:

How to Make Healthy Chicken Tenders
How to Make Delicious Roasted Shrimp in 15 Minutes

About Erin Parekh
Holistic Nutritionist + Women's Wellness Expert

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