Meaty and Honest Turkey Burgers

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So this actually happened to me fairly recently:  at a large gathering, a celebration of sorts, we were at the dessert portion of the evening.  Passing around slices of cake, and of course complimenting how amazing it tasted, some skinny, pale, good-for-nothing Millennium had the nerve to fiercely deny a slice, stating loudly, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”  Seriously.  This chick is damaged.  You know what else feels good?  Not being a snot and having friends.  Boom.  Roasted.

See, this horrifying human stick figure broke my cardinal rule:  share, don’t shame.  You want to share your little pearls of wisdom and gems of guiding truths?  Fine, but don’t preach them as gospel.  Don’t push your wack-job thoughts, feelings, and mantras on anyone, and never pass judgement.  And for God’s sake, eat cake once in a while.  

In all seriousness, I do try my best to eat healthy, since I have struggled with my weight for most of my life (hence most of my recipes are slimmed down for you…it was out of my necessity!).  So, I have taken something as simple, amazingly comforting, and almost always satisfying as the burger, and lightened it up.  

I know what you’re thinking:  turkey burgers?  Lame.  They are dry, too light, and aren’t meaty enough for my taste!  Calm down.  What did I just say about judgments?  

Yes, they can be all of these things, and I have tried a lot of recipes to prove that!  But I have finally nailed down what I think is a winning recipe that is moist (hate that word, why do I use it?), meaty, and simple.  Here’s why:

  • It’s moist (ugh) because of the wet to dry ingredient ratio.  Just don’t over-mix!

  • It’s meaty because of an ingredient we will add to enhance the umami flavor…it’s the Japanese word for “savory” or “meaty” (it’s also one of the 5 tastes on your tongue).

  • It’s simple, because, it uses common ingredients.

    You can add anything you want to it:  diced onion, dry mustard, etc… everyone seems to have “their own secret.”  I’m just providing a good base.  Enjoy!

    (Side note:  I epically failed to take pics while I was cooking… and while I was eating.  My pictures are from the left overs, which you can see are still yummy!)

Meaty and Honest Turkey Burgers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Two mixing bowls
  • A measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • A large, oven-safe pan*
  • Olive oil for cooking


  • 1-lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4c bread crumbs (I highly recommend Panko)
  • 1-2T crushed garlic (depending on your preference)
  • 2T milk (any kind)
  • 2T soy sauce (this is your secret weapon!)
  • 2t black pepper
  • Dash of liquid smoke (optional)
  • Dash of sweet smoked paprika (optional)
  • Toppings you love, such as avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, and of course cheese
  • A vehicle of choice, such as buns, bread, pita, salad, or a fork

*Due to my city dwellings and lack of access to a grill, I pan-seared my burgers and finished them off in the oven.  You, of course, are welcome (encouraged, in fact!) to fire up the grill and make some magic.


As noted above, these directions are based on cooking these burgers by stove and oven.

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
  2. In a bowl, lightly beat egg.  Add in all ingredients.  With your hand, slowly combine ingredients until evenly mixed.  Be careful not to over-mix.
  3. Allow meat to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Divide mixture into 4 even portions and create patties.  TIP:  feel free to get these pretty flat… they WILL plump up a bit J
  5. Lightly oil a large oven-safe pan over high heat.  When oil is shimmering, place patties in pan and sear for 4 minutes.  Flip, and sear for an additional 3 minutes. 
  6. Place entire pan in the oven until an inserted thermometer reads 165 degrees, approximately 13 minutes.  TIP:  check after 11 to avoid overcooking!

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