To many people, a turkey burger does not conjure up images of a big, thick, juicy, satisfying burger. Normally, it is though of a patty of dried-out, tasteless meat that only people on a diet would eat.  Hopefully, this recipe will change your opinion because I like it better than regular beef hamburgers! Hard to believe for this red meat lover, too!

Cooking Light Magazine was the original inspiration for my recipe in an issue from long ago: May 2000!  The recipe was called “Quick and Easy Turkey Burgers” and I made it several times following the directions exactly.  Jeff just wasn’t a fan so finally I started “tweaking it” to my current burger recipe which I call “Sassy Turkey Burgers”! (Note: kind of like me, it sasses back and dares you not to like it 🙂


The original Quick and Easy Turkey Burger by Cooking Light Magazine 2000
The original Quick and Easy Turkey Burger by Cooking Light Magazine 2000

Now , the original recipe was quite good (for a turkey burger) kind of like when someone says you look good (for your age)….nice but not exactly what you were hoping for!  One of my favorite ideas in the original recipe, were the carmelized onions and I kept those pretty much the same except for the addition of a little teriyaki sauce.  The major change I made to the burger was the seasoning I used…let’s just say I “pumped it up a little”!  You can check out the original recipe from Cooking Light at the bottom of the page but here is my version.

Frankie’s “Sassy Turkey Burgers”


  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, plus extra to brush on top of burgers while cooking
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon of teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, cut into (1/4-inch-thick) slices (about 2 cups)$
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns
  • mustard, to spread on buns
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
  • 4 curly leaf lettuce leaves


Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. (Note:  I like to cook a tiny little patty to flavor test before I cook the burgers just in case I need more seasoning.)

One pound of lean ground turkey
One pound of lean ground turkey
Tiny "Test Patty"
Tiny “Test Patty”

Now, sometimes turkey burgers don’t hold well together and that is why many recipes add breadcrumbs which I don’t like to do.  My secret trick is to refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes before cooking so they hold together better.  I do this with my crab cakes as well.  After they are refrigerated, lightly brush both tops with teriyaki sauce.

Patties refrigerated and then brushed with teriyaki sauce
Patties refrigerated and then brushed with teriyaki sauce

While your patties are refrigerating, prepare your onions.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion slices; lower heat, cover and cook 10-12 minutes or until onion is golden brown and soft, stirring frequently. (Make sure not to overbrown on they will be bitter.  You may have to add more water from time to time. ) Remove onion from pan, and keep warm.

Place 3 tablespoons of olive oil in  a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add patties, and cook 2 (just to get a light brown but the point is to get them to bind together).  Turn over, brush the other side with the teriyake sauce and cook for 4 minutes then flip back over and cook an additional 3-5 minutes until desired degree of doneness.  (I prefer mine more on the done side.)  Add 3 tablespoons teriyaki mixture to pan. Carefully turn patties over, and cook for 3 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Burgers starting to get done
Burgers starting to get done

Put mustard on each side of the bun and place lettuce then 1 patty on bottom half of each bun.  Add a tomato slice  and top each patty with 1/4 cup onion mixture.  Top with remaining bun halves.

Sassy Turkey Burgers with a side of Grilled Mango
Sassy Turkey Burgers with a side of Grilled Mango

Note: You can freeze any uncooked turkey patties for up to 1 month. To freeze, separate the patties with wax paper; place them in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag, remove excess air, seal, and freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator.

Bottom Line:  These burgers are fantastic and your family will love them!  The carmelized onions really make them so don’t leave those out…just give it a try!  Let me know how these work in your kitchen and Keep on Cooking!

Link to original recipe:





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