Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers

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The turkey burger recipe that just might convert the turkey burger skittish.

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman / themom100.com

I always get a little mad when I ask guests at a barbecue, “Who wants beef burgers?” Tons of hands shoot up, and then I ask, “Who wants turkey burgers?” Everyone yanks their hands down and only a couple go up. Really, even now, people still have so much hesitation about turkey burgers.

Yes, yes, I understand that people are nervous about turkey burgers being dry. But that’s just a matter of not overcooking them, and using a mix of dark and light ground turkey, often available prepackaged in your grocer’s (look for a label that says 93/7% which indicates that there is 7% dark meat mixed in — the 99% ground turkey is quite lean and will yield a less juicy and moist burger). And this isn’t just your basic turkey burger — although those are great. The chipotle gives it a great kick and adds juiciness, too!

Serve these with Deviled Potato Salad, Traditional Cole Slaw, and/or Herbed Pasta and Tomato Salad.

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burger on an elevated serving display.

This Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burger recipe results in burgers that are so juicy and flavorful, you might just make converts out of the turkey-burger-skittish.

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Ingredients for Chipotle Turkey Burgers

For the burgers:

  • Olive oil – A touch of olive oil acts as a juiciness enhancer and a flavor booster.
  • Scallions – Adds some onion-y flavor and freshness.
  • Barbecue sauce – Gives the burgers a bit of sweetness and smokiness.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – The bread crumbs soak up some of the sauces and help the turkey meat retain moisture.
  • Chipotles in adobo – Chipotles in adobo is one of my favorite ways to add both heat and smokiness. All you have to do is simply dump a can of chilis in adobo sauce into the food processor and puree the whole shebang.
  • Ground turkey – Turkey meat is — I’ll say it — fairly bland, as ground meats go. You will probably want to add in an ingredient or two to help keep them juicy, plus give the mild meat a boost of flavor. In this case, it’s the chipotles.

For the sauce:

  • Mayonnaise – Makes a creamy base for the sauce and balances the strong flavor of the chipotles.
  • Chipotles in adobo – Use what you need, and keep the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for weeks. Add a spoonful to any recipe where you want a little heat and smokiness. The puree makes a second appearance in the easy sauce recipe for these burgers. And here — and really everywhere — don’t forget the salt.
  • Toppings – Hamburger buns, onions, tomatoes, romaine lettuce…all great.
Woman holding a Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burger over a plate with chips and salad.

How to Make Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers

  1. Cook the scallions: While you preheat the grill, quickly wilt down the scallions in a skillet.
  2. Make the patties: Mix the scallions in with the barbecue sauce, breadcrumbs, and chipotles. Then add the turkey, season, and mix. Form the patties.
  3. Cook the burgers: Grill turkey burgers over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side. If you don’t wish to grill them, this turkey burger recipe can be made on the stovetop using a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat or under the broiler. Cook the patties for roughly the same amount of time, 5 minutes per side. 
  4. Finish and serve: Finally, take the burgers off of the heat the second they are cooked through, as they will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the direct heat. You want to cook turkey burgers to an internal temperature of 165 F — that’s when they are just safely cooked through (get that meat thermometer!). Turkey burgers should not be served rare.
Line of Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers on a wooden surface.

Chipotle Sauce for Turkey Burgers

There is a ridiculous, easy, 3-minute chipotle sauce that goes along with these burgers, but you are welcome to use plain old mustard or ketchup if you prefer. If you do make the sauce, any leftovers are a brilliant addition to any kind of sandwich from a BLT to a vegetable sub.

Variations

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burger on a wooden serving platform.

Make Ahead Chipotle Turkey Burgers

You can make up the patties for these burgers a few hours in advance and seal them in a container to be ready for grilling or cooking. The sauce can also be made the day before, so all you have to do to whip dinner together is cook up the patties and assemble.

What to Serve With Chipotle Turkey Burgers

Person holding a Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burger missing a bite.

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5 from 1 vote

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers

The turkey burger recipe that just might convert the turkey burger skittish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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Ingredients 

For the Burgers:

For the Sauce:

To Serve:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • sliced onions
  • sliced tomatoes
  • Romaine lettuce leaves

Instructions 

  • Preheat the grill to medium-high. In a small skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the scallions are softened.
  • Turn the scallion mixture into a large bowl and add the barbecue sauce, bread crumbs, and pureed chipotles and stir to combine. Add the turkey and salt and pepper and mix well, using your hands or a spoon, but try to handle the meat lightly. Form the mixture into 4 evenly-sized patties, and once the patties are well shaped use your fingers to press an indent into the middle of each patty – this will help them remain flat when they cook, as they will naturally swell in the center.
  • Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through and have reached an internal temperature of 165 F on an instant-read thermometer. While the burgers are cooking, in a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and the chipotles in adobo.
  • Place the cooked burger on the bottoms of the buns, top with the sauce, and layer in any toppings you like. Serve immediately.

Notes

Take the burgers off of the heat the second they are cooked through, as they will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the direct heat.  You want to cook turkey burgers to an internal temperature of 165 F — that’s when they are just safely cooked through (get that meat thermometer!).   Turkey burgers should not be served rare.
Variations

Nutrition

Calories: 404kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Sodium: 608mg, Potassium: 458mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 318IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 97mg, Iron: 3mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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