Tasty Barbecue Turkey Burgers topped with cheddar cheese are an easy weeknight meal that is anything but boring. Quick to make and full of flavor.
These turkey burgers are anything but boring! By infusing the lean ground turkey with barbecue sauce and spices and topping everything with melted cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, and grilled onions - you get a meal everyone will love.
To be honest, in the past I had been ordering and making more beef burgers than other kinds of burgers. Although I certainly like the taste of turkey burgers, sometimes I find they can get a bit dry or bland if not done correctly.
My friend changed all that for me when she served these delicious Barbecue Cheddar Turkey Burgers. Her secret? Add some of the barbecue sauce to the patty to keep everything nice and moist. Trust me on this, it's a game-changer,
She also makes sure that the meat is really well seasoned with Worcestershire, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Everything is topped with some grilled onions and cheddar cheese and — voila! — not only did we eat a really delicious meal, but she made a turkey burger convert out of me!
What ingredients do you need to make Barbecue Turkey Burgers?
You don't need much, ingredients-wise to make these burgers. In fact, most of the ingredients you'll find right in your pantry!
- Lean, ground turkey: There are some different options here and you can use 99% lean ground turkey or opt for 93% lean or 85% lean ground turkey. They will all work and the percentage refers to the fat content of the meat. The 99% lean is typically made with turkey breast while the higher fat ground turkey will be a combination of breast meat and darker meat. Choose what works for you.
- Worcestershire sauce: This is one of my favorite burger ingredients since it adds umami flavor and makes the burger more complex. It can be salty, so season accordingly.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds another layer of flvaor to these turkey burgers. Garlic powder would also work if you don't have fresh on hand.
- Paprika and cumin: Paprika and cumin bring out the flavors in the barbecue sauce with some sweetness and smoke.
- BBQ sauce: There are lots of options when it comes to barbecue sauce. Choose one that first your taste preferences whether it be sweet, spicy, or smoky. Also if possible, look for a sauce that is lower in sugar or uses more natural sugars.
- Onion: The bite of a red onion breaks up the sweetness of the barbecue sauce and adds a nice texture to the burger.
- Cheddar cheese: I am someone who needs cheese on a burger and the sharpness of the cheddar can stand up to all the flavor of the BBQ sauce.
How do you make these burgers?
First, mix together the turkey with the Worcestershire, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, and half of the BBQ sauce into a bowl. Mix to form into 4 patties.
Next, heat a griddle, skillet, or grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add the onions and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until they tenderize and start to turn brown.
Take the onions out and add the burgers to the same pan. Cook the turkey burgers for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until they are completely cooked through.
To melt the cheese, add during the last 3 minutes of cooking, or assemble the burgers with the onions and BBQ sauce, then top with cheese and put the burgers under the broiler until the cheese melts.
Otherwise, assemble by putting the burger on a bun half then adding onions, BBQ sauce, cheese, and any of your other favorite toppings on the burger before adding the top of the bun and diving in.
What is a turkey burger made of?
For the meat itself, ground turkey is made of a mixture of light and dark meat, that's all ground (or minced) together. There is also fat and sometimes skin mixed in with the ground meat, plus additives to keep the meat fresh before you purchase it.
Is barbecue sauce healthy?
Barbecue sauce contains a lot of sugar, there's no doubt about it. However, for this recipe, we are only using 8 tablespoons total, and that's both in and on top of the turkey burgers. Spread out that way means a little sugar sure, but not nearly as much as if you were eating ribs smothered in the stuff or another dish covered in BBQ sauce.
Ideas for Customizing Turkey Burgers
- If you don't have barbecue sauce, you could use a substitute of ¾ cup of ketchup, 2 tablespoons of mustard, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix that all together and then take the 8 tablespoons needed for the recipe from that mixture.
- Other great toppings on this burger include mushrooms, diced green peppers, jalapeno slices (fresh or pickled), lettuce, and tomato.
- I like to use red onion slices for these burgers, but you can also use sweet onions like Vidalias, yellow onions, white onions, or even shallots if you like.
Tips & Tricks for Making Turkey Burgers
- Don't make your patties too thin or the turkey burgers will cook too quickly and dry out.
- Try to only mix in the seasonings and BBQ sauce till combined before making patties, you don't want to work the meat too much or it can fall apart.
- If your patties aren't sticking together well, you can add one whole egg to the ground mixture and mix in before making patties.
- Cook your burgers completely to avoid food poisoning. Turkey isn't a meat that is acceptable as anything other than "well done." To make sure your burgers are done, use a meat thermometer. If it reads 165, you're good to go.
- Slicing the onion rings a little on the thinner side will help them cook down and caramelize easier. On the other hand, if you want thicker rings and to really taste the bite of the onion and have it stay in a ring shape on top of your burger, cut them a little thicker.
More Turkey Burger Recipes
Barbecue Cheddar Turkey Burger
- Print Recipe
- Download PDF
- 1.33 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
- 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 8 tbsp. BBQ sauce, divided
- 1 onion, sliced into rings
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Get delicious, healthy recipes delivered each week right to your inbox.
Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook.
Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.