These Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are made from scratch with ground chicken, lime, bell pepper and plenty of flavor. This Trader Joe's copycat recipe puts a zesty, fresh twist on burger night that is Whole30, Paleo, and Keto friendly!
When it comes to healthy and tasty quick meals, the frozen foods aisle at Trader Joe's is the absolute best. While not every frozen dinner from TJ's is made with whole food ingredients, the frozen chili lime chicken burgers are 100% paleo, Whole30 compliant and keto-friendly.
I used the list of ingredients on the box as a guide to create a copycat recipe and it turned out perfect. Maybe even better.
These light, zesty and juicy chicken burgers cook up quick and bring plenty of protein and plenty of Southwestern flavor to healthy meals.
If you LOVE Trader Joe's Chili Lime Burgers as much as I do, you HAVE got to try this DIY chicken version! Enjoy!
🌶️ Ingredients You'll Need
- Ground Chicken - Burgers made from poultry can sometimes taste dry but this recipe makes super juicy chicken burgers.
- Lime (juice & zest) - adds zesty citrus fresh lime flavor.
- Red Bell Pepper (minced) - adds flavor and texture to the burgers.
- Cilantro (minced) - gives these burger classic Southwest flavor.
- Chili Seasoning Mix - You can either use a packet of chili seasoning mix or make a home made blend (see below).
👉 Homemade Chili Seasoning (Paleo & Whole30) - To make chili seasoning from scratch use about a tablespoon of chili powder along with a ½ teaspoon each of cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. For extra spicy chili seasoning, add a dash of cayenne.
📖 How to Make Chili Lime Chicken Burgers
These easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make chili lime chicken burgers from scratch that taste just like the Trader Joe's version, if not better!
1️⃣ Prep fresh ingredients:
With a sharp knife, mince the bell peppers and chop the cilantro finely into small pieces. Juice and zest the lime.
2️⃣ Whisk fresh ingredients with seasonings:
In a large mixing bowl, add peppers, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, chili seasoning and dried onion flakes. Whisk together well and set aside for 5 minutes.
3️⃣ Add ground chicken:
To the mixing bowl, add the ground chicken. With clean hands or a heavy spoon, combine the ground chicken with the pepper mixture thoroughly without over-mixing the chicken.
4️⃣ Patty out burgers:
Divide the chicken burger mixture into 4 equal portions. Patty out each portion into a flat ½" thick chicken patty.
5️⃣ Place burgers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.
6️⃣ Pan sear burgers:
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chilled burger patties to the skillet and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken is cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken patty.
6️⃣ Cool and serve:
Let chicken burgers rest for 5 minutes before serving with a bun and your favorite sandwich toppings such as tomato, onion, and lettuce.
👩🏻🍳 Chef's Tips
- Gently freezing the burgers before cooking makes it so much easier to cook them without falling apart. Since we aren't using any bread crumbs or egg in this recipe as a binder, cooking the burgers partially frozen keeps them cohesive.
- When cutting the cilantro and bell pepper, make sure they are minced into very small pieces in order for them to blend in with the ground chicken.
- Do not use 100% ground chicken breasts to make chicken burgers. It is too lean and may result in a dry burger. Use a blend of ground white and dark meat chicken with at least 5% fat.
- To grill chili lime chicken burgers, preheat the grill between 350 and 400 degrees F and cook burgers for 10 - 12 minutes flipping halfway through.
- To make perfectly cooked juicy chicken burgers, use a meat thermometer. Chicken burgers are finished as soon as the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
🔁 Variations & Substitutions
Switch up the protein. You can mix the red pepper mixture with any ground meat to make delicious chili lime burgers. Try ground turkey, ground pork or ground beef.
Make plant-based chili lime burgers. Combine the red pepper mixture with your favorite plant-based ground meat alternative (like Impossible or Beyond "meat") to make delicious vegan chili lime burgers.
Add more veggies. To sneak more veggies into these burgers, try adding small diced green bell pepper, onion, tomato and for extra spicy chili lime chicken burgers, add jalapenos!
♻️ Storing & Freezing
Storing - Store leftover cooked chicken burgers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Freezing - To freeze raw chicken burgers, first flash freeze them for at least an hour on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Once the patties are firm, transfer them to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag separating the patties with parchment paper and freeze for up to 3 months. Do not thaw. Cook chicken burgers from frozen.
Can I make chicken burgers ahead of time? These burgers can be prepped in advance and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months in a sealed bag or airtight container. Cook them straight from frozen!
More Burger Recipes
Let's answer some frequently asked questions about Trader Joe's chicken burgers and the homemade copycat recipe.
The ingredients listed are ground chicken, onions, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, natural flavor, salt, lime juice concentrate and red pepper flakes which are all gluten-free ingredients.
The trick to keeping ground chicken burgers from falling apart is to keep things cold. When the burgers are cooked chilled or frozen, they are more likely to stay in one piece. Also, flip the burgers as little as possible.
These burgers are great served between buns with lettuce, tomato, onion and a hot and crispy side of air fryer sweet potato fries. You could also dice the burgers and serve them in tortillas taco style or add to a salad.
To cook these burgers in the air fryer, place frozen chicken patties in a preheated 400 degree air fryer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Each chicken burger has roughly 150 calories each.
The chicken burgers have a chili flavor that isn't necessarily spicy. You can spice them up by making this homemade version.
Their chicken burgers are frozen and UNCOOKED. They must be heated through to an internal temperature of 165F before consuming.
Chili Lime Chicken Burgers (Trader Joe's Copycat)
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 lime juice and zest
- ¼ cup red bell pepper minced
- ¼ cup cilantro minced
- ½ tablespoon chili seasoning from a packet or homemade (see below)
- With a sharp knife, mince the bell peppers and chop the cilantro finely. Juice and zest the lime.
- In a large mixing bowl, add peppers, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, chili seasoning and dried onion flakes. Whisk together well and then set aside for 5 minutes.
- To the mixing bowl, add the ground and chicken. With clean hands or a heavy spoon, combine the ground chicken with the pepper mixture thoroughly without over-mixing the chicken.
- Divide the chicken burger mixture into 4 equal portions. Patty out each portion into a flat ½" thick chicken burger. Place burgers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chilled burger patties to the skillet and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Let chicken burgers rest for 5 minutes before serving.