Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
These fresh and flavorful Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers are definitely something to be thankful for! Made with lean turkey breast, traditional holiday turkey seasonings, and dried cranberries, these mouthwatering burgers capture the familiar flavors of the holiday season in every bite!
If you ever get hankerings for Thanksgiving food long after the holiday season, have no fear. This stovetop Thanksgiving turkey burger recipe results in an incredibly juicy, deeply flavorful turkey burger that tastes just like Thanksgiving!
The credit for compacting the whole holiday dinner into one big, juicy, handheld turkey burger goes to the masterminds in the Wahlberg kitchen. This delicious Thanksgiving turkey burger is my take on the epic Wahlburger’s Thanksgiving Burger, and it’s made with the right stuff.
Whether you enhance your burger with fresh ingredients or Thanksgiving leftovers, these burgers are guaranteed to become a regularly requested family favorite. Ready to gobble on Thanksgiving turkey burgers till you wobble? Let’s get started.
❤ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s healthy. Ground turkey breast is an excellent source of lean protein, and the burgers are keto, paleo, and Whole30 adaptable.
- This is much quicker than roasting a turkey when you’re craving Thanksgiving. These burgers are on the table in under 30 minutes.
- Thanksgiving leftovers make the best toppings -cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, French fried onions -anything goes!
🦃Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground turkey – I like using 99% lean ground turkey breast, but 85/15 is the perfect lean-to-fat ratio for juicy turkey burgers if that isn’t available.
- Egg – An egg helps bind the turkey and dry ingredients while adding fat, so the burgers stay moist as they cook.
- Bread crumbs – The crumbs help the egg bind everything together so the burgers don’t fall apart.
- Dried cranberries – A Thanksgiving-flavored burger wouldn’t be complete without a bit of cranberry to brighten up every savory bite.
- Dried herbs – Sage, rosemary, and thyme give the burgers a mouthwatering flavor and memorable aroma that screams Thanksgiving.
- Spices & seasonings – Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder is just enough to balance the sweet and savory flavors.
- Avocado oil – This is my favorite high-heat cooking oil. It keeps the turkey burger patties from sticking to the bottom of the pan and helps make a browned crust on the surface while the centers stay moist and juicy.
🍳 Equipment notes: Stovetop turkey burgers are best cooked in a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan. The thicker bottom distributes heat evenly, so the burgers cook at the same rate. Have a heat-safe turner or metal spatula nearby to flip the burgers when ready.
🥣 How To Make Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
1️⃣ Mix turkey burger meat: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey breast, egg, bread crumbs, cranberries, herbs, and salt & pepper. Use your hands to work the egg and dry ingredients into the ground meat until evenly distributed, but without overworking the meat.
2️⃣ Form burger patties: Using about a half-cup per burger, mold the meat with your hands into four even-sized 1/2″ thick patties.
3️⃣ Cook burgers: In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat avocado oil over medium heat, then add the burger patties in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the burgers are cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165F°
4️⃣ Serve: Remove the burgers from the skillet with a metal spatula and serve on buns with your favorite toppings and Thanksgiving side dishes. Enjoy!
♨ Air Fryer Instructions
Instead of pan-frying these Thanksgiving turkey burgers, make air fried turkey burgers following these easy steps:
1️⃣ Preheat: Turn on your air fryer and preheat it to 375F for 3-5 minutes.
2️⃣ Cook: Using a metal spatula, arrange the burger patties in a single layer, leaving room between each in the preheated basket. Set the timer for 15 minutes, and cook, flipping halfway through. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
👩🏻🍳 Recipe Tips
- Set meat out. Setting the turkey out 10-15 minutes before making the burgers is so the meat isn’t super cold when it hits the hot pan. If turkey burgers go from cold to hot too quickly, it causes the proteins to seize up and get chewy.
- Don’t overmix. If you fuss with the meat mixture more than you need to, it weakens the proteins, resulting in tough, dry burgers. So mix with your hands just until the wet and dry ingredients are distributed evenly, and then form the patties.
- Don’t compress the patties. When shaping turkey burgers, do not pack the patties too tightly. Instead, use a light pat to mold the meat into a 1/2″ round patty.
- Make a dimple. Use your thumb or the back of a spoon to make a small divot in the middle of each patty. The indentation keeps the heat evenly dispersed, so the burgers cook evenly and don’t shrink.
- Let rest. Once cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165F, remove the burgers from the pan, and let rest for 5 minutes, so all of the juices are absorbed and locked into the burger.
🍽 Variations & Serving Suggestions
Breadcrumb substitutions – To bind the burgers, you can use a dry stuffing mix pulverized into fine crumbs instead of plain breadcrumbs. For a keto, paleo, & Whole30 version, use almond meal or crushed pork rinds.
Cheese – Top the burgers with a slice of gouda or brie when they’re almost cooked. Then, cover the pan with a lid and cook until the cheese is melted over the top of the burger.
Toppings – Check the list below for the best toppings for cranberry turkey burgers.
- Cranberry Mayo (mayo mixed with cranberry sauce)
- Mashed Potatoes
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Crispy Fried Onions
- Mac & Cheese (why not?)
- Maple Cinnamon Butternut Squash
🧊 Storing & Freezing
Storing: Once cooked, keep cranberry sage turkey burgers refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
Freezing: To freeze leftover burgers, make sure they are cooled completely, then wrap individual burgers tightly in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for 2-3 months, and thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
When turkey burgers fall apart, the cause is typically over-handling the burger meat, so mix the meat just until combined and form the patties with a gentle patting motion. Also, be sure to use enough eggs and bread crumbs so the burgers hold their shape but not so much that they become mushy.
The two have about the same fat, protein, and calorie content, but ground turkey has less saturated fat. That said, turkey isn’t necessarily healthier than beef, but it is better if you’re trying to eat less beef and cut back on saturated fats.
Yes! The Thanksgiving turkey burger is available at most Wahlburgers locations all year long.
🍔 More Burger Recipes
Looking for more delicious burgers? Pick your protein and cook the patties perfectly in your air fryer or Ninja Foodi following these recipes.
- Air Fryer Pork Burger
- Air Fryer Elk Burger
- Air Fryer Venison Burger
- Air Fryer Bison Burger
- Air Fryer Chicken Burger
- Air Fryer Lamb Burger
- Air Fryer Impossible Burger
- Air Fryer Beyond Burger
Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers
- large cast iron pan or heavy-bottomed skillet
- turner aka metal spatula
- 1 pound ground turkey breast 99% lean
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs or almond flour or crushed pork rinds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoon avocado oil
- Add ground turkey breast to a mixing bowl along with the egg, bread crumbs, dried cranberries, herbs, and salt & pepper. Using your hands, mix the egg and dry ingredients into the ground meat until evenly distributed and combined. Be careful not to overwork the meat.
- Using a heaping half-cup per turkey burger, form the meat mixture into four even-sized 1/2" thick patties.
- Add avocado oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the turkey burgers in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the burgers are cooked through, and the internal temperature reaches 165F°
- Remove the burgers from the skillet with a metal spatula, and serve on buns with your favorite toppings and Thanksgiving side dishes. Enjoy!