Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers


Want a healthy burger but don’t want to sacrifice taste?  Try these turkey burgers adapted from Cooks Illustrated. They have a unique twist: the addition of whole milk ricotta cheese to keep the burgers juicy, along with Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to boost flavor.


If you’re feeling creative, consider adding a few tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs, a clove or two of minced garlic, or some sautéed onions, scallions or shallots. Serve on buns, toast or hard rolls, garnished as you like.

Note: My only change to the recipe was to add 1/4 cup breadcrumbs to improve the texture.

Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers

Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Printable Recipe


1 ¼ pounds 93% lean ground turkey (I use Shady Brook Farms)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup whole milk Ricotta cheese
¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

For Cooking
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place ground turkey in a medium size bowl. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs and mustard and mix until well blended (your hands are the best tool). Divide meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Lightly toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten ball with fingertips into a 1-inch-thick patty. Repeat with remaining portions.

3. Heat a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat until very hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat bottom. Add burgers and cook over medium heat without moving burgers until bottom side of each is dark golden brown and crusted, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn burgers over; continue to cook until bottom side is light brown but not yet crusted, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer pan to oven and continue cooking for about 7-8 minutes, or until burgers are completely cooked (an instant-read thermometer inserted from the side of the burger into the center should register 160 degrees). Remove from pan and serve immediately.

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  • Julie

    I loved this burger. Easy and delicious-the ricotta cheese made it so tasty, too!

  • Lynne

    We like our burgers a little flatter so I made 6 patties instead of 4. They cooked quickly so I didn’t even have to finish them in the oven. I also melted cheese on top – delicious. Thank you!

  • david

    Just wanted to let you know that these turkey burgers are AWESOME! I added shallots and fresh herbs like you suggested…great flavor and so moist.

  • Lani

    I made this terrific recipe tonight for a dinner party and got many rave reviews. I like your adaptations, as well as, I had to make my own changes due to missing certain ingredients. I used Panko and lots of dried Italian Seasoning instead of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Thank you for the reminder to check the internal temperature, which I did and found out I was way under and the burgers needed five more minutes in the oven. Thank you for helping me look smart in the kitchen!

  • My husband loves turkey burgers and the thought these were the best he ever had!

  • Kim McCary

    This is a great recipe. I have also added cubed pepper jack cheese in the ground turkey mixture. Delicious! It makes giving up beef MUCH less painful!

  • Esther

    I have made these several times too – they have great flavor, are not dry and freeze really well. Another super recipe! Thanks!

  • Alexa

    Hello! I followed your instructions, but added a little extra time for the burgers in the oven just to try and be safe. I don’t have a meat thermometer and was wondering: is it okay for them to be a bit mushy on the inside?

    • Jenn

      Hi Alexa, If they are fully cooked, they shouldn’t be mushy.

  • Judy

    When you say milk ricotta cheese do you mean cow’s milk or is this the only ricotta made and suggestions for toppings besides tomatoes and lettuce which I adore by the way. Lettuce I mean.

    • Jenn

      Hi Judy, Yes, I mean cow’s milk ricotta. You can top them with anything — red onions, cheese, avocado, sprouts, whatever you like :)

  • Gillian

    These are the best turkey burgers I have ever had. They needed a little bit more time in the oven than the recipe calls for, but they turned out perfectly with the added cook time

  • Carrie

    These are the best turkey burgers! So easy and so good definitely follow the cooking method makes all the difference!

  • Mike

    For those who don’t like mustard, I subsituted 1 tsp of low sodium soy sauce and it came out well. I didn’t want to add any more because I wanted to make sure the burgers would still bind.

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