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Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers

5 stars based on 5 votes

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: Recipe adapted from Cooks Illustrated. My only change was to add 1/4 cup breadcrumbs to improve the texture.


Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers

Servings: 4


  • 1-1/4 pounds 93% lean ground turkey (I use Shady Brook Farms)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for cooking


  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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Perfect in every possible way! Thanks a lot, Jenn, by far the best turkey burger I have ever tasted anywhere!

    - Julia on September 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The most delicious turkey burgers ever!!! And so easy to do!!

    - Kim on September 7, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made these for supper tonight – outstanding!! Will definitely make them again
    I have 2 questions – Can they be frozen after cooked? Do you think they can be made with same outcome on barbecue? Thanks!

    - dibster on April 24, 2017 Reply
    • Glad you liked them! I think they could be frozen, but maybe would be better if frozen before cooking. And, yes, you could grill these if you want (or you could try this grilled version).

      - Jenn on April 25, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best recipe. My son and husband request this every week !

    - Julie B. on January 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another huge crowd pleaser! We left out the bun and added a slice of cheddar for a reduced-carb option and it was a huge hit. Again, Jenn created something that my two-year-old absolutely loves! These also freeze and reheat beautifully – definitely a weeknight go-to meal for our family!

    - Allison on March 23, 2015 Reply
  • What could you substitute if you don’t have ricotta cheese?

    - Teri on May 6, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Teri, You could try cottage cheese but I would definitely blend it in a food processor first to get rid of the curds. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on May 6, 2014 Reply
  • 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.

    - Mike on March 24, 2014 Reply
  • These are the best turkey burgers! So easy and so good definitely follow the cooking method makes all the difference!

    - Carrie on November 8, 2013 Reply
  • 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

    - Gillian on October 21, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Judy on July 31, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Judy, Yes, I mean cow’s milk ricotta. You can top them with anything — red onions, cheese, avocado, sprouts, whatever you like 🙂

      - Jenn on July 31, 2013 Reply
  • 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?

    - Alexa on July 30, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Alexa, If they are fully cooked, they shouldn’t be mushy.

      - Jenn on July 31, 2013 Reply
  • I have made these several times too – they have great flavor, are not dry and freeze really well. Another super recipe! Thanks!

    - Esther on June 26, 2012 Reply
  • 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!

    - Kim McCary on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • My husband loves turkey burgers and the thought these were the best he ever had!

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • 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!

    - Lani on September 30, 2010 Reply
  • 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.

    - david on October 10, 2009 Reply
  • 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!

    - Lynne on October 7, 2009 Reply
  • I loved this burger. Easy and delicious-the ricotta cheese made it so tasty, too!

    - Julie on October 1, 2009 Reply

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