Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These turkey burgers have a twist: ricotta cheese to keep the burgers juicy and Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to boost flavor.

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

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Pan-Seared Turkey Burgers

These turkey burgers have a twist: ricotta cheese to keep the burgers juicy and Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce to boost flavor.

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 bread crumbs
  • 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, bread crumbs, 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.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The uncooked burgers can be frozen for up to three months. (Freeze the burgers on a baking sheet or plate so their shape sets, then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag for easy storage.) Defrost the burgers overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving and then cook as directed.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Just made these today and they were so easy and tasty. I’m not a huge fan of ground turkey but trust your recipes and I was not disappointed. Thank you!

    • — Carrie Funk on September 9, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Chef Jenn,
    You mention that one can add the sautéed onions, scallions or shallots, would all the mentioned be ‘sauteed’ in oil before adding it to the raw ground turkey?
    I’d like to try this as I wanted to be sure to do away with the ‘gamey’ turkey aroma in these burgers.
    appreciate the input…

    • — JooJoo on September 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi JooJoo, I’d saute onions or shallots, but it’s not necessary if you use scallions. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2020
      • Reply
      • – What would be portions of onions vs. shallots appropriate for 1lbs of ground turkey?
        -How long would one sauté the onions or shallots ?
        Thank you in advance for your input.

        • — JooJoo on September 5, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi JooJoo, I’d suggest about 3 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots or onions and would saute them for about 5 minutes or until tender. Just make sure not to brown them.

          • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
          • Reply
  • These are delicious! We have made them several times. Thank you for a yummy and easy recipe.

    • — CHERYL on August 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • TOTAL PLEASER! Very moist and flavorful my family loved them!

    • — DC on August 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Awesome turkey burgers! Juicy and tasty … thank you for posting such a great recipe 🙂

    • — JooJoo on July 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • First time turkey burgers were a hit!!! While you shouldn’t expect them to taste like a “beef” burger, these burgers are super moist and have good flavor!! I omitted the cheese because of a milk allergy in the house, and they still came out great!!! Followed the cooking times to a tee and they were cooked through.

    • — Zoe Smith on May 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hey. I just made these tonight as I had some leftover ricotta but no Worchesterire sauce and only a small ovenproof pan. Making do in a rental kitchen and these were delicious. The times given are exactly right. These are tasty and filling. Will make again especially when no BBQ. I use so many of your recipes that I often forget to add a review. Everything I make from the site (and the amazing cookbook) turns out perfectly. Much appreciated.

    • — Judi on November 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2019
      • Reply
  • My daughter just shared this recipe with me. My husband is on a special diet right now. The ricotta is not an option for us. I would use one egg for binder and likely cook entirely on stove top. Will my edit work?

    • — Terry on August 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Terry, yes, I think you could get away with using an egg in place of the ricotta. And it’s fine to cook these entirely on the stove; I’d just make the patties a bit thinner so they get cooked all the way through without getting too browned on the outside. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 1, 2019
      • Reply
  • Jenn these burgers are outstanding. Served them with your Big Italian Salad on the side. Your recipes are truly amazing. Every one of them have the perfect ingredients and never have I had to “doctor” them. Each time I try a different recipe I can not believe how wonderful it is. I can’t believe it took 50 years of cooking to come across perfect recipes that are delicious and easy. Thank you. And you truly are amazing!

    • — carol oneill on May 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Aww, so happy you’re enjoying the recipes, Carol! ❤️

      • — Jenn on May 7, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hoping to make these soon- do you think this would work with lean ground chicken?

    • — Monica on April 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • I think you could, Monica, but make sure you don’t get extra lean as it could make the burgers dry. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • It’s been a few years since I made these burgers, I remember them being delicious. Do you think they would hold up on a BBQ grill?

    • Hi Kerrie, Unfortunately they won’t – but this recipe will. 🙂

  • This is the favorite turkey burger recipe of our household! I discovered it a few years ago and my husband always says “ooooo!” when I tell him I’m making the ricotta turkey burgers :-). I love serving this with sauteed onions, and often eat it with a salad and some sauteed veggies. Very tasty and EASY! Thanks, Jenn!

  • Just goes to show, Cooks Illustrated recipes aren’t always “the best”! Love the simplicity of your recipe. Thank you!

  • These were incredibly delicious! You are such a creative, talented chef. Every single recipe that I’ve tried from this site (5 so far) has been excellent. Looking forward to receiving your cookbook! Thank you for sharing your recipes!

    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipes; thanks for taking the time to let me know! 🙂

  • My Family LOVES these pan seared turkey burgers.
    I do mix ALL the adds into my Italian bread crumbs and have used 2% milk or whatever milk I have on hand to substitute for the 1/2 c of whole milk ricotta, as I do not have that on hand. Then I mix the “bread crumb mixture into the ground turkey and mix it in well with the best kitchen tools; my clean hands!
    The first time I made these burgers I followed the directions to only get a golden crust on one side of the burger before putting them in the oven, but we found there is a LOT of flavor in the crust so now I cook the burgers on top of the stove in my cast iron pan until both sides have a lovely crust. Put the burgers into a hot oven that has come to temp for 20 mins or more and let them go. It doesn’t take long for them to reach 160 degrees internal temperature.
    We love them on brioche rolls! Very tasty.
    Thank you Jenn.

  • I had some ground turkey I wanted to use up but did not have any ricotta on hand. I did have some cottage cheese which I rinsed off in a sieve, drained well, and mashed a bit finer with a fork. Worked very well in the recipe and the burgers were totally moist and delicious. Yummy!

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

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

  • 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!

    • 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).

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

  • 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!

  • What could you substitute if you don’t have ricotta cheese?

    • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • 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

  • 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.

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

  • 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?

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

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

  • 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!

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

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