If you’re craving big flavor, make these jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers. These medium spicy burgers are bursting with flavor from cumin, smoked paprika, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro, and pepper jack cheese and taste phenomenal hot off the grill. Turkey burgers often dry out, but these remain extra juicy and moist!
Last summer, I published one of my favorite burger recipes. Black bean burgers are DEFINITELY one of my top choices and even meat eaters tend to agree. They’re big, thick, and hearty and meat eaters (plus non meat eaters!) around the world have raved about them. This summer, I’ve been playing around with turkey burger recipes and I’m confident I found the best combination of ingredients to make an absolutely divine burger. Meet my jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers. We loved these.
Here’s What You’ll Love
- Juicy (not dry)
- Crazy flavorful
- Thick and satisfying
- Medium spicy, but you can adjust the heat
- Relatively easy
Turkey burgers are leaner than beef burgers, so they definitely dry out quickly. We fix all that with today’s recipe. Shockingly good. Look how thick and hearty!
Overview of Ingredients in These Turkey Burgers
Ground turkey simply doesn’t contain the same flavor profile as ground beef, so it’s up to you to add extra flavor to the burgers. After playing around with different spices, binders, and herbs, I found the following list to be the real deal. Each ingredient adds a little something special and I encourage you to try the recipe as written. However, feel free to substitute your preferred flavors!
- Ground Turkey: The most important ingredient in turkey burgers is ground turkey. I usually use 94% lean ground turkey. The higher percentage of turkey, the leaner the meat and the drier the turkey burger. For best results, stick with around 94% lean. Remember, fat adds flavor.
- Egg: 1 egg binds the ingredients together.
- Pepper Jack Cheese: Adding pepper jack cheese directly to the turkey burger mixture supplies flavor, moisture, and—of course—spicy cheesiness!
- Onion: Adds flavor and moisture.
- Garlic: Adds flavor. Use either pre-minced garlic or mince 2 garlic cloves yourself.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds flavor and pairs very well with the jalapeño. I didn’t think I’d love the cilantro IN the burger, but I was totally wrong. It’s fantastic.
- Jalapeño Pepper: Adds a delicious kick! Feel free to reduce or increase based on your spice tolerance. See more below.
- Worcestershire: Adds exceptional flavor and moisture.
- Salt & Pepper: Essential flavor!
- Smoked Paprika & Cumin: These are two excellent spices to pair with ground turkey. Smoked paprika’s sweet, rich, and smoky flavor enriches the burger’s flavor and cumin’s warm earthy taste is definitely a welcome addition.
If You Crave Big Flavor, Make These Jalapeño Pepper Turkey Burgers!
Overview: How to Make Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers
- First step is to prep all of your ingredients. Finely chop the onion and jalapeño, mince the garlic, and get out all your spices.
- Mix everything except for the ground turkey together.
- Add the ground turkey and mix well. Honestly your hands are the best tool, but a wooden spoon or rubber spatula works just fine too.
- Form into 6 plump and compact patties. Each will be a heaping 1/2 cup of the turkey burger mixture. If you have a scale, each will weigh about 6 ounces.
- Chill. Place patties onto a lined baking pan or plate, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. Starting with very cold patties is important because the colder the meat, the less likely the burgers will fall apart. Refrigerating the uncooked turkey burgers also gives the turkey a chance to absorb some of the awesome flavors.
- Grill the patties or sauté on the stove. I highly recommend grilling the turkey burgers because it really locks in all the moisture and adds the most wonderful grilled smoky flavor. Maybe it’s the winter and/or not everyone has access to a grill, so sautéing in a little oil on the stove is another option. See instructions for both in the recipe below. Add a slice of pepper jack on top as the burgers finish up.
- Add toppings. Serve your turkey burgers on a bun with spicy mayo, spicy ranch dressing, pickles, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cilantro, or whatever else you’re craving.
You could also enjoy the turkey burger plain, on a salad, or chopped up in a wrap. These jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers are crazy flavorful, so they truly don’t need any extras!
Cook the turkey burgers until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). Overcooking the turkey burgers will quickly dry them out, so keep a close eye on the grill or stove. They’ll cook in about 10 minutes on a high heat grill or medium-high stove. Keep the grill closed or place a lid over the skillet.
Are They Spicy?
The exact recipe below yields medium spicy turkey burgers. I don’t like super spicy foods, but loved these. If you don’t like spicy or are sensitive to spice, leave out the jalapeño pepper and substitute cheddar cheese for the pepper jack cheese. If you want a spicier kick, add another chopped jalapeño.
Making these for every cookout for the remainder of the summer. They’d be a fantastic main attraction on your menu of Memorial Day recipes, too. For inspiration on what to serve after the burgers, head over to our list of 25+ desserts for a BBQ cookout, including these favorite chocolate chip cookies.
More Cookout Favorites
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Zucchini Casserole
- Corn Black Bean & Avocado Salsa
- Honey Chipotle Salmon & Honey Garlic Soy Salmon
- Strawberry Feta Pasta Salad
These medium spicy turkey burgers are plump and juicy with mega flavor from a variety of spices and herbs. Refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes, then grill or sauté.
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 pounds 94% lean ground turkey*
- optional: 6 slices pepper jack cheese
- for serving: hamburger buns, jalapeño slices, spicy mayo or ranch dressing, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, etc
- Whisk all of the first 11 ingredients together (not the 12th ingredient, the ground turkey) in a large bowl. Once completely combined, add the ground turkey and use your hands, a rubber spatula, or wooden spoon to thoroughly mix. Once completely combined, form the mixture into 6 plump and compact patties. The patties will weigh around 6 ounces each and be a heaping 1/2 cup each.
- Place the patties onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, baking pan, or plate. Cover tightly then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. This ensures the patties will hold their shape. You can also freeze the patties for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Clean the grill and grease with vegetable oil. Pour a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and carefully rub all over the grates. Preheat grill to high. Place cold turkey burgers on heated grill and cook for 5 minutes with the lid closed. Flip burgers over and cook covered for an additional 3 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). If adding cheese, place a slice of cheese on the burger for the last 30 seconds. Overcooking the turkey burgers will quickly dry them out, so keep a close eye on them.
- Serve on hamburger bun with desired toppings.
- Store leftover turkey burgers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can shape the turkey burger patties up to 24 hours in advance, see step 2. You can also freeze the shaped patties for up to 3 months, see step 2. You can freeze the cooked turkey burgers as well. Cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter or defrost in the microwave. Heat up to your liking. I usually microwave for 30 seconds until warm throughout.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Glass Mixing Bowl | Rubber Spatula or Wooden Spoon | Baking Sheet or Plate | Parchment Paper
- Ground Turkey: The leaner the ground turkey, the higher the chance the burger has to dry out. I recommend around 94% lean.
- Stove Directions: Heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Hold your hand over the skillet and when you feel the heat rising up, the skillet is hot enough. Carefully place cold turkey burgers in heated skillet and cook for 5 minutes with a lid on top. Flip burgers over and cook covered for an additional 4-5 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). If adding cheese, place a slice of cheese on the burger for the last 30 seconds. If skillet isn’t large enough, cook in batches.
Keywords: turkey burgers, burger