One of my family’s favorite dishes is a nicely done burger with delicious ground turkey meat and plenty of toppings. But turkey burgers can fail you miserably. It’s just something about the burger patties. They just won’t stay together.

How to Grill Turkey Burgers without Falling Apart

That’s why after lots of trial and error, we’ve discovered how to grill turkey burgers without falling apart.

We’ll let you in on our secret and even give you some of our favorite turkey burger recipes to try at home.

How to Grill Turkey Burgers without Falling Apart

How to Grill Turkey Burgers without Falling Apart: turkey burgers on grill

1. Add an Egg for Binding

Ground turkey does not have a high-fat content that will bind the ingredients. Egg in a turkey burger is one of the ways how to keep turkey burgers from falling apart.

It acts as a binder. You can add more ingredients like spring onions and the turkey burger mixture will still hold together.

We recommend using one egg yolk per pound of turkey meat to ensure the meat binds together without the egg overpowering the turkey burger’s flavors.

You can also use egg whites together with finely diced onion. Be sure to strain the water in the onions so that the turkey patties maintain their shape.

Remember to oil the grill properly. This browns the meat so that it has a cooked base. This way, you can keep the burgers from falling apart when you turn them.

2. Make the Patties A little Thicker

If you are used to ½-inch patties with the classic burger recipe, that size won’t cut it with turkey burgers. Try ¾-1-inch-thick patties. This size allows you to flip the burgers without the patties falling apart. It also helps the burgers cook through to the inside on low heat.

3. Chill it

Another way to make turkey burgers stick together is by chilling them for at least an hour before cooking. This stops burgers from falling apart, and they keep their shape when they’re cooking.

The colder your turkey burger is, the more likely it is to stick together. While some people suggest freezing them, it’s not a must because you’ll still need to defrost them thoroughly before

4. Cooking.

Before you chill the burger, you need to mix and shape it, place them on some wax paper, and then rest them in the refrigerator.

5. Add Breadcrumbs

Sometimes, the foolproof method for how to keep turkey burgers together involves using breadcrumbs. Add an egg yolk together with dry bread crumbs to the turkey mixture before shaping the turkey burger patties.

The breadcrumbs absorb moisture and combine with the egg to act as glue. This combination keeps your patties together for juicy turkey burgers on the grill.

6. Handle Turkey Patties as Little as Possible

Whatever you do, don’t go crazy when shaping your turkey burger patties. Do it with just a few motions, and then add seasonings after the burgers are shaped. This should keep burgers from falling apart.

Adding salt before the burgers are shaped draws the moisture out of the meat. It leaves you with a dry burger.

7. Do not Over Flip Turkey Burgers

Your turkey burger is most liable to falling apart when it’s cooking. That’s why you should avoid flipping it. Try to cook each side for about 5-6 minutes before flipping. We say 5-6 minutes because turkey burgers need to cook through and through.

You should not leave any pink meat in a turkey burger. If you can’t tell if the burger is done, invest in a meat temperature probe.

The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F.

8. Use Non-Stick Cooking Spray on the Grill Grates

Before you turn on your grill, spray the grates with non-stick cooking spray. It helps to prevent the burgers from sticking to the grill. Sticking often ends up with crumbled burgers.

Other ways to make your grill non-stick includes:

  • Rubbing the cut side of half an onion on heated grill grates.
  • Rubbing a paper towel dipped in oil to season the grill grates

9. Avoid Liquid Flavorings

A lot of people add BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce when mixing ingredients with the meat. But this only makes turkey burgers fall apart.

Instead, try spice blends before cooking the patties, and sauce when the burgers are cooking or after they are cooked.

10. Use a Grilling Mat

If you grill often, a grilling mat is an excellent investment. It gives you the perfect char without worrying about flames and flare-ups. It also comes in handy to prevent turkey patties from falling through the grates. Learn more about grilling mat

Why Turkey Burgers Fall Apart

turkey burger falling apart
  • Turkey is Lean Meat

The main reason turkey burgers fall apart is that turkey is lean. It does not have the fat content that beef has.

That’s why it dries out and crumbles.

  • The Grill is too Hot

When you use lean meat like turkey, you risk it sticking to the grill since it does not have the fat that keeps red meat together. You can always add some olive oil to turkey burgers so that you don’t end up with something close to pressed sawdust.

What Can I Use to Bind Turkey Burgers Instead of Eggs?

turkey patties

Turkey burgers can be dry and tasteless. Unlike their beef counterparts, they easily fall through grates because they lack a fair amount of fat.

Turkey burgers usually come in 95/5 lean to fat ratio or 97/3, while beef can be 70/30 lean to fat ratio. This means you have to offset the lack of fat by adding fat or a fat substitute to balance the texture and flavor.

Simple & Delicious Turkey Burger Recipe

You will need:    

  • 16 ounces lean ground turkey, preferably Jennie-O brand 
  • 1 Egg   
  • One grated yellow onion
  • Fresh parsley 
  • Unseasoned bread crumbs
  • Salt & pepper  
  • Worchester sauce 
  • Hamburger buns
  • Tomato slices    
  • Provolone cheese

Directions

Step 1

In a large mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, egg, strained grated onions, and fresh parsley.

Step 2

Add the ground turkey and mix it with the other ingredients using a fork or your hands. Handle the meat as little as possible.

It’s one of the ways how to make turkey burgers stick together.

Step 3

Form the mixture into four ¾-inch patties. You can use wet hands because the mixture will be sticky.

Step 4

Place the patties on wax/parchment paper. Chill the patties for at least an hour before cooking.

To Grill Turkey Burgers

Step 1

Ensure your grill is clean

Prepare a two-zone cooking method by targeting the hot zone to heat at 450 degrees F for direct-heat cooking. It takes around 20-30 minutes for the grill to reach the desired temperature.

Step 2

When the grill heats up, remove the burger patties from the refrigerator and season with salt and paper before placing them over the direct heat zone.

Step 3

On the indirect heat zone, add other ingredients like bacon. They will cook slowly and will be done by the time the burgers are cooked.

Step 4

Brush the burgers with Worchester sauce when they are cooking.

Cook each side of the burgers for 5-6 minutes per side flipping once or twice maximum. Cook with the lid closed.

Check to see the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. This temperature is the safety zone target by USDA.

Step 5

Place the cheese over the burgers during the last minute of cooking.

Step 6

Grill the buns for one minute over direct heat.

Step 7

Now, you can make your burger with your favorite toppings and condiments. I like lettuce, tomato slices, and bacon. But you have an endless list of toppings from hot peppers to dill pickles, mushrooms, etc.

This turkey burger recipe packs 350 calories, 31 grams of protein, and 21 grams of carbohydrates per serving. It has only 6 grams of saturated fat and 103mg of cholesterol.

Alternatively, you can make turkey smash burgers which is another way to cook turkey burgers.

Turkey smash burgers are made by forming the patties into meatballs instead of burgers.   

  • Add fat. Bacon grease or olive oil will come in handy here.    
  • Then, once you place the meatballs on the grates, press them with a spatula onto the grates until
  • they are flat to around four inches.   
  • Because they are flat, they cook faster, so flip the burger after four minutes or until they are properly browned.
  • Again, ensure they reach the safety zone temperature for cooked poultry, which is 165 degrees F.
  • Even with smash turkey burgers, you need to add liquid flavorings during cooking rather than
  • before. It stops the smash turkey burgers from falling apart.
  • After the burgers are done, form them with the toast buns, toppings, and condiments.

For the super delightful bon appetit turkey burger, you will need to add: 

  • ½ Avocado
  • A pinch of cumin
  • 2tsp. of Sriracha
  • 3 Tbs. Mayonnaise
  • Garlic powder

Go ahead with the rest of the steps from mixing to forming the patties, chilling and cooking the burgers as we did in our simple and delicious turkey burger recipe.

Keep your Turkey Burgers from Drying Out

Tender and juicy turkey burgers are a balancing act. It’s best to cook them until they are cooked through. But not too long that they dry out. This is because they don’t have enough fat to withstand overcooking.

All our key pointers about how to hold turkey burgers together will give you juicy turkey burgers. From adding fat to grated onions, eggs, and breadcrumbs.

But there’s one secret we are yet to share.

Did you know that making an indentation in the middle of a burger helps it cook evenly? Yep! Use your thumb to make the indentation.

When the turkey burger puffs up in the middle, it will cook evenly. It’s a trick we use to stop the turkey burgers from falling apart.

Is Turkey Healthier than Hamburger?

Turkey is a healthier option than red meat. It is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than beef. It’s best to choose ground turkey meat that’s at least 95% lean.

Turkey Burger Tips

turkey burger tips

Flavor-packed turkey burgers can be hard to achieve. Here are some tips to create a good burger and keep your turkey burgers from falling apart.

Pump in the Flavor with Add-Ins

Ground turkey on its own is not as flavorful as ground beef. Bolster the flavor with spices and herbs as well as spreads and sauces.

You can also add crushed beans and veggies for a distinct flavor.

Add Liquid Flavorings when Burgers are Cooking

Because turkey burgers tend to dry out, you can always add a flavoring liquid like Worchester sauce, Sriracha, or soy sauce to prevent them from drying out.

Season the Burger Before Cooking

You’ll want to season the turkey burger mixture just before cooking. It locks in the flavors and creates a burger with better texture.

Conclusion

By now, we hope we’ve given you a satisfactory answer about how to grill turkey burgers without falling apart.

Our tips will yield juicy turkey burgers and save you the embarrassment of patties falling through grill grates.