Chili Lime Turkey Burgers

Did y’all ever watch What Not to Wear? Well ground turkey is kind of like the person they select to get the makeover: sad, a little dry, flavorless and kind of depressing. And its even more disturbing that people don’t go the extra mile to give it a little sex appeal. I had to learn to love Turkey Burgers when I did the whole30- I tried a recipe similar to this one, but added some spices and took some away. If you have never tried a turkey burger, PLEASE give this a try. You can add a little bacon on top to ease your transition. I won’t tell.

*Bonus they also take only 10 minutes to cook so this can be a quick dinner once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients. Don’t be afraid of the long ingredient list- they are mostly spices that you SHOULD have anyway- especially if you plan on cooking with me (they are my faves.)

Ingredients: (Makes FOUR turkey burgers)

  • 1 Pound ground turkey. (do NOT get 99% fat free- 80/20 or 85/15 is the only way it works) If your turkey is too lean the patty will not be juicy and it will fall apart.
  • 1 medium sized shallot diced fine(1/4 red onion or white onion will work in a pinch)
  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded and diced fine
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoon Chile Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Lime, Zest AND Juice
  • A small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine


  1. Chop the Jalapeño. Take off the top, slice down the middle and remove the seeds and ribs. This is the part that contains ALL the heat. Once you’ve removed the seeds and ribs, slice into long, thin strips. Rotate the strips and slice to make a small dice. Set aside.

    2. Chop the Shallot. Slice off the top, slice off the bottom. Run your knife gently across the shallot vertically to remove the skin easily. Slice in half, then into thin strips, then into a small dice.

    3. In a medium skillet heat about 1 Tablespoon Olive oil. Throw in the jalapeño and the shallot and saute until translucent and slightly charred. This usually takes less than 5 minutes on medium high heat, stir occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

    4. In a large glass bowl, prepare your spice mixture. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika and cumin. I know it looks scary- but these spices are what make these so delicious. They aren’t HOT spicy, but flavorful spicy. Trust me. Grab your Lime, zest the entire thing right into the bowl. (I use a microplane) making sure to get only the flavorful green skin and none of the white bitter pith. Then slice your lime in half and squeeze the whole thing directly into your bowl of spices.

    5. Grab a small fistful of fresh cilantro and chop it finely. Add it to the bowl with the spices and lime. Add your cooked shallot and jalapeño to the bowl as well. Stir to combine all of the spices, lime and veggies.

    6. Add your ground turkey. Break it up gently with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, then stir it gently to begin incorporating the spices. After about a minute of stirring, use your CLEAN hands to mix the turkey and spices really well. I know its gross- but nothing mixes like your hands. Plus, some of you have pushed out babies, so this should be nothing.

    7. When the mixture looks cohesive and you can see the spices and cilantro and veggies throughout, use your hand to score the turkey into four equal sections. This will help you make them very close to the same size. Prepare a large flat plate and cover with plastic wrap. Make your patties by lightly patting them into a circle that is large enough to cover the bun you plan to put them on. I like to make mine pretty flat because they shrink up in the hot pan. Make sure you press on the middle of each patty to form the indention as seen below- this also helps them stay flat and thinner. IMG_4047IMG_4048

    8. Continue until all four patties are made, and on the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the meat relax and the flavors meld. After 30 minutes heat about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

    9. Cook for EXACTLY 5 minutes on each side, for a total of 10 minutes. They will be dark brown in some places, but I promise they stay perfectly juicy on the inside. We use a nonstick ceramic skillet, but anything you have should work. After they patties have cooked for 10 minutes total, they are ready to eat!


*The patty recipe itself is Whole30 compliant. To keep it that way, add avocado, maybe a poached egg, tomato and eat in a lettuce wrap.

*When we aren’t doing whole 30, we eat this on a toasted whole wheat hamburger bun with avocado, tomato and lettuce. Add a little pepper jack cheese for more spice. The leftovers are also great chopped up and stuffed into an omelette for breakfast, or chopped up on top of a bowl of black beans and roasted sweet potato. The possibilities are endless.

Remember to comment with questions and let me know when you’ve tried this one!


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