If you're interested about which ground meat is healthiest, consider preparing turkey burgers rather than beef hamburgers. Turkey and other poultry are lower in saturated fat and calories than beef and other red meats. Of course, that means turkey burgers are also lower in flavor and natural juiciness than traditional burgers, but that's what seasonings and careful cooking are for.
As for how long it takes to cook turkey burgers, usually not long. The time varies some based on how thick the patties are and the cooking method used. For the most common methods, pan-fried turkey burgers, broiled turkey burgers and grilled turkey burgers generally take about eight to 12 minutes, while baked ones take a little longer at around 20 to 25 minutes. Cooking time isn't a safe way to determine when turkey burgers are fully cooked. They must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit at center. Use a meat thermometer to know when they're done.
Making Turkey Burger Patties
Ground turkey is stickier than ground beef, so lay down a piece of wax paper, wet your hands and spread the meat out on the sheet. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and other herbs, spices and aromatics. Minced garlic or onion, finely diced celery or bell pepper, parsley, thyme, sage, oregano. Pre-made mixes like poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence also work well in turkey burgers. Add curry powder or chili powder if you want some kick. A splash or two of steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce is tasty, too.
Form patties about 4 inches in diameter and 3 inches thick. While seasoning and shaping the ground turkey, work it as minimally as possible. The more you manipulate and pack it, the gooier it gets, and the denser and chewier the turkey burgers come out. Make a wide but shallow depression in the top of the patties so they end up flat after rising during cooking.
Frying Turkey Burgers
To make turkey burgers on the stovetop, coat a pan with oil and preheat it over medium-high heat. Add the patties, leaving a little space between them and watch out for splattering oil. Flip the patties only once; otherwise, don't move them around or flip them more often, as this interferes with the development of a crunchy, flavorful crust. Turn them with a spatula and proceed with caution, as turkey burgers are slightly less structurally sound than beef burgers. Fry each side for about four to five minutes, until the turkey burgers reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Set them on a paper towel to drain excess oil before placing them on buns.
Baking Turkey Burgers
Preheat the oven to 425 F, and put a greased baking tray or cast-iron skillet in the oven while it warms because a preheated pan better sears the exterior of the turkey burgers. Place them on the tray or skillet with some space between them and bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Flip them carefully with a spatula and continue baking for approximately another 10 to 12 minutes until they reach 165 F in the center.
Broiling Turkey Burgers
Position an oven rack so the tops of the turkey burgers will be 4 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler (to high if your oven's broiler has different temperatures) and put the patties on a greased broiler rack, baking tray or cast-iron skillet. Position them directly beneath the broiler with their tops 4 inches below it. Cook the turkey burgers for about four to five minutes per side, flipping them once gently with a spatula, until they reach 165 F at center.
Grilling Turkey Burgers
Because burgers made from ground turkey aren't as cohesive as beef patties, grilling them is a bit of a risk. But, if you're determined to do it, preheat the grill to high heat. Lay the patties carefully on the grill and don't move them, allowing them to develop nice sear marks. Flip them gently after about four to five minutes and continue grilling them on the other side for another four to five minutes or so, until a meat thermometer indicates they've hit an internal temperature of 165 F.
Eric Mohrman is a food and drink, lifestyle, and travel writer living in Orlando, Florida. He spent 10 years working front- and back-of-house in restaurants, adding professional experience to his love of eating and cooking. His stories on food and beverage topics have appeared in numerous print and web publications, including Visit Florida, Orlando Style Magazine, CrushBrew Magazine, Agent Magazine, Dollar Stretcher Magazine, The 863 Magazine and others.