The main difference between beef and chicken — from a burger perspective — is fat content. Lean ground beef has enough fat to naturally bind the meat through cooking; chicken simply doesn’t. You compensate for chicken’s leanness by adding 1 part binder for every 4 parts ground chicken, or 1 egg yolk and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs per pound. You can substitute an equal amount of cooked rice, pureed, uncooked oats or crushed corn flakes for an equal amount of breadcrumbs if you’re sensitive to gluten.

Things You'll Need


Pulse 1-inch cubes of skinless chicken breasts until coarse, similar to the texture of hamburger. Transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl.

Add 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and 1 egg for every pound of chicken.

Add the base flavoring ingredient. Minced onions work best here.

Add a secondary flavoring ingredient, such as a few splashes of soy sauce, spicy mustard, cayenne-pepper sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Add a pungent ingredient to the mix. Anything that offsets the sweetness of the onion and mildness of the chicken — minced garlic, chives and diced peppers, for example — never fail to please.

Add fresh herbs and spices to the mix. Cayenne pepper, freshly chopped oregano and parsley add color and piquancy to the patties.

Add a pinch of salt and fold everything together until the mixture is cohesive. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to meld the flavors.


Form the chicken into patties and place them on a plate. Line a second plate with a couple of layers of paper towels. Make the patties as large or as small as you like; a 4-inch-wide, 1/2-inch-thick patty cooks down to a size that fits neatly on a regular hamburger bun.

Heat a scant amount of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Place the few patties in the pan; space the patties about 1 inch apart.

Cook the chicken burgers until they’re golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn the patties using a spatula.

Cook the patties another 4 minutes and check the temperature of the centers using an instant-read thermometer; they should measure 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the cooked chicken burgers to the plate lined with paper towels.