These turkey burgers are filled with Italian flavors like pesto mayonnaise, sun-dried tomato, and fresh mozzarella cheese. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights because the burger patties cook on the grill in under 10 minutes.
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Grilling is a delicious and fast way to get dinner on the table. These juicy, flavorful turkey burgers are perfect to throw on the grill for a quick and delicious meal.
What I love about this burger recipe is how much flavor is packed into one single burger patty. The ground turkey is mixed with onion, basil pesto, and sun-dried tomato for an Italian (caprese-like) taste.
Added to the burger is a homemade pesto mayonnaise and fresh mozzarella cheese that's melted on top. A toasted ciabatta roll finishes off the whole dish in the most perfect way.
I can't wait for you to try this pesto burger recipe and learn some helpful tips for grilling turkey burgers.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
- How to make a flavored mayonnaise (this one tastes like pesto).
- The one tool you need to ensure your turkey burgers are perfectly cooked.
- Tips for preventing the burgers from falling apart on the grill.
- My favorite way to ensure all the burger patties cook evenly.
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Ingredients You Need
There are quite a few ingredients you'll need for the pesto hamburgers. But trust me, the final product is totally worth it! Here's how we are using all of these ingredients:
- Pesto Mayonnaise: We're whipping up a bright and flavorful mayonnaise to spread on the ciabatta rolls. This mayonnaise is flavored with pesto, lemon juice, and garlic.
- Burger Patties: The main ingredient in the burger patties is ground turkey. I prefer to use an 85% lean, 15% fat turkey to ensure there is enough fat to keep the burgers juicy. To the hamburger patties, we will also add onion, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, garlic, and oregano. Don't forget to add salt and pepper as well. Salt will really amp up the flavor to ensure you have a delicious patty.
- Toppings: A burger wouldn't be complete without some melted cheese on top. Fresh mozzarella pairs perfectly with this recipe. Then, grab a toasted ciabatta bun, along with some lettuce and tomato to finish things off.
How To Make This Recipe
Let's walk through the step-by-step instructions to make pesto burgers.
Make Pesto Mayonnaise
First, grab a small mixing bowl and combine mayonnaise, pesto, lemon, garlic, and salt. Once stirred together, you should have a creamy, silky smooth mayonnaise.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until the burgers are ready to serve.
Prepare the Burger Patties
The reason these burgers have an Italian flavor is all of the ingredients that are mixed with the ground turkey. Add the ground turkey, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl.
Using your hands (you can wear gloves for sanitation purposes), mix up the ground turkey until the added ingredients are fully combined.
In order to have even patties that all cook at the same temperature for the same amount of time, it's important to weigh out the meat before forming patties. You're looking for around 6 ounces per patty.
Then, flatten the patties and make a depression in the center using your thumb. This helps the burgers keep their shape and prevents them from puffing up on the grill.
Don't forget to season with some additional salt and pepper on each side of the patties. Keep burgers cold in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook them.
Grill the Burgers
Finally, it's time to grill the pesto burgers. Make sure the grill has preheated to high heat (around 450°F - 500°F). Place the patties onto the hot grill and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F on a meat thermometer.
During the last couple minutes of the cooking process, you can add the mozzarella cheese slices on top of the patties. Cover the grill to allow the cheese to soften and melt over top.
To serve, toast a ciabatta roll. Top each roll with a spread of pesto mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and a cooked patty.
Grilling the perfect burger really isn't as difficult as you may think! Here are a couple of tricks to perfectly grilled burgers:
- Keep the burgers cold to prevent them from falling apart. You'll want to make sure to keep the burgers in the refrigerator up until they are transferred to the grill.
- Don't fuss around or flip the burgers too many times. Burgers, especially those made from ground turkey, can fall apart or crumble easily. Be patient, and don't mess with the burgers much (one flip, that's all you need).
- Prior to adding the burger patties to the grill, make a depression in the center of the patty using your thumb. This will prevent the burger from puffing up and becoming rounded.
- Don't smash the burgers with a spatula. Keep all the juice inside so the burgers are nice and juicy!
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. This will ensure you don't over or undercook the burgers. The recommended internal temperature for poultry is 165°F.
It takes about 10 minutes to grill turkey burgers (3-5 minutes on each side). This can vary depending on the outside temperature and the temperature of your grill. Always grill turkey burgers until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure they are safe to eat.
The key, in my opinion, to flavorful turkey burgers is adding additional flavorings when assembling the patties. Spices, sauces, or aromatics are all great options to add flavor. This recipe uses onion, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and oregano. Don't forget to always season the patties with salt and pepper.
There are a few ways to prevent turkey burgers from falling apart. First, make sure the patties are cold before placing them on the grill. They should be stored in the refrigerator until they're ready to cook. Next, don't fuss around or flip the burgers too many times. The burgers only need to be flipped once during the cooking process.
The best and most accurate way to check that turkey burgers are done is by using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. This will ensure you don't undercook (or overcook) the burgers. The recommended internal temperature for turkey burgers is 165°F.
More Burger Recipes
Pesto Mozzarella Turkey Burgers
For the Pesto Mayonnaise
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon pesto
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Turkey Burgers
- 36 ounces ground turkey (85% lean, 15% fat)
- ½ medium onion finely diced
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes roughly chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup pesto
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
- 8 ciabatta rolls
- tomato, for serving
- romaine lettuce, for serving
For the Pesto Mayonnaise
- To a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pesto, lemon, garlic, and salt. Stir until combined. Allow mayonnaise mixture to sit in the refrigerator until burgers are ready to serve.
For the Turkey Burgers
- Preheat a gas grill to high heat (450°F - 500°F).
- To a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix until fully combined.
- Divide the turkey mixture into eight patties about 6-ounces each. Using your thumb, make a depression in the center of the patty to keep them from puffing up on the grill. Sprinkle each side of the patty with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Keep burgers cold in the refrigerator until ready to cook on the grill.
- To serve, toast a ciabatta roll. Top roll with a spread of pesto mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, and a burger patty.