Asian(ish) Turkey Burger

Finished Product

Over a year ago I was searching for a turkey burger recipe and came across Anne Burrell’s recipe which, by the looks of it, seemed like it had to be halfway decent.  The burger turned out to be great and it’s always tough to admit that I like this turkey burger more than every other hamburger I’ve made, but it is true.  The two ingredients that are key to making the burger so tasty are the cilantro and the water chestnuts.  I have made this burger a number of times and it works well every time.  I cooked the burgers on the grill this time because it’s what I prefer to do now but I’ve made it on a non-stick grill pan many time and it works just as well, if not better.

Homemade burgers are easy to make, you can try what I do below for a pretty easy process and clean up:

First, dump the ingredients into a bowl and mix them with your (clean) hands.


All the burger ingredients mashed

Then, cut a few pieces of saran wrap to line the burger press.  Doing one burger at-a-time, spoon the mixture onto the saran wrap and into the burger press.

Burger mix ready to be pressed.

Burger mix ready to be pressed.

Close up the saran wrap, fill the other half of the burger press and compress the burger mixture.  Once the patties are nice and firm remove the burger press top and carefully flip over the press to remove each burger.  The burgers are ready for the grill.  When you are ready to cook, unwrap the burgers and place on the grill or grill pan.  The nice part about making the patties this way is you don’t have to cook all of the burgers at one time.  I usually only cook what we’re going to eat that night (2 patties) and put the other patties in the fridge for later in the week.

Wrapped patties and ciabatta rolls ready for the grill

Wrapped patties and ciabatta rolls ready for the grill

Fresh on the grill (with a side of veggies in the basket)

Fresh on the grill (with a side of veggies in the basket)

Halfway there

Halfway there

Dig in

Dig in


  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced (red onion works well too and is what I used this time)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • Salt


  • Buns
  • Cheese
  • Whatever scratches your itch


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the diced onions and a pinch of salt, cook over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool the mixture cool so it can be added to the burger mash.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey, soy sauce, ginger powder, water chestnuts, cilantro and the cooked onions and garlic. Add a tablespoon of water (or more if your turkey meat seems fairly dry); this will help the burgers stay nice and moist but too much water will cause them to fall apart on the grill(pan). Using your hands, squish everything together until they are really well combined.
  3. Form the mix into 4 equal size patties, preferably using a burger press but clean hands work too.
  4. Preheat the grill (or stovetop) to medium high (450° – 500°) If using a grill pan, coat the pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Place the burgers in the pan or grill.  Cook the burgers for 5 – 6 minutes on each side. Place the cheese, if using, on the burger and cook for 1 more minute.  Toast the buns for a minute or two until a nice char forms.
  5. Top the burger with your desired toppings and enjoy.

I topped the burgers with a yogurt/chipotle/honey mix and it worked well.  I’ll post the recipe after I get the mix right but it is essentially 12 oz greek yogurt, 1 chipotle pepper, chopped (2 if you like a good kick), some of the adobe sauce from the chipotle pepper can, juice from 1 lime, 1/2 tablespoon of honey and salt.  Adjust each ingredient to your desired taste.  Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Spread it on the toasted buns and enjoy.  I like how the yogurt tempers the chipotle peppers, naturally.


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