Mouth-Watering Turkey Pesto Burgers Recipe

Turkey Pesto Burgers are one of my all-time favorite recipes! They’re juicy, flavorful and packed with amazing nutrients that your body needs. Plus, these burgers are so incredibly easy to make that you’ll be creating them over and over again!

As a nutritionist and food blogger, I’m always on the hunt for healthy, easy-to-make recipes that taste amazing. These Turkey Pesto Burgers are definitely one of those dishes that meet all the criteria! Not only are they gluten-free and dairy-free, but they’re also loaded with fresh herbs, lean turkey, and healthy fats.

In case you’re wondering why pesto is such a great addition to turkey burgers, it’s because it adds depth of flavor without overpowering the other ingredients. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a good pesto sauce?

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner or an impressive meal to serve at your next barbecue, these burgers deliver every time. Trust me – once you try them, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them in your life!

So, let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Turkey Pesto Burgers - Dairy Free Option
Turkey Pesto Burgers – Dairy Free Option

This turkey pesto burger is not just any ordinary burger. It’s a juicy, flavorful, and healthy alternative to the greasy beef burgers that we’re all used to.

Firstly, it is Gluten-free and Dairy-free which makes it a perfect option for those with dietary restrictions. Secondly, it’s packed with wonderful flavors that your taste buds will love. The turkey burgers are blended perfectly with basil pesto, creating a unique and satisfying taste that you can’t find anywhere else.

This turkey burger recipe also allows for a little bit of experimentation. Not feeling like having ground turkey? No problem, you could always try this recipe with ground chicken or even beef if you so desire.

In addition, whether you’re following the paleo or whole30 diet, this turkey pesto burger has been thoughtfully designed to fit your eating goals.

By using lean ground turkey instead of beef and adding fresh veggies and herbs such as shallots, flat-leaf parsley, and green leaf lettuce, these turkey patties are bursting with flavor while being guilt-free.

So let’s face it – we all crave burgers from time-to-time; but often, we feel victimized by how unhealthy they can be. This recipe ensures you don’t need to give up on the things you enjoy because of the way it makes you feel afterwards.

Trust me when I say you won’t want to go back to your old favorites after trying this!

Ingredient List

 Juicy turkey patty on the grill
Juicy turkey patty on the grill

Get your apron on, because we’re going to make some juicy and delicious turkey pesto burgers! Here are the ingredients that you need to make these mouth-watering burgers:

For the Burger Patties:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the Pesto Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (dairy-free if needed)

For Serving:

  • Gluten-free or regular burger buns (or lettuce wraps, for a low-carb option)
  • Green leaf lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes

The Recipe How-To

 Stack up your burger with fresh greens and ripe tomatoes
Stack up your burger with fresh greens and ripe tomatoes

Now, let’s dive into the heart of this turkey pesto burger recipe. Here’s how you can make your own juicy and delicious burgers that are perfect for any summer barbecue or weeknight dinner.

Step 1: Make the Pesto

First things first, you’ll need to whip up a batch of fresh basil pesto using a food processor. In the food processor, pulse 2 cups of packed basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of walnuts, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese until finely chopped. Then, with the machine running, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil until the pesto is smooth and well-blended. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: Prepare the Turkey Patties

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 pound of lean ground turkey meat with 2 tablespoons of the basil pesto you just made. Mix until well combined.

Now consider adding a binder to keep the turkey patties from falling apart during cooking. Use either an egg or breadcrumbs for this purpose. In case you want something gluten-free, skip breadcrumbs and use any other available healthy substitute.

Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form each one into a patty that’s about 3/4 inch thick.

Step 3: Grill Your Burger Patties

Heat up a grill or skillet to medium-high heat. Drizzle some olive oil over your turkey patties and grill them until they’re cooked through – this will take approximately 6-7 minutes per side depending on their thickness. You may add some paprika or poultry seasoning if you like your burgers well-flavored.

Step 4: Assemble Your Burger

Now comes the fun part! First, spread some pesto mayo on both sides of a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. Then, add a turkey patty followed by slices of fresh tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, bacon and thinly sliced shallots. (You can also use red onions if you prefer). Some people like to add mozzarella cheese to their burgers – if that’s your thing, go for it.

Step 5: Serve and Enjoy!

Serve your turkey pesto burgers hot with a side of zucchini fries, Instant Pot Corn on the Cob or crunchy chips. And don’t forget to enjoy every bite!

Substitutions and Variations

 Delicious pesto sauce made from fresh herbs and nuts
Delicious pesto sauce made from fresh herbs and nuts

When it comes to customizing this turkey pesto burger recipe, there are a plenty of possibilities. Here are some options to keep in mind:

– Gluten-free: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or skip the breadcrumbs altogether and opt for a binder such as almond flour, coconut flour or mashed sweet potatoes.

– Dairy-free: Keep this burger entirely dairy-free by using a vegan cheese or skipping cheese altogether.

– Pesto variations: If you want to change up the flavor of the burger or use what you have in your pantry, try making some variations on traditional basil pesto sauce. Few options include carrot-top pesto, garlic scape pesto, chive pesto, cilantro pepita pesto and oregano pesto. If you prefer a nut-free preparation, swap out pine nuts or walnuts with pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.

– Different meat: While these turkey burgers are delicious, you can switch it up by using ground chicken, beef, bison or lamb. Just know that the cooking times might be slightly different. If you’re following paleo or whole30 diet then you may add ground pork in the recipe.

– Vegetarian option: You can easily transform this turkey burger recipe into delicious veggie burger by substituting the meat with cooked quinoa, sweet potato and black bean mixture, lentil patties or mushroom burgers.

– Air fryer: Instead of cooking burgers on stove top or grill, try air frying them for an healthier spin. Simply cook at 350°F for 18 to 20 minutes and broil for few minutes after for a crispy finish.

With these suggestions, don’t be hesitant to experiment with your own creative flair – there’s no wrong way to make a delicious burger!

Serving and Pairing

 Gluten-free bun for a healthy twist
Gluten-free bun for a healthy twist

These turkey pesto burgers are just as versatile as they are delicious. You can enjoy them as a juicy, flavorful sandwich that’s perfect for lunch or dinner. You can upgrade your burger by skipping the bun and wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf for a low-carb option. To complete the meal, you can serve these burgers with some zucchini fries or a fresh side salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing.

For pairing ideas, consider serving these pesto turkey burgers with a nice cold beer like an IPA or a light lager. Alternatively, a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will be quite refreshing and make the dish more fancy. With their bold flavors provided by the basil pesto and poultry seasoning, these burgers pair well with many side dishes and drinks.

But no matter how you decide to serve these burgers, be sure to take time to savor in each bite of flavorful juiciness. The turkey breast keeps these burgers light while still being full of flavor – ideal to satisfy your appetite without making you feel stuffed. So go ahead and let your taste buds dance around all the bold pesto turkey flavors – so good!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Dairy-free option for a healthier burger
Dairy-free option for a healthier burger

Once you’ve made these delicious turkey pesto burgers, you’ll want to know how to store, reheat and make-ahead for future meals. Whether you are preparing ahead of time or storing leftovers, there a few things you can do to keep the flavors and texture at their best.

Making ahead is pretty simple – start by shaping your patties carefully and storing them in the refrigerator or freezer until it’s time to cook them. If you’re going to freeze the burgers, separate each patty with parchment paper and stack them up in a freezer-safe bag. Doing this will prevent them from sticking together and makes it easier to reheat one burger at a time.

For reheating these turkey burgers, consider using an air fryer or oven. To use an oven, preheat it to 350°F, and then place the pre-cooked burger patties on a baking sheet. Keep them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they reach your desired temperature.

If you want to store your leftover burgers in the fridge, that’s fine too. But before storing them, make sure they have cooled down entirely then put them into an airtight container with some extra pesto sauce on top of them. For good measure, it’s best to consume within three days after keeping them in the fridge.

The beauty of these turkey pesto burgers is that they show some versatility when it comes to storing and reheating methods. By following these simple instructions for Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating, you can be confident that these burgers will taste just as good even if they were prepared previously!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Dig in and enjoy a hearty bite
Dig in and enjoy a hearty bite

When it comes to making turkey pesto burgers, getting that perfect texture and flavor is key. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you achieve delicious, juicy burgers every time.

Firstly, don’t overwork the meat. When mixing the meat with binders like egg or breadcrumbs, be gentle and use your hands sparingly. Overworking the meat can lead to tough or dry burgers.

Secondly, consider using a binder for your turkey burgers instead of relying solely on ground turkey. Turkey has less natural fat than beef, which can make it prone to falling apart on the grill or pan. Adding a binder like egg or breadcrumbs can help hold the burger together and give it that satisfying texture.

Additionally, be mindful of your cooking time and temperature. Overcooked turkey burgers can quickly become dry and unappetizing. Cook the burgers over medium heat until a thermometer inserted in the center reads 165°F (74°C). This should take about 5-6 minutes per side.

Another way to add flavor and moisture to your turkey pesto burgers is by incorporating vegetables such as finely diced shallots or onions into the meat mixture. Not only do they add a subtle sweetness, but they also keep the patties from drying out.

Lastly, let the burgers rest for a few minutes after cooking before serving them. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in an even tastier burger.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll end up with mouthwatering turkey pesto burgers every time that your family and friends will love.


As we wrap up this recipe article for Turkey Pesto Burgers, we’d like to address the frequently asked questions that may come to mind as you prepare to make this dish. Below are our answers to some common concerns you may have about making turkey pesto burgers – from how to fix falling-apart patties to dietary substitutions and variations you can try. So, let’s get started with the FAQs!

What can I use as a binder for turkey burgers?

When it comes to preparing turkey burgers, it’s important to have a binding agent to keep everything together. A helpful tip is to mix in some dry breadcrumbs to your turkey mixture prior to forming your patties. This will work together with an egg to help the burgers stay cohesive on the grill. The breadcrumbs will soak up any excess moisture, much like a glue, which will allow you to create beautiful, tasty burgers that won’t fall apart while cooking.

What keeps turkey burgers from falling apart?

When crafting mouth-watering turkey burgers, it’s crucial to add an ingredient that will keep the patty intact while cooking. This ingredient is known as a meat binder, and it helps to hold all the components of the burger together. In this recipe, a combination of breadcrumbs and egg act as a meat binder, ensuring your burgers stay in shape and don’t fall apart.

Is egg a good binder for turkey burgers?

If you want your turkey burgers to maintain their shape and not crumble apart, it’s essential to incorporate a binding agent in the mixture. You can achieve this by adding breadcrumbs and a raw egg to the ground turkey.

How do you make frozen turkey burgers better?

One way to enhance the taste of your turkey burgers is by adding delicious seasoning on top before cooking. Options like salt and pepper, Montreal seasoning, chicken seasoning, and Old Bay work well to add that extra savor to your burger. Keep in mind that the cook time may differ based on the brand of burger you utilize, so check that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F for a safe finish.

Are turkey burgers healthy?

According to Beaver, opting for ground turkey over ground beef can lead to a better fatty acid profile as it contains less saturated fat and more of the protective and healthier polyunsaturated fat.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these turkey pesto burgers are a delicious and healthy option for your next burger night. With the richness of basil pesto and the lean protein of ground turkey, you won’t even miss the beef patty. Plus, with gluten-free and dairy-free options, these burgers can accommodate various dietary needs without sacrificing flavor. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your toppings or sauces to make this burger truly your own. And if you’re in a hurry or want a lower-carb option, try wrapping it in some lettuce leaves instead of a bun. So fire up the grill or heat up that skillet and enjoy these mouth-watering burgers today!

Turkey Pesto Burgers - Dairy Free Option

Turkey Pesto Burgers - Dairy Free Option Recipe

Yummy burgers that came across on accident! This is a variation on Rachael Ray's Turkey Club Burgers. I make this using Fresh Basil Pesto - Freezer Directions ( )
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 385.8 kcal


  • 4 slices bacon, good quality
  • 1 lb ground turkey breast (or use 1/2 chicken and 1/2 turkey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 large shallots or 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon basil pesto (I have a freezer recipe for this)
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 4 buns (RR recommends whole-wheat Keiser) or 4 rolls (RR recommends whole-wheat Keiser)
  • 12 pieces green leaf lettuce
  • 8 slices tomatoes, ripe
  • mozzarella cheese (omit for dairy free)


  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Bake bacon on slotted broiler pan until crisp 15-20 minutes.
  • Combine meat with paprika, poultry seasoning, grill seasoning, parsley and shallots. Mix well and form into 4 (1/4 pound) patties.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Cook meat patties 4-5 minutes per side. (can be cooked on the grill as well).
  • Mix pesto and mayonnaise. I make my pesto [Fresh Basil Pesto - Freezer Directions] homemade - omit the cheese, and freeze it. I thawed a cube of pesto and then added that mayonnaise. Easy!
  • Split and toast rolls.
  • Place cheese (omit for dairy free) and burgers on bun bottoms and top with 2 slices bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and set in place. Top bun tops with pesto mayonnaise and set in place.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 288gCalories: 385.8kcalCarbohydrates: 27.5gProtein: 34.6gFat: 14.9gSaturated Fat: 3.1gCholesterol: 77.1mgSodium: 387.4mgFiber: 2.7gSugar: 4.7g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Dairy Free, European, Free Of..., From Scratch, Lactose-free, Meat, Poultry, Weeknight
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found