These air fryer turkey burgers are so moist, flavorful and a family favorite! They can also be prepared ahead of time, frozen and air fried straight from the freezer. If you love juicy burgers, then you’re going to love these healthier turkey burgers.
I’m so excited to be sharing one of our family’s favorite recipes. I hadn’t tried turkey burgers until somewhat recently.
To be honest, I thought that the idea was ridiculous. “Why eat a turkey burger when you can have a real hamburger,” I thought.
And the answer is – because they’re super delicious, even in a world where hamburgers exist. 😉
This is one of my kid’s favorite meals. I always make a big batch, form them into patties, and then freeze them for an instant main dish for dinner.
If you make them into log shapes, they’re also great wrapped up in a tortilla with some cheese and lettuce for the lunch box!
Fresh versus frozen
Both work just as well!
But note, there’s often a bit of liquid at the bottom of the bag once the frozen ground turkey has thawed. You do not want to add that to the bowl!
I’ve been lazy multiple times, or have just forgotten, and it makes the mixture very sticky and difficult to work with. More liquid = a sticky mess.
Why use an air fryer?
If you haven’t heard me say it before, air frying is a quick and easy method that is energy efficient, healthy and will leave you with perfectly crisp and delicious food every time.
It takes seconds to pre-heat and won’t heat your house which makes it perfect for the summer months!
In the winter, it’s great not to have to stoke up the grill in freezing weather. And it won’t smoke you out of the house like it might if you fry these burgers on the stovetop. It’s an all-season alternative for quick family meals without sacrificing time or energy.
Air frying is also a healthier way to cook. Using an air fryer eliminates pan-frying where burgers will simmer in their own fat making them a little less healthy.
By using minimal oil, an air fryer is a healthy equivalent to grilling, but the juiciness and flavor from the air fryer just might be the front-runner if there were an actual competition.
Often poultry will dry out quickly before it’s actually done, creating a less desirable meal. The air fryer changed this by forcing air around the food which browns and crisps the crusty outside while it traps moisture to quickly cook the inside. The oven does the same only the air fryer does it faster and is more consistent.
What air fryers I used
The air fryer you see in the photos is the Ninja Max XL Air Fryer. It has a broil rack giving “meals or sides a crispy and bubbly finish”! But it delivers and has a big basket so you can make bigger batches. Plus, it has no mess, dishwasher-safe accessories that make life even easier.
I also have the Ninja SP101 Foodi 8-in-1 Digital Air Fry and it does it all. It air fries, roasts, broils, bakes, toasts, dehydrates and keeps food warm. It even has a bagel setting! It states it’s 60% faster than a traditional oven with air roast, and I know it’s easy to clean.
It’s sleek and modern and can be put away easily. I bought it, promising my husband that I’d put it up right away when I was done, but we both use it so often that it just sits on the counter like a challenge to make something new.
It preheats within a minute, really, and the only reason I turn on my oven now is if I can’t fit the pan in the Ninja.
I feel like I could be a salesperson for this machine.
Can you pan-fry these?
Of course! Just add a little oil to a non-stick pan and let it get hot. Place the patties in the pan and fry them 5-6 minutes on each side until they’re fully cooked. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.
They’re ready when the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (75 °C).
- Always check for doneness: check the guidelines to ensure the meat reaches the appropriate temperature. All air fryers are not the same, so read the manual for the best cooking times for that particular machine.
- If the turkey is sticky and won’t hold a shape, you can place it in the fridge or freezer to help firm the meat before making patties. I like to also use parchment paper because I like an easier cleanup, and it helps form the burgers without it sticking to your hands.
- If you don’t want your burgers to shrink too much, push your thumb into the middle of the pattie to make a little dent. It works!
- If you like thick burgers, then you will need to cook them a little longer. The burgers are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (75 °C).
- Turkey burgers are great for hiding veggies. You can use chopped mushrooms, tiny onions or a little shredded zucchini or carrots to give them an extra nutritional boost. But make sure the veggies aren’t too juicy (so use a paper towel to get rid of excess liquid). The raw meat mixture is already quite wet and adding wet veggies will make the meat mixture more difficult to handle.
- As with any burger, seasoning is where it’s at! I made these with some parsley and garlic, but you can add whatever you like to make your best burger. Notice, I used cheese! Yep, I highly recommend cheese because well, it’s cheese! 😉
Can I freeze turkey burgers?
Yes, you can! If you can get fresh ground turkey, I recommend making a big batch, freezing them, and popping them into an air fryer whenever you want! It makes those busy weeks so much less stressful.
All you do is season the burgers, form them into patties, and put them on a lined cookie sheet. Make sure not to overcrowd them. Cover them with plastic wrap and freeze them for 1 or 2 hours. You want them firm but not totally frozen.
Use pattie-sized squares of parchment paper to separate each patty. If you don’t separate them, they’ll stick together in a large stack, and you’ll be eating burgers for days. The parchment paper in between patties allows you to take out as many as you like, and leave the rest for another day.
Then put them in a sealable plastic bag, and place them in the freezer.
You can thaw the patties in the fridge overnight, so they’re ready for a quick lunch or dinner. Or pop frozen patties straight into the air fryer. Easy peasy!
What can I serve with these turkey burgers?
- I just posted these Air Fryer Baked Potatoes, which you see in the burger photos, over on my other blog. They’re so quick and easy!
- This Polish Cucumber Salad is light and delicious, and a perfectly creamy side to this healthy meal.
- This Dilly Cucumber Salad is made with vinegar and dill and would be great on this turkey burger.
- Nothing goes better with a burger than fries, and these Air Fryer Garlic Fries are the best!
- If you want an even healthier option, try these Air Fryer Carrot Fries, they’re colorful and terrific.
- This Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese dish is perfect for the little ones. It’s super creamy and sneaks in added nutrition.
- If salad is more of your thing, this Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Salad is a perfect addition.
- Also, this Italian Tomato Salad is simple and terrific as a side dish for any occasion. So is this Sauteed Zucchini!
- If you want to serve a fun dessert, these Peanut Butter Crunch Bars are easy, no-bake and a healthier treat than a traditional dessert.
That’s it! I hope you love these turkey burgers! If you make these or any recipe you find here, I’d love to see it! Tag your pics with 📸 #fooddoodlesrecipes so I can easily find them!
Air Fryer Turkey Burgers
- 1 pound (453 grams) ground turkey (ground chicken also works)
- 1 large (50 grams), out of shell egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, refined coconut oil or unsalted butter
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together all the ingredients. I think using the hands is easier but you can use a fork if you prefer.
- Remove from the fridge and form into three 165-gram balls, being careful not to overwork the meat.
- Shape the balls into about 1" thick (and 1/2" wider than the hamburger buns) patties. You don't need to squash the meat together or overwork the meat, but the patties should have the same thickness.
- Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each patty, to prevent the patties from puffing up like meatballs.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360 °F (183 °C). Spray the air fryer basket with oil.
- Place the patties in the basket. They shouldn't be touching.
- Cook for 8 minutes, flip and fry another 8-11 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the middle of a patty is 165 °F (74 °C).
- Turn the heat off, put the cheese on and let it sit in the air fryer for a minute or two or until slightly melted.
- Add to the bun with the toppings.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.