Turkey smash burgers are ridiculously easy to make and oh-so-good.
In case you haven’t had one before, a smash burger is a seasoned burger patty that is “smashed” during the cooking process with a cast iron press or spatula to give deliciously crunchy, browned edges.
Here we have the same famous, buttery, crispy smash burger, but make it turkey. Topped with melty gouda cheese, crunchy lettuce, juicy tomato, and tangy burger sauce sandwiched between a soft, brioche bun.
What You’ll Need
Ground turkey: Changing it up from the usual beef burger can be a nice way to add variety. I used 85% lean / 15% fat ground turkey to mimic the fat content of ground beef I typically use.
Grated butter: Since turkey is lean, it can dry out more easily, and is more prone to falling apart during cooking, the grated butter helps keep the patties moist, keeping them together, and most importantly helps create deliciously crispy surfaces on the burgers.
Cajun seasoning: This gives the burgers great flavor! I used Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning.
Worcestershire sauce: Worcestershire sauce layers on another level of flavor in these turkey smash burgers.
Burger sauce: If you’re looking for a way to instantly upgrade any burger, make the burger sauce in the recipe below. It’s sweet, salty, tangy. SO good. Also delicious for dipping fries.
Toppings and fixings:
- Brioche buns: In this recipe I used brioche buns because I love the light and airy texture paired with these burger patties.
- Lettuce and tomato: For me, crunchy lettuce and a juicy tomato slice are a must with these turkey smash burgers.
- Gouda cheese: Turkey and gouda cheese go well together, so that’s why I chose gouda for these burgers.
How to Make Turkey Smash Burgers
- Form the burgers into balls. You’ll want to form these burgers into balls instead of patties, so that you can “smash” them during the cooking process.
- Let them chill. Let the raw burgers chill for at least 15 minutes to help keep their shape and keep the butter cold. This is important because if the butter gets too warm, it will just fry out of the patties immediately and not be able to help keep the burgers moist.
- Make the burger sauce. Don’t skip this step! It’s so tasty and takes your burgers up another notch.
- Fry the burgers (and smash them!). Smashing the burgers with a cast iron press (or spatula or small cast iron pan) creates delicious crackly, crispy edges around the burgers and makes a super thin patty that can easily be stacked into double burgers.
- Add toppings, fix your burger, and EAT. Soft brioche buns, melty gouda cheese, crisp lettuce, ripe tomato, and creamy burger sauce. What more could you ask for?
Notes & Tips
- I used 85% lean / 15% fat ground turkey. You could also use a leaner version if you prefer, but with less fat, the burgers may fall apart more easily.
- If you don’t have parchment paper on hand, you could use aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray and place cooking spray-side down before “smashing” with your spatula or press.
- Smash burgers make the perfect double burger since they are thin and crispy. Feel free to double the recipe and stack two patties on each bun!
- Cajun seasoning – I used Slap Ya Mama, but if you can’t find cajun seasoning, feel free to use any kind of burger seasoning or seasoned salt. If using seasoned salt, try adding just one teaspoon as this may be saltier than a Cajun blend.
- Mix up your fixings and toppings! Try pretzel buns or regular buns,
- Suggested sides: These turkey burgers go so well with sweet potato sides, like sweet potato fries or sautéed sweet potatoes. Also delicious with russet potato wedges, a side salad, or grilled asparagus.
Storage & Reheating
Turkey smash burgers are best hot off the skillet, but you can also store the patties separate from the other “fixings” in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. Reheat by microwaving on high until warmed through, then assemble the burger.
Turkey Smash Burgers
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 4 tbsp cold butter, grated
- 1 ½ tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 slices gouda cheese
- 4 leaves lettuce
- 4 slices tomato
- 4 each brioche buns
- ½ cup mayonaisse
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp salt
- Mix the butter, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire, and ground turkey in a bowl. Shape into four even balls. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Make the burger sauce. Mix the mayo, ketchup, garlic powder, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Prepare your parchment paper. Cut two "burger-sized" ~5 inch x 5 inch squares of parchment paper and set aside.
- Take the burgers out of the refrigerator and heat a cast iron skillet or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat.
- When the skillet is hot, place two burgers on the skillet, evenly spaced apart. Sprinkle with salt, then lay your piece of parchment paper over top one of the burgers, and press down with a cast iron press, smaller cast iron skillet, or spatula to “smash” the burgers to about a half inch thick. Remove the skillet and parchment paper. Repeat with the other burger.
- Once the burgers have browned and become crispy on the bottom, about two minutes, flip them and place a slice of cheese on top of each one. Let cook for another two minutes, or until crispy and browned.
- Repeat this process with the last two burgers.
- Assemble the burgers on your brioche buns and top with tomato, lettuce, and burger sauce.