The hamburger or cheeseburger is the quintessential fast dinner idea. Even if it’s not fast food, throwing a burger on the grill is always a pretty fast dinner option. In fact, even if you don’t have a grill you can make really good burgers by using the smash burger method. These Turkey Smash Burgers are my latest smash burger creation and they are SO good!
I like these as an alternative to beef smash burgers. You do need to season the burgers well, but they end up being lighter than a normal beef burger.
Let’s dive in and make some smash burgers!
What is a smash burger
A smash burger is a specific technique for making a burger or cheeseburger. Instead of a grill, you cook the burger on a griddle or in a large skillet. Once you add the seasoned meat to the skillet, you press it down firmly for about ten seconds.
By pressing down the burger you not only make it very thin, speeding up cooking time, but you also create a great crust on the burger!
A finished smash burger will cook in just a few minutes and be super juicy!
Why use turkey instead of beef?
This is quite honestly personal preference but many people prefer turkey over beef as it can be slightly lower in fat and calories.
I go back and forth and like to change it up, sometimes I’ll also use chicken for a smash burger.
Generally, when using turkey it can be very lean so you will ant to add some extra fat to the patty before cooking unless you are trying to keep fat low, then you can skip the extra fat.
How to season your smash burger
The biggest mistake people make with ground turkey is under-seasoning it. You need to season turkey heavily as it can be a bit on the bland side.
I start by adding some softened butter to the meat and working that in. This adds a little extra fat to the meat and keeps it juicy when cooking.
I then add a mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning to the meat which gives it great flavor. You could experiment with other spices like paprika, chili powder, or red pepper flakes for some spice.
How to make a smash burger
When it’s smash burger time, preheat your griddle to medium meat, letting the pan get nice and hot. You can also use a cast iron skillet if you don’t have a griddle. I wouldn’t use nonstick pans as you can’t preheat them well.
Add a drizzle of oil to the skillet or griddle and then add your meat. Immediately add some foil on top and press the burger down with a weight. I use a small cast iron skillet for this but you can use anything heavy. Press it for 10 seconds so it spreads out and starts to form a nice crust.
Then you can remove the weight and let the burger continue to cook on that side for 30 seconds.
To release the turkey smash burger, use a metal spatula to really get under it and release the crust on the burger. Give the burger a flip. You won’t be able to get the same kind of crust on the second side, but that’s okay. Let it cook for another minute or two and then add cheese if you are using it.
- Love smashing things? Try my smashed breakfast sandwich!
The turkey smash burger will cook very quickly and the cheese will melt fast as well. If you want the cheese very melted, you can cover it with a bowl to steam it for a few seconds.
Generally, I don’t worry about checking the temperature on these burgers since they are so thin, but if you are concerned, you can use an instant read thermometer which should register 160˚F in the burger.
Love Italian food? Try my Turkey Manicotti recipe!
What to serve with a turkey smash burger
I serve these turkey smash burgers with toasted brioche buns, a simple burger sauce, lettuce, and red onion. Tomato would be great as well if you can find good ones. Avocado would also be a nice addition to the burger.
As a side dish, I’d serve these alongside a big salad like this honey mustard potato salad or something lighter like this roasted beet salad. Some sort of potato product is always a good idea like these loaded potato wedges or these parmesan smashed potatoes!
Turkey Smash Burgers
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 brioche buns, toasted
- 4-6 slices American cheese
- Butter lettuce
- Red onion, sliced
Quick Burger Sauce:
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 tablespoons diced pickles
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, stir together ground turkey with butter, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Form mixture into four even balls.
- On a griddle or in a large skillet over medium-high heat, when skillet is hot, drizzle with oil. Add burger and top with some foil or parchment paper. Press the burger into the griddle for 10 seconds. It helps to have a heavy pan to press the burger flat. Let burger continue to cook for one minute.
- Flip burger and cook for another 2 minutes on the second side. Due to the thinness of the burger, that should be enough to cook it through, but given that it's turkey and not beef, cook it a little longer if it looks undercooked. (you can also test it with a meat thermometer to see if it is at least 160˚F.)
- Optionally, add a slice of cheese to the burger in the last 30 seconds of cooking.
- Make burgers by toasting buns, topping with sauce and some lettuce. Add your smashed turkey burgers, and top with red onions plus any other toppings you'd like. Serve immediately.