These Apple Turkey Burgers bring together all the flavors of fall on a soft, fluffy bun. Serve with cheddar cheese, kale apple slaw, and a generous layer of cranberry aioli for the best juicy burgers in 30 minutes or less.
📋 About the Recipe
- Healthy, fall-inspired turkey burgers. These turkey burgers mix together some of the best fall foods: apples, turkey, and cranberry sauce. Enjoy all the flavors of fall in a juicy, sweet and savory, turkey burger.
- A modern Thanksgiving meal idea. If you’re cooking a Thanksgiving meal for a small group, it doesn’t always make sense to cook a full turkey. Serve these turkey burgers instead for a fun, easy, twist on Thanksgiving dinner. Pair it with your favorite Thanksgiving sides and no one will miss the turkey.
- Ready in 30 minutes. Make the homemade cranberry aioli and the juicy apple turkey burgers in 30 minutes flat. Serve them with my favorite Air Fryer Carrot Fries or Air Fryer Green Bean Fries.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Ground Turkey - If you haven’t made turkey burgers before, it is very similar to working with ground beef. It’s just as flavorful but creates a much leaner burger.
- Apples - Adding apples into your burger mix creates a really nice balance of sweet and savory flavors. The crisp, crunch of the Honeycrisp apples also adds a nice texture to the juicy burger patties.
- Mayonnaise - Mayonnaise is used as the base of the homemade aioli. Although I use greek yogurt to substitute mayonnaise in my Kale Apple Slaw and some of my salad dressings, I don’t recommend using it here. It’s flavor is too heavy and the lightness of the mayonnaise balances the tanginess of the cranberry sauce.
- Cranberry sauce - You can use either canned cranberry sauce or homemade cranberry sauce. If you’ve got any leftover sauce from Thanksgiving or holiday cooking, making this cranberry aioli would be a great way to use it up.
- Dijon mustard - The acidic zing in the dijon mustard balances the sweetness in the cranberry sauce and the creaminess in the mayonnaise.
- Make the cranberry aioli. Place the cranberry sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or until lightly melted. Allow the cranberry sauce to cool, then whisk together with the remaining cranberry aioli ingredients. Set in the refrigerator while you prepare the apple turkey burgers.
- Mix together the turkey burger ingredients. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the raw ground turkey, diced apple (use this tutorial on how to cut an apple), onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper.
- Form the turkey burger mixture into 4 patties. Split the mixture into 4 equal sized portions and flatten each into a hamburger patty.
- Grill the burgers. Preheat grill to 350 degrees F. Place the turkey burgers on the grill, cover with the lid for 5 minutes, or until the burgers easily lift from the grates. Flip, and cook the patties for another 5 to 8 minutes. When done, the patties will have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. If desired, add a slice of cheese in the last 1 to 2 minutes of grilling to lightly melt it.
- Baking option. If you're wondering if you can bake these turkey burgers instead of grilling, you can! Scroll down to the recipe card for the full instructions.
- Serve. Serve the turkey burgers on hamburger buns with cranberry aioli and kale apple slaw.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Turkey substitution: Ground chicken would also work really well here and would also keep the burgers lean. Try my Greek Chicken Meatballs and Cheesy Ground Turkey Enchiladas for other healthy dinner options, too.
- Apple substitution: I recommend honey crisp apple, but you can also use gala, fuji, or pink lady.
- No grill? Bake them instead at 400 degrees F for 13 minutes, and flip halfway through. For full, detailed instructions for baking, scroll down to the recipe card.
❄️ How to Store
To store: If you have leftovers, my recommendation is to store the turkey burgers, cranberry aioli, and kale apple slaw separately in airtight containers. Leftover cranberry aioli will store well for up to 1 week and burgers will last for up to 3 days.
To freeze: Turkey burgers will also freeze well. If you intend to freeze the burgers, prepare them without cheese. Once cooked and cooled, place the burgers on a parchment lined baking sheet and stick the baking sheet in the freezer for 2 hours, or until the burgers are frozen solid.
After the burgers are solid, transfer them to a freezer safe zip top bag or an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat: To reheat refrigerated burgers, place the burgers on a microwave-safe dish and cook them until warm. Avoid overheating as this will dry out the turkey. If reheating from frozen, place the turkey burgers in the refrigerator until thawed and reheat in the microwave as described above.
Remove them from the heat as soon as they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Turkey is lower in fat than beef and can dry out more quickly than beef patties. To avoid this, it is best to avoid overcooking them.
No, turkey burgers should be cooked all the way through in the middle. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before removing burgers from the oven or grill. Invest in a good meat thermometer to help you gauge the doneness of your meat.
💭 One More Tip
- Finely dice the apples! You don't want large chunks of apple in the turkey burger mixture. Take care to chop the apples finely and consistently so the apples fold nicely into the meat mixture and are dispersed evenly in the patties. If the apples are too large, the patties might start to crumble and fall apart.
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Apple Turkey Burgers
For Apple Turkey Burgers
- 1 pound (16 ounces) ground turkey
- ½ cup finely diced honeycrisp apple
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For Cranberry Aioli
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup whole cranberry sauce homemade or from a can
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 slices white cheddar cheese
- kale apple slaw
- Make the cranberry aioli: Microwave cranberry sauce in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds, until lightly melted. Allow to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Set in the refrigerator to chill.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, apples, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until spices and apples are evenly distributed.
- Separate into 4 equal parts. Form each into a flat hamburger patty.
- To grill: Preheat grill to 350 degrees F. Place burgers on the grates. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes, or until burgers release easily from the grill grates. Flip, and cook another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Add a slice of cheese on top of each burger in the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking to lightly melt.
- To bake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place burgers on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake burgers for 13 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Add a slice of cheese on top of each burger in the last 1 to 2 minutes of cooking to lightly melt.
- Serve apple turkey burgers on hamburger buns spread with cranberry aioli and then topped with kale apple slaw.
- Ground chicken will also work in this recipe.
- Feel free to use any apples you have on hand. I like the flavor of honeycrisp apples best.
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