Spiced Turkey Burgers with Ancho Chili Sauce

By Sally Cameron on May 21, 2012

Chicken & Turkey, the daniel plan

If you’re looking to grill some burgers this weekend, try spiced turkey burgers as an alternative to beef. This recipe has south-of-the-border flavors with cumin, herbs, garlic, avocado and tomato. Make the Ancho chili mayonnaise instead of the usual mustard or ketchup for one great burger.

tyrkey burger | afoodcentriclife.com

Spiced Turkey Burgers: Buying Ground Turkey

When purchasing ground turkey the amount of fat in ground turkey varies depending on what goes into the grinder. Fat content controls the flavor and moisture of your burger. I prefer 93% lean because it has more flavor and moisture.

Buns or No Buns

Now to the rest of the burger. Choose whole grain buns for better nutrition than white burger buns or buy gluten-free whole grain buns. For low-carb or grain-free, skip the bun altogether and wrap in iceberg lettuce leaves.

Top Your Burger with Fresh Flavors

Top off your burger with a slice of fresh tomato, a thin ring of sweet onion, or a few slices of avocado. And be sure to make the Ancho chili sauce for a creamy kick. For mayo, I choose Vegenaise because has a clean, light taste. Look for it in the refrigerated section of your market, not on the shelf. It’s made by Follow Your Heart. Try their horseradish sauce too. It’s fantastic.

Grill your burgers until done to 160°-165°F in the center and serve with grilled vegetables or a tossed green salad for a healthy summer dinner.

Tool Note

For perfectly formed burgers, I use a large size round metal ring. You can buy them at kitchen supply and restaurant supply stores and online in single sizes or better yet, in a set for many uses.

Another tool I have a bunch of  is rimmed baking sheets. I have them in half, quarter and eighth sizes. It’s what the burger are on in the above photo. Quarter sheet pans have a million uses.

Spiced Turkey Burgers with Ancho Chili Sauce

Turkey burgers are a delicious alternative to traditional beef burgers. Add flavor with herbs and spices, a flavorful chili dressing, avocado and tomato slices, packed into a gluten-free or whole grain bun and you have one great burger. Serve with grilled vegetables or a tossed green salad. For Paleo eaters, skip the bun and enjoy it as a patty. That is usually how we eat it these days.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword burger, turkey burger
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 479kcal



  • 1 pound 93% ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon  fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Burger Toppings

  • 4 slices ripe tomato
  • 4 thin slices red or spring onion
  • 1 avocado quartered
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 4 gluten-free or whole grain burger buns

Ancho Chili Sauce

  • ½ cup Vegenaise or mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder or a chili powder blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed  lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chipotle, Sriracha or Tobasco optional for heat


  • In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, cumin, garlic, parsley or cilantro, oregano, chives, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well but gently with your hands. Form into patties, cover with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.
  • While the burger patties are setting up, make the ancho chili sauce and refrigerate until serving. Any extra is good on a sandwich or as dip for raw vegetables.
  • Fire up the grill. Make sure the grill is brushed clean, then coated with a grill-safe spray or a little oil on a wad of paper towels with tongs. Turn heat down to medium and add your burgers. Grill on one side until browned and grill marks have formed. Turn the burger and finish cooking until they reach 160-165 in the center with a digital thermometer. They will feel firm but not hard. To speed cooking, cover the burgers with a disposable aluminum pan or lid if using a pan.
  • To build your burgers, place lettuce on the bottom of the bun, add the burger, and top with tomato, onion, sauce and avocado.


Alternative Cooking Methods – No grill? No problem. Cook the turkey burgers indoors on your stove top. Use a grill pan or a non-stick saute or fry pan. To speed cooking, cover the burgers with a lid after turning. Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Note - nutrition label does not include the buns because there are so many options and the values vary.


Calories: 479kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 544mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 729IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg
  1. Sally - May 22nd, 2012

    These look fantastic! I haven’t been able to convince my family to be enthusiastic about turkey burgers, probably because mine were too bland and dry. Not any more! Thanks for this post and the olive oil tip. Way back in my restaurant days, I encountered a chef who suggested putting crushed ice in the meat (which was ground beef). I hadn’t thought of that until reading this. I bet it would be worth experimenting with. At the time I was appalled, was it cheating? But when you think of it, a little bit of water wouldn’t hurt and might make them juicier, as long as you pump up the other flavors like you’ve done in this recipe. Can’t wait to try them! Thanks Sally. I’ll let you know if I experiment with the crushed ice 🙂

  2. Mary - May 22nd, 2012

    These sound delicious Sally! I LOVE turkey burgers. Always looking for a new recipe. Great tip about the olive oil. These are going on the barbeque ASAP.

  3. Madonna - May 23rd, 2012

    Just wanted to report in and tell you I just made these and they were so good. The fresh herbs and spice just takes them to a new level. Also the good fat from the avocado helped carry the flavor. Brilliant. Thank you so much.

  4. Tracy Jones - May 29th, 2012

    I made the Turkey Burger for Memorial Day and it was amazing! I did use the oil with the turkey meat and they were moist and delicious. The sauce added so much flavor and I served mine with avocado as well. Even my kids loved them!

  5. Stephanie, the Recipe Renovator - May 30th, 2012

    I will definitely be making this ancho chili sauce lickety split! Need to figure out a bean burger that I like. Gorgeous photos, as usual!

  6. Lauren - July 16th, 2013

    THIS IS THE BEST TURKEY BURGER RECIPE! I make it all the time for my family and guests. Everyone LOVES it! I usually add guacamole on the bun instead of the avocado slices. I think it gives it even more flavor. Thank you so much for the recipe! 🙂

  7. Sally - July 19th, 2013

    Love the guacamole idea! Good for you! Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Comment