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Ground turkey (Recipe: Greek turkey burgers with yogurt and feta sauce)

Turkey burger, souvlaki style. 

Why does a whole chicken taste better than a whole turkey, but ground turkey tastes better than ground chicken?

I don't have the answer, but I always have ground turkey in my freezer.

In the small market in my town, I can choose from several types of ground turkey, with varying amounts of breast and thigh meat, and varying amounts of fat. I like 93% fat free, but I can buy it as lean as 99% fat free. The less fat, the less flavor, so a little bit of fat is a good thing.

Ground turkey substitutes for ground pork in everything I cook, especially Chinese stir-fry dishes and wonton filling, and Tex-Mex specialties like enchiladas and tacos. 

And though I've tried to substitute ground chicken for ground turkey, it never tastes the same to me.

How about you? Chicken, turkey, or both?

What is ground turkey?
A combination of breast and thigh meat (or sometimes all of one or the other), ground with no additives. Make your own by chopping diced breast/thigh meat in a food processor.

How/where to store:
In the freezer, for up to 3 months; or in the refrigerator if you're planning to use within 1-2 days of purchase. Remove from original packaging and store wrapped in fresh plastic wrap, inside a ziploc bag with the date marked on the bag.

More facts about ground turkey, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Ground turkey (Recipe: turkey-escarole soup)

Turkey burger

Greek turkey burgers with yogurt and feta sauce

Turkey burgers have a reputation for being dried out and unappetizing, though lower in fat than beef burgers. I decided to take a cue from our favorite turkey meatballs, and mix in some Greek yogurt to keep the burgers juicy. Then I thought, why not build on the Greek flavors? A bit of a Greek salad on the side, and these burgers turned into a great warm-weather dinner. Serves 4.


1 lb ground turkey (I use 93% fat free)
3 tbsp Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
1-1/4 tsp Greek seasoning (try my favorite blend, from The Spice House)
1 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

For the sauce:
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1/4 tsp lemon zest
A pinch of Greek seasoning
Fresh black pepper, to taste


In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, 3 Tbsp Greek yogurt, 1-1/4 tsp Greek seasoning, parsley and black pepper. Mix with your hands, until all ingredients are combined, but do not overmix. Divide the mixture into four equal portions, and form each portion into a burger. Set the burgers aside (at room temperature).

In another bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients, mashing the feta with the back of a spoon to incorporate it into the yogurt, and set aside at room temperature.

Spray your grill or stovetop grill pan with olive oil or canola spray and heat the grill to high-medium temperature (450-500F on a gas grill), or if you prefer, heat the grill first and then brush lightly with olive oil. 

Grill the burgers for approximately 7 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. To check for doneness, take one burger off the grill and use an instant-read thermometer; burgers should be 165F, so take them off when they're 160F and let sit, covered lightly with foil, for 5 minutes before serving. The temperature will continue to climb, and though you think the burgers will be dry and overcooked, the yogurt will keep them moist.

Serve topped with yogurt and feta sauce.

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Greektown turkey meatballs
Green chile turkey meatballs
Turkey, cranberry and basil meatballs
Turkey and white bean chili
Tex-Mex turkey lasagne
Curried turkey meatballs

Other recipes that use ground turkey:
New Mexican stew with ground turkey and green chiles, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Asian lettuce cups (or wraps) with spicy ground turkey filling, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Black-eyed pea, ground turkey, and chard stew, from We [Heart] Food
Peppers stuffed with ground turkey and couscous, from eat make read
Chinese noodle soup with ground turkey and pickled mustard greens, from Wandering Chopsticks

Greek turkey burgers with yogurt and feta sauce: get your grill on! #turkey #grilling

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


These burgers look great, love the flavouring ingredients.

Here in New Zealand whole turkey is only readily available just before Christmas and then it comes at a price (e.g. $45.00 per bird is the starting price). Ground turkey looks to be a really useful ingredient. Never mind - I can get good ground, fresh lamb!

I had a variation of these this weekend... made with lamb. Delicious!

A restaurant nearby adds diced apple to their turkey burgers to help keep them moist. That works well too.

These turkey burgers look fantastic! I like the addition of yogurt to keep them moist, plus the Greek spices!

Everything about this dish is crying out to me Lydia. Perfect for BBQ season:D

Oh, yummmm! Sounds so very good. I like the idea of using ground lamb when I get to the butcher shop, too. Thanks Lydia and Michelle in NZ!

Ground turkey... but mostly because ground chicken is pretty impossible to find where I live.

I just read this recipe to my husband and he "oooohed" and "ahhhhed" to the very end. I suspect there may be turkey burgers in our future!

I like the idea of a greek turkey burger, especially right about now. Looks and sounds delicious.


I'm with you...ground turkey always tastes better. I love the sauce on these burgers!

That burger looks like 100% beef...awesome! I often make a sauce like yours, love it on many things...and soon turkey burgers!

It's no fair making me drool at 10:31pm. Now I want a second dinner and I want it to be THIS!

I adore ground turkey burgers and with the Greek spin? Yum! I am going to have to get some of that spice. ;)

Michelle, Julia, Candy: ground lamb sounds like a delicious substitute!

Kalyn, the yogurt works wonders. Even when I overcook the burgers, which I seem to do quite often, it keeps them from drying out.

Valli, Michelle, Paz, Bridget, Chris: These are our new favorite burgers. The Greek flavors work so well with the mild taste of the turkey.

Joanne, Peter: the sauce is simple and has that great sharp flavor of feta. What's not to love?!

ground turkey for me... in meatballs, meatloaf - but I can't tell you why! Honestly I think it is just the marketing - ground chicken is readily available at my store - but I almost never get it.
but the truth is I have trouble "slipping" either of them by my eagle eye husband!

Oh, that's interesting.... I had not noticed until reading your post that I feel exactly the same way... ground turkey gets my vote

I guess it has a depth of flavor that ground chicken doesn't?

Turkey burgers are wonderful - I make often a recipe from Fine Cooking (if I remember correctly) that uses spinach together with the meat... delicious too!

These Greek burgers sounds really good!

I love this idea!

..So much that I put in the Spotlight on Foodwhirl today :)

Now the million dollar question is will the 5 yr old eat feta?

Wow, great job here. Awesome picture too! You should really consider submitting this to Recipe4Living's Juiciest Burger Contest - http://www.recipe4living.com/articles/the_juiciest_burger_recipe_contest.htm - It looks delicious!

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