This easy, flavor-packed Turkey Smash Burger Recipe has everything going for it- smashed crispy edges, quick cook time, avocado, and a homemade kimchi mayo that packs a spicy umami punch. It's the perfect recipe for using a stovetop griddle.
Kimchi goes so well with turkey and chicken because it adds a burst of umami that poultry sometimes lacks. Adding umami to food is a great way to make it taste more complex.
And because you make these ground Turkey Smash Burgers on a flat griddle, you can make them on the barbecue or the stove.
A griddle certainly comes in handy for recipes like this because it allows you to grill a lot of food at once. 6 turkey patties fit on the griddle without overcrowding it. You can also griddle-cook a whole pound of shrimp for my other awesome griddle recipe, Grilled Shrimp Avocado & Mango salad.
How to make Turkey Smash Burgers
Making Turkey Smash Burgers is fairly simple. The main technique involves smashing the turkey as flat as possible with a hard, sturdy spatula so the edges crisp nicely on the griddle. A sturdy spatula is more important than you might think.
These turkey smash burgers call for just 6 ingredients, plus salt, butter, and whatever additional burger fixin's you love.
- Ground turkey (1 lb makes 6 patties, which makes 3 double smash burgers)
- Buns (I prefer regular wheat hamburger buns rather than brioche, pretzel, or potato)
- American Cheese
- Spicy Kimchi (use whatever brand you like)
- Other burger fixin's you love (tomatoes, onions, lettuce- all optional)
- Butter (for greasing the pan)
- Cooking spray (for greasing the spatula)
See recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: Make the kimchi mayo by blending the kimchi and mayonnaise in a food processor. Season it with salt set it aside.
Step 2: Divide the turkey into 6 round balls, approximately equal in size (2.67 oz each if weighing)
Step 3: Arrange the 6 turkey balls on a piping hot buttered griddle. Spray the bottom of your spatula with tiny bit of cooking spray, and firmly press each turkey ball down as flat as possible. Slide the spatula toward you to release the burger. Then salt the burger generously- 1 pinch of kosher salt per patty!
Step 4: When you notice the edges are starting to brown and crisp, flip the burgers and immediately top with a slice of cheese. The cheese will melt on the hot burger while the other side cooks.
Step 5: Assemble the burgers. Smash a piece of avocado into the top bun and spread a spoonful of kimchi mayo on the bottom bun. Arrange 2 patties on each bottom bun. Add whatever fixings you're using (I'm a die hard LTO fan). And top with the top bun.
Serve with fries, pasta salad, cole slaw, or whatever other sides you like to eat with burgers.
Top Tips for making Smash Turkey Burgers:
- Never salt burger meat prior to forming the patties. Doing so makes the ground meat spongy. Instead, flatten the smash burgers and then salt the top side generously.
- Let the griddle get nice before adding the ground turkey balls. The heat helps develops good color and crispiness.
- Use a fork to smash the avocado into the bottom bun so it doesn't slip around and fall off the burger.
- If using tomatoes as a topping, lightly salt them too upon placing them on your burger for added flavor.
- Spray the spatula with cooking spray before each smash. Stickage is very frustrating.
There are a couple ways you can substitute ingredients to make these Smash Turkey Burgers more friendly to certain dietary restrictions.
- Dairy free - use vegan mayonnaise to make the kimchi mayo, and leave out the cheese or substitute it with vegan cheese. You can also grease the pan with olive oil, grape seed oil, or avocado oil instead of butter.
- Gluten Free- Simply use gluten free buns to make the smash burgers gluten free.
This recipe is pretty perfect as-is. But here are a couple variations I love.
- Instead of turkey - Use ground Chicken. Chicken burgers are just as delicious as turkey burgers and pair just as well with the spicy Kimchi mayo.
- Kimchi- If you can't find Kimchi (Trader Joe's and Wegman's now sell it) you can substitute the Kim Chi with sauerkraut, horseradish, or Calabrian Chili paste. These Ingredients have similar pungency. But I highly recommend tracking down some Kimchi. It's so funky and delicious.
- Another note on Kim Chi- If you're still warming up to Kim Chi's spicy, pungent flavor, this is actually a great recipe for you... The mayonnaise tones down the flavor a little. Plus, each burger only has a little kimchi mayo. So it's a great way to ease into loving kimchi.
Doubling the Recipe
This is the easiest recipe to double because you don't have to double everything. In fact, if you only make 3 double smash burgers, like the recipe says, you're likely going to have leftover kimchi mayo and buns anyway.
So just double the meat (2 lbs), avocado (2 avocados), and American cheese (12 slices) if you want to make 6 double smash burgers instead of 3.
Keep in mind that the cook time will also double since a griddle only fits 6 patties at a time. You'll have to make the smash burgers in 2 batches.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Here are some tips on the best equipment to use for this recipe:
- A strong stainless steel spatula comes in handy for making smash burgers and other foods that need to be pressed down for full contact with the pan.
- It's tricky to make smash burgers on anything other than a 2-burner Stovetop Griddle. You simply can't smash burgers in pans with sides. And you also can't fit as many at once. Lodge cast iron griddles are so inexpensive and excellent quality.
Are Smash Turkey Burgers Dry?
It depends. Many people are afraid to undercook turkey and chicken, so they end up overcooking it. These Smash Turkey Burgers are so thin, they only need about 3 minutes on each side. If you don't overcook them, and they'll be juicy and delicious!
Additionally, because turkey has very little fat, it's important to grease the pan well. If you only use cooking spray, they may dry out. The butter also helps develop good coloring on the outside, which is the best part of any smash burger recipe.
What's the best way to reheat burgers?
I recommend only making as many as you need, then storing leftovers in separate containers. That is, a container for the toppings and a container for the patties.
Then when it comes time to eat them again, you can reheat the patties in a toaster oven without having to heat up the toppings, which wilt when exposed to heat.
What Does Kim Chi Taste Like?
There are endless kinds of Kim Chi, and if you want to learn more about it, I highly recommend referring to this recipe by My Korean Kitchen.
It's a classic Korean food, usually made of fermented cabbage and other ingredients and spices. It adds a delicious punch to turkey's mellow flavor.
- 1 pound of Ground turkey
- 3 Hamburger Buns
- 6 slices of American Cheese
- 1 Avocado
- 4 oz of Spicy Kimchi
- 4 oz of mayonnaise
- Other burger fixin's you love (tomatoes, onions, lettuce- all optional)
- 2 Tablespoons of Butter
- Cooking Spray
- Make the Kimchi Mayonnaise by blending the Kimchi and Mayonnaise gin a food processor along with a pinch of salt. Set aside
Divide the turkey into 6 round balls, approximately equal in size (2.67 oz each if weighing)
Arrange the turkey balls on a hot, buttered griddle. Spray the bottom of your spatula with tiny bit of cooking spray, and firmly press each turkey ball down as flat as possible. Slide the spatula toward you to release the burger. Re-grease the spatula each time you smash another burger.
Salt each patty with a generous pinch of salt. When you notice the edges are starting to brown and crisp, flip the burgers and immediately top with a slice of cheese. The cheese will melt on the hot burger while the other side cooks.
- Once cooked, assemble the burgers. Start by spreading about 1 tablespoon of Kimchi Mayo on the bottom bun, then layer on two turkey patties, then your optional toppings (LTO). Finally, smash ~⅓ of the avocado into the top bun and place it on the burger.
Keywords: Turkey Smash Burgers, Smash Turkey Burger, Turkey Smash Burger Recipe