A Southwestern Turkey Burger sits on a green plate. The plate rests on a yellow and white pinic blanket lying on the grass.

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers often have a reputation of being dry and flavorless, but they don’t need to be! The key is to use thigh meat for a juicy burger, and then spice it up with a southwestern kick from fresh vegetables and spices!

A Southwestern Turkey Burger sits on a green plate. The plate rests on a yellow and white pinic blanket lying on the grass.
Southwestern Turkey Burgers

This Southwestern Turkey Burger recipe combines flavorful ground thigh meat, either fresh or frozen corn, pickled jalapenos, red onion, and lots of southwestern spices to create a juicy turkey burger you’re thrilled to eat. Throw it on the grill (or have a friend do the honors) and enjoy with your favorite burger toppings!

A Southwestern Turkey Burger sits on a green plate. The plate rests on a yellow and white pinic blanket lying on the grass.

How many of you ladies like to grill? You surely know by now that I love it, and while I usually hand off the responsibility of firing up the beast to my hubby, I do find the whole cooking outdoors thing to be lots of fun. The other night, I grilled a hunk of Tri Tip and posted it on Instagram with the caption “Womaning the grill with a Santa Maria Tri Tip.” Looking back on other outdoor eats in my Instagram feed, I realized that I’m rarely the one “manning” the grill, whether it’s sizzling sausages or juicy burgers.

I’m not going to suggest a Take Back the Grill movement, but I will say that once in a while, it is a lot of fun to take over flipping the meat on the grill. Besides, I love the partnership with my husband when it comes to outdoor cooking – although I will admit, he might just be better at it than I am. (But my Tri Tip the other night came out pretty awesome, if I don’t mind saying so.)

A jar of pickled jalepenos.
A knife lies beside sliced jalepenos on a cutting board.

How to Make a Delicious Turkey Burger

Let’s talk turkey burgers today, shall we? The first time I had one, it was sort of so-so. My preference for a long time has always been a juicy beef burger. But, when I first tried these Southwestern Turkey Burgers, I came pretty close to converting. What gives it that extra oomph is finely chopped pickled jalapeños, which I have taken to putting on nearly everything. The tangy spice from the pickled peppers, combined with corn kernels and a little southwestern kick in moist turkey thigh meat makes it an easy burger that I can enjoy a wee bit more, knowing it is lean, protein rich, and tasty to boot.

A white plate filled with burger toppings: sliced red tomato, green avocado slices, fresh lettuce leaves, and sliced red onion.

The only thing left is to figure out your fixin’s. This is how I like mine: stacked high with plenty of cheese, red onion, tomato, lettuce, and avocado. How about you?

Pairs Well with…

Southwestern Potato Salad
Sriracha Caramelized Onions
Achara: Filipino Green Papaya Relish
Grilled Corn and Poblano Salad

Less Traditional Burgers

Thai-style Salmon Burgers
Filipino-style Adobo Burgers
Cilantro-Sriracha Turkey Burgers
Sweet & Smoky Spanish Beef Burgers With Pickled Saffron Pears

Southwestern Turkey Burgers

Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southwestern
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 341kcal


Turkey Burger Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey thigh meat
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeño peppers
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 hamburger buns

Garnish Options

  • avocado
  • tomato
  • lettuce
  • red onion
  • preferred condiments: ketchup, mustard, etc.


  • Preheat the grill to medium heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, corn, pickled jalapeño, red onion, chile powder, garlic, salt and cumin – try not to overwork the meat.
  • Gently form into four patties and press the center of each gently with your fingers to help the turkey burgers cook evenly.
  • Cook the turkey burgers directly over the heat, with the lid closed, for about 10 minutes, flipping once.
  • Serve on a toasted bun with desired garnish.


Slightly adapted from Southwestern Turkey Burgers with Salsa Slaw, Way to Grill by Jamie Purviance (Sunset Weber, 2008).


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1248mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 773IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante


Recipe Rating

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  1. kita

    My man wont even touch the grill any more… or anything in my ‘domain’ as he refers to it any time I ask him to help with the dishes. However, I’m ok with that, because he would shrivel his nose if he knew I was using turkey for a burger. When I sneak them in he can’t complain. And trust me – I am making this one.

  2. Magic of Spice

    I do love to grill :) This is one amazing looking burger! My youngest generally does not eat much red meet so he would really love this :)
    Hope you are enjoying the start of the weekend :)

  3. angela@spinachtiger

    I like grilling too. My husband and I have cookoffs for who makes the best salmon on the grill. We both win. You gave me a great idea. I have some ground turkey and I’m thinking of using a taco seasoning mix I happen to have, the corn, the pepper, and then making them look like yours, especially adding in that avocado. I can eat turkey burgers only if they are really flavored well.

  4. kankana

    Gosh that burger photo is just so perfect. And I absolutely love burger with tons of greens in it.

Kitchen Confidante®