Fiendishly Tasty Bacon Turkey Burgers

October  4, 2022
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 4 burgers
Author Notes

If you're looking for a virtuous turkey burger, you've opened the wrong recipe. This recipe is inspired by the bacon turkey burger served at Foster Burger in Portland, OR, and it is chock full of bacon. The bacon adds its umami goodness, but doesn't take center stage. Lightly caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, butter lettuce, and a smokey, piquant sauce help to make this burger devilishly good. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

This burger was AWESOME! Of course, with a pound of bacon and some fat it's going to be hard to fail, but this was the juiciest, moistest turkey burger I have ever had. The sauce was really good too and honestly, I saved what was left and plan to slather it on my next (beef) burger this weekend. The caramelized onions added a nice sweetness, the sauce had a delicious smokiness from the paprika, the swiss mellowed everything out and the result was juicy, salty, bacon heaven. Now, I don't even want to think how many calories I ingested but it was worth every bite. DELISH! —Anna Francese Gass

What You'll Need
  • For the bacon turkey burgers:
  • 1 pound thickly sliced peppered bacon
  • 1 extra-large yellow or sweet onion
  • Salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey (about 90% lean)
  • 4 pub or brioche hamburger buns
  • 4 slices swiss cheese (if they're especially thin slices, double up)
  • 4 bun-sized butter lettuce leaves (preferably crisper inner leaves)
  • For the smoky burger spread:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (homemade is excellent, but store-bought works well)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced pickled peppers (sweet or spicy -- your choice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F, with a rack in the lower middle position. Lay slices of bacon onto a rimmed half-sheet pan without any overlap. Bake the bacon 15 to 18 minutes -- it should be cooked but still a little pliable. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. (Do not eat more than one slice!) Pour the bacon fat through a strainer into a jar or other suitable receptacle.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, prep the onion. Cut the root and leaf ends off, then remove the papery outer skin. Cut the onion in half lengthwise (from cut end to cut end). Cut each half into thin, lengthwise slices.
  3. Transfer 2 tablespoons of bacon fat into a large sauté pan and heat over medium-low. Add the onions, and stir to coat. Cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and lightly caramelized. It will take about 45 minutes. Lightly season with salt.
  4. Combine the burger spread ingredients in a small bowl. Mix until homogenous.
  5. Coarsely chop or crumble the bacon, and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Combine the chopped bacon, ground turkey, and 1 tablespoon bacon fat in a medium bowl. Mix, using your hands, until bacon is well-distributed through the meat. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, and form into patties that are about 5/8-inch thick and between 1/2 and 3/4 inch larger in diameter than the buns. Refrigerate if you will be 30 minutes or longer until you grill the burgers. Season the burgers with salt just before cooking them.
  6. Heat the grill to high, with coals to 1 side if using charcoal. Clean and oil the grates. If using a gas grill turn off one burner. Assemble the burger ingredients. Brush the insides of the bun with a thin layer of bacon fat (or spread it on if the fat has solidified). Grill the burgers over direct heat, for 3 to 4 minutes per side until cooked through. Watch closely and remove the burgers to indirect heat briefly as needed if more than minor “flare-ups” occur. Grill the buns over indirect heat, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. When the burgers are a minute or so from being done, apply a slice of cheese to each patty and put the cover on the grill to allow the cheese to soften and start to melt.
  7. Assemble the burgers: Spread the burger spread on both sides of each bun. Place the patties on the bottom buns. Divide the caramelized onions between the burgers. Cap with the butter lettuce leaves concave side down. Place top buns on. Dig in!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cindi Acocks
    Cindi Acocks
  • Merrilee Edgar
    Merrilee Edgar
  • kschurms
  • Shannon Underwood Nelson
    Shannon Underwood Nelson
  • QueenOfGreen
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

16 Reviews

Lisa L. September 9, 2020
Wow! This went SO far beyond my expectations. Ground turkey is the kind of thing I buy, freeze, defrost in a pinch and then wonder what I'm going to do with it. Found this recipe and I had all the ingredients in the house so forged ahead. I don't grill & it was a very warm night so I cooked the bacon in the toaster oven & cooked the burgers in a cast iron skillet. Perfectly delicious. And the sauce was a great surprise; wasn't sure I'd love it, but I did. Had to shape the patties into dogs because I didn't have round buns (no joke intended).
NXL June 23, 2020
If I had to eat a turkey burger, this would be the one. Loved the aeoli, just spicy enough with pickled jalapenos. The onions had a lot of excess grease, so I drained on paper towels, then used the same skillet to cook the burgers. Not a fan of Swiss cheese, so substituted gruyere.
Lisa L. September 9, 2020
Just read your review and your comment about the cheese. Somehow I missed that there was cheese in the recipe. Didn't miss it at all...with the sauce and bacon grease.
Cindi A. May 28, 2020
This was delicious! My hubby couldn’t stop raving about it. The only thing I modified was adding a little beef/jalapeño bone broth when I caramelized the onions. Yummy! I will be keeping this recipe for future use! Thank you!
Diana P. August 17, 2019
Excellent! The burgers were juicy and flavorful, but still worked with the Brioche bun which would fall apart with a beef burger. The sauce was 5stars and I don’t like cumin. Too hot in Florida now to grill so used a cast iron skillet and got a great crust. Definitely a keeper and will serve for a crowd/football weekend.
Merrilee E. June 10, 2018
Where has this recipe been all my life? These are superb as is, though last time I made them I 'ground' half of the onions up with the bacon. Incredible. Added some horseradish and a wee bit of honey to the sauce, too. So very good. Thanks ever so much!
kschurms February 19, 2018
Can’t even count how many times I’ve made this amazing recipe. I typically add more bacon and a few dashes of worcestershire sauce to the burger mixture
Rachel September 19, 2017
Modifications - I confess that I ate 2 slices of the bacon instead of 1. Even with this illicit reduction in bacon and the fact that he bacon came in a 12 oz package, not 16 oz, my boys loved these burgers. Also, I didn't bother with the onions, cheese or sauce, which I am sure would have been fancy and wonderful. Instead they gobbled them down on toasted challah (!) with tomato, lettuce, and ketchup.
Shannon U. June 4, 2017
If you can't grill them, what's the best way to cook them? Fry in a pan or in the oven?
hardlikearmour June 4, 2017
I'd fry them.
Shannon U. June 4, 2017
Thank you! Fried in the cast iron it will be!
Anita July 26, 2015
Is it possible to prep everything one day ahead (except to actually cook the burgers)?
hardlikearmour July 26, 2015
QueenOfGreen August 17, 2014
Ermahgerd. This is ridiculously delicious.
Maria July 22, 2014
This look like a old fashion juicy burger I was planning to make turkey chillie for dinner.
Instead I will make this today.
EmilyC July 17, 2014
This looks and sounds SO GOOD! Congrats on the CP!