Open-Faced Summer Turkey Burger – Ditch the Bun, Keep the Yum

Open-faced burgers are having a moment, and for good reason! They offer the crave-worthy satisfaction of a classic burger with a lighter, fresher spin. Think juicy turkey seasoned to perfection, vibrant toppings, and all the flavor with half the bun.

Open-Faced Summer Turkey Burger

I love open-faced burgers because they’re so easy to personalize. For this recipe, I’m amping up the flavor profile with a mix of dijon mustard, a touch of honey, and either a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of creamy pesto for a brighter zing.  It’s the perfect main course for when you want a satisfying American food experience that’s both cheap to create and adaptable to a dairy-free diet.

Simple Technique, Big Impact

To make this the ultimate summer burger, I recommend aiming for a portion size of about a quarter-pound of turkey per burger. This gives you plenty of protein without being overwhelming. Since we’re going bunless, you might want to adjust your usual expectations for fat and calories to stay within your goals.  This dish typically serves 4 and takes about 40 minutes of preparation before hitting the plate.

Why You’ll Love These Burgers

  • Crave-Worthy Flavor: Don’t let the lean turkey fool you! These burgers pack a punch, with vibrant toppings and a seasoning blend that delivers the classic burger experience you crave.
  • The Healthier Spin: Feel good about satisfying your burger craving without the heaviness of a traditional bun. Enjoy guilt-free indulgence with this healthier take on a beloved classic.
  • Fast, Easy Meal: Whether you’re using the grill or a stovetop pan, these burgers cook up surprisingly quick. Perfect for those nights when you want a delicious meal without tons of fuss!

Nutritional information

Calories510 (Approximately)
Protein42 g
Fat25 g
Carbohydrates28 g
Sodium701 mg

Open-Faced Summer Turkey Burger

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: BrunchunchCuisine: Mediterranean


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Here are the details of ingredients and directions. Prine the reicpe for your ease.


  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup grated cucumber (excess liquid squeezed out)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seeds

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 4 pieces naan bread

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Choose your favorite bed of greens: About 2 cups of arugula, baby spinach, or a spring salad mix all work perfectly.

  • Get creative with garnishes (optional): Try thinly sliced cucumber, pickled red onion, fresh basil leaves, a sprinkle of mint, or a scattering of diced tomatoes.


  • Grate half a cucumber using a cheese grater. Then, squeeze out excess liquid using a sieve, mesh strainer, or produce bag.
  • In a large bowl, combine minced turkey, beaten egg, minced garlic, honey, chopped mint, dill, ground mustard seeds, minced shallot, and the grated cucumber. Form into 4 equal patties and place them on a plate to chill in the refrigerator (at least 15 minutes).
  • While the patties chill, whisk together yogurt, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl – this is your refreshing sauce.
  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • While the grill heats up, slice your Naan bread in half.
  • Grill your turkey patties until cooked through. In the last minute of grilling, add the Naan bread to warm and lightly toast.
  • Spread the yogurt mixture evenly on each piece of bread.
  • Top your toasted bread with a turkey patty, your desired garnish (crumbled feta, chopped shallots, a handful of greens), then finish with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of your favorite sauce for extra richness.


  • Prep Tip: Start by grating the cucumber and squeezing out any excess liquid. This will prevent your burgers from becoming soggy.
  • Garlic Shortcut: For a quick alternative, substitute minced garlic with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Flavor Options: Explore different fresh herbs! Try substituting the mint and dill with chopped cilantro, basil, or even a touch of rosemary.
  • Make it Your Own: Get creative with toppings! Sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños, or a drizzle of sriracha can add a personalized touch.
  • Yogurt Swap: If you don’t have yogurt, sour cream makes a suitable substitute for the sauce.


  • Flavor Variations: Give your burgers a smoky kick with a touch of chipotle mayo. Simply whisk a bit of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into a dollop of mayo.
  • Adjust the Spice: Depending on your heat preference, add more or less chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Start with a small amount and taste the mayo before adding more for a custom spice level.
  • Change the Sauce: This recipe is incredibly versatile! Swap the yogurt mixture for a drizzle of your favorite sauce based on your flavor preferences.

How to Serve

While open-faced burgers are delicious on their own, sometimes you want the full burger experience without the extra bun! For a more traditional feel, try serving your turkey burger on lettuce leaves with your favorite toppings. This adds a satisfying crunch and refreshing element to the dish for an even healthier alternative.

When it comes to pairing sides, there are loads of delicious options! Here are a few ideas:

  • Classic Sides: Stick with traditional sides like fries, baked sweet potato fries, or even jicama fries for a unique twist.
  • Fresh and Healthy: Opt for a light side salad, a healthy potato salad, corn and black bean salad, or classic broccoli salad.
  • Pasta Power: Turkey burgers also go surprisingly well with pasta-based dishes like vegan mac and cheese, a mayo-free pasta salad, or a ranch-flavored pasta salad.

How to Store Leftovers

These open-faced turkey burgers make fantastic leftovers and are perfect for meal prep! This is how you can store them for optimal freshness:

Short-term Storage: Once cooked, allow your turkey burgers to cool completely. To store leftovers, place the cooked burgers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: To freeze, cook the burgers and let them cool completely. Place them on a baking sheet until firm. Once frozen, wrap each patty individually in either plastic wrap or parchment paper, and place them in a freezer-safe bag or a reusable container like a Stasher bag. Frozen turkey burgers will stay good for several months.


  • For frozen burgers, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
  • Reheat on a grill, stovetop, or for a warm and crispy finish, in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350 °F (176 °C), place the burger on a baking pan, and bake until heated through.

RELATED: Spicy Grilled Turkey Breast


Open-faced turkey burgers are a delicious and adaptable way to enjoy a classic summer meal. They’re quick to prepare, packed with flavor, and easily customizable to suit your preferences and dietary needs. Whether you’re craving a lighter burger or a fun twist on tradition, this recipe is sure to satisfy!


Frequently Asked Questions

Is a turkey burger healthier than a hamburger?

Turkey burgers can be a healthier option, but it depends on the fat percentage of the meat. Lean ground turkey generally has fewer calories and less saturated fat than ground beef, making it a good choice for those watching their fat intake.

Which ground turkey is best for burgers?

It depends on your preference! For the leanest burger, go for 99% lean ground turkey breast. However, if you want more flavor, a blend of ground turkey breast and dark meat can be tasty, though it will add some fat and calories.

What’s healthier, ground turkey or ground chicken?

Nutritionally, ground chicken and ground turkey are similar. Ground chicken can be slightly leaner, with fewer calories and less sodium. Ground turkey may have slightly more iron and protein. It really comes down to your taste and goals.

What keeps turkey burgers from falling apart?

Like traditional meatloaf, binders help hold the meat together. Dry breadcrumbs mixed into the turkey mixture will absorb moisture and add structure as the patties cook. Additionally, an egg acts as a glue, helping them maintain their shape on the grill.

Are turkey burgers good for you?

Turkey burgers can be a healthy choice if you aim to reduce calories or saturated fat. Opt for lean ground turkey, and be mindful of toppings to keep things lighter. While there’s a slim margin between the healthiness of a lean ground turkey burger and lean ground beef, turkey can be a heart-healthy alternative.

Why are turkey burgers so dry?

Leaner meats like turkey and chicken contain less fat, which is what keeps meat juicy and moist as it cooks. Overcooked turkey burgers lose moisture, leaving them tougher and dry. To combat this, consider mixing in super finely chopped mushrooms which add great flavor and hold a lot of water content.

Can turkey burgers be eaten rare?

No. Poultry should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 °C) to ensure safe consumption. Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness. While a hint of pink may be safe with some beef cuts, ground poultry carries a higher risk of bacteria and needs to be cooked to the proper temperature.

Why add egg to turkey burger?

Many recipes call for an egg when making turkey burgers. The egg works as a binder, helping the ground turkey and other ingredients stay cohesive. It also adds a touch of richness and helps keep the patties juicy.

What is the best binder for turkey burgers?

Panko breadcrumbs are a popular choice for turkey burgers! They’re known for their light, airy texture that helps keep burgers moist and flavorful. Panko absorbs liquids well, trapping those meat juices during cooking. They also create structure, preventing the meat proteins from contracting too tightly and squeezing the juices out.

Is turkey burger healthier than beef?

Turkey generally has lower levels of saturated fat than beef, making it a better choice for heart health. Fat-free turkey provides the lowest calorie option, which can be helpful if weight loss is your main goal. However, taste-wise, ground beef can offer richer flavor in some dishes.

Is Turkey burger healthier than chicken?

Both chicken and turkey are healthy protein sources. Turkey has a slight edge in vitamins B6 and pantothenic acid. Conversely, chicken may boast slightly more calories, fat, sodium, and zinc but also provides more niacin and vitamin B12.

What holds turkey burgers together?

To prevent your turkey burgers from falling apart, add a binding agent to hold things together. As with meatloaf, eggs and breadcrumbs are the most common binders. They promote patty shape and structure.

How to improve turkey burgers?

A juicy turkey burger relies on more than just the meat. Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and seasoning are key to tasty burgers! Branch out with your favorite spices – smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, or even a homemade Cajun seasoning mix can add a ton of personality.

Additional Ideas for Flavorful Burgers:

  • Get Saucy: A drizzle of pesto or your favorite sauce adds moisture and a delicious flavor boost.
  • Veggie Power: Finely chopped mushrooms or grated vegetables add moisture and nutrients.
  • Zesty Twist: A squeeze of lemon juice or a small amount of crumbled feta can add a bright contrast.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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