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Do Turkey Burgers Grill Faster Than Beef Burgers ?

Planning on grilling, but you’re not sure what kind of burgers to make ? Beef burgers are a crowd pleaser, and the most logical choice. But they do take a while to cook.

Would turkey burgers grill faster than beef burgers ?

It seems  like a logical second option, whether you’re on a health kick or not. So let’s find out if they do grill faster.

So do turkey burgers grill faster than beef burgers ?

Not necessarily. It depends very much on how done you like your beef burgers, in order to properly compare grill times.

This post compares grill times at medium-high grill heat.

On average turkey burgers cook in 8 minutes total (including both sides). 

Beef burgers take anywhere between 7 to 10 minutes, from medium-rare to well done.

There is a difference in cooking though, as turkey burgers dry out faster than beef burgers, and this might lead you to consider them ‘done’ before they’re actually done.

When cooking meat, internal temperature is the best gauge. So for poultry, you should aim for 165 F, while for beef 145 F is the required minimum.

Turkey, and poultry in general, turn white much faster than other meat types. This leads to errors when cooking, because you might judge the meat is done.

Poultry, and this includes turkey can and does need a nice crisp most of the time, in order to be safe to eat. Beef cannot handle that kind of cooking style without turning tough.

That being said, the thickness of the burger patty will also influence the necessary grill time. This, along with the type of meat used. For example turkey breast, which is leaner, will grill a bit faster than turkey drum/leg meat.

How to make turkey burgers

So if you’ve decided that turkey burgers are they way to go, then let’s talk about what you will need for this.

This recipe yields 6 servings.

For grilled turkey burgers, you will need:

  • 1.5 lbs turkey meat, either breast or drum
  • 1 small diced onion, cut very fine
  • 1 chicken egg, can be replaced with mayo mustard for extra flavor
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optionally, you can include these for extra flavor:

  • 1/4 seasoned bread crumbs (optional, but they make the patty tender)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • minced jalapeno, if you want some heat

In a big bowl, mix all the desired ingredients. Do not overmix, especially if you’re using turkey breast since that will make the meat even tougher and drier.

Now once your mix is done, grab another bowl of cold water. Wet your hands, take some patty mix, and shape it into a burger patty, about half an inch thick.

Keep in mind that turkey doesn’t bulge in the middle like beef, so it will pretty much keep the shape you give it.

Rest patties on a separate plate. This should yield you about 6-7 burger patties, depending on how generous you are with each scoop.

For best results, make the mix a couple of hours before grilling and let it rest (covered) in the fridge so the flavors get to mix.

How to grill turkey burgers on any grill

Onto grilling the burgers, heat your grill to medium-high.

Make sure the grate is a bit oiled, use a high smoke point oil like peanut oil or canola.

Your grill is hot enough when you can’t hold your hand over it for more than 3-4 seconds.

Place all the turkey burger patties on the grill, and do not disturb them for the first 4 minutes. Close the lid on the grill, and wait.

After the first 4 minutes, they should come off the grill easy. Flip with spatula, and cover again for another 4 minutes.

If you’ve done everything right, the egg or mayo used as binding agents will keep the whole patty from breaking apart. Still, use caution.

Once the last 4 minutes are done, take the lid off the grill off, and try to take the burgers off. They should come off easy, and with a nice char mark on each side.

What you need to know about turkey meat

Now that you know both how to make and how to grill turkey burgers, there’s a few things you need to know about turkey meat in general. This is so you understand why turkey might not cook faster than beef, and how to handle this kind of meat in general.

1. Turkey is a lean, white meat, and will dry easily

Turkey, like most poultry, is a very lean meat. It’s not going to burst with flavor like beef or pork, especially if you use turkey breast.

This is because the turkey has a lower fat content than beef, and as such won’t really brown nicely when you let it cook for longer.

At most, it will dry out if you leave it too much.

There are more muscle fibers, and since they’re so lean you’ll notice them turning white faster than beef or pork.

This might make you think the meat is done, when in fact it’s not.

2. Turkey needs lots of help with seasoning

Since turkey is a much leaner meat than beef, it’s going to have a bland flavor.

This means that it will need some seasoning, and will take pretty much any kind you throw at it.

It also means that you can make some wicked turkey burgers.

For example you can even add a bit of BBQ sauce in the patties themselves, to give them a sweet and smoky flavor. It will also change the overall color of the patties, so you’ll need to rely only in internal temperature and time.

Or, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try some curry burgers. Either by mixing into the patties some curry powder, or adding store-bought curry sauce as a binding agent instead of egg or mayo.

3. Turkey cooks fast, and is easy to overcook

Another reason to be careful when cooking turkey is that it does cook fast. Even if it’s not necessarily faster than beef burgers it’s not going to be a lot of time.

Which means that if you take your eyes off the timer, you might end up with turkey burgers that are too dry and might even break apart when you take the off the grill.

Using meat that’s not from the breast – which is the driest – is going to help reduce that effect, as it has a little more fat content.


Grilling turkey burgers is a quick job, but so is grilling beef burgers.

It’s up to you which you’d like to grill, but if you’re on a health kick, or simply need to cut back on red meat then turkey burgers are a good alternative.

It also means that you can get a little more creative with your seasonings, and can make some very interesting burgers that would otherwise be a fail with beef burgers.