Recipe: Turkey Bean Burgers

Our basic turkey burger. Stretched with pinto beans.

Super simple. Super tasty. (and you don’t notice the beans!)

Perfect for topping with all the things.

The Eliminations

Turkey burger recipes are pretty all over the place – really, you can just pat the ground turkey together out of the package and slap it on a grill – so there are no real common ingredients.

That said, there are a few things you’ll see in many turkey burger recipes that aren’t in ours.

Compared to some popular turkey burger recipes, here’s what we skip in our turkey bean burgers:

  • Liquid (oil, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup)
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh onion and garlic
  • A million different spices

Worried about it being too dry? Don’t worry. We’ve got a trick for that.

The Swaps

Compared to a lot of turkey burger recipes, here’s what we’ve swapped out in our turkey bean burgers:

Nothing really. Instead, we’ve replaced everything we’ve junked with pinto beans.

Depending on the comparative recipe, we’ve eliminated some fat (recipes that add oil for liquid) and empty carbs (recipes that use panko to soak up added liquid).

We have also upped these puppies’ nutritional profile, increasing the Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium bite for bite.

How long do turkey bean burgers take?

Us: 15 minutes (5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook time)

Fast Food Preppers: 15 minutes (5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook time)

What’s the flavor like?

Subdued. You can even call it “bland” if you want to.

There’s not a lot going on with these burgers. They are very simple and very basic.

But, as such, they work with a lot of toppings.

And no, you don’t even notice the beans in these.

What’s the texture like?

Turkey burger-like. Drier and a bit crumblier than a beef burger.

But cooked (and reheated) properly, you can get some of that moisture back.

What can go wrong?

Turkey burgers are notorious for falling apart.

That’s why recipes that use fresh onions and garlic typically also use egg to bind it all together.

While we never have a problem with these simple turkey bean burgers falling apart, if you get add-happy with ingredients, it may be hard to get everything to stick.

If you want them to hold together, you’ve got to keep things simple.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind before you get started:

When draining the beans, leave a little juice.

The 5.5 ounces of beans in our turkey bean burger recipe is about half a (15 oz.) can of pinto beans drained.

Just don’t drain all the way.

A little bean juice will make the ground turkey less sticky and easier to work with when forming into patties.

Experiment with spices.

As referenced above, we keep our turkey burgers subdued (dull) because they can be topped with just about anything.

Since there’s only two of us, we eat these burgers over three or four days, so variety is essential.

But if you’re looking to add flavor, ground spices are the way to go. They’ll add plenty of POW without causing these burgers to fall apart.

Keep the lid on.

We’ll say it again… turkey burgers (without added liquid) are dry.

While it may feel against God and all the laws of nature to cook a burger with the lid on (unless it’s on the grill), we find locking that condensation in is the best way to keep turkey burgers moist.

Use a water pan in your grill.

If you’re cooking these turkey bean burgers on the grill, you need to add moisture.

Use a water pan to keep it from getting too dry under the hood.

Steam to reheat.

That’s right. We do not shy away from a steamed burger. Especially when it’s a turkey burger.

When it comes to reheating, a short steam is the best way to keep these burgers moist.

The Recipe

Turkey Bean Burgers

Turkey Bean Burgers

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The basicest of basicest turkey burgers. With a light beany upgrade.


  • 5.5 oz (1/2 can, drained) whole pinto beans
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp oil (we use avocado)


1. Process pinto beans in food processor until they are roughly diced or give them a gentle mash. Beans should be about ¼ to ½ their original size.

2 . Mix processed pintos and ground turkey in bowl.

3. Add spices and mix well.

4. Add oil to pan, heat over medium heat and use spatula to fully coat the pan.

5. Pat turkey mix into patties and place in pre-heated pan.

6. Cook through the first side (4-5 minutes) before flipping. Watch the sides of the patties. Patties are ready to flip when white rises halfway up the side.

7. Flip patties and cook through (4-5 more minutes).


There is no "rare" in turkey burgers. Use a meat thermometer to make sure these turkey bean burgers are done. Burgers should cook to an internal temperature of 165°

Steam to reheat for the juiciest result.

Nutrition Information

Our nutrition information is based on six (approx. 3.5-oz.) patties. We think this is a really good standard burger size.

Depending on your sides, you can also divide this recipe into eight smaller patties. We divide into eight patties when we have extra sides or are planning to eat these burgers on smaller bread, like our flatbread.

The Toppings

These are basic burgers and can be treated as such. Their versatility is what makes them grand despite their simplicity.

Here are some flavor combos we absolutely love to deck these burgers out in:

  • Beet & brie
  • Dijon mayo & jalapeño
  • Classic (lettuce, tomato & red onion with mustard)

Why our turkey bean burgers?

Because they’re simple. Simple as that.

There’s no ultra-processed or sodium-laden additions.

These are just very basic burger vessels ready to be piled high with all your favorite trimmings.

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