Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

At the risk of sounding totally redundant, I could start and end this post with Brian’s words after devouring this burger:

“No kidding, Mel, that’s the best burger I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

Not that his recommendation has to be the only recommendation to go by. How about my 9-year old’s?

“Dude, mom, that was sick.” (Thank you Mr. 10-year old neighbor for imparting new slang words to the children.)

Or the 6-year old’s?

“How come you didn’t make enough for all of us to have three? No fair!”

The 4-year old’s?

“It would be even more awesomer with ketchup.”

Or the 7-year old’s? (I promise, we’re almost done here)

“That was good enough to be on Chopped, mom.”

Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Or how about mine?

“If any of you even think about touching the leftover burger and bun, you better sleep with one eye open.”

As you can tell, these burgers are incredible. Don’t let jalapeno in the title scare you. Seeded and without the membrane, there’s no spice (but feel free to leave some of those seeds in for a bit of a kick!). Just flavor. Lots and lots of flavor infused into the juiciest, most delicious burger known in these Northern Minnesota parts. Plus, I can’t understate the importance of real, live guacamole on this burger. It takes a fantastic burger and completely elevates it to something not of this world. Totally amazing. (Thanks, Fran, for directing me to this recipe!)

What To ServeSweet Potato Fries or Jo Jo Wedges
Chips and Guacamole Salad
Sliced fruit

One Year Ago: The Best Broccoli Salad
Two Years Ago: BLT Pita Pockets
Three Years Ago: Creamy Banana Pudding Trifle

Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Yield: Makes about 6 burgers

Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

If you want more heat, leave the seeds and membrane in the jalapeno while chopping and add it to the meat mixture. Without the seeds and membranes, the jalapeno imparts great flavor but very little heat (my kids ate these with no problem). I love whipping up homemade guacamole - it's so simple; I dump about 2 diced avocados (obviously without the peel and huge seed) in a bowl and mash with the juice of half a lime, salt and pepper and a dash of garlic powder or a minced clove of fresh garlic, all of which can be adjusted to taste.


  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion (white, red or yellow)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1/2 tablespoon or so)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • For Serving:
  • 6 soft hamburger buns (I made buns out of this favorite recipe)
  • Guacamole
  • Extra cheddar slices
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Whatever else your heart desires to put on these babies


  1. Heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat (about 400 degrees if you have a temperature gauge on the grill). If needed, oil the grates to keep the burgers from sticking.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the burger ingredients together until well combined. I just dig in with my hands and mix it all up.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 6 patties (I judge the size by how big the buns are and make the meat mixture slightly larger since they'll shrink a bit while cooking).
  4. Grill the meat patties for 5 to 6 minutes per side, more or less, depending on how thick the turkey burgers are. Tent with foil after removing from the grill and let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings - I highly encourage the use of guacamole because it makes the burgers absolutely out of this world.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe that Fran from Fran’s Favs directed me to (by way of Smells Like Home who got it from What’s Gaby Cooking…phew!)

49 Responses to Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

  1. Sara says:

    Mel! These were awesome!!! I sautéed the onion, jalapeño, and garlic in a little olive oil and cooled that mixture before I tossed it in with the turkey, cheese, cilantro and spices. My little boys have a hard time with raw onion, so the quick sauté just mellowed it enough that they wouldn’t complain. haha. I made 12 slider sized patties and served them with Hawaiian rolls with extra fresh jalapeños and homemade guacamole. “A total make again,” said my 6 year old!! Thanks, Mel!

  2. Nicole says:

    YUM!! My family loved these burgers. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Mel,
    We don’t have a grill at the moment, would you suggest broiling or pan frying for these?

  4. Andrea S. says:

    These were terrific. Bold with flavor and tender like meatloaf. Next time I’ll cut back on the salt though, especially since the guacamole adds an element of salty flavor.

  5. Meredith says:

    Made these for dinner last night for my family but substituted cheddar for “extra hot” shredded habanero cheese to give them an extra kick. So delicious! Will definitely top with guacamole next time!

    • Mamalala says:

      I think I will try a hot cheese too. Made these and they were tasty but the heat wasn’t there for me. Such a yummy recipe and it made around 8 burgers for us.

  6. Telly says:

    Made this for my family tonight….delicious! Thank you!

  7. Mindy says:

    Our family loved these burgers. I had some bad luck getting them
    to hold together so I was forced to turn these to a sloppy joe style.
    We still added guac, cheese, lettuce, etc. and all 7 of us loved them!!
    Thank you!

  8. Jean says:

    This is one seriously good burger. Broiled them, since winter still has its hold on New England, and added Skinny Taste Ranch Dip/Dressing to the guacamole topping. Waiting for fresh tomatoes to be in season, and the grill, which will make this even better. Definitely a keeper!

  9. amber says:

    i love the recipes i have found on here they are a big hit!

  10. sa says:

    These are easy to make and have great flavor. I made these for my first turkey burger recipe and I will look no further. They are that good. Thanks and I love your website. It has been my go to website for great recipes.

  11. Sarah says:

    I just made these for the first time and they were excellent! I had long ago decided I hated ground turkey but decided to give it another try this week. Immediately searched your blog for turkey burgers and lo and behold, jalapeno cheddar burgers? What’s not to love?! I was a little skeptical about your claim that they wouldn’t be all that spicy but you were, as always, right, and my one, three, and four year olds chowed down without even one “Mom, it’s stinging my tongue!” comment! Also made them with your french bread rolls recipe. We will certainly have these again – thanks!

  12. Bart says:

    Wow, the best turkey burgers I’ve ever had and I’m not joking. I’m doing a low carb diet and these are perfect to eat without a bun or any sides.

    I actually slow grill bacon on my foreman grill in the mornings so these were actually cooked in the bacon oil left on the grill. Incredible.

  13. Danie says:

    Hi Mel,

    I want to make these, but reside in an apartment complex that doesn’t allow us to have grills. Can you please provide some guidance on how to adapt this recipe for the oven? Thanks so much, glad I stumbled across your blog!

  14. Amy, lover of salsa says:

    Mel, you weren’t kidding about these. The flavors are just unbelievably delicious and work so well! I had a similar burger at a joint locally revered for its burgers, but yours is much better–cleaner favors without any fuss. Guac just puts these over the top. Thanks for another winner!

  15. Megan says:

    AWESOME! These burgers rocked our socks off! We all loved them…husband, me, 7,5,and 3 year old. Thanks for yet another winner. We will make these often!

  16. Sharlene says:

    I made these tonight with the cylinder 15/85 and they were like mush! I should have read the comments sooner. I ended up just putting them in a pan because I was losing them on the grill. The stove worked great! My husband loved them! I added sliced turkey bacon to the finished product and it was killer! So yummy!

  17. Anissa says:

    These were delicious. Loved loved loved them.

  18. Tyshelle says:

    Hi Mel. I love, LOVE, loooooove your blog and all your recipes! Haven’t found anything we don’t like! I have a question with this recipe though. My burgers seemed to fall apart, they just wouldn’t stick together. Ay ideas how to be them to stay in patty-form for next time? Flavors were amazing but it seemed like I had a hot mess that just kept cracking as patties and falling apart.

    • Mel says:

      Tyshelle – what brand/type of ground turkey did you use? I’ve bought a few brands of ground turkey in the past that seem to be more water than anything else and when I tried them in turkey burgers, they were a mess (I think it was the Jennie-O 85/15 ground turkey sold in the cylinder-shape plastic packages). But I’ve had really good luck with Honeywell and the Jennie-O ground turkey sold in the styrofoam containers covered in plastic.

  19. Randy says:

    Hi! Do you do anything different to the roll recipe when you are using them as buns? I made the recipe tonight and yours seem to be shiny in the picture above whereas mine were more dull looking and looked like dinner rolls. Do you put an egg wash or melted butter on them? Thanks

    • Mel says:

      Hi Randy, I don’t use an egg wash or melted butter. The picture may make them look shinier than they really are. You could certainly use either of those on the top though if you’d like.

  20. Kelli says:

    Mel- wow, you just don’t disappoint! I made these tonight and they were a hit. However I have something of yours that makes them even better- not only did I top the burgers with guacamole, but also with your chipotle dipping sauce. You know, the one that you pair with the southwest egg rolls. YUM! I would highly recommend this sauce for the burgers as well.

  21. Ellen says:

    Hi Mel,
    First of all, I love your blog! A friend mentioned it to me in passing, and ever since I checked it out, I’m on it several times a day dreaming of which delicious recipe to try next. 🙂
    I would love to make these, but the only grill we have is a George Foreman. Would that work with these, and if so, are there any adjustments I should make?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ellen – I’ve never used a Foreman grill but these should work fine – make sure they won’t stick (maybe use a bit of cooking spray if it says it’s ok to in the manual) and keep an eye on cooking time. Good luck!

  22. I like the 7 year old comment about chopped, hilarious! You have a way of explaining the flavors in the recipes that only makes my recipes to do list grow so fast!

  23. Melissa (Mel2) says:

    My babes are taking their afternoon nap and I’m giving up my nap to make the homemade buns and these burgers. With those kind of comments how can I not? I know it will be well worth it. And my Brian will be thrilled I’m sure! Think I will pair them with butternut squash fries… I better get up and get goin’ 🙂

  24. Mel,
    Fran sent me this recipe too and I’m glad it has your stamp of approval. I crave meat like crazy lately. I’ve already planned my last meal before the baby and it’s at a burger place but if I had the energy I would make this!

  25. Jackie says:

    Love your 7 year olds comment. My kids loved Chopped and whenever they tell me they think something I made could be on it it makes me feel so good!

  26. Lyndsay says:

    These sound amazing. We have a kiddo with a milk allergy though. Do you think these would work without the shredded cheddar?

  27. These burgers look amazing Mel! Pinned and going to try them soon!

  28. abi says:

    Mel, this is a bit off-track, but I couldn’t see a place to post questions. But I am having a big outdoor lunch to celebrate my son’s baptism and am going to be serving chicken salad croissants but am seriously stumped as to what kind of salad to serve with it. It would need to be something that could hold up fairly well outside (it can be chilled until right up to serving but will need to stay suitable outside for about an hour after that). Any suggestions of a good salad?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Abi – are you looking for recommendations on the chicken salad or a side salad? I’ll send you a personal email with suggestions if you can let me know.

  29. Ronalee says:

    Honest, I just made it yesterday before you posted this! (including your french rolls for buns) I had been changing a chicken burger recipe from another source.
    So glad we’re on the same page. And get out of my head! 🙂

  30. Kathy says:

    These look delicious! And the guacamole! Yum!

  31. Laurel says:

    I want to make these. Especially with fresh buns! How many ounces of dough make a good size burger bun? Every time I’ve tried, it’s been a total fail. Either too small,dinner roll, or super massive, would fit 2 burgers on it! Help! Please!

  32. David says:

    Did you use fresh peppers or canned? The recipe wasn’t clear but it can make a big difference in the heat. We have some fresh peppers from the garden, but I’m a little scared to use them on an unfamiliar recipe for the whole family.

  33. Karly says:

    Making these for lunch! How can I resist rave reviews like that? (Well, except for the ketchup request. That made me laugh!)

  34. Nicole Hunn says:

    These look fab, Mel. Do you use the crazy lean ground turkey? I’ve been eyeing the somewhat less lean ground turkey I see sometimes, as I’m a big fan of fat. If this recipe could make even the super lean stuff taste great, it’s a major keeper!

    xo N

    • Mel says:

      Nicole – good question. I use the 85% lean for this but ground chicken is ultra-lean and that’s what I’ve seen most bloggers use in this. From what I hear, if your grill grates are well-oiled, you should be good!

  35. With reviews like that, I’ve obviously got to try it!!! My son must be hanging out with your neighbor. “Sick” is a thing here lately, too.

  36. Caitlin says:

    Sounds awesome! I was wondering if you could use ground beef in these instead? I already put burgers on my meal plan for next week, and I have about 10 lbs of ground beef in the freezer, but no turkey, I would love to make these though!

    • Mel says:

      Caitlin – sure, I think ground beef would work just fine. The flavors might be a bit more subtle since ground turkey and chicken are a bit lighter in texture and flavor but hey, if you have it, use it up!

  37. Kim in MD says:

    Ha! I giggled when I read your children’s comments, and laughed out loud when I read yours! You are so funny, Mel! This burger looks like perfection on plate. My daughter loves Southwest/Mexican flavors, so I know she will especially love this. And yes, guacamole is a must!

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