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If you’re craving big flavor, make these jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers. These medium spicy burgers are bursting with flavor from cumin, smoked paprika, jalapeño pepper, garlic, cilantro, and pepper jack cheese and taste phenomenal hot off the grill. Turkey burgers often dry out, but these remain extra juicy and moist!

turkey burger on hamburger bun

Last summer, I published one of my favorite burger recipes. Black bean burgers are DEFINITELY one of my top choices and even meat eaters tend to agree. They’re big, thick, and hearty and meat eaters (plus non meat eaters!) around the world have raved about them. This summer, I’ve been playing around with turkey burger recipes and I’m confident I found the best combination of ingredients to make an absolutely divine burger. Meet my jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers. We loved these.

Here’s What You’ll Love

  • Juicy (not dry)
  • Crazy flavorful
  • Thick and satisfying
  • Medium spicy, but you can adjust the heat
  • Relatively easy

Turkey burgers are leaner than beef burgers, so they definitely dry out quickly. We fix all that with today’s recipe. Shockingly good. Look how thick and hearty!

jalapeño turkey burgers

Overview of Ingredients in These Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey simply doesn’t contain the same flavor profile as ground beef, so it’s up to you to add extra flavor to the burgers. After playing around with different spices, binders, and herbs, I found the following list to be the real deal. Each ingredient adds a little something special and I encourage you to try the recipe as written. However, feel free to substitute your preferred flavors!

  1. Ground Turkey: The most important ingredient in turkey burgers is ground turkey. I usually use 94% lean ground turkey. The higher percentage of turkey, the leaner the meat and the drier the turkey burger. For best results, stick with around 94% lean. Remember, fat adds flavor.
  2. Egg: 1 egg binds the ingredients together.
  3. Pepper Jack Cheese: Adding pepper jack cheese directly to the turkey burger mixture supplies flavor, moisture, and– of course– spicy cheesiness!
  4. Onion: Adds flavor and moisture.
  5. Garlic: Adds flavor. Use either pre-minced garlic or mince 2 garlic cloves yourself.
  6. Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds flavor and pairs very well with the jalapeño. I didn’t think I’d love the cilantro IN the burger, but I was totally wrong. It’s fantastic.
  7. Jalapeño Pepper: Adds a delicious kick! Feel free to reduce or increase based on your spice tolerance. See more below.
  8. Worcestershire: Adds exceptional flavor and moisture.
  9. Salt & Pepper: Essential flavor!
  10. Smoked Paprika & Cumin: These are two excellent spices to pair with ground turkey. Smoked paprika’s sweet, rich, and smoky flavor enriches the burger’s flavor and cumin’s warm earthy taste is definitely a welcome addition.

If You Crave Big Flavor, Make These Jalapeño Pepper Turkey Burgers!

jalapeño turkey burger with melted cheese on a plate

Overview: How to Make Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers

  1. First step is to prep all of your ingredients. Finely chop the onion and jalapeño, mince the garlic, and get out all your spices.
  2. Mix everything except for the ground turkey together.
  3. Add the ground turkey and mix well. Honestly your hands are the best tool, but a wooden spoon or rubber spatula works just fine too.
  4. Form into 6 plump and compact patties. Each will be a heaping 1/2 cup of the turkey burger mixture. If you have a scale, each will weigh about 6 ounces.
  5. Chill. Place patties onto a lined baking pan or plate, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours. Starting with very cold patties is important because the colder the meat, the less likely the burgers will fall apart. Refrigerating the uncooked turkey burgers also gives the turkey a chance to absorb some of the awesome flavors.
  6. Grill the patties or sauté on the stove. I highly recommend grilling the turkey burgers because it really locks in all the moisture and adds the most wonderful grilled smoky flavor. Maybe it’s the winter and/or not everyone has access to a grill, so sautéing in a little oil on the stove is another option. See instructions for both in the recipe below. Add a slice of pepper jack on top as the burgers finish up.
  7. Add toppings. Serve your turkey burgers on a bun with spicy mayo, spicy ranch dressing, pickles, guacamole, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cilantro, or whatever else you’re craving.

You could also enjoy the turkey burger plain, on a salad, or chopped up in a wrap. These jalapeño pepper jack turkey burgers are crazy flavorful, so they truly don’t need any extras!

2 images of turkey burger mixture in glass bowl
2 images of turkey burgers ready for the grill and grilling turkey burgers

Don’t Overcook

Cook the turkey burgers until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). Overcooking the turkey burgers will quickly dry them out, so keep a close eye on the grill or stove. They’ll cook in about 10 minutes on a high heat grill or medium-high stove. Keep the grill closed or place a lid over the skillet.

Are They Spicy?

The exact recipe below yields medium spicy turkey burgers. I don’t like super spicy foods, but loved these. If you don’t like spicy or are sensitive to spice, leave out the jalapeño pepper and substitute cheddar cheese for the pepper jack cheese. If you want a spicier kick, add another chopped jalapeño.

jalapeño turkey burgers on a baking sheet
jalapeño turkey burger on a white plate

Making these for every cookout for the remainder of the summer. And don’t forget the chocolate chip cookies for dessert 🙂 Let me know if you try these burgers too!

More Cookout Favorites

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turkey burger on hamburger bun

Jalapeño Pepper Jack Turkey Burgers

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 burgers 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American


These medium spicy turkey burgers are plump and juicy with mega flavor from a variety of spices and herbs. Refrigerate the patties for at least 30 minutes, then grill or sauté.


  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds 94% lean ground turkey*
  • optional: 6 slices pepper jack cheese
  • for serving: hamburger buns, jalapeño slices, spicy mayo or ranch dressing, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, etc


  1. Whisk all of the first 11 ingredients together (not the 12th ingredient, the ground turkey) in a large bowl. Once completely combined, add the ground turkey and use your hands, a rubber spatula, or wooden spoon to thoroughly mix. Once completely combined, form the mixture into 6 plump and compact patties. The patties will weigh around 6 ounces each and be a heaping 1/2 cup each.
  2. Place the patties onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, baking pan, or plate. Cover tightly then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. This ensures the patties will hold their shape. You can also freeze the patties for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
  3. Clean the grill and grease with vegetable oil. Pour a little vegetable oil on a paper towel and carefully rub all over the grates. Preheat grill to high. Place cold turkey burgers on heated grill and cook for 5 minutes with the lid closed. Flip burgers over and cook covered for an additional 3 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). If adding cheese, place a slice of cheese on the burger for the last 30 seconds. Overcooking the turkey burgers will quickly dry them out, so keep a close eye on them.
  4. Serve on hamburger bun with desired toppings.
  5. Store leftover turkey burgers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can shape the turkey burger patties up to 24 hours in advance, see step 2. You can also freeze the shaped patties for up to 3 months, see step 2. You can freeze the cooked turkey burgers as well. Cool completely, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter or defrost in the microwave. Heat up to your liking. I usually microwave for 30 seconds until warm throughout.
  2. The leaner the ground turkey, the higher the chance the burger has to dry out. I recommend around 94% lean.
  3. Stove Directions: Heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Hold your hand over the skillet and when you feel the heat rising up, the skillet is hot enough. Carefully place cold turkey burgers in heated skillet and cook for 5 minutes with a lid on top. Flip burgers over and cook covered for an additional 4-5 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). If adding cheese, place a slice of cheese on the burger for the last 30 seconds. If skillet isn’t large enough, cook in batches.

Keywords: turkey burgers, burger

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. That looks super yummy! We’ll need to replicate this at home! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love turkey burgers and these look amazing! Unfortunately, I am not a big cheese person (weird I know). I am guessing if I just leave out the cheese they will be dry- are there any substitutions I can use?

    1. Hi Krista! Won’t be too dry at all! How about you replace with diced red pepper for a little extra moisture. Let me know how you like them!

  3. I ate turkey burgers once when i visited Europe. It was so delicious. Your recipe remembers me of the best days that i spent in Europe.

  4. My husband hates grilling turkey burgers because they fall apart. Could I bake these (or even make a meatloaf) and bake it…or would it be dry? Regardless, this is what’s for dinner tonight!

    1. Hi Sally! You could definitely bake the turkey burgers, but if I’m not grilling them, I actually prefer sautéing on the stove. See recipe note!

    2. I was also worried about this, but having them cool in the fridge (she recommended at least 30 mins in the recipe) for an hour before grilling made it so they held shape. I sprayed my grill with the grill spray before putting them on there too and they didn’t fall apart at all! And even though I made mine thinner and left them on a little longer they didn’t dry out at all. 😀

      1. Mandy, thank you for your comment. And Sally, thank you as well! Okay! Grill it is!

  5. These were DELICIOUS. At first my beef-loving boyfriend was skeptical when I told him I was making turkey burgers for dinner, but even he was impressed by how flavorful and juicy these were! My grocery store didn’t have any Pepper Jack so I used habanero & jalapeño cheddar cheese. Since this recipe only needs 1/3 cup of onion, I used the rest of the onion to make caramelized onions and topped the burgers with it. Thanks for sharing! I’ll definitely be making these again.

    1. Super bummed about these. I followed the recipe and they stuck and fell apart on the grill the flavor was really good though. I wish they had worked out.

  6. The taste of this burger was great. Unfortunately, we found the patties way too thick when using 2lb of ground turkey. They took forever to cook on the stove – we actually had to wind up “steaming” them in water so they could cook for longer, but without the risk of burning the bottom of the patties. Perhaps this is a recipe better suited for the grill rather than the stove.

    We’ll likely be making this recipe again, but halving just the amount of turkey (which will make the burgers overall more flavorful), and also putting in a little dash of cayenne.

  7. Love your recipes in general, but this one was phenomenal! My husband doesn’t really care for turkey burgers, he prefers beef, but he just didn’t care that it wasn’t beef. I made half the recipe size and made them much thinner (I got 4 patties out of it) and they were still so juicy and delicious! Next time I’ll make the full recipe and save some in the freezer for sure! Thanks for creating and sharing such amazing recipes!

  8. These are the BEST turkey burgers I have ever had, whether at home or at a restaurant! I did not have any jalapenos, and my husband doesn’t like the anyway, so I replaced that with a couple mini bell peppers. The pepper jack cheese made so there was still a hint of spiciness. I also really enjoyed the cilantro! I can’t wait to make these again!

  9. So excited to come across this recipe… just bought some ground turkey last night and and was wondering what to do with it for dinner. Really looking forward to making these tonight! Love that you added the cheese and cilantro directly into the burger patty… I’ve never tried that before!

  10. These were delicious. My whole family loved them. It was the first turkey burger I’ve made that hasn’t come out dry. Thanks for a great recipe!

  11. OMG Sally! I made these this week and they were so delicious. They will definitely be in our regular burger rotation. So much flavor was packed into them. YUM!

  12. Made this last week, and it turned out great! There is just the two of us, so halved the recipe and cooked in the skillet on the stove. had to make a couple of changes due to food allergies, but this recipe is a winner! We will be making it again and again!

  13. Do you have any advice on cooking them in a cast iron skillet, please? I also wonder about covering them if they are made that way. Would it still be necessary? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sherry! I would still cover the cooking burgers if using a cast iron skillet.

  14. Our new favorite burger recipe! We’ve had them twice this week, and they’ll definitely be a new regular in our rotation. Loved how moist and flavorful they are, especially for the little amount of work they take. Thanks for a new family favorite Sally!

  15. I’d never had a turkey burger I liked before this recipe! They’re usually so dry and these aren’t. I’ve made them twice now. One other little trick I like because you mentioned the cheese in the burger adds moisture. I take about half an ounce of cream cheese, maybe a little less, and shape it into a disc. Then I mold the burger around that. It makes it so the very center is never dry and it goes great with the jalapeños.

  16. This is delicious! Per your suggestion, cooked these stovetop. I made six and froze half. They didn’t stay in the freezer very long and I’m already making them again. I accidentally left out the cheese and just put cheese on top so I am looking forward to trying them again with cheese mixed in. Yum

  17. Sally’s Turkey Burgers are AH-MAZING! They are flavorful, moist, and delicious. The best turkey burger I’ve ever had.
    And if you were concerned about them being too spicy, I found them rather mild.

  18. I love these burgers. So flavorful and just the right amount and mix of spice. I made extra patties and froze them (uncooked) individually.

  19. These are awesome! Made them three times since the recipe was posted. Froze extra uncooked patties and they cooked up great. Out here in New Mexico I swapped the jalapeño for Hatch roasted green Chile and they were just as awesome! Thanks Sally!!

  20. Yummy tasting! Mine were very wet even after a couple of hours in the fridge. Can you suggest something to add to make them hold together? I’m sure it was the turkey. It was very soft. Thanks.

  21. Thank you for another fantastic recipe! I added a second jalapeño because my family likes the extra kick, and I made this recipe into 8 burgers instead of 6. It’s still 104358 degrees in FL so even though it’s technically fall, this recipe is summer perfection!

  22. I made these a couple times over the summer and they are so good! My husband prefers beef over turkey, but he loves these with the turkey. I have been craving these and have decided to make them tonight, but making them as stuffed peppers instead of burgers. I am still getting green peppers out of the vegetable garden.

  23. These are the BEST burgers! They’ve become a regular for us. They are the right amount of spicy, are so flavorful and the melted pepper jack cheese inside is amazing! Thanks for another fantastic recipe!

  24. These were AMAZING! I made these tonight and my husband asked if they were the turkey burgers we usually buy from Costco (big compliment, they’re delicious lol). As someone else stated, I was worried these would be too spicy for my kids but I just used cheddar on the top but still had pepper jack inside and they were mild.
    Since I have younger kids, I did make 8 burgers out of this instead so they were a tad smaller but it definitely helped to weigh them around 5oz a piece and they were perfection.
    I used a cast iron skillet on my stove and didn’t have a lid to just placed a piece of foil over top as they cooked.
    Perfect and juicy and flavorful!
    Thanks for this recipe, Sally!!

  25. The recipe turned out DELICIOUS!! They were not dry at all! Added guacamole to the burger and it was perfect! Thanks Sally!

  26. These are incredible! Turkey burgers are usually dry and lacking in flavor, but not these!! Super delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  27. This is my go to Turkey burger recipe!! My husband loves it also and says they are way better than his moms lol! Any idea of these would be considered keto friendly?

  28. Right in the money!! I normally make a recipe once and then make tweaks Most things don’t have enough flavor. These are absolutely perfect!!!!! Thanks for sharing

  29. Hi Sally!

    Do you have a recommendation for another choice of cheese that would compliment the burgers?

    1. Hi Cindy! Any kind of “harder” cheese would be delicious like cheddar or colby jack.

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