Turkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo

Favorite SummerBurgerGround Turkey

How to make a turkey burger juicy? With grated zucchini! This turkey zucchini burger has basil, onions, and garlic, served with garlic mayo

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Turkey meat is much leaner than beef or pork, so it can be a challenge to make a burger with ground turkey that still gives you the satisfaction of eating a juicy burger.

One trick I use to infuse moisture into ground turkey is to add freshly grated zucchini! This is perfect for summer when those of us who garden have more zucchini than we can possibly use.

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It’s a trick I learned making these spicy turkey zucchini burgers with middle eastern flavors from the Jerusalem cookbook.

No, the burgers don’t taste like zucchini, and yes, the grated zucchini works great to keep the burgers from drying out.

Just make sure you are using fresh summer zucchini, and not something that’s shipped from thousands of miles away in the dead of winter when they are out of season.

Turkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo

Zucchini doesn’t add much in the way of taste, and ground turkey is mild as well, so we need to bump up our turkey burgers with herbs and spices.

In this Italian inspired turkey burger we are including chopped fresh basil and oregano into the burger mix, and serving the burger with a slathering of garlic mayo.

Turkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 6 turkey burgers

These turkey burgers don't have a binder in them so are best cooked gently on the stovetop rather than the grill.

If you would prefer to grill them, I recommend squeezing out some of the excess moisture from the grated zucchini, and adding some mayonnaise to the burger mix. The egg in the mayonnaise will help bind the burger while it cooks, and the oil in the mayo will help the burgers stay juicy.

I have found that zucchini have a higher water content than patty pan or other types of summer squash, so are the best type of summer squash to use in this recipe.


  • 1 pound ground turkey (thigh meat preferred)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound of zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Garlic Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Rest of burger

  • Several leaves of lettuce
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Burger buns
  • Butter


1 Make the burger mix: In a large bowl place the ground turkey, green onions, chopped basil and oregano, garlic, black pepper, and salt. Using clean hands mix together thoroughly. Then mix in the grated zucchini until well distributed throughout the ground turkey.

2 Form burger patties and cook on both sides: Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Carefully form six patties with the turkey zucchini mixture.

Working in batches, gently cook the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. You don't want the heat to be too high or the patties may get too browned before they are cooked through.  Remove to a plate to keep warm.

3 Toast the buns: When you are finished with the pan for the burgers, wipe out any burned bits. Melt a little butter in the pan and place the buns in the pan, cut side down to brown. Increase the heat to medium high. Remove the buns from the pan when the edges start to brown.

4 Make garlic mayo: Whisk together the finely minced garlic and the mayonnaise in a small bow.

5 Build the burger: This is how we recommend to build the burger. Start with the bottom half of the burger bun. Spread a layer of garlic mayo over it. Place a layer of lettuce leaf over the mayo. Place the burger over the lettuce. Place the onion on the burger. Place a slice of tomato on the onion. If you want, place another lettuce leaf on the tomato. Top with the other half of the bun. The lettuce leaf on the bottom of the burger help prevent the juices from the burger from running into the bottom bun and making it soggy.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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36 Comments / Reviews

No ImageTurkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Judu

    Another great recipe. I just love Simply Recipes.
    We do turkey burgers quite often. This gave us a nice way to change it up. Even with out-of season-zucchini they turned out yummy. Definitely will be added to our menu list!



    Show Replies (1)
  2. Mary Bradac

    I made the turkey burgers tonight with the garlic mayo. Excellent recipe! I am freezing half the recipe. The only concern I have about freezing is because of the zucchini in the burger and perhaps getting watery.

  3. Lynne K

    I made these turkey burgers the other night and we absolutely loved them! YUMMY! It would never have occurred to me to add zucchini! The hubby likes turkey burgers and said these were the best he’s ever had! This recipe is a definite keeper, especially for summertime zucchini season! Thanks so much Elise!

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  4. AE

    I love this recipe but now I’ve been cooking gluten-free, I haven’t been able to make it…but, tonight, I was thinking that I could just marinate chicken breasts with the oregano, basil, garlic, and green onion instead of eating it in a bun…I added a squirt of lemon juice to the olive oil…Put them aside while prepping and cooking my sides then searing in a frying pan. Still made the garlic mayo but added a lil grated cucumber, splash of lemon juice, and 2% Fage greek yogurt. Yum.

    I made your “couscous with pistachios and apricots” recipe to go along with the chicken and instead of the couscous, I used quinoa. Also, used a fresh apricot but added it while letting the quinoa rest for 5 minutes. It softened and was a lot cheaper than dry apricots.

    I homemade oven baked sweet potato fries and a chipolte mayo to go with. Pairs so well with the burger-try it!

    Everything together was awesome. Hope the suggestions are useful for someone!

  5. Leslie

    I forgot to add the Garlic Mayo is FAB! My 15 yos, used his finger to wipe the bowl CLEAN!!! (This is a real compliment as he HATES getting food on his hands).

    :) Leslie

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