Turkey Zucchini Burger with Garlic Mayo

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.

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


  • 1 pound ground turkey (thigh meat preferred)
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp 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 Tbsp 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.

turkey-zucchini-burger-method-2 turkey-zucchini-burger-method-3

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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  • 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.

  • 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!

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks Lynne, I’m so glad you and your husband liked them! The zucchini really is a game changer, isn’t it?

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Leslie

    Hi Elise…

    So I made these for 16 teenagers/young adults for my daughters 20th birthday last night. Of course I did NOT tell them they were turkey, nor did I volunteer they had zucchini in them. (My daughter hates zucchini).

    As the the dinner commenced, the commentary abounded about how yummy the burger are! Things like, “my mom’s don’t taste like this” came out of many mouths. Two of the boys came into the kitchen to tell me “these are the most delicious burgers I have ever eaten”! I was so pleased because I do love to feed people that appreciate it!

    Thanks so much for you and your blog. We have very similar taste in food (pun intended), and you have never failed me! I have even instructed my daughters (20 and 17) that when they are on Pinterest, to choose recipes from a few sites I trust …yours is at the TOP of that list :)

    Hope your mom and dad are doing well. I love your mom’s enchilada sauce! And your dad’s sense of humor. You do an excellent job of honoring them in your writing. I am sure they are proud of you.

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks so much Leslie! My mom and dad are doing great, especially for being in their 80s. I cook with them less now that I no longer live with them, but we still eat together often. I feel so lucky to have them.

  • Barb

    Any idea on the calorie/carb count per burger?

  • Helene

    Could this recipe be doubled and FREEZE them for future .

    • Elise Bauer

      I haven’t tried freezing it Helene, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out! I do recommend forming the patties and freezing them raw, before cooking. Less likelihood of drying out.

  • Patti

    I’m trying to get my husband on a healthier diet (a hard move), Made this one tonight it was good but not good enough to make again. We’ll move on and keep trying.

  • lynn

    My daughter and I love this burger recipe :D

  • Marita Loffredo

    Wow! Delish! Made this recipe for lunch with my parents, and we all agree this is a keeper. The spice is just right and layered with lettuce, onion, and tomato as suggested, perfection! I love this site. . .the banana bread recipe is the best and so easy to make. Tonight, we’re having the sausage and bean soup. Can’t wait. Thanks for making cooking easy and delicious!


  • L.D. Meyer

    When making a burger from ground turkey I fold in diced onion to keep it from drying out and I form my patty in a saucepan and pop it into the freezer for 10-15 minutes then transfer it to the grill or the crockpot. Bon appetit!

  • Matt Delaplane

    Can you grill these/

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Matt, as I indicated in the notes for the recipe, if you want to grill them, add some mayonnaise to the mixture to help bind the meat together so the burger doesn’t fall apart on the grill.

  • Isaac

    These were great. One modification (albeit minor) on the garlic mayonnaise. I added a few drops of choice vinegar – in my case sherry – to the garlic before mixing in the mayonnaise. It adds a bit of added light to the mayo. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Alice

    I made these tonight. Absolutely fantastic! I added an egg to the mixture to help hold it together. I also finely chopped a jalapeno to add to the mayo (an old favorite of mine).

  • Lisa

    These were delicious! I served them with a lemon yogurt sauce. It’s great to have more ways to use up zucchini. My husband may kill me if I give him one more zucchini salad :)

  • L.D. Meyer

    I’ve been using ground turkey in place of hamburger for years, and with the price of red meat now days its a no brainer, I make a 6oz patty with diced onion folded in and season it with taco or fajita flavorings, while this is a bit flimsy I form my patty in a saucepan in sort of an oval rather than round shape for a reason. I then put it in the freezer for 10-15 mins then its easier to transfer to a grill, the burger should sear fast enough before the whole patty thaws and shouldn’t fall apart. I buy the frozen 1lb rolls and I’ve never experienced any dryness. As a matter of fact a couple of times I’ve cooked the burger in a crockpot, and I repurpose a couple of those black tubs from microwave meals. I take one and use a leather punch and make about a dozen 3/8 in holes in the bottom then invert it and place it on top of the other tub and use two binder clips to hold them together. With the crockpot on high it takes 45-60 mins and you’d be amazed at the amount of schmaltz that collects in the bottom tub. The patty comes out nice and moist and towards the end you can melt a slice of your favorite cheese on it. My makeshift method keeps the patty out of schmaltz and the slow cooking keeps the patty moist. Now the reason I make the patty oval is it fits nicely on my makeshift grate and it fits just right on my slices of Jewish rye. The only drawback is you can only cook one patty at a time unless you make smaller ones. Bon Appetite, your zaney and unorthodox western plains makeshift chef.

  • Helene

    These Turkey Zucchini burgers look awesome.Can I freeze them?
    Thank you

  • Deborah

    I wrapped my burger in a large leaf of Bibb lettuce. So good and gluten free.

  • Cheri

    Cooked using a cast iron grill pan on the stovetop. Didn’t add anything to the mixture; just made sure that the pan was very hot and didn’t touch the patties until it was time to flip.

  • Sarah

    What kind of burger buns are acceptable for this recipe? Can I buy store bought gluten free ones or do you have a recipe to make them?

    • Elise Bauer

      I don’t have a recipe for gluten-free buns (these pictured are not gluten-free, they are Rudi’s Bakery). But I’m sure you can find plenty of GF recipes for burger buns online.

  • Patrick Robbins

    Excellent recipe. We live in the southeast corner in France up in the back hills of the Var. You call it zucchini; we call them courgette and the markets are bursting with lovely deep green courgette. We modified the recipe: used left over grilled turkey leg (tossed in ground dried porcine and tartuffo – Italy is next door) and we mixed the vegetables: basil, onions, garlic … and a slice of red onion) in the robot. Then we pulsed the turkey in the robot and hand mixed the entire recipe with mandolined courgette. The luscious red tomatoes the rats have left us married well. The texture of the ‘burger’ was almost firm; we need more mayonnaise on the next go and maybe even a raw egg. Instead of hamburger buns (COMMERCIAL BUNS ARE AWFUL IN FRANCE) we will use pain de campagne on the next go. Cut them into appropriate sizes with an emporte piece and then toast in the oven. The garlic mayonnaise is a genius idea. Tonight, washed down with a 2009 Haut Medoc … we ate well thanks to you. Whitebeard83

  • Paula

    Made these last night and they were delicious. BF doesn’t like zucchini – I never told and he never asked. Did zucchini in food processor – so easy. Will be making these again.

  • RD

    This sounds very tasty. Do you use the large openings on a box grater to shred the zucchini? And do you make any effort to squeeze out any of the moisture content of the shredded zucchini before adding it to the ground turkey?

    I like burger patties to weigh in at about 5-6 oz so I will probably make 4 patties out of a standard 1.25 lbs package of ground turkey.

    • RD

      I missed the part about squeezing out some of the moisture if you want to grill them. So for cooking them in a skillet per the recipe no need to get rid of any of the moisture.

  • Annie

    Hi Elise! These look great! Would I be able to make these with beef? I just got back from the store and only just saw this recipe. I know the point of the zucchini is to add moisture to the burger, and beef has enough fat therefore no added moisture needed, but I do like the idea of adding some sort of veggie. Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Annie, great question! You could try it. I don’t think beef burgers really need much help, unless you have extra lean beef, but it would be a good experiment.

      • Lisa

        Hi Elise! I was going to ask you the same thing! We don’t eat a lot of beef, only in the summertime do we splurge for the occasional burger that I like to make with some olive oil mayo and homemade breadcrumbs mixed in then I shape them with my dollar store burger press.