Ground Chicken Burgers

Chicken burgers can be dry and bland, but these ground chicken burgers are tender, moist and flavorful every time. Pan-fry them on the stovetop or make grilled chicken burgers for a quick and easy family dinner. Get my secret for making healthy, homemade chicken patties so meaty and delicious that you can’t wait to sink your teeth into them.

Ingredients for making grilled chicken burgers.

Nothing beats a good burger; I love making them with various lean ground meats. Turkey burgers are my standard, and these buffalo burgers are a great change of pace.

Ground chicken breast is a healthy alternative to beef when craving a burger without the bloat. They fill you up without weighing you down.

However, making burgers with chicken can be a letdown because lean ground chicken (made from the breasts instead of the thighs) has less fat (and, consequently, less moisture) than dark meat.

That’s not the case here. These chicken burgers are moist, tender and flavorful. In other words, crave-worthy.

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Why this recipe works:

  • This ground chicken burger recipe uses a triple-threat of moist-makers.
  • You can make them in a fry pan or on the grill.
  • It makes a thick, meaty chicken patty (without the dome).
  • These healthy chicken burgers are high protein, low-carb, low-sodium, low in saturated fats; made with vegetables and without eggs.
  • They taste incredible.
  • Kids love them.

Ingredients:

  • Lean Ground Chicken – 92% to 93% lean; from chicken breasts.
  • Olive Oil – Or vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Zucchini – Grated on a box grater.
  • Onion – Finely diced.
  • Fresh Bread Crumbs – I remove the crusts from a slice of bread and use a food processor to make the crumbs.
  • Milk – Can use dairy or other milk substitute.
  • Mayonnaise – We like Duke’s or Hellman’s.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Seasoning Blend (I use my Creole seasoning recipe).
  • Black Pepper – preferably fresh ground.
  • Kosher Salt – We use Diamond Kosher, but you can use Morton’s — just cut back on the amount as Morton’s is contains more salt by volume.
  • Italian Parsley – You can use curly or substitute it with other fresh herbs.

I use three chef-y tricks to make ground chicken burgers tender, juicy and delicious every time.

The secret to making chicken burgers moist

  1. Use a panade. Panade is a mixture of fresh breadcrumbs and milk mixed into a paste. The bread’s starches absorb the milk, which lubricates the meat and keeps it moist and tender. I also use this method for Italian baked meatballs, which work like a charm.
  2. Add vegetables. Vegetables contain water, hence moisture. I sweat onions and zucchini in olive oil to soften them (you don’t want crunchy veg in your chicken burger) and then add it to the ground chicken mixture. This adds a healthy component to the burgers, and the moisture in the sweated vegetables also keeps the patties tender.
  3. Add fat. A small amount of fat — but enough. In this case, mayonnaise. I use about two tablespoons for one pound of ground chicken.

This combination keeps the lean ground chicken super-moist and tender even when completely cooked.

How to make ground chicken patties:

  1. Make a panade by combining the bread and milk in a small bowl. Mash them together and set them aside to allow the starches to absorb the liquid.
  2. Sweat the shredded zucchini and onion in olive oil until the vegetables are tender and slightly translucent. Remove them from the heat to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, dijon mustard, panade (bread and milk mixture), seasoning or spice blend, kosher salt, black pepper and parsley. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the cooled vegetables and ground chicken to the mayonnaise mixture and stir well until the ingredients are evenly combined.
  5. Divide the ground chicken burger mixture into four equal portions and form into ½” thick patties.
  6. Transfer the chicken patties to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
  7. Use a round tablespoon to make a depression in the center of each chicken burger, and chill the patties in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
  8. Fry or grill the burgers for 10-12 minutes, flipping about halfway through. Use an instant-read thermometer to verify doneness – they should register 165°F when done.

Pro-Tips:

  • While these are moist chicken burgers, the raw meat mixture is softer and more fragile to work with than regular beef burgers. Handle each burger patty gently.
  • Use a round tablespoon to make a divot in the ground chicken burgers before cooking. This will prevent them from forming a dome and keep them flat and uniform.
  • If you’re grilling the burgers, I recommend using a grill mat {affiliate link} to stabilize the chicken patties on the grill.
  • When flipping the chicken burgers, lightly place your hand over the patty while simultaneously lifting it with a spatula from beneath.
  • Pan-frying the chicken patties in vegetable oil gives the exterior a darker crust and more stability.
  • The cooking time can vary depending on how hot your stove or grill is. I usually use the “touch-test” when testing burgers for doneness, but it doesn’t work well here because the ground chicken burgers are intentionally designed to be softer and more tender. Use a meat thermometer {affiliate link} to verify they’ve reached 165°F (the food-safe temperature for poultry).
  • For cheeseburgers, add a slice of cheese about 2 minutes before the burgers are cooked. This will give them a chance to melt and adhere to the meat.
I am using a round tablespoon to make a depression in the chicken burger patty.

Variations:

  • I use this easy Creole seasoning recipe to add flavor to the meat, but you can also use this BBQ rub, chipotle seasoning, or any store-bought grill seasoning blend. If you don’t have a seasoning mix, substitute ½ teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder. For spice, add ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
  • You can also make this recipe by substituting lean ground turkey for the chicken.
  • Avoiding gluten? Make the chicken burger patties using gluten-free bread instead.
  • Use this same mixture to make chicken meatballs.

FAQ’s

How do you know when ground chicken burgers are done?

Because of the risk of salmonella, it’s important to cook your chicken burgers completely through. An instant-read thermometer is the only effective method to ensure your burgers are done.

The “touch test” won’t work with chicken burgers because they have other ingredients designed to keep the meat tender. Consequently, they may feel “soft” despite being done.

How do you keep ground chicken moist?

There are several ways to keep ground chicken moist. You can add fat, add moisture to the meat with vegetables, use a panade of bread and milk, which keeps the meat tender and juicy or add a little crushed ice to the raw meat, which adds moisture as it cooks because the ice melts.

Can you make ground chicken taste like ground beef?

Ground chicken burgers don’t taste like a ground beef burger — they’re better.

Grilled chicken burgers on the grill mat as they cook.

Storing, freezing and reheating instructions:

  • You can make the ground chicken burgers one day in advance and keep the meat mixture in the refrigerator. Form into patties and cook when you’re ready.
  • Freeze raw chicken burger patties by wrapping them individually in plastic wrap and placing them in a freezer-safe container or wrapped in freezer paper. Keep them for up to 2-3 months, frozen.
  • Freeze leftover fried or grilled chicken burgers in the same manner. You can reheat chicken burgers in an air fryer, oven or on the grill.

What our tasters said:

“These are so delicious! The meat is flavorful and juicy, and I don’t feel heavy after eating it.” – Rich.

“These chicken burgers are hefty. You definitely need two hands for this.” – Scott.

“Lordy, they’re so good! They’d be good even without the bun — and that gooey melted cheese makes it even better!” – Jen.

We are building ground chicken burgers with a bun, ¼ lb. patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mayo and ketchup.

We like to mix up the toppings with everything from the standard: cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and ketchup to grilled onions, micro-greens, avocado, kimchi, or chili crisp.

What goes with chicken burgers:

Taking a bite out of the grilled chicken burger.

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Chicken burgers on a brioche bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
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5 from 1 vote

Ground Chicken Burgers

These homemade chicken patties are super flavorful, moist and meaty. You can pan-fry the chicken burgers in a non-stick skillet or make grilled chicken burgers using a charcoal or gas grill. These burgers are healthier than ground beef but just as delicious.
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword ground chicken
Dietary Restrictions Egg Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup grated zucchini grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon creole seasoning or basic bbq rub, or other all purpose seasoning,
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (unless your seasoning mix has salt in it)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN BURGERS:

  • hamburger or hearty sandwich buns we like brioche
  • cheddar, monterey jack, swiss or other cheese slices
  • mayonnaise
  • mustard
  • ketchup
  • pickled onions
  • quick pickled cucumbers
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced tomato
  • lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet and add the zucchini, onion and s pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  • In a small prep bowl combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Set aside for the bread to absorb the milk.
  • In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, creole seasoning (or other seasoning mix), soaked breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, black pepper and salt (if using). Stir to combine.
  • Add the ground chicken and cooled vegetables and stir until the mixture is evenly combined.
  • Divide the chicken burger mixture into four equal parts and shape into about ½” thick patties. Transfer the ground chicken patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the patties have firmed up, about 30 minutes to an hou.r (You can also make the chicken burgers to this point and keep them covered and refrigerated for up to two days until ready to cook).

TO PAN FRY:

  • Heat a grill pan, cast iron pan or nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and swirl around the pan to coat.
  • Gently place the chicken burgers into the pan and cook for about 10-12 minutes, flipping the burgers halfway through cooking. The internal temperature should reach 165° F.
  • Frying the burgers in oil will give them a darker crust than grilling. Both ways are good, though.

TO GRILL THE BURGERS:

  • Preheat the grill to 450° – 500° F. Use a perforated nonstick grill mat on top of the grates – (the ground chicken mixture is soft and needs a little extra support to prevent it from falling apart on a standard grill grate).
  • Place the burgers on the grill mat and close the lid. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then use a grill spatula to carefully flip the burgers (place your hand over the top of the patty for a little extra security when flipping).
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the burger reaches 165°F in the center. (Check with a meat thermometer).

DRESSING THE BURGERS:

  • If adding cheese to the burger, after you’ve flipped the patty and the burger has about 1-2 more minutes to cook, place a slice of cheese over each patty until it starts to melt.
  • Serve the chicken burgers on a hamburger bun with your favorite accompaniments (see recommendations above in the ingredient list).

NUTRITION:

Calories: 303.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.55g | Protein: 22.12g | Fat: 18.74g | Saturated Fat: 4.15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.45g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.99g | Trans Fat: 0.08g | Cholesterol: 101.14mg | Sodium: 473.79mg | Potassium: 834.23mg | Fiber: 1.55g | Sugar: 4.21g | Vitamin A: 455.02IU | Vitamin C: 13.85mg | Calcium: 54.64mg | Iron: 1.71mg

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