Tasty ground chicken burgers are a quick and easy casual BBQ or weeknight dinner. Kick them up a notch with the silky texture and sweet tangy flavor of a mango-avocado salsa topping.
I became a fan of chicken burgers when I found a way to make them juicy and flavorful. We have a few great tips to nail these burgers.
Until a few years ago, I avoided minced chicken completely, finding it dry and tasteless.
With several experiments and lots of research, I finally discovered how delicious it can be with the right preparation. And a healthier option too.
What to expect
There are 3 things I look for in homemade chicken burgers.
Juicy: We add moistness with a panade or ‘bread mush/paste’ made from fresh bread mixed with mayonnaise or liquid. It sounds weird, but it makes a big difference.
Lots of flavor: The flavor of the burgers is boosted with fresh parsley (really good!) and other seasonings which, of course, you can vary to your taste.
Quick and easy: The burgers only take about 22 minutes to make. And the ingredients are all easily accessible at home or in your local grocery store.
Ingredients tailored to your taste
Ground chicken: I find dark meat chicken produces the most flavorful chicken burgers but it’s hard to find. With the panade, white meat will work fine too. Try to get ground chicken with a 90:10 ratio. This means 90% chicken 10% fat. The 99% lean ground chicken in my experience is too dry.
- Substitutes: You can use ground turkey, ground beef, veal or pork if you prefer.
Seasonings: I use salt, black pepper, garlic powder, minced onion, Worcestershire and fresh chopped parsley to season the burgers.
- Variations: Add even more flavor to the burgers with thyme, a tablespoon or two of ketchup, pesto or BBQ sauce, lemon zest or sriracha for heat. Try chopped cilantro instead of parsley for a different flavor profile.
Mango salsa: I keep it simple with mango, avocado, lime, salt, pepper. Add a splash of maple syrup or honey (I always do this) and/or a pinch of chili flakes, garlic and/or ginger.
- Substitutes: Instead of the mango-avocado salsa, you can use peach or pineapple salsa, pesto or spicy guacamole. And check out a few other interesting toppings below.
By the way, there are no eggs in these chicken burgers if that’s important to you.
Step by step instructions
How to keep the burgers tender: Avoid overworking the meat. This helps to keep the burgers light and juicy instead of dense and firm.
How to keep the burgers from falling apart: Ground chicken burgers are more tender than typical beef burgers, so to keep them from falling apart, don’t make your patties too thin. For best results, you want patties no less than 1/2 inch/1.8 cm thick. I also find spraying them well before grilling avoids them breaking when turning them over. Plus, they firm up quickly with the grill heat.
According to America’s Test Kitchen, a panade is a milk-and-bread paste that’s incorporated into ground meat before shaping it to keep the meat moist and tender. You can use mayo instead of milk. I use a panade in meatloaf, meatballs and burgers. It works!
Here are some suggestions to reduce the calories and carbs in chicken burgers: use light mayo or low fat milk instead of full fat mayo, skip the bun or use a low carb wrap or bun, use leaner chicken e.g only 5% fat, make smaller burgers – 6 quarter-pound burgers instead of 5 third-of-a-pound burgers.
What to serve with chicken burgers
Try serving these juicy chicken burgers with fries, Indian potatoes, grilled hasselback sweet potatoes, grilled coleslaw, charred onions, grilled zucchini slices, instant pot baked beans or grilled corn salad.
Great topping options
- Thai mango salad (dice the mango)
- classic basil pesto
- fresh herb sauce
- roasted red pepper sauce
- sweet and tangy grilled eggplant recipe
- sriracha aioli
- peach chutney
- Skip the mango-avocado salsa and use a store-bought chutney instead. Or any other of your favorite burger toppings.
- Use 1/3 cup/36 grams breadcrumbs such as Panko instead of tearing the bread into tiny pieces for fresh breadcrumbs.
- Freeze the chicken burger patties in their raw form or after grilling.
- Leftover burgers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- To reheat, see instructions in the recipe card below.
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Juicy Chicken Burger Recipe with Mango Salsa
- 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, Note 1
- 5 buns, split in half
Panade and seasonings
- 1/2 cup bread, torn into tiny pieces (or 1/3 cup/36 grams regular bread crumbs or panko breadcrumbs )
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or milk or broth)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (about 2 tablespoons dried)
- 1 tablespoon finely grated onion (or 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Mango Avocado Salsa
- 1 large mango or 2 small
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: splash of honey or maple syrup; pinch of garlic powder, chili flakes and/or ginger
- HEAT OUTDOOR GRILL to medium high (400-450F).
- MAKE PANADE (BREAD 'PASTE') WITH SEASONINGS: In a large bowl, mix all panade and seasoning ingredients together. Let stand a few minutes if using milk or broth to allow liquid to absorb. Note 2.
- FORM BURGERS: Add ground chicken to a mixing bowl. Using a clean hand formed like a claw, mix lightly with panade to combine. Try not to overwork the meat. Wet your hands and lightly form mixture into 5 patties (about 1/3 pound each) and place on cutting board lined with parchment paper for easy clean up. Patties will be wet and sticky. Slightly depress each patty in center to avoid it puffing up on grill.
- MAKE SALSA: Peel and dice mango and avocado into small pieces. Place in small bowl. Add lime, salt, pepper and optional ingredients if using. (I add maple syrup). Set aside.
- GRILL BURGERS: Lightly spray burgers with oil to avoid sticking to grill (I find this works best, but you can also brush grill with a paper towel dipped in oil). Add to the preheated grill for 2-4 minutes per side until the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer reaches 160F/71C. Temperature will rise 5 degrees on resting. Note 3 to pan fry.
- SERVE: Grill or toast buns. Place bottom half of toasted buns on platter and add burgers. On each burger, top with some salsa and a dollop of BBQ sauce if desired. Top with other half of bun. Serve.
- Ground chicken: I prefer dark meat ground chicken – juicier and more flavorful. But hard to find. With the panade, white meat will work fine too. Try to get ground chicken (or turkey) with a 90:10 ratio. This means 90% chicken 10% fat. The 99% lean chicken in my experience is too dry. Substitute ground beef, veal or pork if you prefer.
- What is a panade? a panade is a milk-and-bread paste that’s incorporated into ground meat before shaping it to keep the meat moist and tender. You can use mayo instead of milk.
- To pan fry instead of grill: Heat a large cast iron skillet or non stick pan to medium high with a bit of oil. Dust the patties with a little flour to make them easier to handle and to create a nice crust. Pan fry burgers (probably in two batches) about 4 minutes per side or until meat thermometer reaches 160F/71C. Reduce heat to medium when pan frying on second side.
- Variations to try:
- Seasonings: Feel free to add thyme, a tablespoon or two of ketchup or BBQ sauce, lemon zest or sriracha for heat. Use chopped basil or cilantro instead of parsley. Add a squeeze of BBQ sauce on the bun for a nice flavor contrast.
- Salsa: Add a splash of maple syrup or honey (I always do this) and/or a pinch of chili flakes, garlic, ginger. Instead of mango salsa, try peach or pineapple salsa, pesto or spicy guacamole.
- Other topping options:
- To lower calories and carbs:
- use light mayo or low fat milk instead of full fat mayo,
- skip the bun or use a low carb wrap or bun,
- use leaner chicken e.g only 5% fat,
- make smaller burgers – 6 quarter-pound burgers instead of 5 third-of-a-pound burgers.
- Make Ahead: Burgers can be made the day before, refrigerated covered and grilled the next day. You can also freeze the burgers in their raw form or freeze them after grilling, covered well in plastic, a freezer-safe container or foil. Great meal prep for busy weeknights. To reheat, microwave covered for 45 seconds per side or until warmed through. Or heat in 350F/177C oven on a baking sheet, covered with foil, for 8 minutes or so or until hot flipping over once half way through.