Crispy Chicken Burgers (With Ground Chicken)

Sink your teeth into juicy, crispy chicken burgers made with ground chicken and a crunchy panko coating. Minimal effort, no deep frying, and packed with flavor.

If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger but want a great alternative that’s healthier, ground chicken is a better choice than ground beef with lower calories and fat.

crispy chicken burger on bun with red pepper sauce and coleslaw on top.

 What to expect

Almost all recipes online call for deep frying a chicken breast or chicken thighs.

Here’s why you might want to check out our crispy chicken burger recipe using ground chicken instead:

  • no marinating or brining necessary,
  • no large amount of oil needed,
  • no messy deep frying, and
  • lower calorie and fat content

This chicken burger recipe is a great twist on traditional chicken burgers. Tips on how to make them moist, crisp and super tasty are included! Read on…

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

ground chicken, mayonnaise, garlic, salt & pepper, green onion, Worcestershire sauce, panko, egg, flour, parsley.
plus oil for pan frying

Ground chicken:

  • Dark ground chicken meat is the most flavorful and juicy, but it’s sometimes difficult to find. With the panade (a bread paste), white meat will work fine too.
  • Try to get ground chicken with a 90:10 ratio, meaning 90% chicken and 10% fat. The 99% lean ground chicken will be too dry unless you add some fat (oil) of your own.
  • Substitutes: You can use ground turkey, ground beef, veal, or pork if you prefer.

Panade filling: This is the ultimate secret for juicy patties. A panade is a paste of milk (or mayonnaise) mixed with bread or breadcrumbs. It’s added to the ground chicken You can process fresh bread or cut it into tiny pieces instead of using breadcrumbs.

Seasonings turn a bland boring chicken patty into a flavorful one. I use salt, black pepper, garlic powder, minced green onion, Worcestershire sauce, and fresh chopped parsley to season the burgers.

  • Seasoning variations: Try adding thyme or oregano, a dollop of ketchup, pesto or BBQ sauce, lemon zest or sriracha for heat. Chopped cilantro instead of parsley will infuse a different flavor profile as well.

Oil: Use a neutral oil with a high smoke point like vegetable oil, canola or peanut oil for pan-frying the burgers. A neutral olive oil would work as well since you are not frying at higher than medium-high heat.

Breadcrumbs: I prefer panko crumbs as they make a lighter, crunchier coating and absorb less oil. Regular breadcrumbs will work, too, but have a little different texture.

Step-by-step instructions

Make the panade-like filling for the chicken burgers.
ground chicken mixture in bowl.
Mix in the chicken. Lightly form the ground chicken mixture into burgers.
bowls of flour, beaten egg and panko beside oil and ground chicken mixture.
Bread the chicken burgers with flour, then egg, then panko.
breaded chicken burgers on cutting board.
Let the burgers sit for 7 minutes.
3 chicken burgers frying in skillet.
Pan-fry burgers in a large skillet in hot oil until crispy on both sides and until cooked through and golden brown.
4 crispy chicken burgers stacked on a plate.
crispy chicken burger on bun with red pepper sauce and coleslaw on top.

Tips for crispy, tender burgers

  1. To make tender burgers: Avoid overworking the meat. Handle the meat lightly when forming the homemade chicken patties to help keep the burgers light and juicy instead of dense and firm.
  2. To keep chicken burgers moist: Mix the ground chicken with the panade mixture of breadcrumbs and mayonnaise (or milk).
  3. To get the crispy factor:
    • Don’t omit the flour as it acts as a moisture barrier. Moist breading will steam and not crisp up well.
    • Let the breaded burgers sit at room temperature for 7 minutes (no longer than 30 minutes) before pan-frying them so that they don’t lower the temperature of the oil. (You can put them in the fridge for longer, but let them come to room temperature).
    • Transfer the crispy chicken patties to a wire rack over a baking sheet after pan-frying. Keep them warm in a low-heat oven if you are making another batch.

Recipe FAQs

What is panade?

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 mayonnaise instead of milk (as we do in this recipe) to add extra flavor and moisture to the meat.

What is the difference between panko crumbs and regular breadcrumbs?

Panko crumbs are a Japanese-style type of breadcrumb made from white crustless bread. They are drier and coarser, create a crunchier texture when fried, and absorb less oil than regular breadcrumbs.

Do homemade chicken burgers need an egg to help bind them?

No, chicken burgers do not need an egg to bind them, especially if you use a panade (milk-bread paste) in the filling.

What temperature is safe for a fully-cooked chicken burger?

Chicken burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165F/74C as measured by an instant-read thermometer. Don’t go by color. Even a little bit of pink is ok. It’s the temperature that matters.

What to serve with crispy chicken burgers

I love serving the burgers in brioche buns or regular hamburger buns with some great toppings such as:

And check out these sides and salads to complement the crispy chicken burgers:

Shortcuts

Fresh seasoning is best for these ground chicken patties, but you can use garlic powder, onion powder and dried parsley if you don’t have fresh herbs and aromatics.

Make ahead

Make the burgers a couple of hours or a day ahead, then reheat them in a 350F/177C for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Leftover burgers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Or freeze them for up to 3 months and defrost them before reheating.

crispy chicken burger on bun with red pepper sauce and coleslaw on top.
chicken burger with red pepper sauce and kale slaw.

More ground chicken recipes

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟with a comment in the recipe card below. Thanks so much!

crispy chicken burger on bun with red pepper sauce and coleslaw on top.
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5 from 10 votes

Crispy Chicken Burgers (With Ground Chicken)

Sink your teeth into juicy, crispy chicken burgers made with ground chicken and a crunchy panko coating. Minimal effort, no deep frying and packed with flavor.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
rest time7 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, Note 1
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil for pan frying vegetable, peanut, canola, olive oil

Panade and seasoning mixture

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular bread crumbs or 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or milk or broth)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley (about 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions (or 1 teaspoon onion powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Breading

  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 egg mixed with a tablespoon water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (regular breadcrumbs ok, but texture less light and crispy)

Serving options

  • hamburger buns and toppings, Note 2

Instructions

  • PREPARE BREADING STATION: Place a beaten egg with a splash of water into a shallow bowl. Place flour into another shallow bowl. Place panko crumbs on a plate. Place a plate or cutting board nearby for the breaded chicken patties.
  • MAKE CHICKEN MIXTURE: In a large bowl, mix panade (Note 2) and seasoning ingredients together. Let stand a few minutes if using milk or broth to allow liquid to absorb. Add ground chicken to the panade mixture. Using a clean hand formed like a claw, combine lightly. Try not to overwork the mixture.
  • FORM BURGERS: Roughly divide chicken mixture into 5 parts. Wet your hands and lightly make a patty (about 1/3 pound/150 grams each). Patties will be wet and sticky, approximately 1 inch/2.5 cm thick.
    Dip each patty into flour to coat lightly. Shake off excess flour. Then dip patty into egg mixture, and finally into panko crumbs to cover entire surface. Repeat for all 5 chicken burgers. Let sit for 7 minutes to allow crumbs to adhere, flour to absorb moisture and burgers to come to room temperature.
  • PAN-FRY BURGERS: Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet or other nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add the number of burgers that fit comfortably. Don't overcrowd the pan. Pan-fry burgers for 4 minutes, then turn and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes , depending on thickness, until golden brown. If panko coating is browning to quickly, lower heat to medium heat. The internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer should reach 160F/71C. Temperature will rise 5 degrees on resting.
    Transfer the crispy chicken patties to a wire rack over a baking sheet after pan-frying if you are making another batch. Keep them warm in a low heat oven.
  • SERVE: in brioche buns or regular hamburger buns with toppings of your choice. Note 3. Or skip the buns and just use toppings.

Recipe Notes

  1. 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 meat-to-fat ratio. This means 90% chicken and 10% fat. Even 93% meat. The 99% lean chicken in my experience is too dry. Substitute ground turkey.
  2. 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.
  3. Topping possibilities:  
  4. Seasoning variations: Try adding thyme or oregano, a dollop of ketchup, pesto or BBQ sauce, lemon zest or sriracha for heat. Chopped cilantro instead of parsley will infuse a different flavor profile as well..
  5. 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 bun,
    • use leaner chicken e.g only 5% fat (if you must!),
    • make smaller burgers – 6 quarter-pound burgers instead of 5 third-of-a-pound burgers.
    • Alternatively, try our grilled chicken burgers with no breaded coating. 
  6. Make Ahead:
    • Make the burgers a couple of hours or a day ahead, then reheat them in a 350F/177C for 10 minutes or until heated through.
    • Leftover burgers will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Or freeze them for up to 3 months and defrost them before reheating.
     
    Nutritional information is estimated and does not include buns or toppings. 

      Nutrition

      Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 764mg | Potassium: 804mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 416IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 3mg
      Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!
      5 from 10 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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      Recipe Rating




      9 Comments

      1. 5 stars
        Perfect instructions! Delicious chicken burgers. Loved the crunch of the panko. Definite keeper, thank you so much!

      2. 5 stars
        These look so good, going to try really soon… quick question… does the nutrition information include the hamburger buns?

        1. No, the buns are not included in the nutrition information. At the end of the recipe notes (for most recipes when relevant), I write if the nutrition information includes any extras. I hope that helps.

      3. 5 stars
        Just made these tonight and they were so good! Came together very quickly, cooked up crispy, and came out juicy. Added ground mustard to the panade and a pinch of cayenne. Would either add more spice to the panade or with toppings next time for a little more heat, but that’s obviously a personal preference. And good enough for our very picky eater to gobble up. Would definitely make again!