Why Turkey Burgers Need To Be Shaped Larger Than You May Expect

Turkey burgers are an excellent alternative to traditional beef burgers. They're typically leaner in fat, lower in calories, and similarly rich in protein — all while still remaining easy to season, straightforward to cook, and totally delicious. If you're making patties from scratch with ground turkey, one important step before laying them on the grill is shaping your burgers.

However, in order to achieve the best turkey burgers possible, you have to be thoughtful about exactly how you form them. A careless disc of meat casually thrown over a flame simply will not do. In fact, shaping your patties larger than you think you need to is quite possibly the most important part of the burger-forming process.

The reason you'll want to opt for a more abundant size is that turkey, just like any other meat, will experience shrinkage while cooking. As soon as it hits the high heat necessary to create the perfect burger, the fat will start rendering out, and the moisture will begin to evaporate. The end result might be a puny and unappealing entrée — unless you're careful to plan ahead.

Shape them even larger than the buns

Forming your patties is a very simple process. All you need to do is combine the ground turkey with your seasonings and a binder, like breadcrumbs or soft cheese, to help hold everything together. Then, using your hands, you can separate one pound of the mixture into four equal parts and shape each of those into ½-inch thick patties.

When deciding exactly how wide to make your burgers, you can use the bun as a reference. A good diameter for raw turkey burgers is about ½-inch wider than the buns. You can count on your patties to shrink by about that much, and when they inevitably do, you'll have the perfect patty-to-bun ratio by the time they're ready to serve. You should also finish the burger-forming process by pressing a dimple into the center of each raw patty to prevent them from cooking up into a dome shape. 

Remember, regardless of the cooking method, all burgers will appear to shrink from their original size after cooking. So whether you bake, sauté, or grill your turkey burgers, this useful tip will set you well on your way to a delectable and visually appealing meal.