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Best Dang Turkey Burgers Ever!

I may have found the Best Dang Government Turkey Black Bean Burger Recipe Ever!

I loved testing this recipe from the USDA for a healthier burger. If you’re a reader of or then you know that I love featuring some of the recipes I find on government websites. Heck, let’s take advantage of some well spent tax payer money!

The majority of the recipes I feature from .gov websites deal with heart healthy, diabetic, and additional healthy eating topics. I encourage everyone to take advantage of these free resources.

The Process!

I take the recipes, provide the original information, original ingredients, nutritional information, etc and I also give my own take and modifications on the dish. And, as usual – I tend to change things up a bit! So, Let’s get started!

The Burger Mixture

The first thing I did was cut the recipe in half! The original USDA versions serves upwards of 64 servings. Keep that in mind when you view my recipe compared to the USDA. I used a little over a pound of ground turkey and a can of rinsed black beans. I also added in 1/4 cup of liquid egg substitute and two – three tablespoons of toasted low sugar bread crumbs. I had some end pieces left from a loaf so I figured – “why waste them.” Then I added salt free spices such as black pepper, minced garlic, onion powder, and chili powder.

Making Patties & My Foil Trick!

It’s just a fact of life that forming burgers made from beef is completely different from making turkey burgers! Turkey meat is sticky and forming a burger can be messy! My solution is one of my favorite tips. This tip is one I’ve passed along over the years stems from a real recipe testing grilling moment.

I had an “aha” moment when grilling my first veggie burger. The things tended to crumble or fall apart. That’s something noted by grilling enthusiasts on sites across the internet. Here’s what I do now.

Mix the ingredients in a bowl, chill for a moment to firm up, and then spoon equal portions onto squares of foil coated with non-stick spray! Then gently spread the mixture into a patty using the back of a wet spoon. Simple, works, no messy hands!

One note:

Grilling ‘Em Up!

My suggestion is to get your grill going, gas or charcoal, and then place the burgers, with their little foil plates, onto an upper rack – then close the lid! Grill for a few minutes and allow the burgers to form up. Next, listen for the sizzle and look around for golden browning around the bottom of the patties and the foil. Move the patties to the lower grates and gently turn them using a spatula. Peel the foil back – you may need to use your spatula, or a fork or spoon, to help along any spots that stick. Grill for a few minutes to get your perfect grill marks. Total grilling time will be about 10-15 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of your burgers.

Grill Marks and Internal Temperatures!

It should only take about 10-12 minutes total grilling time as mentioned above. But, if you have an instant read grilling thermometer, you can grill the Turkey Black Bean burgers to perfection without fear of drying them out. The USDA and list a internal temperature of 165 degrees is needed for ground turkey with no rest time. Here’s a link.

The Finished Turkey and Black Bean Burger!

My recipe is slightly different from the original USDA recipe listed below. My finished Ground Turkey Black Bean Burger in the picture includes mustard, low sugar ketchup, low fat cheese, onion, tomato slices, no sugar added pickles, and a whole wheat bun.

Kent’s Ground Turkey and Black Bean Burgers


  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon low sugar ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic, or garlic powder
  • Dashes of pepper
  • Dashes of chili powder
  • Dashes of onion powder


  • Mix evenly in a bowl
  • Chill for a few minutes
  • Spray squares of foil with non-stick spray
  • Spoon equal portions onto the foil squares
  • Smooth and form using a wet spoon
  • Grill on an upper rack with the lid closed
  • Turn when bottom edges brown
  • When turning, move to lower rack and gently peel away the foil.

The Original USDA Version!

I noticed that the portions on the USDA version says 16 or 64, but the bun count was listed at 8 or 32. Which means each burger only get’s 1/2 a bun? How are you going to hold the lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and such in place?

“Gobble” Up Burgers
Main Dishes, Sandwiches
Makes: 16 or 64 Servings

16 portions 64 portions
Ingredients Weight Measure Weight Measure
Turkey 2 lbs 8 lbs
Ketchup 2 Tbsp 1/2 cup
Black pepper 1-1/2 tsp 6 tsp
Black beans 1 cup 4 cups
Whole wheat hamburger rolls 8 32
Cooking spray






1. Mix ground turkey, ketchup and pepper together in large bowl.
2. Form mixture into palm-size patties.
3. Spray skillet with cooking spray.
4. Cook patties on medium-high skillet until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.

Key Nutrients Amount% Daily Value*
Total Calories 185
Total Fat5 g
Protein15 g
Carbohydrates 20 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Sodium225 mg
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Kent Whitaker, also known as "The Deck Chef," is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He's also penned Young Reader and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motor sports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill.

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