Blog Flog: Turkey Parm Smashburgers

Turkey Parm Smashburgers 2

I love a good burger. It may be my desert island food, in no small part because there are so many different ways to make one, so it’s impossible to get bored. Which is a good thing, because as I’m now the parent of a 13 year old six foot tall eating machine who requests burgers and/or pizza for dinner every night by placing (begging) his order the night before, I’ve been coming up with variations on the most obvious burger formula. So when the Turkey Farmers of Canada asked if I’d come up with a recipe using Canadian turkey, it was an easy (and delicious) challenge, and of course I like to support our Canadian farmers whenever I can.

These are a play on the classic chicken parm, made with ground turkey – an easy, convenient, versatile everyday protein that has great flavour and juiciness – essential elements of a good burger. A smashburger is one that has been pressed down into a thin patty in a hot skillet, which mimics a thin cutlet while providing more surface area for browned bits and crispy edges. You could, if you like, dredge the patty in Panko or dry breadcrumbs before you cook it, but I prefer to have the flavour of the turkey come through by allowing the meat itself to brown in the hot pan.

A cast iron skillet is my best friend when it comes to making burgers, indoors or out – it can get good and hot, and transmits the heat well to develop a nice crust, and if you’re camping or even using the barbecue, it can go directly on the grill or over an open fire. As for the patties themselves, you don’t need to add anything at all to ground turkey to make burgers – no breadcrumbs, eggs or other fillers or binders – all you need is some salt to boost flavour and some oil for the pan. It truly is the quickest, simplest dinner to put on the table, and can be switched up in so many ways – sometimes I make turkey burgers with crumbled feta and chopped sautéed greens (I always have a ton of spinach in the garden over the summer), shape the patty around a mini babybel for cheese-stuffed burgers, blend ground turkey with turkey sausage or sprinkle it with dry barbecue rub before putting it in the pan. And last year we all got hooked on turkey sloppy Joe sliders made with pan buns, which are so perfect for feeding a crowd, particularly when they’re standing/reclining on the patio/or otherwise not seated at the table. If you’re looking for more inspiration, Think Turkey has a great collection of recipes to keep you inspired through the summer.

Turkey Parm Smashburgers 2
Turkey Parm Smashburgers 2

Turkey Parm Smashburgers


May 30, 2019


1 1/2 lbs ground turkey

salt and pepper, to taste

canola oil, for cooking

1 cup tomato sauce (or your favourite pasta sauce)

4 slices provolone

1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

soft burger buns

mayo (optional)

lettuce leaves (optional)


1Divide the turkey into 4-6 pieces and roughly press into patties, without being particularly careful about shaping them—a rough edge will create more crispy bits.

2Heat a large, heavy skillet or griddle until it’s very hot, add a drizzle of oil and cook the patties, pressing down on them with a spatula or potato masher to flatten to slightly larger than the buns you plan to use—because it’s so lean, there will be little shrinkage. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you cook the burgers for 4-5 minutes, until they’ve developed a nice bottom crust.

3Flip (use a thin spatula) and cook for a few minutes on the other side. Spoon some tomato sauce overtop, place a piece of provolone on the sauce, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and cook for another minute, or until the cheese melts—alternatively, put all the patties onto a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and slide into a hot oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. (This is useful if you already have the oven on for fries.) Serve on soft buns, with mayo and lettuce if you like. Serves 4-6.


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2 comments on “Blog Flog: Turkey Parm Smashburgers

  1. Dana
    May 30, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    You may want to edit the recipe as it says 14-1/2 cup Parmesan….

    • Julie
      June 3, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      Ha – sorry! missing a / – should be 1/4-1/2 cup parmesan…

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