Turkey Burgers with Bacon Paste — Jazzing up Turkey Burgers

4.75 from 8 votes
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How to add incredible flavor to Grilled Turkey Burgers by adding bacon paste.

Turkey burgers can tend to come out dry and flavorless. Adding bacon paste to ground turkey adds not only flavor but great moisture lacking in most turkey burgers.

Turkey Burger with Bacon Paste on a serving platter

I’ll be the first to admit, when I transitioned from a vegetarian back into a meat eater it was a slow process. I went through a phase where I was shy on beef and friendly with poultry. We ate a lot of chicken and turkey during those days!

Granted we still eat our fair share of poultry and I especially like to change it up in our family, providing a variety of proteins throughout the week.

And since one of our kids has proclaimed he’s a pesca-bacon-tarian  we’ve been cooking less beef around here. Hence turkey (also see smoked turkey).

But turkey burgers can be so boring and often lack moisture and tenderness. We discovered years ago a magic ingredient that revolutionizes the boring turkey. Okay so it might not revolutionize it, but it jazzes it up for sure. (can I see some jazz hands?!?!?!)

What Is Bacon Paste

This ain’t your typical slice of bacon added to the top of a turkey burger to compensate for the lack of flavor found within the patty. Nor is it some expensive ingredient you have to buy at a specialty food store.


Bacon paste can be made easily, right at home in your food processor.

You just take uncooked bacon and mix it in a food processor until it becomes a paste, and then mix the paste into your ground turkey.

  • Our favorite ratio is 2 pieces of thick cut, uncooked bacon, for every 1 pound of ground meat. That’s all you need to add a boatload of delicious flavor to your burgers. Seriously… a boatload.
  • Bacon paste becomes the binder and fat that not only keeps the burgers together, but also elevates the flavor of burger beyond your typical boring patty you may buy at the store.

The Best Meat for Turkey Burgers

With any kind of ground meat intended for burgers you want some fat. Ground beef is purchased typically by its fat content, so you’ll see things like 85/15 or 90/10. That means the ratio of meat to fat. And fat is flavor. For ground turkey it’s the same ratio, but turkey is generally a leaner cut of meat.

Ground Turkey

When buying ground turkey the same ratio rules apply, however something to consider is going to your local butcher and mixing up some white and dark meat ground to the same ratio’s you would expect from a beef burger. 75/25 or 85/15 is fantastic. If you go too lean on a burger, regardless of turkey or beef, the flavor will be muted and it is much more likely to fall apart even with added binding agents.

Even with a good amount of fat in ground turkey it can still be dull tasting and dry. Which brings us to the bacon paste.

Just add the bacon paste into the ground turkey mixture and then form your patties. 

And as opposed to adding cooked bacon on top (which you can still do as well. I won’t ever judge for overdoing it on the bacon), adding the raw bacon paste to your burgers adds incredible flavor as well as fat (moisture) to ensure your burgers don’t dry out.

Bacon and Nutrition 

Did I mention the nutritional value of adding bacon paste? Did you know pork fat was named the #8 most nutritious food in the world by the BBC. Not lying! They claim Pork fat is more unsaturated and healthier than beef fat. So go add your bacon fat and feel no regret!

(Reminder, I am neither a nutritionist nor doctor, so take this information with a grain of bacon salt).

Mix & Grill Turkey Burgers

Add the rest of your ingredients to the ground meat, and mix to combine everything into patties.

Turkey patties cooking on the grill

If you want to add cheese to your turkey burgers add it in the final minutes of cooking (see notes).

Wine Pairing for Turkey Burgers

I’ve written at length on what it means to be a good “burger wine”.  For these turkey burgers, we kept them simple with basic toppings (tomato, onion, pickle). The bacon adds a great smokiness and savoriness that lends itself to several styles of wine.

If you want something big and powerful look to New World Syrah (California and Washington make excellent examples). For something medium bodied, try Côtes du Rhône (Syrah and Grenache based blends from France). For a refreshing lighter bodied alternative, Spanish Rosé is a nice choice with its bright fresh flavors and strong acidity.

Other Burger Recipes

If you are looking for more burger recipe ideas here are some of our favorites.

  • Western Style Burger – This one is loaded with onion rings, BBQ sauce, and packed with flavor.
  • Smoked Lamb Burger – Low and slow for a smoky flavor and then finished with a rosemary aioli.
  • Classic Cheeseburger – Sometimes simple is best. Pickles, beef, onions, and flavor.
  • Smash Burger – Get the comfort food classic with a burger patty that is pressed and served hot with melted cheese and caramelized onions.

Side Ideas

Serve this with your favorite French fries or our oven roasted potatoes or our duck fat potatoes with Parmesan and thyme. You could also go big with our smashed potatoes with tarragon cream sauce.

More Recipes using Bacon Paste

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

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Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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Turkey Burger made with Bacon Paste on a plate
4.75 from 8 votes

Turkey Burgers with Bacon Paste Recipe

Discover the magic of bacon paste and how it can add incredible flavor to boring turkey burgers. These turkey burgers have are full of great flavor and moisture. There’s nothing boring about these turkey burgers!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2 pieces thick cut uncooked bacon
  • 1 pound ground turkey , (a mix of white and dark meat works great)
  • cup onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper (just a few twists from your grinder)
  • 4 burger buns , We prefer brioche buns for any burger recipe.
  • Optional toppings


  • Preparation: Preheat your grill for indirect method (see instructions on direct vs. indirect here).
  • Make Paste: Place two pieces of uncooked bacon in a food processor and pulse until it turns into a paste (should only take about 3-4 pulses).
  • Mix: In a large mixing bowl, mix ground turkey with the bacon paste, onion, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a large bowl with your hands being careful to not over mix. Form the burgers into four equal sized patties.
  • Grill: Place on grill over direct heat. Cook about 4-6 minutes per side for grill marks and a nice char, then transfer to indirect heat. *If you’re adding cheese do it here, when you add it to indirect heat. And then cover until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 
  • Serve: Remove burgers from heat and build your burgers. 



Flavor tip: If using a charcoal grill, add wood chunks to the charcoal mix. This will add some smoke and most importantly natural flavor from the wood. Yum.


Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1036mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 287IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American, burgers
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 309
Keyword: bacon paste, turkey burger
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. The combination of the bacon + smoke from apple chunks + not overcooking (thanks Thermopen) produced very tasty burgers.

    1. Lindsay, I would say 3 days at most. If you want longer, I would freeze them with some type of vacuum sealing option.

  2. 4 stars
    Just in case anyone else runs into this issue, don’t skip the bacon! I didn’t have any bacon and tried to use an egg as the binding agent, but my raw patties turned out as piles of meat paste. Luckily I was using a skillet so I didn’t have to worry about them falling through the grate, otherwise they would have just dripped through! Next time I try these I’ll definitely be adding bacon for some more flavor and firmness. I’ll definitely be trying these with bacon next!

    1. Garrett great point, we will update the post, and also it will depend on how lean the turkey is you bought. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    We LOVE turkey burgers in our house, and they’re the only burgers we ever make at home! They’re so flavorful and juicy – if you know how to add that flavor in and moisture like you did here. We have our own “secret sauces” to get that effect but I love your use of bacon paste here! I bet it’s so yummy!

  4. 5 stars
    The addition of bacon paste is so smart! This burger looks so good. I don’t even think I’d miss beef here.

  5. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh – What yumminess!!! Love the idea to mix in some bacon with the ground turkey to make them extra flavorful and juicy!

  6. 4 stars
    This burger looks and sounds amazing! Perfect for spring and summer barbecues. Thanks for sharing.

  7. You can never go wrong adding bacon 🙂 This looks so good. And I didn’t know bacon paste was so easy to make!