Like turkey burgers? Then you’ll love these turkey sliders. Heck, even if you don’t like turkey burgers, you may still swoon to these diminutive turkey sliders seeing as the smaller size ensures they require less time over the heat, which in turn means there’s less chance of them drying out. And everyone knows that the number one complaint of folks who don’t care for turkey burgers is that they’re too dry. Incidentally, number two is that they’re bland, but this recipe doesn’t suffer from that woe, either. Nope, not with this feisty blend of southwestern spices. (Given this recipe is from Emeril, we sorta feel like we should yell “Bam!” right about now.)Renee Schettler Rossi

Three Emeril's southwestern turkey sliders with onions, parsley, avocado on a white plate

Southwestern Turkey Sliders

5 from 1 vote
Southwestern turkey sliders are tasty and healthy and easy and quite frankly the best turkey burgers we’ve had. Experience them for yourself.
David Leite
Servings12 sliders
Calories307 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


For Emeril’s Southwest Essence spice blend

For the turkey burgers

  • 2 pounds ground turkey, preferably a blend of thigh and breast meat
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion, white and green parts
  • 1 or 2 serrano chiles, minced
  • 2 large egg whites, whisked
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Emeril’s Southwest Essence spice blend , (see preceding recipe or purchase the blend in a jar at your grocery store or online)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 12 mini burger buns or small soft dinner rolls, warmed
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 12 small lettuce leaves
  • 12 slices tomato
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
  • mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • ketchup


Make Emeril’s Southwest Essence spice blend

  • In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, paprika, coriander, garlic powder, salt, cumin, cayenne, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and oregano. You should have about 1/2 cup. (You can cover and keep the spice blend indefinitely at room temperature.)

Make the turkey burgers

  • Preheat a grill to medium-high.
  • In a large bowl using your hands, gently but thoroughly combine the ground turkey, red onion, scallion, chile, egg whites, spice blend, cumin, and Worcestershire. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and shape them into 12 small burgers, each about 3 1/2 inches wide.
  • Place the burgers on the grill and cook, flipping once, until the turkey is just barely done and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165°F (74°C), about 3 minutes per side.
  • Serve the burgers on the mini buns or rolls and set out the cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced red onion, avocado, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup so everyone can dress their burgers to their liking.
Emeril at the Grill

Adapted From

Emeril at the Grill

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Serving: 1 sliderCalories: 307 kcalCarbohydrates: 31 gProtein: 27 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 51 mgSodium: 954 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 5 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2009 Emeril Lagasse. Photo © 2009 Steven Freeman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

What a simple yet delightful recipe for turkey burgers. They came out extremely juicy, tender, and filled with flavor yet not overwhelmed by spices (I stayed true to the recipe and used the Southwest Essence spice blend.) I was a tad worried they would come out too spicy for my toddler to enjoy, but that wasn’t the case. She actually ended up eating a little more than 2 sliders and chose the avocado and tomato as accompaniments. My teen forewent the bread and ate the slider in a lettuce wrap with all the suggested toppings, and since there wasn’t the typical burger fat, it was easy to eat them that way. The rest of us had them with small ciabatta rolls, which worked perfectly.

I have a love/hate relationship with turkey burgers. I find them to be dull and a little dry, but Emeril’s Southwestern Turkey Sliders are excellent. Yes, they have quite a few flavors added, but the ground turkey can handle it. Using a blend of light and dark meat is key to keeping the sliders moist. This recipe also provides a lot of flavor, which turkey burgers sometimes lack. Emeril doesn’t specify whether or not to seed the chile. I chose to seed it, but we thought the burgers could’ve used the extra kick. Plus, the condiments would be able to put out any fires created by the chiles’ extra heat.

Okay, I admit that I had Emeril’s spice in my cabinet, but I had never used it before. It is not absolutely necessary to this recipe, though. The flavors are great, but I do think that any mix of seasonings would be delicious in this recipe. The scallions, chiles, onion, cumin, and Worcestershire sauce come together and give great flavor to what is often a very bland poultry dish. The sliders seemed a bit mushy on the grill, but once they cooked, they were perfect.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These are nothing less than fabulous and will appear on my table again and again. Left over patties (Yes, leftover!) warmed up nicely in the microwave – for breakfast, no less! I plan to try this with chicken and pork also. Really great food!

    The only thing I will change next time I make them is to reduce the serrano chili amount – while a little bit of heat along with the complexity of the seasonings is almost necessary, one whole serrano was too hot for me personally; next time, one-half of one small pepper will suit me just fine. For those of you who like the heat, don’t be shy about increasing the amount to your personal taste.

    As to the egg discussion, without ceremony or hesitation I tossed in two whole eggs, well beaten, and was not displeased at all with the results.

    Finally, I did not use the commercial spice blend as I found where the chef had divulged the ingredients – so I just made and used my own.

  2. Hi, Friends. Do you think one whole egg instead of two egg whites would work okay? I hate trying to find uses for separated eggs and really hate throwing it out.

    1. Audrey, I completely understand and appreciate you not wanting to waste food and appreciate you asking the question! I’m hesitant to guarantee that it will work since I haven’t tried it myself, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would lightly beat the egg yolk and white together in a small bowl and then gradually add it to the turkey mixture, starting with maybe 2/3 of the egg. If the turkey mixture feels dry and is crumbly, go ahead and add more of the egg a little at a time. Kindly let us know how it goes…

  3. These sounds delicious. We eat SO many burgers around here that I like to switch up beef, pork, turkey, etc… Can’t wait to try these!

    1. They are delicious, Christina! Love to hear what you think of them. And have you, perchance, tried these barbecue pork burgers? My nephew insists on them for breakfast whenever he visits…