These juicy southwestern turkey sliders from Emeril Lagasse get their zing from a blend of paprika, chili powder, coriander, garlic, cumin, and pepper. They’re tasty, easy, healthy, and–um–arguably the best turkey burgers ever.
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
Southwestern Turkey Sliders
For Emeril’s Southwest Essence spice blend
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
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
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.
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.
Originally published January 02, 2018