These Indian spiced chicken burgers are juicy, tender, and packed with flavor, thanks to the combination of ground chicken thighs, yogurt, masala spice blend, ginger, garlic, onion, tomatoes, and chiles. This easy, healthy chicken burger recipe is going into our permanent rotation.
Adapted from Asma Khan | Ammu | Interlink Books, 2022
Chicken burgers often get overlooked because they can be dry and rubbery. That’s certainly not the case with these spicy masala burgers, that are made using ground chicken thighs, yogurt, and egg to keep the patties juicy. You can top them with chutney or red onion, as the author suggests, or if you want to take the heat up another notch, slather on some sriracha mayo.–Angie Zoobkoff
Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers FAQs
Can I make these burgers ahead of time?
Yes – but with a couple of precautions. Because you’re mixing raw chicken and raw egg, there’s potential for bacteria to come into play. If you plan to prep these burgers ahead of time, wrap them really well, store them in the coldest part of your fridge, and be sure to cook the meat within twelve hours.
What is ginger paste?
Ginger paste is simply ginger root that’s been pulverized and blended into a paste. It can be made at home but is also available in jars and tubes in most grocery stores. Garlic paste is the same – but made with garlic, naturally.
How do I make ginger or garlic paste at home?
Use a mini food processor or mortar and pestle to finely grind up either garlic or ginger with a pinch of salt.
Can these burgers be made on the grill or in the oven?
On a traditional grill with grates, no. But, if you’re planning to cook them in a grill-safe skillet using your grill as a heat source, feel free to cook outside. You can also use a Blackstone-type flat top griddle if you’ve got one. The problem with a traditional grated grill is that these patties are very loose and pretty fragile, so they’ll fall right through your grill grates, ruining your dinner.
We also don’t recommend baking these burgers in the oven. They won’t develop the crispy edges that make this burger so excellent.
Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers
For the Indian chicken burgers
- 1 pound 10 oz ground chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon full-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 3 green chiles such as jalapeno, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil for frying, plus more for your hands
- 12 small burger buns naan, or pita bread
- Chutney (optional)
- 1 red onion sliced into 12 rings
Make the Indian chicken burgers
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken with all the remaining ingredients (except the oil) and mix well.
- Oil your hands and divide the mixture into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten to a patty. Each burger should be 3/4-inch (2 cm) high. Cover the patties with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.
- In a large skillet over high heat, warm the oil. To test that the oil is hot, cut one of the onion slices in half and dip the tip into the oil, it should start to sizzle immediately. If not, heat the oil for a bit longer and check again.
- Reduce the heat to medium and wait 30 seconds. Working in batches, slip the burger patties in from the edge to prevent the oil from splashing and burning your hand. Do not overload the pan. Fry the burgers in a single layer with enough space for you to turn them safely, until well browned on both sides and cooked through to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining burger patties.
- Slice open the burger buns and spread both sides with a thin layer of chutney, if using. Top with a burger patty and a slice of onion.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We loved these flavorful and healthy chicken masala burgers! All the flavors meld beautifully; I was initially hesitant about the chopped tomato in the meat but it turned out to lend a terrific cooling effect as well as tasting good.
I used 2 pounds of ground chicken thigh and found that it was challenging to form patties as the meat mixture was very mushy. I sort of scooped out large spoonfuls onto a greased plate and then slid them carefully into the hot oil, cooking for 3 minutes per side.
I did not use anywhere near 1 cup of cooking oil – more like 1/4 cup in a very large frying pan. Next time I will scoop directly into the hot oil thereby saving a step.
I served these with naan and as I am not a huge fan of chutney, I made a tzatziki-type sauce. This meal was a big hit!
These Indian spiced chicken burgers were insanely good! They check all the boxes for a fast, flavorful, easy weeknight meal, but they were also appealing as a great make-ahead party offering (made to the point of finished patties and kept in the fridge overnight).
I made them twice. The first time I halved the recipe because it was only me and my husband at home that night. The second time I doubled it since they were so dang delicious; served them to our family that were in from out of town for Easter and out of the 24 burgers, not a single one was left from 10 of us eating. Everyone LOVED them!
I served them in thin-walled, toasted pitas with sliced vegetable toppings, and a sauce made from coriander chutney (from my local Indian market), Trader Joe’s Mango Chutney and full fat Greek yogurt – DYNAMITE!
I went a bit heavier on the green chilis than the recipe called for because we like spicy food! The flavors reminded me of a banh mi with an Indian accent. So good! These would be amazing as sliders on the grill for a summer party!
I have to admit, I did not know what to expect from these spicy chicken burgers. I don’t often use ground chicken because it often seems very lean but after reviewing the recipe I decided to give it a try because of the straight-forward directions.
I was able to assemble the burgers in less than 20 minutes. The longest steps were making the ginger and garlic paste but if you already had those on hand, the recipe would be even faster.
When I made the patties, I was doubtful because the chicken mixture was very wet. However, the patties miraculously stayed together while flipping. They browned nicely within 3 to 4 minutes a side.
The final result was a complete surprise to me. I enjoyed the flavor of the burgers that were reminiscent of the spices of a mild tandoori chicken. The texture of the chicken patty was brown and crispy on the outside but tender inside.
Based on my personal preference, I would increase the spices and reduce the vegetables or cook them a bit before adding to make them softer, but these are small tweaks.
Overall, this was a surprise meal that has now opened me up to the idea of using ground chicken for burgers. My son, who is very picky enjoyed the burgers so it is mild enough for kids. I don’t enjoy chutney so I will have to play with options for the best condiments for the burgers. I made the burgers for lunch and served them with sweet potato chips.
Originally published June 28, 2022
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This Indian spiced chicken burger recipe is a juicy, two-thumbs-up flavor bomb! I loved the mix of spices, tomato, cilantro, and onion in the burger and the mango chutney and raw red onion that sit atop this delicious patty put it over the top!
The recipe was simple and straight-forward, working as written. One hack I like to use is to whisk spices into the egg, which allows better incorporation and distribution, as sometimes spices will clump in ground meat. If you don’t like raw onion, you could definitely substitute pickled or caramelized onion.