I Tried 6 Frozen Turkey Burgers & The Winner Was Juicy & Flavorful
Turkey is so much more than just the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table or the filling in your club sandwich. Whether it's ground up, sliced, roasted, turned into tacos, stirred into chili, or stuffed into bell peppers, there are a myriad of tasty and creative ways to enjoy that versatile poultry. But one especially popular and prevalent way to use turkey nowadays is subbing it for the beef in a classic burger.
Aside from all the dietitian-approved health benefits of the protein, turkey burgers also have the potential to be really tasty when they're done right. And luckily for home cooks who don't feel like forming their own patties, there are several popular frozen turkey burger brands gracing grocery store freezer aisles across the country nowadays.
But which of those brands is the best that you can buy in 2023? I recently set out to answer that question by trying all of the brands I could find during trips to several different grocery stores in my area: Butterball, Jenni-O, Applegate Organics, Bubba Burger, Trader Joe's, and Good & Gather (a private label Target brand).
While I would have loved to test out all of these brands on an actual barbecue, my cozy New Jersey apartment lacks a backyard where I could fit a grill, unfortunately. So I prepared each burger in a stovetop skillet per the package directions, leaving the patties completely plain so I could provide the most accurate review of their flavor. Some of these turkey burgers were so tasty that I had trouble picking a winner, but one ultimately stood out to me as having the biggest oomph in terms of both flavor and texture.
Read on for my thoughts on each turkey burger, starting with my least favorite and ending with the most mouthwatering brand available to consumers in 2023!
Applegate Organics Turkey Burgers
Applegate Organics' Turkey Burgers are made from turkeys that are humanely raised with no antibiotics. A one-pound pack of four burgers cost me $9.99.
The look: A bit on the smaller side and slightly misshapen. However, the outside of the patty developed a really attractive golden brown sear during the cooking process.
The taste: Not bad, but pretty boring. The patty itself had a decently enjoyable, clean turkey flavor, but the whole thing was woefully underseasoned and a little dry. If I ever cook one of these burgers again, I'll give them a pretty generous dose of salt and pepper and top them with plenty of veggies, cheese, and sauces before digging in.
In addition to being the least flavorful turkey burger I tried in this taste test, I also thought that Applegate Organics was the worst deal. For context, eight Bubba Burger turkey burgers cost me $8.99, while four Applegate Organics cost me $9.99. While some people might think it's worth it to pay more for a product just because it's organic, I prefer the idea of getting more non-organic food for a lower price.
Trader Joe's Turkey Burgers
Trader Joe's Turkey Burgers are made with a blend of white and dark turkey meat, which is seasoned with kosher salt and rosemary extract. A one-pound pack of four patties cost me $3.79.
The look: These were about the same size and thickness as the Applegate Organics burgers, but a little rounder in shape. While they developed a bit of a sear during the cooking process, the color wasn't quite as pronounced as some of the other patties I tried.
The taste: This patty also boasted a really clean and fresh turkey flavor. However, even though it was slightly better seasoned than the Applegate Organics version, the flavor didn't pack as much as punch as some of the higher ranking brands I tried. I have no doubt that Trader Joe's customers can make a really tasty meal out of these patties by seasoning and topping them as they please, but I ranked them on the lower end of the spectrum simply because other brands were super flavorful as is.
Bubba Burger Turkey Burgers
Bubba Burger's Turkey Burgers contain no artificial ingredients, additives, or preservatives. A 32-ounce pack of eight burgers cost me $8.99.
The look: I have a pretty good amount of experience with Bubba Burger, and I swear that every burger I've ever seen from this brand has been oddly misshapen. The patty itself developed a good sear and it was pretty thick despite being a little too small to fit the bun.
The taste: My takeaway about the flavor of this patty is pretty much the same as my takeaways for the Applegate and Trader Joe's patties. The taste is perfectly fine, albeit a bit boring. I'd need to upgrade it with my own seasonings and toppings in order to really enjoy it. What pushed Bubba Burger ahead of the others, however, was the texture. Because the patty was thicker, it seemed to hold its juices much better during the cooking process that the Applegate Organics and Trader Joe's burgers.
Good & Gather Turkey Burgers
Good & Gather's Turkey Burgers are made from turkey raised without any antibiotics, added hormones, or steroids. A 32-ounce pack of six burgers cost me $9.59.
The look: Big, thick, and the perfect size for the bun. However, the patty was on the paler side and didn't develop quite as good of a sear as some of the other brands.
The taste: Much more flavorful than the bottom three brands in this taste test, which makes sense considering that black pepper, dehydrated garlic, onion powder, and salt are all mentioned on the ingredients list. Good & Gather also wins points for the fact that the inside of the thick patty didn't dry out too much during the cooking process.
My one critique is that the burger had a subtle unpleasant taste that sort of reminded me of chemicals, but it wasn't so strong that it ruined the entire experience for me. If this patty came with all my favorite burger toppings, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.
Jennie-O Seasoned Turkey Burgers
Jennie-O's Seasoned Turkey Burgers contain no artificial ingredients and were made from turkey raised without any added hormones or steroids. A 32-ounce pack of six burgers cost me $9.99.
The look: So well-browned that I could have easily mistaken it for a beef burger. The perfectly sized patty came out of the pan incredibly well-seared on both sides.
The taste: I honestly had trouble finding any flaws with this option. The patty itself was big, thick, and not at all dry, while the sear on the outside added a really enjoyable textural bite to the burger. The seasoning levels were also pretty much perfect. I enjoyed this option so much that I had some serious trouble deciding whether to rank it in first or second place. But after plenty of extra bites and much thought, Jennie-O's wasn't the brand that stuck out to me as having the biggest oomph in both flavor and texture.
Butterball Original Seasoned Turkey Burgers
Butterball's Original Seasoned Turkey Burgers contain no added hormones or steroids. A 32-ounce box of six burgers cost me $10.99.
The look: Like the Jenni-O and Good & Gather turkey burgers, Butterball's patty was the perfect size and thickness for my burger bun. It also developed a remarkably good crust around the outside during the cooking process.
The taste: Pretty perfect, as far as frozen turkey burgers go. First of all, Butterball's patties had the absolute best flavor out of all the options I tried. It was super savory, well seasoned, and overall really tasty. But what really pushed it over the edge for me was the texture. That well-developed crust around the outside encased a perfectly juicy and moist interior. I'm sure that Butterball's turkey burgers would be even more enjoyable loaded up with my favorite toppings, but I couldn't help but take bite after bite even when these were plain.