Apple-Sage Turkey Burgers with Spicy Maple Aioli

These apple-sage turkey burgers with spicy maple aioli will erase any less than thrilling experience you’ve had with turkey burgers in the past. We’ve all had those turkey burgers: the ones that are bland, dry, and that make you regret your choice to order something healthier. These are not those! These turkey burgers are flavorful and juicy, and a staple in our house. Thanks to an entire green apple grated into the meat, tons of delicious spices, and a spicy maple aioli to slather on the bun, we’re not short on flavor here. A cooking method that involves searing in a cast iron skillet and finishing off in the oven keeps these burgers moist and locks in flavor.

They pair perfectly with my spinach salad with lemon dressing and parmesan or my no frills side salad with white wine vinaigrette.

What makes these apple-sage turkey burgers so flavorful?

apple, sage, parsley, red onion for turkey burgers with apple and sage

We do have to work a bit harder to make turkey, which can be bland, as flavorful as possible. But this recipe does it all! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Green apple. We grate an entire green apple into the meat mixture, both for flavor and juice!
  • Dried sage and thyme. Dried rubbed sage and thyme make these turkey burgers really flavorful, and also add some nice color to the meat.
  • Fresh parsley. To balance out the dry spices and add a pop of freshness.
  • Red onion. For sweetness and color!
  • Mayo, maple syrup, djijon mustard, and red pepper flake. We whip up a simple aioli with some sweet and some spice to really amp up the quality of this burger.
  • Sharp yellow cheddar, if using. You don’t have to make these cheeseburgers, but I do highly recommend!

What’s the best cooking method?

After some research and experimentation, I’ve settled on The Kitchn‘s method for cooking turkey burgers. First, sear in a hot cast iron skillet. Then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. This method seals in flavor with the sear, and ensures even and thorough cooking in the oven.

So, shall we get to it? If you make these apple-sage turkey burgers with spicy maple aioli, please let me know in the comments below how they turn out! Your feedback keeps me going, and is also helpful to other readers. Enjoy!


Apple-Sage Turkey Burgers with Spicy Maple Aioli

These apple-sage turkey burgers with spicy maple aioli are sure to become a staple in your rotation!

  • Author: A Tavola Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 burgers 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


For the burgers:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey meat
  • 1 green apple, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp thyme 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese, if using
  • Greens for topping
  • 4 hamburger buns 

For the aioli:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard 
  • 12 tsp maple syrup, to taste 
  • Dash of red pepper flake
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the burgers. Grate an entire green apple on the side of a box grater and squeeze out most of the excess liquid over the sink. Combine turkey, apple, onion, parsley, spices, and salt in a large bowl and mix until just combined. Divide evenly into 4 patties and use your thumb to make a dimple in the center of each.
  3. Sear the burgers. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is very hot and shimmering, add patties and sear undisturbed for about 4 minutes, until a golden-brown crust has formed on the bottom. Flip patties.
  4. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake the burgers for 5-7 minutes more, until patties have reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If adding cheese, add about 1 minute before removing burgers from the oven and allow to melt. 
  5. Make the aioli. While the burgers rest for 1-2 minutes, combine all aioli ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. 
  6. Assemble burgers. Assemble your burgers with aioli, greens, and any other desired toppings. 


  • Be sure to squeeze out the grated apple before mixing into the turkey. We want moist burgers, yes, but not watery ones! 

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