Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers


Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are a zesty, fresh twist on chicken for dinner!


First things first, I have a new niece!



Born just this morning! She is absolutely perfect, beautiful, sweet and snuggly. I couldn’t be happier for my sister-in-law (who is seriously my new hero – arrived at the hospital and 20 minutes later, baby!) and brother, and can’t wait to go spend more time with the newest addition to our family. AHHHH I just love babies!

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Before I go, I have to tell you about the burgers I made for dinner last night. See, a couple weeks ago I was cleaning up some old posts, and came across a Trader Joe’s night dinner including Chicken Chili Lime Burgers, which I had loved at the time.

I remember wanting to recreate them at home at some point, and had even typed out the ingredient list off the package so I could come back later and have a shopping list all ready to go.


I’m so glad I did, because last night I came up with a recipe that both Ben and I liked even better than the original. I present to you a zesty twist on a TJ’s fave: Homemade Chili Lime Chicken Burgers. You’ve got to try these!


For four burgers, you’ll need 1lb ground chicken. I used Smart Chicken ground chicken which has 5% fat, so if you’re looking for a leaner alternative, ground turkey would also work. OR, you could ask your grocery store’s butcher to grind some chicken breasts for you, similar to what mine did for Thai Chicken Burgers!


Add flavor-packed ingredients to the chicken including 2 green onions, 1/4 cup red pepper (btw I HATE red pepper, but it’s just a background flavor in these burgers!), and 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro.


Next add 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, which give the burgers even more zip.

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The real hero, though, is the juice of half a lime. It give the burgers a real punch!


Mix all the ingredients together with clean hands, then form the mixture into 4 patties.


You can make these a couple hours ahead of time if need be, just make sure they sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before cooking, mmkay?


Next, heat a skillet or grill pan over high heat. Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are more of an indoor grill vs outdoor grill type of burger, which is just as well because I found out last weekend that the grill Ben and I have been using for the past four years was recalled like 2 years ago for faulty, I don’t know, flame thingies (?) which could set the grill door (or whatever it’s called) on fire. Awesome!

At any rate, spray each side of the burgers very well with non-stick spray, then grill for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked all the way through.


When the burgers are nearly cooked on the second side, add a slice of Pepper Jack Cheese, then place a large pot lid on top to allow the cheese to melt.

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While the cheese is melting, mix up a batch of Lazy’s Girl’s Guacamole with 1 avocado, the other half of the lime used in the burgers, and a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It’ll be done lickity split!

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Place the burgers onto a toasted thin bun, then top with guac!


Copy Cat Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Serves 4


Copy Cat Trader Joe's Chili Lime Chicken Burgers are a zesty, fresh twist on chicken for dinner!


  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 buns, toasted
  • For the guacamole:
    • 1 avocado
    • garlic powder
    • salt & pepper


  1. Combine chicken, green onions, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and juice of half a lime in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined, then form into 4 patties and spray each side generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Heat a large grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Grill burgers for 3-4 minutes a side, or until cooked all the way through. Place a slice of cheese on top of each burger, then cover with a large pot lid, and allow to melt for about a minute. Remove burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Place each burger on a toasted thin bun, then top with guacamole.
  3. For the guacamole: Mash all ingredients together with a potato masher or fork.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


Soooooo much better than I could have even hoped for! Satisfying, filling, and kind of spicy with a cooling touch from the fresh guacamole. Fantastic!


On the side I served grilled asparagus. That’s just 1 bunch trimmed asparagus snapped into thirds, then tossed with garlic salt and extra virgin olive oil, and grilled until tender.


I mixed them with halved heirloom tomatoes for a healthy and fresh side to our burgers.


So refreshing!


And with that, I’m off. Baby time! :D

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  1. Lori 03.28.2012

    Congratulations on the new niece! I love her name…so cute!

    • sarah 01.24.2013

      I have had 2 of your recipes (chili lime burgers and the chic-fil-a nuggets) and they are very delicious. I love the portions that it comes out too. I have a hard time trying to cook for 2. Thanks for your ideas!!

  2. Amy M @ In The Mixing Bowl 03.28.2012

    I totally agree — there’s nothing better than a fresh punch of lime.

    I am going to make these ASAP and top with mango salsa — pretty sure mangos are on sale at HyVee for $0.88!

  3. Melissa 03.28.2012

    I love your blog! Thank you so very much for this recipe! My husband and I love Trader Joe’s, Chili Lime Chicken Burgers. Sadly, the closest Trader Joe’s is 2 hours away and we’ve been craving the chicken burgers. We usually buy 4-6 boxes at a time. I can’t wait to make these and try them!

  4. I’ve never had the TJ’s version of these, but yours look so good I think I’ll just try them and skip the store-bought ones :-)

    Your niece is absolutely beautiful and I love her name! It’s so pretty :-) And 20 minutes at the hospital?! Way-to-go to your sister-in-law. That’s impressive!

  5. Lindsey 03.28.2012

    Congratulations! And yum! I love anything topped with guacamole :)

  6. Danielle 03.28.2012

    Congrats to you, Aunt Kristin! :) Also, congrats to your brother and sister-in-law AND your parents who are probably just oozing joy! :-D

  7. YAY for babies :)

    Do you think in could ‘grind’ up chicken breast enough in a cuisanart food processor to work for a burger?

  8. Danielle 03.28.2012

    congrats on the new niece!! how exciting :)

    quick question…where is the chili in the chili lime chicken burgers? i may have missed something while reading the post! just curious :)

  9. Danielle 03.28.2012

    oh duhh i just saw that you said red chili pepper flakes…when i read the title i just assumed chili powder…sorry!!!

  10. Kristen W. 03.28.2012

    Aww what a sweet little face!

    Those burgers looks delish! A must try ASAP!

  11. Dee 03.28.2012

    Your new niece is beautiful and ummm your sister inlaw looked flawless for just pushing out a baby. So jealous!

  12. first of all, loving the name evie!

    second, totally obsessed with chicken/turkey burgers on the grill. will have to try this recipe now that the weather’s getting warm!!

  13. Lauren 03.28.2012

    Aww, congrats! Your sister in law looks incredible after giving birth. :)

  14. Ooooooh I am craving asparagus right now, of all the things you showed! ;) I’ve made a knock off version of the TJ’s burgers, too, and I have some in the freezer that I am contemplating heating up right now!!

    Congrats on Evie!

  15. Deanna 03.28.2012

    Super yummy looking recipe…will definitely try soon. And the sister-in-law looks like an actress dropped in that photo – definitely NOT like someone who just gave birth! Seriously, did she get a shower and her hair blown out for that photo!?! I definitely did not look anything like that after my pregnancies. :-)

  16. Kelly 03.28.2012

    I LOVE the name Evie! Congrats on your new niece, what an exciting time for your family! :)

  17. Prairie Bee 03.28.2012

    Wow!!! Your entire family is adorable but your new niece is absolutely precious!!! Love the name Evie and what a darling face ~ she is really a doll!

    I’ve never had the TJ’s version but yours looks so good that I think I’m going to go for the Iowa Girl creation!!!

  18. Traci 03.28.2012

    Have fun being an auntie! Cute, cute baby! The timing of this recipe is perfect. Just today I bought a bunch of ground chicken just because it was on a very good sale. I through it in the freezer hoping I could come up with a new idea for it. Can’t wait to try these!

  19. […] recipes in the last month, that’s heavy rotation.  Around 5pm or so I saw her post on some chili lime burgers she made based on a Trader Joe’s burger and I thought I had enough ingredients on hand to riff […]

  20. Sarah 03.28.2012

    I was immediately inspired and made these tonight!! Thanks for a great idea!

  21. oh my goodness. I just read the title, didn’t even have to see the gorgeous pics, before KNOWING that I MUST make these! YUM!!

    Congrats on your new niece..shes adorable!! :D

  22. Lexi 03.28.2012

    20 minutes?! If they have another, I hope your brother is prepared to deliver it at home!

  23. Courtney 03.28.2012

    Hi there! Congrats on your niece!! She is precious. I am sending this recipe out to a friend of mine who is a chef to see if there is any way to make it vegetarian…it looks amazing and the flavor combo sounds right up my alley! I also loved the frozen breakfast burritos! You have such a great blog :) Thank you for your posts! xo

  24. Michelle 03.28.2012

    What a beautiful addition to your family!

    Those burgers look delish!

  25. Congrats on the niece!
    Those burgers look so delicious!

  26. sara 03.28.2012

    CONGRATS to your brother & Sister in law!!! Love her name, too. What’s her middle name? That burger looks amazing, I will have to try it!

  27. Trisha 03.28.2012

    Finn is a big brother!! Hurray! Love the name Evie, though Poppy was pretty cute too. :) Congrats, Auntie.

    These burgers look SO good, definitely on the menu soon!

  28. Alison 03.28.2012

    Yay for babies! Those burgers look amazing. Definitely going to give them a try!! Anything topped with guacamole has my vote!

  29. Tessa 03.29.2012

    This looks so summery. Yum! Congrats on the new niece!

  30. Mo 03.29.2012

    I’m so happy you posted this…those are go-to easy dinners for my family but I love the option of easily making them without having all the processed yuck that anything like that has (esp sodium). So KUDOS and I cannot wait to make these!!!

  31. pam 03.29.2012

    what an adorable bundle of sweetness! just love, love, love your blog and your freakin’ cuteness!

  32. katie 03.29.2012

    Congrats on the new babe! What’s your secret for gettin the ground chicken for 1.99 ice necwr seen it that cheap at hyvee?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.29.2012

      I actually thought it was $5.99 when I bought it, and didn’t realize til I was blogging that I had gotten it for $1.99! I have no idea why it was so cheap. Must have had an over-supply or something!

  33. katie 03.29.2012

    Uggh autocorrect! I meant to say I’ve never seen it that cheap*

  34. Urban Wife 03.29.2012

    Congrats on your beautiful niece! :)
    These burgers look delish. I love the addition of lime.

  35. Carrie 03.29.2012

    My easy, lazy guacomole (instead of smashed avocado with lime) is to just mix fresh salsa with avocado. Add in more lime juice and cilantro if so inclined. Takes two seconds.

  36. Katrine 03.29.2012

    Your sister-in-law looks like she just left the salon! Who looks that good after giving birth?? WOW! Your burgers look great to, BTW. Thanks for sharing

  37. Renee Benda 03.29.2012

    Congratulations, new little babies are the best! These Burgers look amazing I can’t wait to try them on my husband!

  38. I miss Trader Joes! I showed the picture of your tomato and asparagus to my fiance, and he decided that is what we are having with dinner!

  39. Oh my this looks amazing!! You had me at squeezed lime! ;-)

    Congrats on the new family member! So fun!

  40. Babies and burgers–who would not absolutely love this post? :)

    I’ve been wanting to try some new turkey or chicken burger recipes. My husband is a total burger and fries kind of guy but we’re trying to find some recipes that we both like!

  41. Summer 03.29.2012

    Why do you leave the burgers out for 10 min at room temperature before cooking?? Just curious..

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.29.2012

      It’s so the outside doesn’t cook faster than the inside and get dried out!

  42. Tonya 03.29.2012

    These look amazing! On a NON-food related note, in the picture, it looks like you have white tile counter tops. How on earth do you keep the grout looking so WHITE? Mine looks atrocious! :(

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.29.2012

      Ugh I have NO idea – I HATE them. A “gift” from the previous owners!

  43. sara 03.29.2012

    Who doesn’t love babies! Congrats!

  44. Jennifer 03.29.2012

    You are my hero! I have been suffering ever since my move to a place with no Trader Joe’s nearby for 6 hours, and now I can make one of my favorite things from there at home.

    BTW Congratulations! How exciting, a niece to spoil! :)

  45. Mandy 03.29.2012

    Oh my gosh, I want to make these burgers ASAP! They look so good!

    And congratulations on the new little one!

  46. MigraineMe 03.29.2012

    Congrats on the new niece! She looks so sweet! :)

  47. congrats on the niece! 20 minutes is incredible! no wonder your sister-in-law looks so good!

  48. Lauren 03.29.2012

    What beautiful-amazing looking pictures! They look great, keep up the amazing work!! ;)

  49. Greg 03.29.2012

    They looked tasty, so I made them for tonight’s dinner. First bite reminded me why I never make turkey burgers. No meat flavor. Everything else tasted fine but needed some base meat flavor balance.
    The overall recipe looks great, but next time I think I’ll substitute 93% lean ground beef instead.
    Great presentation. Thumbs up. Got my attention.

  50. A 03.29.2012

    Thank you for creating and sharing this recipe! I made it for dinner this evening and it was delicious!

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