Orchard Turkey Burgers


Orchard Turkey Burgers are spiked with grated apple. This is no boring turkey burger!


Not only was Saturday’s Farmer’s Market blissfully uncrowded, but the cool breeze and dreary skies gave me a temporary fall preview without having to actually go there. 

Yes, despite almost begging Ben to build me a fire on Saturday evening (I know, but it was seriously kind of cold (ok, debatable) and I was watching The Notebook after all. How romantic would that have been?!) and my returning obsession with hearty fall soups, I am definitely not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. I still need to drink beer with zoo animals per my summer bucket list!

I can’t say I wouldn’t have shrieked a little if I saw a precious pumpkin or gourd display though, and I totally did a happy dance after spying some sweet apple barrels at a few market stalls that definitely weren’t there the last time we went.

Apple picking is one of my all-time favorite fall activities, and the reminder that a U-pick trip can’t be more than a few weeks away inspired me to whip up a healthy, flavor-packed meal of Orchard Turkey Burgers with Brie & Caramelized Onions!


Lean turkey burgers are spiked with juicy grated apple then topped with melty brie cheese, sweet caramelized onions, and tangy Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. This tasted like a restaurant dish!

Cheese and apples are absolutely dynamite together, and when you add caramelized onions into the mix?! I can’t even! Turkey burgers have seriously never tasted better.


Start the Orchard Turkey Burgers by caramelizing the onions that will sit on top all glorious like.

I feel the need to defend and heartily promote caramelized onions any chance I get, as slow cooking onions over medium-low heat turns them into sweet, candy-like sticky threads of lusciousness. They instantly make anything you add them to taste infintely better. That’s a fact!


You’ll need 1 JUMBO-sized sweet onion, or 2 large ones, for 4 burgers. Just trim off the ends, cut it in half, discard the outer peel, and thinly slice each half.


Next, heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat and add the sliced onion. It’s important not to go above medium heat or the onions will burn instead of caramelize.

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Season the onions with salt and a little bit of pepper (plus a dash of sugar if you can’t find super-sweet onions!) then let them do their thang, stirring everyone now and again, until they’re a dark caramel color. Finally, place ’em in a bowl and set aside. The whole process will take about 20-25 minutes.

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While the onions are slow cooking, get to work on the burger part of the Orchard Turkey Burgers, starting with 1lb 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey Breast. Sometimes I find 99% FFGTB to be dry, bland, and boring, but we’re going to spice it up and make it extra juicy with a few mix ins.


First – zee spices: 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each garlic powder and onion powder, and LOTS of salt and pepper. Lots of it!


Then 1 grated Granny Smith Apple. Oh yes. We’re putting apples IN our burgers to keep it nice and moist. It’s so good!


Use a box or flat grater to finely grate the apple, one side at a time. It takes like, 2 minutes total. No big deal.

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Add the grated apple to the ground turkey and spices, then mix well, and divide the mixture into 4 sections to make sure each patty is exactly the same size.

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Form each section into a patty, then brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil. This is a must for 2 reasons: 1.) It helps keep the burgers nice and juicy, and 2.) IT TASTES SO GOOD. It really does. Don’t skip it!


Slap the patties onto a skillet (or grill) over medium-heat and cook for 4-5 minute a side, or until they’re no longer pink in the center.


Next, bust out the brie. Triple Cream, muwahahaha! Ahem! Sorry. The lady at Whole Foods got me all excited about this Lincet Delice de Bourgogne (translation: freaking awesome brie,) and for good reason. It is thick, creamy, and drippy. YUM!


Smear a bit of brie onto the tops of the burgers, then tent with foil (or lower the grill lid) and let the cheese melt – it won’t take long.


Pile each burger high with caramelized onions then serve on a bun or bed of spring mix lettuce lined with extra apple slices (here’s how I slice them nice and uniform.) Drizzle with honey mustard vinaigrette and finish with a crack of fresh black pepper. THE BEST!


Orchard Turkey Burgers

Serves 4


Orchard Turkey Burgers are spiked with grated apple. This is no boring turkey burger!


  • 1 jumbo sweet onion, cut in half then sliced thin
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1lb 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, 1 finely grated, 1 sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-4oz brie cheese
  • 8 cups spring mix lettuce OR 4 buns
  • Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and a little bit of pepper, then cook, stirring every so often until onion reaches a dark caramel brown color, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ground turkey with grated apple, dried thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and lots of salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 patties then brush each side with extra virgin olive oil and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes a side, or until no longer pink in the center. Top each burger with brie, then tent with foil to melt.
  3. Divide lettuce amongst plates then top with apple slices, burgers, and caramelized onions. Drizzle with honey mustard vinaigrette and serve.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


If you have never tasted melty brie with a crisp apple and sweet caramelized onions, stop reading. Go to the grocery store, and make this dish. It is sensational!


Really fancy looking too, without all that much effort. Tell your spouse, friends or family that you slaved and deserve some sort of reward in the form of a foot rub, fro yo run, or watering your garden for you.


I used to water after returning home from my morning mom walk around 6am, but now it’s still dark at that time and who’s going to water in the dark, so I have to go back out later in the day, which is annoying me to no end (I know.)

The cucumbers owe the miniature watermelon and baby brussels sprouts big time for keeping me coming back. Look how adorable they are – I can’t get enough!

Just kidding I would never abandon my garden. I’m doubling down next year- yeehaw!

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  1. I love that you put yours on a salad… I made something SO similar to this but with bacon back in May!! http://www.imadedinner.net/2012/05/16/tarragon-turkey-burgers-with-bacon-apple-brie/

  2. I’ve heard adding grated apple to turkey burgers, really makes them. Will need to try!

  3. Christie 08.27.2012

    Shut the front door!!!! This looks AMAZING!!!!!! Girl, I have loved your blog
    And all your recipes (hello, my tequila hating husband now lives on your beergaritas!) but this might be your best recipe EVAH! And that’s saying a lot considering how much I love your BBQ chicken quinoa!!!! You ROCK!!! Thank you for all your hard work, keep it coming!!!!

  4. Lindsey B. 08.27.2012

    Yum! I love good turkey burgers!

  5. These look SO good. I love how they’re kind of green before you cook ’em haha, I am a weirdo but I bet the apples make em extra juicy!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.28.2012

      Haha I know – at first I was kind of like, ummmm, but they lost the green hue as they cooked! :)

  6. Sarah 08.27.2012

    This looks amazing! And I am so excited for apples.

  7. I love carmelized onions and that is a great idea adding grated apples to the turkey meat.

  8. Jonette 08.27.2012

    didn’t have the brie on hand, but the caramelized onions and orchard burgers were fabulous … family loved!!

  9. Kirbie 08.27.2012

    This just might be shear brilliance! I can NOT wait to try…thanks.

  10. Megan 08.27.2012

    We might be out of luck for pick your own apples this year :(
    While strawberry picking at the Berry Patch this summer the lady said they lost almost all their apple crop, as did most of Iowa due to the cold snap this spring. I was really bummed! I have family in MN we’re going to visit this weekend and I will be stocking up! And am hoping for some early Honeycrisp (usually are late sept apples but I can hope!)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.28.2012

      I recently saw that on their website and was SO sad!! I am on the hunt for a great new place to pick this year – I’ll keep you posted with what I find!

  11. Kim 08.27.2012

    No apples at Berry Patch Farm! :( :( :( I just found out yesterday! I called today to actually double check after reading the website and they confirmed that it was true. If you find another place to apple pick that isn’t overcomercialized with bounce houses and corn mazes, can you please blog about it so that my family and I can go. I love your recipes and blog and check it every night! :)Thank you!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.28.2012

      I KNOW I am so devastated!!! I am on a mad hunt for a great place so I will definitely let you know what I find!

  12. Michele 08.27.2012

    Years ago (I am old) there was a recipe with granny smith apples in turkey burgers on the Oprah show that Oprah raved about. I never thought it sounded good, I couldn’t imagine apples in burgers…but your recipes sounds delicious! I am definitely making this very soon!

  13. Heather 08.27.2012

    I just drooled!!! You combine THE BEST flavors, Kristen!!

  14. Love turkey burgers! I never would have thought to add grated apple to the mix – how clever!

  15. This looks phenomenal! I also sometimes find the 99% lean a little dry. I have heard of adding blueberries to keep them moist, but the flavor profile of apple appeals to me more. Agreed about caramelized onions making everything taste better. That IS a fact.

  16. Annie 08.28.2012

    These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them out-any suggestions on an alternative to brie cheese in the recipe…I know I am probably crazy, but I am not a big fan…the pics are making me drool right now :)

  17. Eeek…my mouth is watering from that amazing looking Granny Smith! I bet the sweet taste of the apple and the saltiness of the cheese makes for a party in the mouth..lol. I will definitely need to make that this weekend.

  18. Adrian 08.28.2012

    When ever I made carmelized onions it stinks up my whole house and the next day, my clothes have the smell on them. Does this ever happen to you? Any tips?

  19. oh man, that burger looks awesome!!! Love the foil tent.

  20. Unbelievably gorgeous and mouthwatering dish! :)

  21. Kim 08.28.2012

    Maybe you should water in the dark! Less evaporation occurs and therefore your crops will get to keep more of that water. That’s why they’ve been advising us to water overnight due to the drought.

  22. Susan 08.28.2012

    Your pictures are absolutely awesome! :)

  23. Karen 08.28.2012

    These look amazing. I love turkey burgers and this is one I will be making asap! I made your crock pot spaghetti sauce and OMG bread last night for dinner. It was a hit with the whole family (love the onion hater tip for my picky son too!) plus plenty for leftovers tonight!!

  24. Erika 08.28.2012

    OMG. That looks amazing. You sure have a talent! Would love to try this if I could find Ground Turkey where I am from… definitely going on the to-make-list for when I return to ‘Merica! Thanks for the great idea!

  25. Taylor 08.29.2012

    I am going to make these tonight! (Unfortunately minus the brie, because I have crazily committed myself to 30 days of only eating Paleo.) DO you have a good recipe for honey mustard vinagrette? The dressing on the salad in the pictures looks delish!

    • Jen 08.29.2012

      You can se equal parts honey and dijon, then white wine vinegar and olive oil to your taste. The ones on the internet have WAY to much oil to vinegar ratio for my liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

      • Jen 08.29.2012

        Sorry, “use,” not “se.”

    • Iowa Girl Eats 08.31.2012

      I would do some dijon mustard mixed with a little honey, some really good extra virgin olive oil, maybe some apple cider vinegar, and salt & pepper!

  26. amy rainey 08.29.2012

    Tried it! Awsome!! Husband impressed.

  27. Jen 08.29.2012

    I made this for dinner tonight, with homemade HM vinaigrette and regular 85/15 ground turkey, b/c it’s what I had in the freezer. Hubby said it was a keeper! I bought the best brie they had at Trader Joe’s, and it made a really healthy meal seem super decadent. I always pin the stuff I make on Pinterest so I can pass along your ideas. Keep the inspiration coming!

    MN girl, ISU alum, Ohio resident

  28. […] – Apple Turkey Burgers (skipped the cheese and Honey Vinaigrette), Kale Chips , Fresh […]

  29. Lucy 09.04.2012

    These were deeeelish! Turkey mince is not easy to find in Australia, but got it and it was worth it. Great combo of all elements. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. […] peanut sauce.  But with everyone (including me) getting excited about fall recipes, when I spied this recipe, I knew I would be making these turkey burgers instead.  It’s probably for the best…I […]

  31. […] Recipe for the Orchard Turkey Burgers […]

  32. Ty 09.06.2012

    I just found your blog and made this last night as i had all the ingredients in the house. MAN O MAN… This is the best darn tasting turkey burger ever. Of course i added things such as fresh garlic, garlic juice and tad bit of parmesan cheese mixed in with the meat. I had left overs and it tast so much more amazing the next day. I’m def stalking this site. I will never make turkey burgers any other way.

  33. Sharon 09.19.2012

    I made these last night and they were FANTASTIC! I followed the recipe to the T and made my own light version of the honey mustard vinaigrette. These were so flippin’ good. I was glad to have leftovers for lunch today. Great recipe! Figured I would give credit where credit was due! I usually make up my own recipes but this seemed too perfect to alter in any way. Thanks!

  34. […] Baked Potato Soup!) September 25, 2012 20***Looking for the recipes you saw on KCCI this morning? Click here for the Orchard Turkey Burgers recipe. Click here for the Sweet Potato Fries recipe. ***When I was […]

  35. Weekly Roundup | 10.26.2012

    […] so it was really filling and satisfying. This will definitely become one of my regular meals. Orchard Turkey Burgers from Iowa Girl Eats: Let’s be honest: 75% of my food pins are from this website. Her recipes […]

  36. […] consisted of “Orchard Turkey Burgers” from Iowa Girl Eats with homemade sweet potato fries. I would have taken a picture but they […]

  37. […] Orchard Turkey Burgers is absolutely one of my favorite recipes as of late, even before this challenge. Why? Try them!! Shredded apple cooked into turkey burger patties, topped with melted Brie and carmelized onions, all over a bed of lettuce with homemade balsamic vinaigrette–YUM! […]

  38. Kelly 02.19.2013

    Holy cow! You nailed it on these turkey burgers! I made a turkey burger over a year ago, it flopped miserably, so I never revisited them…until now. The apple/turkey/cheese combo reminded me of a melt sandwich I ate in college called a Turkey Apple Vermontster with turkey, apples, and Vermont cheddar cheese – delish! So, since I didn’t have brie on hand, I subbed some good cheddar instead. Wonderful!!!

  39. […] the rave now), bean etc. But a turkey burger recipe is a rare gem. And so when I came across this one, I was stupidly excited. Sautéed onions and mushrooms are 2 toppings I always get on my burgers […]

  40. Megan 06.12.2013

    I just made these for the second time last night, and I’m having them for breakfast this morning.

    Your recipes are always so on and easy to prepare, so thanks, Kristin!

    One tiny change I made that works brilliantly: using a wild mushroom brie. It worked so well with the apples and onions.

  41. Briley Boisvert 07.03.2013

    I made these last night and loved them! I will definitely be making them again. Thank you! :)

  42. Pinning! As a turkey farmer, I’m always looking for new ways to cook it!


  43. […] This recipe is inspired by the Iowa Girl Eats Orchard Burger. […]

  44. Marcie 09.23.2013

    I was so excited to try this recipe for supper tonight! Unfortunately my burgers were not burgers in the end :( Do you have any suggestions for keeping them together?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.26.2013

      Hmmm, I’m not sure! Maybe your turkey was too “wet”? I’ve noticed that some packages are have more moisture than others. If that’s the case I would add a bit more bead crumbs.

  45. […] Orchard Turkey Burgers stay nice and juicy from the addition of freshly grated apple into the patty. The caramelized […]

  46. […] numba two….Apple Turkey Burgers, yumm!!!  You can find the recipe at Iowa Girl Eats.  At first I was concerned about putting apples IN my burgers, but wow was it yummy.  We served […]

  47. Danielle 03.20.2014

    I had this pinned since the moment you posted it, but haven’t gotten around to trying it. I just made this the other day, and I had to come back to say THANK YOU! It was absolutely amazing…and healthy no less!

  48. […] 4: Orchard Turkey Burgers (skip the brie and use EVOO and balsamic vinegar instead for […]

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