Jalapeño Chicken Burgers

June 5, 2020

I will gladly bite into a classic beef burger at your next backyard barbecue. At my house, however, you’re more likely to find my favorite turkey burgers or, these days, a couple Jalapeño Chicken Burgers smoldering away on the grill.

This healthy chicken burger recipe offers the full burger experience (bun, toppings, deliciously messy hand-held food) while also serving up a new flavor profile to switch up your summer cookout menu or spice up a quick weeknight meal.

Spiked with hot pickled jalapeño and fresh green flecks of cilantro, grilled chicken burgers are more than just a healthier burger alternative— they’re worth savoring in their own right.

Ground chicken in a bowl, parsley, avocado, red onion, spices in a bowl, and picked jalapeño in a bowl

How to make chicken burgers on the grill

Smash the ground chicken balls into patties before refrigerating (rather than smashing them on the skillet), forming them into 1/2 inch-thick patties with a thumbprint-sized divot in the center (this helps to ensure that they won’t puff up on the grill).

Keep the uncooked patties in the fridge for as long as you can (at least 10 minutes and up to 2 days); they’ll hold together better if they’re chilled.

Brush and oil the grates before grilling to ensure that the patties don’t stick to the grates.

Cook for about 3 minutes per side on a medium-high grill.

Can I use ground turkey or ground beef instead?

While I love discovering recipes and uses for ground chicken, this would also be great with ground turkey. I don’t suggest using ground beef for this recipe; it brings too much richness and flavor on its own that it doesn’t improve much with add-ins. 

Uncooked Jalapeño Chicken Burgers patties on a plate

A few tips for the best Jalapeño Chicken Burgers

  • Stir together all of the spices and mix-ins in a large bowl before adding the ground chicken. Mix until thoroughly combined, but don’t overwork the patties.
  • A well-oiled ice cream scoop (especially the kind with the easy-release swiper) is the best tool for creating evenly-sized patties. If you don’t have one, use an oiled ⅓ cup dry measuring cup.
  • Use a spatula to smash the rounds into patties as soon as they hit the hot skillet. Lightly wet or oil the spatula so that the patties don’t stick to it. 
  • Double this recipe if you’d like freezer-friendly leftovers! The average adult can definitely eat two of these in one sitting (who’re you looking at?).

Jalapeño Chicken Burgers

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (7 votes, average: 4.71 out of 5)
Dinner American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

This recipe makes a healthy burger alternative that just so happens to be delicious in its own right. Try it for a quick weeknight meal, or throw it on the grill for a backyard BBQ or summer cookout.


  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp chopped hot pickled jalapeño
  • 1/8 of a small onion, finely chopped or grated (2-3 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing
  • Sliced cheese, optional (Cheddar is great here)
  • Burger buns, for serving
  • Suggested toppings: lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado seasoned with a squeeze of lime



Add granulated garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, mayo, jalapeño, onion, and cilantro to a large bowl. Mix to combine. Add chicken and mix with a fork or your hands until well-combined.


Lightly coat a large plate with non-stick spray or oil. Using a lightly oiled 1/3 cup dry measuring cup, form mixture into about 6 mounds (no need to form them into patties just yet), place on a plate, and chill, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours (this step will help keep them firm). If chilling for more than 2 hours, cover with plastic and chill up to 2 days.


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Working in 2 batches, transfer the chicken into the skillet and use a spatula to press them into patties (you can lightly grease the spatula to avoid sticking). Cook, until browned, about 3 minutes. Be sure to use one spatula for pressing the raw patties and a different spatula for flipping the cooked ones. Turn and add a slice of cheese if using. Cook on the second side until burgers are fully cooked, 2-3 minutes more. Let them rest for about 5 minutes before putting them into a bun, adding toppings galore, and biting into juicy goodness.


  • 451 Calories


For grilling directions, please see paragraph within blog post. -- Double this recipe if you’d like freezer-friendly leftovers! The average adult can definitely eat two of these in one sitting (who’re you looking at?).

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