Umami Turkey Rosemary Burgers with Avocado

by on June 3, 2012

It’s been almost 3 years since we last posted our favorite family burger recipe, Ultimate Umami Hamburgers. Our “secret” ingredient of adding fish sauce isn’t so secret anymore and it we’re so grateful that over the years, everyone was extremely open to heightening the umami factor in their burgers. It brings us great joy and pride to know that so many of you are grilling for extra flavor!

Fear of fish sauce is still prevalent in many home cooks and without a doubt, we completely understand your cautious curiosity. Fish sauce is pungent and for many of you, it’s on the verge of stink. But once you can get past the aroma and appreciate the value of added umami flavor that fish sauce adds, you’ll be a converted addict sooner than you realize.

It is almost magical when cooked with. Its own fishiness disappearing and in its place the dish’s flavor is mysteriously enhanced and a new depth of flavor emerges.

Turkey, particularly the white meat, was always too dry and bland for us. Though we’d enjoy it occasionally in a turkey bacon sandwich (bacon always makes everything better), the meat alone was never something we’d ever consider as a burger. But over the last year, we were enjoying turkey more in different applications and thought about making turkey burgers better and more flavorful by adding fish sauce.

Again, fish sauce comes to the rescue in this turkey burger! Of course, if you grill with white turkey meat, you’ll get a drier burger. But when made with dark turkey meat in combination with the fish sauce, what you get is a fantastically deep, flavorful and moist burger.

With the added brightness of minced rosemary and creamy slices of avocado, this turkey burger is worth being proud of at the grill.

Like the many of the commenters mentioned in our ultimate umami hamburger post, no one noticed a fishy-sauce flavor in the burgers at all. But what everyone did taste was a meatier tasting burger that was fantastic. The fish sauce adds an depth of flavor which makes the burgers quite delectable. Many commenting that their families declared them the best burgers ever.

As the weather warms up and bbq season arrives, we’re hoping that you’ll try adding that extra special touch of fish sauce in all your burgers!

Go Fish Sauce!

diane and todd

Umami Turkey Rosemary Burgers with Avocado

Yield: 4-6 Servings

Total Time: 15 minutes

The type of turkey meat you get makes all of the difference between a dry turkey burger and a moist one. We are going for best flavor and texture, so we look for the meat which has either been ground from the dark meat is is labeled as 85/15 (up to 15% fat). The leaner the ground turkey meat, the drier the patties get.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1 1/2 T finely chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 2 T Fish Sauce
  • 2 t Sugar
  • fresh cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • oil for brushing patties and buns *See Note 1
  • Avocado
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Favored Condiments

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl gently combine turkey, rosemary, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper (try not to over mix the meat). Form into patties.
  2. Heat grill or pan over medium high heat. Brush insides of buns and both sides of patties with oil (if grilling, brush grill grates as well).  Cook each side for approx. 4 minutes or until cooked through *see Note 2 (time will depend on patty thickness and cooking heat).
  3. Open buns and place inside face down on grill or pan and cook until lightly browned (usually cooks within a minute).
  4. Assemble with avocado and toppings of choice. Serve and eat immediately.

Note 1: We love using oil sprayers in the kitchen. You can use which ever oil you prefer and it gives you a quick, light, even coat of oil.
Note 2: To test doneness, we'll use the push test. Gently push on the patty's center to feel how much give or bounce it has. The firmer it is the more the meat is cooked. After a little experience, you'll quickly be able to tell when the patties are cooked to your preferred doneness. If you are unsure at first, slice into the center of a patty to check how doneness.

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you. And remember in making the recipes, if using table salt instead of kosher or sea salt, make sure you reduce the salt amount.


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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel @ RachelCooksThai June 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Such a great idea! I put fish sauce in everything else, but never thought to put it in burgers! Can’t wait to try this…

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2 Averie @ Averie Cooks June 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Fish sauce can make just about anything pretty much amazing. I love the photos with the beer, the sprouts, the blue and yellow, it all just works so well together (obviously not an accident on your part)…but great party vibe pics!

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3 Kate {Something Fabulous} June 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Oh yum, this is definitely making me hungry! x

Kate {Something Fabulous}
http://thesomethingfabulous.blogspot.com

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4 Allison June 4, 2012 at 5:52 am

I have been grilling turkey burgers for years, but always felt there was something to be desired with the flavor. I love your suggestion of adding umami. Next time I grill turkey burgers, I will definitely add fish sauce. They look wonderful!

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5 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel June 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

Taunting me with gorgeous food. I wish this were in my belly :)

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6 Jennifer Yu via Facebook June 4, 2012 at 7:48 am

one of many favorite cooking tips i’ve learned from you guys! <3

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7 Rebecca Lindamood via Facebook June 4, 2012 at 7:50 am

Fish sauce is the magical secret to just about everything good. (I put it in my spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, soup, meatloaf, etc…)

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8 Michele Flores via Facebook June 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

WORC, I also use tapenade in mine for juiciness!!!

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9 Sini June 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

I’m not so sure if I’m able to make these turkey burgers, ’cause it’s gonna be hard to find ground turkey with enough fat in it around here. But the idea of adding fish sauce to enhance the umami flavor – sounds amazing! I’m definitely trying the beef one.

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10 thyme (Sarah) June 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

I, too, like fish sauce very much. I don’t cook with it yet but would love to. BTW, I just can never get enough of your professional food composition. Everything always looks placed so perfectly. You guys are so talented.

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11 The Queen of Quinoa via Facebook June 4, 2012 at 8:29 am

So making this for dinner!

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12 Lauren June 4, 2012 at 8:44 am

YUM! Sprouts + Avocado on a turkey burger is perfection.

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13 Kalyn June 4, 2012 at 8:55 am

Oh yes, this sounds like a brilliant way to improve on turkey burgers!

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14 Green beans & Grapefruit via Facebook June 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

Yummy!

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15 melissa | west coast nest June 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

These look fabulous! A perfect summer dinner!

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16 Susan in the Boonies June 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

My mouth is pouring saliva. I’m so glad you wrote about this, because I wasn’t reading your blog when you posted the umami hamburger recipe.

I love what fish sauce does to the Thai noodles that I make.

So now, I’ll try them in my venison burgers. Can’t wait to see how they taste!!!

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17 White on Rice Couple June 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Susan- if you love what fish sauce does to Thai noodles, then you’ll love the magical meaty flavor it’ll bring to burgers. Enjoy! xo

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18 JulieD June 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

I have been wanting to try turkey burgers…Todd, remember our conversation about this? I need to just do it…don’t tell Curtis if I sneak in the fish sauce, k? See you both soon!! xoxo

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19 White on Rice Couple June 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Ok, Julie. We won’t tell Curtis, it’ll be our own little secret. ;) shhhhh…..

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20 Karla June 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

I am making this tonight! Great idea…..

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21 J June 6, 2012 at 8:48 am

Going to give this a try at my annual BBQ – sounds amazing and perfect for those looking for a slightly healthier option for a BBQ. Fish sauce is a bit of genius!

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22 Carrie | acookgrowsinbrooklyn June 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

I have never made a turkey burger – always fearful I’ll end up with a drier, blander version of a burger. However, you may have just changed the burger game for me – I can imagine that the addition of fish sauce actually makes for quite a tasty burger. The creamy addition of a few fresh slices of avocado seems like added insurance. Definitely going to experiment. Thanks!

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23 Sharon O June 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

Hi Diane, I think it’s a fantastic idea and why not? I liken it to how the Italians use anchovies as an ingredient in pasta sauce recipes to enhance the flavors, and did you know that anchovies are also the secret ingredient to Worcestershire sauce? That’s some salty fish flavor right there, just like fish sauce, but somehow transforms into umami goodness when added to lots of dishes! You’ve inspired me to give fish sauce in turkey burgers a try! Cheers :-)

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24 Nancy @ CouponClippingCook June 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm

This burger sounds so good with the Rosemary. It reminds me of a restuarant that I love that serves turkey burgers with a lot of basil in them. The taste of herbs in turker burgers is so delish.

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25 Madonna June 10, 2012 at 1:38 am

Not too long ago I was at 99 Ranch in Irvine looking for fish sauce, but I am unfamiliar with what “brand” to use. I read that it is an ingredient that develops flavor and would be handy to use in lieu of anchovy, but when I asked, a nice Chinese lady said I would not like it, not to bother with it. So I went home empty handed, but still continue to be curious about “Umami”. I have developed a sensitivity to soy and I thought this would be a semi-substitute. Do you have a preferred brand, and does fish sauce have soy in the ingredient?

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26 A.L. June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I believe a good fish sauce only involves two basic ingredients: anchovy and salt.

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27 Kim Bee June 10, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I love the idea of using fish sauce in it. I think this is a must try for me. These would be great for my son’s grad party.

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28 Julia {The Roasted Root} June 12, 2012 at 5:47 am

I eat turkey burgers regularly and as much as I love them, I really enjoy trying new varieties and flavors. Your recipe looks great, and I will give it a shot next time I fire up the grill!

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29 Kevin (Closet Cooking) June 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Those are some really nice looking turkey burgers! Fish sauce is a great ‘secret’ ingredient!

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30 Margo June 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

Fish sauce is one of my favorite tricks! I also use anchovies the same way. In fact, I was at BlogHer (heard you speak) and brought home anchovies as a souvenir for my family.

I love the idea of avocado on these burgers. Looks great.

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31 A.L. June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I think I have fish sauce running through my blood. Plus peanut butter, and coffee.

Gorgeous photo. Corona and burgers do scream “Party” to me. Will definitely try this out very very soon. :)

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32 Jenny @ BAKE June 15, 2012 at 4:25 am

These look delicious! I’ll have to give fish sauce another try!

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33 Vi June 15, 2012 at 5:07 am

umami looks very yummy :D

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34 Cookin' Canuck June 18, 2012 at 7:57 am

Okay, I love this idea of adding fish sauce to burgers. Last year I discovered that tomato sauce is taken to a whole new level with a dash of fish sauce. I guess I need to play around with it even more!

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35 Brian Furgison June 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

I’ve always been a fan of fish sauce, but never thought to combine it with a turkey burger. That’s a good idea for adding some variety to a summer barbecue.

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36 Purple Penguin June 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Your pictures make me awfully hungry!!! Do you grow your own sprouts also?

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37 Canal Cook June 29, 2012 at 8:27 am

I have seen umami flavour paste recommended by a few chefs. Have you guys ever tried it, and if so how does it measure up with a more traditional umami flavour like fish sauce? I both fear and respect fish sauce, for the reasons you mention above, but agree that when it is used properly its a great addition

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38 White on Rice Couple June 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm

This is the first we’ve heard of umami flavour paste. Wonder if it is anything like shrimp paste. We’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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39 Sarah from 20something cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 6:50 am

I’ve never tried fish sauce in a burger, so thank you for the introduction! I love your use of rosemary here. Hope you two are well!

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40 Tricia July 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Wow! It is all about the fish sauce. I’m eating these now and surprised by how few ingredients there are for how good it tastes. Thanks!

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41 Danguole July 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Wow, that’s an awesome idea! Definitely trying this soon–I do love turkey burgers, but they are lacking in some ways.

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42 Audrey July 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm

I just made these for dinner and they were AWESOME! I had to broil them because I don’t have a grill, but they were still great. I made some guacamole because my husband likes it better than plain avocado. I also used sprouts, but added mozzarella. This will be a new favorite for sure! Thanks!

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43 Meesh November 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

I was skeptical about the fish sauce, but I JUST tried this recipe and the turkey burgers came out awesome! Moist and flavorful! Thanks for sharing.

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44 Shannon December 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm

What are your thoughts on using cilantro instead of rosemary?

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45 White on Rice Couple December 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm

If done in the same quantities, the cilantro flavor may get lost in the cooking. You could always leave out the rosemary and serve the burgers with the cilantro as an accoutrement. Although if you put enough chopped cilantro, and maybe some green onion in the patties it may still add a nice layer of flavor to them. Definitely worth experimenting with.

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