These Spanakopita Turkey Burgers are such a fun mashup of two of my favorite foods: burgers, and spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)! The burger patties are packed with veggies and flavor- a mix of fresh spinach, crumbled feta cheese, lemon, and dill, along with lean ground turkey (or chicken, or other ground meat). A simple lemony, garlicky Greek yogurt sauce with herbs is the perfect accompaniment to spread on the burgers when serving. And since they’re baked in the oven on parchment paper, clean-up is a breeze and you don’t have to worry about overcooking the turkey!
I’d be lying if I said I’d never met a turkey burger I didn’t like. I frequently don’t like them. When it comes to burgers, I’m usually a purist and go for beef.
BUT. Not anymore. All the usual problems of turkey burgers – the dryness, the blandness, the boringness – all go away with this recipe. All the flavor of spanakopita – in a high protein, burger form!
These turkey burgers are juicy! Baking them in the oven until they are just cooked to temperature ensures they don’t dry out from overcooking. And adding some olive oil into the burger mix helps add some much needed (and healthier) fat that helps keep the burgers moist, as well as the moisture from the fresh spinach.
These turkey burgers are flavorful! I mean, is there any better flavor than that in spanakopita? Salty feta cheese with lemon and dill? Say no more. The relatively bland turkey is a perfect backdrop for these flavors to shine.
And as a bonus? The lean turkey meat and the “hidden” veggies in here all add up to a delicious, nutrient-packed meal. You’re going to love these spanakopita turkey burgers!
A special thank you to my Auntie Connie, for sharing her spanakopita chicken burgers with me, which were inspired by these spanakopita chicken meatballs from Herbs and Flour and the inspiration for this recipe and post!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground Turkey – another ground meat may be used. Chicken is similar to turkey, but can get a bit mushy, so mix it gently. Beef, pork, and lamb usually have more fat, so you can leave out the added olive oil if you want to.
- Feta cheese – I always recommend buying a block and crumbling it with a fork by hand, but pre-crumbled works too.
- Baby spinach – I prefer this because it comes washed and ready to go, but mature spinach will work fine too. You can also use frozen – more on this below.
- Green Onions/scallions – or yellow or red onion – just be sure to chop it very finely or grate it, so it doesn’t disrupt the texture of the burger too much.
- Fresh dill – dried can also be used. And other herbs can be added to the mix as well – I added some chives, mint, and oregano from my garden.
- Lemon zest and juice – you’ll use this in both the burgers and the yogurt sauce.
- Plain bread crumbs – I used panko, but regular will also work. Or homemade bread crumbs.
- Greek yogurt
- Olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Burger buns and other serving fixings, like lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumbers, etc.
This ingredients list includes everything you need for both the burgers and the yogurt sauce – but a store-bought tzatziki sauce will work just fine if you don’t want to make the yogurt sauce from scratch!
How to make Spanakopita Turkey Burgers
Mix the burger mixture in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients except the turkey together (spinach, feta, lemon zest and juice, dill and other herbs, scallions, bread crumbs, eggs, olive oil, salt, and pepper). Then, add the turkey and mix together gently, preferably with your hands, until it’s all well combined.
I like to mix the yogurt sauce at the same time as the burger mixture, since we’re adding the other half of the lemon zest and juice, as well as the same herbs to the mix. In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, minced fresh garlic, lemon zest and juice, dill and other herbs, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside at room temperature to let the flavors marry.
Divide the burger mixture into six portions – I like to cut it directly in the bowl using a knife so they are evenly portioned (see photo below). Then form into burger patties and bake on a parchment covered baking sheet until just cooked to temperature – 165 degrees F (I love the Thermoworks Thermapen for a super fast, accurate read!).
Finally, assemble the burgers on buns with the sauce and any other fixings you want!
Can I use frozen spinach instead of fresh?
Sure! Just be sure to defrost it fully and get as much moisture out as possible. I like to run hot water over the spinach in a mesh sieve over the sink until it’s defrosted. Then, I squeeze as much water as I can out of it using the back of a spoon or a potato masher.
Can I freeze these Spanakopita Turkey Burgers?
Yup! After cooking them, allow them to cool completely. Then, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, or place in a zip-top bag and squeeze as much air out as possible. Then freeze until you are ready to use them. I recommend defrosting them completely before reheating. Do this by placing them in your fridge for 24 hours. This will prevent too much overcooking.
Other Spanakopita Inspired Recipes
Other non-beef burger recipes
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Spanakopita Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce
For the Burgers Patties:
- 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
- 4 oz. feta cheese crumbled
- 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves chopped (see notes)
- 3 scallions both white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 teaspoons dried. Optional: you can also add 1-2 tablespoons other herbs, like mint, parsley, and/or oregano.
- ½ lemon zest and juice – about ½ teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice – you'll use the other half in the yogurt sauce.
- ½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the yogurt sauce:
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- ½ lemon zest and juice – about ½ teaspoon zest and 1 tablespoon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or two teaspoons dried. Optional: you can also add 1-2 tablespoons other herbs, like mint, parsley, and oregano.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
To assemble the burgers:
- 6 burger buns or pita bread
- sliced cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, etc. optional, for topping burgers
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Make the burger mixture. In a large bowl, mix the 4 oz. feta cheese crumbled, 2 cups packed baby spinach leaves chopped, 3 scallions sliced, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, ½ lemon zest and juice, ½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. After mixing these ingredients well, add the 1 lb. ground turkey and mix gently, preferably with your hands, until everything is well combined.
- Make the yogurt mixture. In a small bowl, add the ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 small clove garlic minced, ½ lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Stir together well and set aside to let the flavors marry. (Note: I like to mix this at the same time as the burger mixture so I can add the herbs and lemon zest/juice immediately after prepping to both bowls).
- Divide the burger mixture into six portions. I like to do this by pressing the mixture into the bottom of the bowl, then using a knife to cut 6 evenly sized portions into wedges. Then, form each portion into a burger patty with your hands and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the burgers at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Serve the burgers. Spread the 6 burger buns with the yogurt sauce and serve the spanakopita turkey burgers, along with any extra fixings such as sliced cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, etc.
- Fresh or frozen spinach can be used. I like baby spinach because it comes pre-washed and ready to go. If using fresh mature spinach, be sure to wash it and dry it as much as possible before using. If using frozen, defrost and squeeze out as much water as possible (I like to run hot water over it in a mesh sieve, then press as much water out as I can with the back of a wooden spoon).
- As an alternative to burger buns, spanakopita turkey burgers are great in pita pockets or in lettuce wraps. Or, eaten with a knife and fork!
- Make meatballs from the mixture instead of burgers – just bake for about 15 minutes instead of 20, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. Again, great in a pita pocket, or dipped into the yogurt sauce.
- You can use another ground meat, such as ground chicken, pork, beef, or lamb, or a mixture. Keep in mind different ground meats have different fat contents, so you may be able to omit the added olive oil, and they make take longer or shorter to cook.
- A store-bought tzatziki sauce will work just fine for the yogurt sauce, if you don’t want to make it yourself!
- You can freeze leftover turkey burger patties after cooking them. Wrap tightly in plastic after they’ve cooled, or place in a zip top bag and squeeze as much air out as possible. I recommend defrosting completely before reheating to prevent overcooking too much.
- To get an accurate temperature reading, I recommend using a quick-read thermometer, such as the Thermoworks Thermapen, which is super accurate and fast.
Nutrition Information Disclaimer
The provided nutrition information is my best estimate and does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. I use an automatic API to calculate this information. Feel free to calculate it yourself using one of these tools: