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Turkey Patty Melt

Turkey Patty Melt sliced diagonally and served on a slate tray with pickles and ketchup
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A turkey patty melt of fresh ground turkey burger patties, sandwiched between melted Swiss cheese and crispy buttered potato bread – dinner never tasted so good while being so simple to make.

Everything you need to know to make a Ground Turkey Patty Melt

Casandra’s Notes

When I think sandwich, I think lunch. When I think burger, I think dinner. So what do we get when we cross a burger with the sandwich? I’ve got a really simple and insanely delicious solution to this puzzle – a turkey patty melt.

A patty melt, is inherently, a burger patty that is pressed between toasty bread and melted cheese.

This particular turkey patty melt recipe, begins with a homemade turkey burger patty. Of course, you could also use store-bought, but this way only adds a couple of minutes of prep and is so much more flavorful. Not to mention, you probably already have all of the ingredients you need aside from the ground turkey, which is cheaper than buying premade burgers. 

About the Ingredients

For the turkey patties – I use a pound and a half of meat which makes 5 1/3 lb patties. I like to buy 90% lean turkey meat. Any leaner than that and you risk the patties being a little dry.  The other mix ins for the patty meat are breadcrumbs, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, salt and pepper. 

For the sandwich – potato bread, butter and 10 slices of swiss cheese.

Potato bread, Swiss cheese and turkey burger patty sandwich on a grill pan before being pressed and grilled.

How to Make A Turkey Patty Melt

Begin by making the turkey patties. Combine all of the patty ingredients, except the turkey meat, in a medium size mixing bowl. Once you mix that together to form a thick paste like mixture, add the turkey meat. Use your hands to gently kneed the mixture into the meat. Make sure to combine it well but don’t over-work it. If it’s over mixed the meat will get tough. 

Now that the meat mixture is ready, divide it into fifths and form flat patties. I use this handy Burger & Slider Press from the Pampered Chef but you can do it by hand too. I like to place the formed patties on parchment paper for easy transfer to the griddle or grill and for easy clean up.

Raw Turkey Burger Patty on parchment paper

On a griddle pan over medium heat, cook the patties for 3 minutes per side (or until they’re cooked through depending on thickness) and then transfer them to a plate but leave the griddle on, lowering the heat just slightly.

Now it’s time to layer your sandwiches. Slice of bread, slice of swiss cheese, turkey patty, another slice of swiss cheese and then the top piece of bread. Butter the top and bottom of the sandwich and move it to the hot griddle. Grill the sandwich for about 1 minute per side or until the bread toasts and the cheese melts. If you have a cast iron panini press that works great on this too. 

Turkey Patty Melt on a grill pan being pressed by a panini press.

Remove your toasty, melty turkey patty melt and serve with ketchup, pickles and your favorite side salad like Coucous Summer Salad or Sweet Cucumber Salad

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

If you want to bulk up your turkey patties with a little extra nutritious goodness, try adding some chopped spinach to the meat. The flavor of the turkey patty melts won’t change a bit but you’ll be sneaking in some extra fiber, iron and vitamins.

This turkey patty recipe calls for ketchup but it you want to change up the flavor a little you could try swapping the ketchup for your favorite BBQ sauce. Our favorite is this Homemade Sweet and Tangy BBQ sauce. With this change you could also add a slice of grilled pineapple to your turkey patty melt to play up the flavors in the sauce.

If you’re craving extra toppings on your sandwich try these:

  • Caramelized onions
  • Avocado
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Arugula
Turkey Patty Melt on grill pan after being toasted on one side.

Make Ahead Instructions

Making the turkey burger patties is messy work. If I’m in a rush a dinner time I kind of hate the mess on my hands and counter top so I like to make the patties ahead of time. This way the most time consuming part of the recipe is done and the mess and clean up is minimal.

To make the turkey burger patties ahead of time follow the recipe through shaping the patties and placing them on parchment paper. Stack the raw patties into an airtight container, separating each burger with another sheet of parchment. This will make them easy to transfer to the grill. Place the container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

When your ready to make your turkey patty melts, just grab your burgers from the refrigerator and start grilling!

Turkey Patty Melt slice in half diagonally and served on parchment paper.

How to Freeze Turkey Patties

A great way to turn these Turkey Patty Melts into a freezer meal is to make the turkey patties ahead of time and freeze them raw. I like to buy the turkey meat when it goes on sale at the market and then whip up the patties when I have a spare 15 minutes.

Place the raw turkey patties on parchment paper and be sure to keep a layer of parchment between each burger. Then place the patties and parchment paper in a vacuum sealed container (or an airtight bag or container) and freeze them for up to 2 months.

Raw Turkey Burger Patty no parchment paper next to a clear container of additional burger patties.

When you’re ready to make your turkey patty melts for dinner just grab the patties you need and grill them from frozen!

Another little freezer tip… did you know sandwich bread freezes really well? I usually have a loaf of bread in my pantry for lunch sandwiches but I also always keep a loaf in the freezer. You can defrost it by the slice (a slice at room temperature defrosts in about 20 minutes) or by the loaf (the loaf takes about an hour to defrost at room temperature.) It tastes and feels as fresh as the day you bought it and it keeps for a week in the pantry still. I usually keep the bread in the freezer for up to 6 weeks and then I rotate it out and use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to form burger patties?

The best way to make burger patties is to combine all of the patty ingredients, except the meat, in a mixing bowl. Whisk it up so they form a paste. Now add your ground meat and using clean hands, kneed the meat and paste together. Now form the patties using the equally portioned amounts of meat (about 1/4 -1/3 of a pound each.) To help me do this part I highly recommend this Burger Press from the Pampered Chef.

How do I know the burgers are cooked without cutting them open?

Using a clean finger, gently press the center of the burger. It should be firm and resist you slightly. You could also use and instant read thermometer. Turkey burgers should be 165°F.

What makes a patty melt different from a burger?

Like burgers, patty melts have ground meat burger patties. The difference is the bread though. A patty melt is burger patty served on a crispy grilled sandwich, usually melted with cheese, while a burger is served on a soft bun that can be layered with toppings.

How do you keep ground turkey patties from falling apart?

Use a binding ingredient such as milk or eggs to keep turkey patties from falling apart. The milk and breadcrumb paste in this recipe is the binder that will hold your patties together perfectly. It also helps to not overcook them. The drier the turkey patties get, the more likely they are to crumble.

Turkey Patty Melt sliced diagonally and served on a slate tray with pickles and ketchup

The Best Turkey Patty Melt Recipe

The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing.  If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you thought and if you added any additional toppings to your patty melt. Enjoy!

Turkey Patty Melt sliced diagonally and served on a slate tray with pickles and ketchup

Turkey Patty Melt

A patty melt, is inherently, a burger patty that is pressed between toasty bread and melted cheese. This recipe is made with fresh turkey burger patties sandwiched between melted Swiss cheese and crispy buttered potato bread – dinner never tasted so good while being so simple to make.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 people
Calories 555 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 grill pan optional; can use a regular non-stick frying pan
  • 1 cast iron panini press optional; can use any heavy cast iron pot or pan with weight
  • Parchment paper for easy handling of the raw burger patties

Ingredients
  

Turkey Patty Ingredients:

  • lbs ground turkey 90% lean
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • tsp minced garlic
  • ¾ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup

Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 10 slices Swiss cheese sliced thin
  • 10 slices potato bread
  • 3 tbsp butter

Instructions
 

  • Combine all of the turkey patty ingredients(¼ cup breadcrumbs, 3 Tbsp milk, 1¼ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1½ tsp minced garlic, ¾ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tbsp ketchup, except the meat, in a mixing bowl. Whisk until combined to form a paste.
  • Add 1½ lbs ground turkey to the mixing bowl and knead well to combine the mixture with the meat evenly.
  • Divide the meat into 5 equal portions. Using your hands ,or a hamburger press, shape each portion into a flat patty about ½-¾ inches thick. Place each patty on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Once hot, place the burgers on the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side or until the burger is completely cooked through and no longer pink inside.
  • While the burgers cook, prepare 10 slices potato bread by very lightly buttering one side of each slice. Then place the buttered side down and place a piece of Swiss cheese on top of each slice.
  • When the burgers are done cooking, move them to a prepared piece of bread. Top each patty with a slice of bread prepared with cheese and butter.
  • Move the sandwiches to the grill pan and grill for about 1 minute per side, pressing down with a panini press if you have one.

Notes

No Panini Press: If you don’t have a panini press use a heavy pan to set on top of the sandwiches as you grill them. You could also use the back of your spatula. You want to press them down to melt the cheese and get the sandwich to really melt together. 
No Grill Pan: You can use a regular non-stick fry pan but you’ll probably need to work one sandwich at a time, adding a little additional prep time.
To Freeze Turkey Patties: Transfer the patties, on the parchment paper, to a freezer safe container, or vacuum sealable bag. If you stack the patties on top of one another be sure to separate each patty with additional parchment paper. This is will help you separate the burgers once they are frozen. 
Keyword burger, sandwich

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