FAILED: Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

*sigh* I was really hoping to share an awesome turkey burger idea. I had grand plans for my leftover ground turkey. The results was alright but they could have been so much better.

I added diced pineapple, red pepper, green pepper, oats and soy sauce to the meat and formed 2 patties. In hindsight I should have added an egg white. It would have helped to hold them together but even without the falling apart issue, they needed something else in the flavor department. Maybe ginger, teriyaki sauce or even just some onion. FAILED: Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

You may be wondering why I’d even bother to share an idea that failed. Well, as I said in my Failed Apple Chutney Turkey Loaf, one of the goals with my blog is to inspire people to cook more at home. I don’t blog to share perfected recipes. I blog to inspire, motivate and offer ideas. The blog gives me a fun, creative outlet because, as you guys know, I get zippy support in the food department with the husband. He wouldn’t care if gave up cooking altogether and we ate TV dinners for the rest of our lives.

NOT. Gonna. Happen.

So I’m here sharing stories, photos, recipies and yes, fails, in hopes it gives you an idea or inspires you to try something new. My turkey burgers may not have come out perfect but I still enjoyed them. It was a fun, healthy lunch even though some of it needed to be eaten with a fork. ;)

FAILED: Hawaiian Turkey Burgers - fork

I will try this idea again and hopefully have a more successful recipe to share. In the meantime keep cooking! It’s fun!

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15 Comments and 0 Replies

  1. Jessica W.

    Maybe a glaze? Teriyaki or pineapple juice? The basic premise sounds good ( hold the peppers, thank you!) Heck, maybe even a good BBQ sauce!

  2. Josie @ Skinny Way Of Life

    Ok no joke I was thinking of making a burger like this today!! I saw Sandra Lee from “Semi-Homemade” make a burger today and she added the whole pineapple ring to the inside of the burger and I thought wouldn’t it be easier to just add chopped pineapple? plus I LOVE the banzai burger from Red Robin and thought of adding teriyaki sauce to the mix…thanks for the heads up about the egg white and extra seasonings!!

  3. Reinado

    My take on this: skip the oats (or not). Add LOTS of salt to pineapple and peppers first, wait a few minutes, squeeze and rinse. All of the veg/fruit will lose a lot of water from the salt, and I think the excess water cause your pattie to fall into bits.

    Since the veg/fruit mix is already salted (even after rinse it), skip all salt on the meat. I would add some onion in the veg/fruit mix salting step as well, because I would also add: HONEY. Just a tablespoon. It will caramelize during cooking, and help to flavor the cooked onion. I would use white onion, since it’s stronger than red and adds a little bit of a kick to it.

    Since there is natural sugars, put the pattie in the pan to low/medium heat and do not flip it until you start to smell smoke a little bit… we’re caramelizing!

    Also: whole egg!! Half a yolk in each patty is what, 30 calories? To an already bland flavored dish (your words), the yolk will make wonders. It’s just half an egg yolk!! And half a Tbsp of honey per pattie.

    Some tabasco to the mix. Garlic. And since we are talking Roni here, KETCHUP!!!

  4. Shannon

    On Our Best Bites there is a really amazing Hawaiian Turkey Burger recipe. They use dry bread crumbs as a binder and they have turned out great every time. Maybe pop over there and take a peak? :)

  5. Shannon McD

    I haven’t tried this recipe with turkey but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. My Daddy came up with this many years ago and it is one of our families favorites. I use 90% fat free ground hamburger, but I’ve also used venison, bison and elk. Add salt and pepper to taste to the meat. Mix low fat Italian Salad dressing into the meat to taste. About 1/2 a cup. Make two thin patties of meat. Place one pineapple ring between the two patties and seal the edges of the two patties. I’ve tried using chopped pineapple when I didn’t have the rings and they always fall apart. You can wrap the edges with a half slice of bacon but we often leave it off to save calories. Coat with bar-b-que sauce and grill until done watching closely because the sugar in the bar-b-que sauce will burn easily. Serve on a bun of your choice with lettuce and red onion and any condiments you like. It is SO good and everyone loves them. We’ve even gotten people to eat them that don’t really like pineapple.

  6. Ninah

    The egg white would have helped, I guess. And maybe to puree part of the veggies so that you have a moister patty dough. I also recently read about adding cream cheese to the dough, maybe this is a whole new angle. However, I haven’t tried that yet.

    Onions (maybe pre-stewed with a little curry paste) are always nice, but maybe some pineapple chutney or sweet chile sauce (that is always great with turkey and pineapple).Sweet chile sauce is not too hot. If you want it any hotter, try harissa – a middle eastern paste made of chiles and garlic – really nice flavour, but be really careful!

    And keep cooking, it is so good for you and your family! And so important to keep a reasonable amount of control over what you put into your body.:)

  7. Andrea

    Roni, you have such yummy thoughts? That must drive you crazy!! Well, consider me inspired! But think it might be so pretty to keep the pineapple out and grill it as a slice and add on top of the turkey burger maybe with a slice of lean ham or maybe bacon?! Can’t wait to try it though! I always make your southwestern turkey burgers with peppers and onions, so I’ll stick with that recipe and just figure out what seasons/herbs would work instead…

  8. Palma

    Even though it didn’t work, the premis sounds really good. Love meat and fruit combos. Must try make a version soon :)

    I often add oyster sauce or hoisin sauce to burgers with soy in them for some extra flavour. Also always add Worcestersher sauce (personal preferance as both the husband and I really like the taste). You could also try making them with oat bran rather than whole oats? Maybe it would bind better? Although having said that I just made meatballs with rolled oats in them because I couldn’t find the oat bran in the pantry…

  9. Tina

    1. We all have fails! Sometimes monstrous ones (which this one does not appear to be). I learned to cook from my dad who had a totally Zen approach to cooking – he’d get an idea, jump into making it without hesitation and say, “Worst case scenario, PB&J for dinner!” That’s how awesome recipes are born – trying things out no matter the potential for ending up with something inedible.

    2. Your recipe as-is would make an awesome skillet meal. You could caramelize the fruit/veg, cook in the turkey, add teriyaki or a sweet barbecue sauce, spice as desired, and serve over rice! That way you could also really bulk up the veg without worrying about things falling apart!

    3. For a burger, you could grind the oats in the blender first to make oat flour (holds together better), add a flax egg (ground flax mixed with warm water, leave for 5 mins, binds like an egg but also adds fibre and Omegas) and add teriyaki or barbecue to the mix – would probably hit that sweet/tang note you might have been missing! Plus garlic, black pepper, hot sauce, etc.

    IMHO, this was not a fail, just step one on your way to a new fave! Cook on!

  10. Marla

    Tina took most of the words out of my mouth. I was thinking blended oats or ground flax. Also, this “fail” inspired me to make some turkey burgers with grilled pineapple. Thanks for posting.

  11. Julie


    I love how you call them “ideas”! It sounds less intimidating to add/alter some ingredients or change it up however the reader likes it.

    This one might have failed, but you never fail to inspire us! :)

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