Beyond Beef: Other Burger Patties Worth Making

These non-beef options will give you endless burger possibilities.

Published May 9, 2019.

Beef may be the most common choice for a burger patty, but other proteins give it a run for its money. Try out new flavor combinations by changing the patty in your burger. These options, from bison to vegetable, will give you endless burger possibilities.

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When purchasing preground turkey, we recommend 93 percent lean ground turkey, which contains light and dark meat, instead of 99 percent lean ground turkey breast, which produces dry, chalky burgers. For the juiciest results, we recommend grinding your own turkey blend in a food processor and using some unflavored gelatin to keep the meat moist.
Get the Recipe: Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers


Most bison meat is grass-fed and 90 percent lean; its gamy, iron-y flavor makes for a delicious burger. Bison meat is slightly leaner than standard 85 percent lean beef, but it makes a great alternative.


Ground pork can take on intense flavorings as a burger. Depending on how lean your ground pork is, it may retain some of its pink color after it cooks, making it difficult to judge doneness. Take the temperature of the burger with an instant-read thermometer to make sure it’s fully cooked.

Turkey Burgers with Mango ChutneyItalian Pork Burger with Broccoli RabeGrilled Bison Burger with Mexican Corn Salad
Pictured, from left: Turkey Burgers with Mango Chutney, Italian Pork Burger with Broccoli Rabe, Grilled Bison Burger with Mexican Corn Salad. All recipes featured in The Ultimate Burger cookbook.


Lamb can be either grass-fed or grain-fed; grass-fed is more intense and less sweet than grain-fed. This flavor-packed meat can be bought preground at the supermarket so be sure to try it as a deliciously earthy, convenient burger option.
Get the Recipe: Grilled Lamb-Stuffed Pitas with Yogurt Sauce


For a rich and meaty fish burger the pronounced flavor of wild salmon can’t be beat, but farm-raised salmon is available year-round. Grinding it in the food processor is super easy. We also like the distinctive flavor of tuna; to achieve the best texture we hand-chop tuna steak.


Chopped shrimp makes a surprisingly flavorful burger. But beware that supermarket raw shrimp is not always fresh; when shopping, look for frozen shrimp that’s labeled “individually quick-frozen,” or IQF. We prefer untreated shrimp—those without added sodium or preservatives like sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP).
Get the Recipe: Southern Shrimp Burgers


The quality of store-bought veggie burgers varies greatly, so if you have the time to make your own, we recommend doing so. You can use the usual beans and lentils as well as more inventive ingredients such as quinoa, millet, tempeh, and cauliflower.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Pinto Bean-Beet Burgers

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