Mash chicken and bacon burgers with jalapeño for a spicy kick

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Bacon and Jalapeño Smashed Burger

Total time:35 minutes


Total time:35 minutes



If you love burgers but have tried to cut back on beef for health or environmental reasons, you’ve probably tried chicken or turkey burgers.

The problem: The patties are often too dry. But not this jalapeño bacon burger made with ground chicken.

The technique comes from recipe developer Ali Slagle, who won me over for poultry burgers with his broccoli and chicken cheeseburger. For this one, she mixes shredded cheese and chopped broccoli with the meat, so you end up with gooey cheese on the inside and crunchy chunks of cheese on the outside. Delicious.

Broccoli and chicken burgers with gooey pockets of cheddar cheese create a juicy sandwich with moxie

For this chicken burger, she cooks the bacon in a skillet, then uses that melted fat to fry the burger. This adds flavor and keeps the patty moist. As she notes in her cookbook, “I Dream of Dinner, So You Don’t Have To”: “No need for ketchup or mustard when there’s bacon grease.”

The burger gets another flavor from the very thinly sliced ​​onions and jalapeños. When you mash the burger with a spatula, you press these slices into the meat. When you flip the burger, the vegetables cook into the meat and also become crispy. This recipe also works with ground turkey. (I also tried it with plant-based meat—Beyond Meat brand—and olive oil instead of bacon. It was good, but good, bacon.)

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With this technique, it’s best to crisp half the bacon, cook two burgers, then repeat with the rest of the bacon and the remaining two patties. This helps keep the fat in the pan manageable and gives you room for grinding.

You can add lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles if you like, but, frankly, they were delicious with just the burger and bacon on a bun, as Slagle recommends.

Bacon and jalapeño smashed burger

Try this burger with dark or white meat ground chicken or turkey. Serve with chips, fries or a green salad.

Storage: Refrigerate patties in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as vegetable
  • 4 whole wheat or white burger buns
  • 8 slices bacon, halved and divided
  • 1 small red onion (3 to 4 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced ​​into rounds or strips

Work the meat as little as possible, divide the chicken into four 4-ounce portions and roll into large meatballs, then press lightly to flat tops. Generously season two of the patties with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place a plate covered with a napkin and a tray near the stove.

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil until simmering. Add burger buns, cut side down, then toast until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the buns to the dish.

Add half the bacon to the skillet and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes per side, then transfer to the prepared plate.

Transfer the two seasoned chicken patties to the pan, spacing them apart. Using a spatula, mash the meat as thinly as possible. Top each with a handful of onion and jalapeño slices and, using the spatula, press them into the meat. Cook, untouched, until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Flip patties and sear until chicken is cooked to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer and onions are browned, an additional 3 minutes. Transfer the patties to the dish and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining bacon, chicken patties, salt, pepper, onions and jalapeños.

To assemble, place 4 pieces of cooked bacon on the bottom half of each bun, top each with a mashed burger and cover with the tops of the buns.

Per serving (1 burger and 2 strips of bacon on a whole wheat bun)

Calories: 569; Total fat: 37 g; Saturated fat: 12g; Cholesterol: 126mg; Sodium: 799mg; Carbohydrates: 25g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 27g

This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

Adapted from “I dream of dinner” by Ali Slagle (Clarkson Potter, 2022).

Tested by Ann Maloney; questions by e-mail to [email protected].

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