Packed with a homemade cajun seasoning, sweet onion, and seared until blackened and crisp on the edges and irresistibly juicy and moist on the inside, our Cajun Chicken Burgers are our new favorite way to do a burger. We smother the spicy patties with melty pepper jack cheese, cover them with an easy mango salsa and top with a sweet Hawaiian roll.
Cajun Chicken Burgers
If you have teetered around with the idea that chicken burgers are bland, dry, and can’t even come close to competing with a juicy beef burger, then haven’t tried our Cajun Chicken Burgers.
These guys are brimming with flavor from our homemade cajun seasoning, juicy and moist from the addition of grated onion, and the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
We top off each blackened patty with melty pepper jack cheese and a super quick and easy mango salsa you’ll want to keep on hand all summer long.
Grinding our own chicken in the food process and later adding the spices and onion allow the chicken burgers to come together with virtually no effort.
Prep ahead of time and cook later!
Chicken. Whenever I make chicken burgers, I typically like to grind my own chicken opposed to buying it pre-ground at the grocery store. I find it tastes fresher, and I love that it doesn’t have any adding water or ingredients in it. It’s also much cheaper, even if you’re using organic chicken.
You’ll need one pound of chicken breasts. If you do end up buying pre-ground chicken, you’ll want to look for chicken BREAST and make sure to find something with very little additives.
Spices. We throw together our own blackening seasoning for our cajun chicken burgers. I like to use garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin, Spanish paprika (regular works too), black pepper, and if you’re up for cayenne.
My kiddos aren’t very keen to spice, so I opt out of the cayenne most times. Other great spice addition would be smoked paprika, coriander, or onion powder.
Onion. To keep the burgers nice and moist, I like to grate in about 1/2 a medium onion. What’s great about this method is it adds a good amount of flavor and moist, but doesn’t leave any big pieces of onion.
The Mango Salsa
Mango. Look for mangos that are slightly soft when you squeeze them. They shouldn’t be rock-hard. For a tutorial on how to properly slice a mango, check out this post.
Red onion. You could use a yellow onion, but I love the color and slightly sharper taste of a red onion.
Jalapeno. Depending on how spicy your jalapeño is, you may want to take out the stems and seeds. We like things spice and since this is something we can take off the kids, we go full force with the jalapeño. Sometimes I’ll even throw two in.
Cilantro. We use so much cilantro. If it’s a little too aggressive for you, feel free to scale it back.
Garlic. I love the bite raw garlic gives to salsa. If you don’t like pieces of garlic, I would grate the garlic into the salsa.
Lime juice. I’ve actually used both lime and lemon juice to make this mango salsa before and I really like both options. Use whatever you have on hand.
Salt. To counter the sweetness, be sure to use plenty of salt.
Let’s Make Cajun Chicken Burgers!
Add chicken breast to a food processor and pulse until all of the chicken is ground. Add spices and onion, pulse just until everything is combined.
Don’t over-mix or you risk the chicken burgers getting tough.
Cook those chicken burgers! We prefer to use a cast-iron skillet to get a really nice sear on each burger.
Heat the skillet to a medium-high heat and brush with a little bit of olive oil. Add the burgers and sear until golden brown and “blackened,” about 4 minutes. Flip and sear until the other side is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
If you’re ever in doubt, use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature. The inside of the burger should be 165 degrees.
Add the cheese! When the cajun chicken burgers are about one minute shy of complete, layer the cheese on. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan and then cover the pan.
This will help the burgers steam and melt the cheese into a gooey oblivion.
While the burgers cook, make the salsa. Add chopped mango, cilantro, jalapeño, red onion, lime juice, garlic, and salt to a medium bowl. Mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
I like to let the mango salsa sit out for about 15 minutes, this lets all the flavors harmonize together.
Can I make Cajun Chicken Burgers in Advance?
Yes! I would prep the burgers, but not cook them. You can store them on a plate or platter and cover with plastic wrap until you’re ready to cook.
You can also make the mango salsa up to a day in advance. Keep in mine, the longer it sits, the softer the mango will get.
Can I freeze them?
Yes. If you wrap them in plastic and store in a freezer ziplock they will keep for up to three months. Freeze them raw or cooked.
Do I have to grind my own chicken?
No. I like to grind my own chicken. I find it has less additives and tastes better. In this particular recipe, I also find it easier because I like to use the food processor anyways to combine the spices and onion with the ground chicken.
If yo do buy pre-ground chicken, look for chicken breast. You can either use the food processor to mix everything as the recipe states, or you can add the ground chicken to a bowl and use your hands to mix everything together.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Don’t over mix the burgers when making them! This will cause them to be dense. Simply mix until everything is combined.
- Wet your hands with cold water to make forming the patties easier.
- Add in chopped red bell pepper to the mango salsa for a little bit more crunch.
- If you don’t want to use a bunch of different seasoning, you can also use an all-purpose cajun seasoning mix purchased from the store.
- While we prefer pepper jack cheese, white cheddar, provolone, or co-jack will work great as well.
Other great burger recipes:
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 medium onion, grated
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp spanish or regular paprika
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 4 slices pepperjack cheese
- 2 mangos, diced
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (about 2 tablespoons chopped)
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 4 buns
- Add chicken to a food processor. Pulse until all the chicken is ground. Add 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining spices along with onion. Pulse until blended.
- Get hands wet with cold water. Form the chicken mixture into four patties.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to a medium-high heat. Drizzle with two teaspoons olive oil. Add chicken burgers. Sear until golden brown and almost blackened, abut 3-4 minutes. Flip and do the same on the other side. When the burgers are one minute shy of being done, add the cheese. Add in two tablespoons of water. Cover the skillet for about 30 seconds until the cheese is melted.
- While the burgers cook, add the mango, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve burgers on a toasted bun.