Italian Grilled Hamburgers

~ These flavor-packed Italian Grilled Hamburgers feature a unique mix of ground beef and Italian sausage. All seasoned with zesty, savory Italian spices, and piled high with grilled peppers and onions, juicy tomato, and a warm, melty slice of fresh mozzarella. They’re easy to make, plus you can prep them in advance – so even a busy weeknight can feel like a festive backyard grill party! (Pssssst … no grill? We’ve got alternate directions for you!) ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Gluten Free (depending on choice of bun)  

If your family is anything like mine, you love grilling out every chance you get. So easy, and it keeps the kitchen blissfully cool on hot summer evenings!

Plus, it somehow just feels a little more fun and a little more laid back than slaving over a stovetop or pulling a casserole from the oven.

Ahhhhh … grill season!

Closeup of the right side of a completed hamburger topped with Italian vegetables, cheese and bun.

But, if you’re anything like me, you also get tired pretty quickly of the typical, boring burgers-and-dogs routine.

This Italian Grilled Burger recipe is my solution!

  • Extra-lean ground beef is combined with sweet Italian turkey sausage …
  • And kicked up even more with a generous hit of Italian seasoning …
  • Then grilled alongside thick, flavorful rings of spice-dusted sweet onions and green peppers.
  • It’s perfectly finished with juicy summer tomato, and a melty slice of creamy, fresh mozzarella.

This is one seriously loaded-up grilled burger that puts those boring ol’ plain hamburgers to shame!

It’s a full-on, knife-and-fork, lotsa-napkins-needed burger experience!

One hamburger all made up with Italian toppings and bun, with a steak knife stabbing down through the center.

But fear not, friends.

Even though this Italian Burger feels so totally, satisfyingly, indulgently over-the-top … we’ve still worked in plenty of ways to keep it healthier, too. Because … you know … that’s just what we do here!

How We Keep This Italian Burger Recipe Healthier

The main technique we use in this recipe is simply choosing leaner meats: extra-lean ground beef (usually we go for 93% – 96% lean, depending on what our store has in stock) and also Italian turkey sausage instead of the typical pork sausage.

You do have to be a little more careful that lean hamburgers don’t dry out as they cook. But, the reduction in undesirable fat is definitely worth it!

We also pile on tons of veggies. They offer a big nutritional boost, as well as great flavors.

Closeup of one finished burger on a white platter full of burgers.

And, of course, we choose healthier, whole grain buns. We’ve used all sorts of different brands depending on what looks good at the store, but in our photos we happen to be using the yummy 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Burger Buns made by Dave’s Killer Bread company.

(Gluten Free Note: If you’re following a gluten free diet, then of course be sure to choose a gluten free bun brand instead.)

Ready to make ’em? Well then, let’s get going!

How to Make Your Grilled Hamburgers

The strategies we use for making these Italian Grilled Hamburgers are similar to how we make our delicious Easy Grilled Fajita Burgers with Guacamole (probably the next burger recipe you’re gonna want to try!).

Here’s what you do …

Step #1

To start, you want to cut your onions and peppers into thick, horizontal rings.

Ingredients: green pepper rings on cutting board, surrounded by tomatoes and Italian spices with buns and raw burgers in background.

You should get about 5 slices from your onion and 5 slices from each of the two green peppers (10 pepper slices in total). You don’t want these to be wimpy, thin little slivers … you’re going for big, bold slices!

Thoroughly coat the veggies with a little olive oil and sprinkle them all over with Italian seasoning and a bit of salt. Then lay them out on a grill pan (rather than laying them directly on the grill), to make sure they don’t fall through the grates as you grill them {which would be so sad!}.

Pro Tip

When you begin grilling, try to keep the veggies in more or less a single layer. And, make sure to keep each onion slice neatly nested together, rather than letting the onions fall apart into rings. This allows most of the veggies to get a nice sear from the grill, rather than laying in a jumbled heap that would end up mostly just limply steaming.

As you flip the veggies, if the nested rings of onions fall apart and the vegetables pile on top of each other a bit, it’s not a big deal, since you’ll already have a great sear on the first side. Don’t stress about the flip!

Step #2

In a large bowl, crumble the ground beef and turkey, intermingling them as you go.

Sprinkle the meat evenly with the remaining Italian spices and salt, and mix it all together gently but thoroughly. You want to make sure the two meats are intermingled well, and that the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.

Form 5 burger patties (each about 1/2 – 3/4″ thick and 3 1/2 – 4″ in diameter), pressing gently but firmly.

Closeup of two hands shaping a raw Italian hamburger before grilling it.

Pro Tip

Don’t overwork your burger meat!

As you mix your burger together and form the burger patties, try to be gentle and avoid overworking the meat, which can lead to tough burgers.

And, as you shape your patties, press them together just firmly enough that they’ll hold together, but don’t over-compact them.

Step #3

Grill the burgers and veggies over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes on the first side. You should get some nice sear marks … yummy!

Hamburgers and veggies cooking on grill.

Then, flip the burgers and veggies and grill it all for about 5-8 minutes longer – until the burgers have reached your desired level of doneness and the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Grilling Tip

Grills vary widely in their specific temperature settings, and many grills have hotter and cooler zones with varying levels of direct heat.

The precise settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your grill.

Step #4

Take those juicy, perfectly grilled burgers and enticingly seasoned veggies off the grill.

Five grilled hamburgers stacked on a plate with buns and Italian veggie toppings nearby.

Lay a creamy slice of fresh mozzarella on top of each burger, and, if possible, let the burgers rest for just a few minutes. That allows the juices to redistribute (for maximum juiciness!), and also gives the cheese a chance to get a little melty.

Mound your grilled veggies and a slice of tomato on top of the burgers … and serve ’em up! (Notice the happy, eager smiles and possibly the cheering noises from around your dinner table. Nice job, Grill Hero!)

But wait …

No Grill? No Problem!

When an unexpected rainstorm blows in, and grilling just doesn’t sound very fun … or if it’s the snowy middle of winter and you neeeeeeeed a taste of summer grillin’ …

You’ve got options!

Overhead of 5 Italian hamburgers in various stages of being piled with grilled veggies, toppings and buns.

I’ve used a nonstick skillet (or you can use a grill pan) and cooked these Italian Burgers on the stove, just like I do my Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Burgers (ooooh … another great burger recipe for you to try!!).

If you wanna go the “indoor” route: cook the burgers over medium heat until they’re nicely browned on the first side and almost cooked through (about 5 minutes in a covered skillet, or 8 minutes uncovered). Flip ’em and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes more, just until they’re entirely cooked. Remember to be careful not to overcook them, though, so they aren’t dry.

Meanwhile, fire up your oven and lay out your veggies in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast them at 475°F for about 16-18 minutes total, stirring after the first 8 minutes.

So easy to re-create that beefy, satisfying, grilled burger experience, even without a grill!

Make-Ahead Tip!

An extra-great thing about these burgers?

You can prep the spice-dusted veggies and seasoned burger patties earlier in the day or even the night before. So when the hectic dinner hour rolls around, all you have to do is throw everything on the grill!

In fact, the hamburgers actually hold together better and are easier to manage if they’ve had a chance to chill out and firm up. A bonus benefit of prepping ahead!

Serving Suggestions

My absolute, top serving suggestion is to plate these up next to our Easy Italian Pasta Salad (like you see in our pic below). I mean … Italian Hamburgers … Italian Pasta Salad … it makes deliciously PERFECT sense!

Closeup showing half of a grilled burger plated next to a mound of Italian pasta salad.

• Our Old-Fashioned Kidney Bean Salad, a juicy Tomato and Onion Salad, or one of our summer-y Corn Salad Recipes would be great bets, too.

• For a refreshing, sweet counterpoint, go with our Grape Salad with Cream Cheese-Vanilla Dressing.

• Or, since you’re already firing up the grill anyway, you could truly go all-out, and make the whole meal – every single course! – on the grill. (This is great for when you want to be outside with friends, and really impress them with your “Grill Master” skills!) Here are some ideas:

  1. For appetizers, try our super-easy (really!) Grilled Polenta with Fresh Mozzarella and Balsamic Tomatoes, or Grilled Zucchini Flatbreads.
  2. And dessert? Grilled Tropical Fruit with Almond-Ricotta Sauce is a lovely way to finish the meal, or grill up some slices of Angel Food Cake with Blueberry Cream and Lemon.

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Use Different Peppers or Different Types of Onion?

Sure! We love the mild flavor of sweet onions in this recipe, as well as the classic flavor of the green peppers. (Plus … you know … the colors look like Italy!) But you can try other types of onion, and different pepper colors, if you prefer (or if that’s what you happen to have on hand).

Can I Use Other Types of Cheese?

Honestly, I don’t recommend it. There’s just something so satisfying about the creamy texture of the fresh mozzarella that is oh-so-perfect with these grilled burgers. But, if you prefer thinner slices of part-skim mozzarella or even provolone, I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong – do what makes you happy!

What Brand of Buns Did You Use in the Photos?

So much great, grainy texture, right?!? We photographed these with the 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Burger Buns made by Dave’s Killer Bread company. We’ve used a variety of other whole-grain buns throughout our testing, though. Choose whatever you like best.

Does Italian Seasoning Have Salt in It?

Most brands don’t. But, if yours happens to include salt, then decrease the amount of salt called for in the recipe accordingly.

I Only Have 4 People in My Family. Can I Make This Into 4 Burgers, Instead of 5?

You can. But stretching this to 5 burgers (maybe with one left over for lunch tomorrow) is a more appropriate portion size. And it works out better in terms of the ratio of burgers vs. veggies. Plus, if you end up with a last-minute, drop-in guest for dinner (I often do!), you’ll be all set!

Ready to up your burger game? (Sure you are!)

Then this is the perfect burger recipe for you!

Big, bold Italian flavors everyone will love.

Five finished, grilled hamburgers piled with toppings on a large white serving plate.

And easy prep that you can even knock out waaaaay in advance.

So you can relax and enjoy a fun grill night, any night!

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Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Closeup of one finished burger on a white platter full of burgers.

Italian Grilled Hamburgers

Yield: 5 burgers
Prep Time: 17 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Our Italian Grilled Hamburgers are seriously loaded-up with zesty spices, grilled peppers and onions, and melty cheese. So easy – even prep ahead! (No-grill option too!)

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Gluten Free (depending on choice of bun)  

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salt-free Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium green peppers, cut horizontally into 1/2"-thick slices (about 10 rings total)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut horizontally into about five 1/2"-thick slices (with concentric rings)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links cut open)
  • 8 ounces extra-lean ground beef
  • 5 slices fresh mozzarella
  • 5 whole grain buns
  • 5 slices tomato

Instructions

  1. Prepare and preheat grill.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Italian seasoning and salt, stirring to combine thoroughly.
  3. Toss or brush the green pepper rings and onion slices with olive oil, making sure they are coated thoroughly (and keeping the onion planks together in concentric rings). Sprinkle vegetables with 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture (reserving about 1/2 tablespoon), evenly coating both sides of all vegetable pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, crumble the Italian sausage and ground beef and sprinkle evenly with reserved spice mixture. Mix gently but thoroughly to be sure spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat and both types of meat are combined. Form 5 burger patties, pressing gently but firmly (overworking the meat can lead to tough burgers).
  5. Place vegetables on a grill pan (so they don't fall through). Grill burgers and vegetables over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes on the first side. Flip burgers and vegetables, and continue grilling for about 5-8 minutes more, to your desired level of doneness. (Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill.)
  6. Remove finished burgers and vegetables from the grill, and add mozzarella to the top of the burgers. Allow burgers to rest for a few minutes. Serve on buns, with each burger topped with lots of peppers and onions and a slice of tomato.

Notes

Make-ahead tips: You can cut the vegetables and shape the burger patties earlier in the day or the night before, and store them separately, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator, until you're ready to grill them. The burgers will firm up and actually be easier to handle if they're refrigerated for a while prior to grilling.

Alternate {indoor} non-grilling instructions: In a nonstick skillet, cook the burgers over medium heat until they're nicely browned on the first side and mostly cooked through (about 5 minutes in a covered skillet, or 8 minutes uncovered). Flip and continue cooking for about 3-5 minutes more, just until they're cooked through, being careful not to overcook and dry them out. Meanwhile, place your veggies in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast at 475°F for about 16-18 minutes total, stirring after the first 8 minutes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 servings Serving Size: 1 burger
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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Published on
Updated on August 26, 2021
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