Healthy Bison Burgers with Hatch Chile

Lean ground bison provides the foundation for these Healthy Bison Burgers with Hatch Chile. The burger patties are bound with egg and ground corn tortillas, and a puréed onion keeps the meat moist. Serve the patties burger style in a whole grain bun, or simply topped with avocado crema (low carb option!).

2 healthy bison burgers with whole grain buns on parchment on a wood cutting board.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration

I recently returned from a 5 day visit with family and friends in Las Cruces, New Mexico (30 miles south of Hatch, New Mexico). Guess what’s coming next? CHILE!!! I brought home 11 pounds of freshly roasted medium Hatch green chile. NOTE: I recently got a really annoying comment on my NM green chile enchilada post insisting it’s “CHILI” not “chile.”

No. Just no. Chili is a slow-simmered meat stew – with or without beans. Chile is a plant. THE END.

So I came home with several bags of gorgeous roasted green chile, and I set about creating some new, healthy ways to use it. This Healthy Bison Burger with Hatch green chile is the first in the lineup.

The bison burger patty includes a few healthy ingredients – lean ground bison, Hatch green chile, onion, garlic, cumin, and egg.

🐮 Cooking with Bison FAQ

Is bison sustainable?

The short answer is yes. Bison are uniquely adapted to living on the prairie, and u0022treading lightlyu0022 on their environment. Unlike beef cattle, they do not hang out around water sources, sparing fragile wetland ecosystems. Their grazing patterns have a positive environmental impact, their hooves leave depressions that hold rain water, and their dung serves as a powerful fertilizer. This only holds true for grass grazed bison. Avoid grain fed bison. For more information, see Real Food Encyclopedia | Bison.

Are bison burgers healthy?

YES! Bison is high in protein, B complex vitamins, selenium, niacin, and zinc. 100 grams of bison contains 109 calories and 1.8 grams of fat; the same amount of beef contains up to 291 calories and 24 grams of fat.

Can I use bison in any beef recipe?

Yes and no. Bison is so lean. It works best in recipes that add some fat or other means of adding moisture. This bison burger patty recipe adds an egg (fat) and puréed onion. Both add moisture. The Hatch green chile also adds moisture. My own personal opinion is that medium-rare to medium is far superior to well-done with bison burgers. Stick to moist cooking methods if you prefer your meat well-done.

How long can I keep ground bison meat?

Bison should be refrigerated after purchase, and enjoyed within three to five days. It can be frozen for four to six months.

📋 Ingredients

A wood cutting board with ingredients for healthy bison burgers: Ground bison, buns, tortillas, cumin, garlic, onion, egg, Hatch green chile.
  • ground bison With more protein, and less cholesterol and fat than beef, bison is an excellent choice for these healthy burgers. You can substitute lean beef, turkey, chicken, or pork. We love the flavor of bison; it is not at all gamey! The egg and puréed onion add moisture to keep the burger patties moist.
  • Hatch green chile – Yes, I’m a fan of Hatch green chile! I brought 11 pounds home on August 18. It won’t last forever. I do love these bison burger patties, though, so I will substitute roasted and chopped poblano chiles.
  • onion – I use red onion, but white or yellow are fine.
  • corn tortillas – This is a great way to use stale corn tortillas. You could probably even use tortilla chips.
  • egg
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • to finish – These patties are really delicious, and stand alone as a main dish with avocado crema. I have served the patties (sans bun) with air fryer sweet potato wedges and charred sweet corn. It was lovely! If you want to do burgers, choose your buns. We love Dave’s Killer Buns. The added protein is a bonus. Of course we love the avocado crema. Finish the burger with a slice of heirloom tomato and some lovely leaf lettuce.

🔪 Instructions

These bison burger patties are very lean, so I recommend brushing your grill grate with vegetable oil. If cooking on the stove, spray with non-stick spray or use a good non-stick griddle pan. Preheat your grill to medium-high (375-450°).

step 1

Prep the onion – Add the onion to the bowl of a small food processor along with about 1/2 cup of water. Pulse until the onion is finely minced. Press through a strainer to remove as much liquid as possible. This adds much-needed moisture to the lean ground bison. Add to a large mixing bowl.

step 2

Prep the corn tortillas – After cutting the tortillas in wedges, add them to the bowl of the processor (make sure it’s dry!). Pulse until crumbs form. Add to the large mixing bowl.

step 3

Make the burger patty mixture – Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Hint: I like to use a large bowl that allows plenty of movement, and my hands to combine.

step 4

Make the patties – Divide bison mixture into 4 equal portions, and form 4 patties. I recommend keeping them on the thick side – about 3/4″ to 1″ thick. Separating with waxed paper is helpful IMHO.

step 5

Grill the burger patties – Get a good sear on the burgers before turning. It will help hold them together. Cook to 160° for medium. NOTE: Fully cooked bison remains pink in the middle. After turning the burgers, we grill some buns (if we’re indulging!).

step 5

Put it all together – On photo day, we did enjoy our healthy bison burger patties on a bun, but we don’t always indulge. At 160 calories, and 6 grams of protein per bun, this is the best bun I’ve found!

💭 Top Tips

To keep your bison burgers from falling apart on the grill or in the pan, bring the meat mixture to room temperature before forming. Make fairly thick patties, and use your hands to apply pressure to compact and make them smooth. Be sure to apply some oil to the grill grate or spray your pan with non-stick spray. NOTE: A good sear on the patties will help hold it together when it is turned.

Bison is VERY LEAN. If you need your meat well done, this may not be the recipe for you. Medium (150-160°) yields a juicy burger. Keep in mind that fully cooked ground bison retains a pink color.

🍽️ Substitutions

This bison burger recipe is quite flexible. You can change it up to suit your needs:

  • Protein – Bison is widely available, but it is more expensive than other ground meat. Ground beef, pork, turkey, and chicken are all good choices.
  • Bun – Use gluten free buns instead of white bread buns to make this gluten free. The burger patties themselves have no gluten!
  • Vegetarian – The ground bison can be replaced with a plant-based product to make this vegetarian.
  • Low carb – We have loved these Hatch green chile bison patties without a bun! They’re sheer perfection with a generous scoop of avocado crema, air fryer sweet potatoes, and charred sweet corn!

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Instant Read Thermometer
Ninja Food Processor
Mesh Strainer Set

Bison is both healthy and sustainable, and it’s making a regular appearance at Andersen casa. If you’re looking for more healthy ground bison recipes, check out Healthy Ground Bison Recipes – a roundup of 7 more delicious ground bison recipes! I hope I’ve made a case for giving it a try?

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
2 healthy bison burgers with Hatch green chile and all the fixings.

Healthy Bison Burgers with Hatch Chile

Lean ground bison is elevated with Hatch green chile in a patty that stands beautifully on its own or is great burger style in a bun!
5 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican/Southwest
Servings 4 to 5 patties
Calories 250 kcal


  • ½ onion - cut in chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic - peeled
  • 2 tortillas - cut in wedges
  • 16 ounces ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 egg - beaten
  • ½ cup chopped Hatch green chile - about 3 to 4 whole chiles
  • ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper
  • optional – buns - avocado crema, sliced tomatoes, leaf lettuce, etc.


  • If using a grill, preheat to medium-high (375-425°).
  • Purée the onion and garlic in a small food processor. Press through a strainer to remove as much liquid as possible. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  • Purée the corn tortilla wedges until crumbs form (see photos in post). Add to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Hint: I like to use a large bowl that allows plenty of movement, and my hands to combine.
  • Divide bison mixture into 4 equal portions, and form 4 patties. Grill or cook in a medium-high burner. Get a good sear on the patties before turning. It will help hold them together.
  • Serve immediately or tent with foil to keep them warm.


Macronutrients are an approximation only from, and include only the bison patties.


Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 13g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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  1. Im interested in bison for lower fat, this recipe works out to almost 50% fat. Is that due to the tortillas? Why are tortillas added?

    1. Hi Cheryl. Without seeing how you’re arriving at almost 50% fat, it’s impossible to know. I came up with 13 g fat using the calculator in I use 90/10 ground bison. The tortillas are added as a binder and for the masa flavor. They add 3 grams of fat in 4 servings. The only other ingredient that adds any fat is the 1 egg with 5 grams of fat in 4 servings. I’m not sure how that can add up to almost 50% fat. I consider 13 grams of fat in a burger patty to be pretty low fat. If you’re able to provide more information, I’ll try to look further… I’m sorry I can’t provide a better response.

      1. I’m working with a coach. Each gm of fat is equal to 9 cal.
        9 x 13 = 117, divide by 250 cal per serving = 46% fat. I’m learning a lot about deceptive labeling the food and diet industry are using that only hinders health and weight loss. Example- Did you know that ground turkey at 93% lean equates to 45% fat…do the math. A person must get ground turkey BREAST , it doesn’t contain any dark meat which is where the fat comes from, so your recipe:
        9 x 13 / 250 = 46% fat. I’m thinking it’s the tortillas. Hope that helps. Is there another binder I could use?

        1. Hi Cheryl. The binder is optional. I would suggest omitting the tortillas if you’re concerned. You should still have a good burger. The only contribution to fat is the ground bison (most of it), the egg, and the tortillas. My oldest son has a background in nutrition, and I will discuss this with him. I certainly do not wish to be part of deceiving anyone with my recipes. Good luck with your journey, and thanks for coming back with additional information!

          1. I didn’t mean to imply you were deceiving anyone. But there’s a difference between, grms, calories and percentages. I’m in a lean food management lifestyle so I assess everything. I need to keep my fat calories between 20-30% of total calories. I was just surprised about the % in this recipe. I did leave out tortillas. Didn’t have fresh chile (not chili) Used canned without draining….mistake. Grilling was a challenge. I would be interested in knowing what your son says. Keep Cooking, cheryl

          2. Thanks Cheryl! I talked to my son, and he suggested I do some additional research on the ground bison as it shouldn’t be coming in so high. Your data is helpful, and I do appreciate it! Best wishes for a joyful holiday season… Tamara.

  2. A bison burger! I’m so jealous! They look delicious and love the way you incorporated the green chile into the burger. Going to have to look for bison on next trip to Costco.