How to Make Hamburgers
Welcome to Hamburger Central. Our Test Kitchen shows you how to make juicy hamburger patties and cook the best burger you'll ever taste on the grill, the stove or in the oven.
By Ellie Martin Cliffe, Senior Editor, and Matthew Hass, Test Cook
Grill it, broil it, or sear it on a flat top, then load on the fixin's. Any way you flip it, the hamburger is the ultimate American sandwich. But when it comes to the patty itself, the simplest recipe most definitely can be the best. Bite into one of these juicy, meaty burgers and you'll know that's a fact.
Quick Tips for Making Perfect Hamburgers
- To keep hamburgers moist, first combine the flavoring ingredients, then add the meat and mix just until combined. Overmixing can cause the burgers to be dense and heavy.
- As you mix the meat, wet your hands occasionally to help keep the mixture from sticking to your fingers.
- The more fat there is in the ground beef, the juicier the patty will be. Check the label—our Test Kitchen recommends an 80/20 ratio for the best blend.
- The more fat there is in the meat, the more shrinkage there is during cooking. So if you're making burgers out of regular ground beef, shape the patties to be slightly larger than the bun.
- Don't use a spatula to flatten the burgers while cooking…you'll squeeze out all of the succulent juices.
- Cook beef burgers to 160° for medium. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
- To test for doneness, use tongs to hold the burger while inserting an instant-read thermometer horizontally from a side. Make sure the thermometer is far enough in to read temperature in center.
How to Make Hamburger Patties
These deliciously easy burgers from Susan Harju of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, get a big thumbs-up from our Test Kitchen here at Taste of Home HQ. Why? Because they start with the perfect hamburger patty. Follow these steps to make the best beef patties you'll ever taste.
1. Mix the ingredients.
Grab a big bowl and add green onions, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings—save a little prep time by using a spice blend instead of measuring spices one by one. Last, add the ground beef.
Hand-mix everything lightly but thoroughly. Yup, you're going to have to touch raw meat. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after, and you'll be A-OK. We use our hands to mix the burger meat because it's easier to avoid overmixing, which can make the meat dense and tough. Hello, hockey puck.
2. Shape the patties.
For same-size burgers, form a disk with the beef mixture and cut it into quarters. Pat each section into a 3/4-inch patty. If you want to get more exact, place a piece of plastic wrap over a kitchen scale and weigh each portion of meat. Add or subtract ground beef to even out the meat wads, and then form them into patties.
How to Cook Hamburgers
Whether you choose to cook out or cook in, these easy techniques will have your hamburger patties sizzling in no time!
How to Grill Burgers
If you're using a gas grill, you'll be good to go right away. If the grill is charcoal, it will take some time for the charcoal to catch fire and for the kettle to get up to temp. Put the patties on a plate, cover it with plastic wrap and stow the patties in the fridge to chill until grill time.
Back out at the grill, arrange the charcoal flat in the bottom of the grill to get the most even heat possible.
1. Clean the grate. Use a wire brush to clean the grate before adding the beef patties to prevent them from sticking. Place the patties on the grate over medium heat and close the lid.
2. Temp the burgers. Grill the burgers 5 to 6 minutes per side, flipping with a long-handled spatula. Stick a meat thermometer into the side of a patty until the probe is in the center. For food safety, ground beef should be at least 160°—that's medium. If the temp isn't quite there yet, put the lid back on to let them cook a little longer.
3. Add the cheese. When the burgers are cooked to temp, add cheese while they're still on the grill. Put the lid back on and grill for only a minute to let the cheese melt, then take the burgers off the grill.
Get the juiciest burgers by letting them rest. Cover them with a piece of tented aluminum foil (so it doesn't stick to the cheese) and leave them alone for 5 minutes. Now's the perfect time to get the buns and fixin's ready. When time's up, load on the toppings and dig in.
Want something a little more fancy? Learn how to make stuffed burgers on the grill.
How to Cook Burgers on the Stove
A sturdy skillet and a spatula are the only tools you need to make delicious stovetop burgers.
Make the hamburger patties as directed above. In a lightly greased skillet, cook beef patties over medium heat until a thermometer reads 160°, 5-7 minutes on each side. Serve on buns.
When grilling isn't an option, cook up this BBQ Bacon Burger recipe as a juicy stovetop alternative.
How to Cook Burgers in the Oven
A simple turn of your oven dial makes broiling hamburgers quick and easy.
Preheat the oven to broil (high). Make the patties as directed above. Place patties on a broiler pan, spacing evenly. Broil 4 in. from heat until a thermometer reads 160°, about 4–6 minutes on each side.
If you'd rather bake the beef patties, go for it! While you preheat the oven to 350°, prepare the ground beef mixture as directed above, and form the patties into 3-1/2-inch-wide disks. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until a thermometer reads 160, about 10 minutes per side.
Generate a little extra heat in the kitchen when you make these chili-cheese burgers in the oven instead of on the grill.
How to Make the Best Hamburger Sauce Ever
Create your own secret burger sauce. These recipe ideas give your homemade hamburgers real gastropub appeal.
Greek Burger Sauce: Combine 1/3 cup each mayonnaise and Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup each chopped cucumber and feta cheese, 1-1/2 tsp. each fresh dill and lemon juice, and 1 minced garlic clove. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Bleu Bacon Burger Sauce: Combine 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup each blue cheese and crumbled bacon, and 2 tsp. cider vinegar. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Caprese Burger Sauce: Combine 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup pesto, 3 Tbsp. chopped sundried tomatoes and 1 tsp. lemon peel. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Fresh Herb Burger Sauce: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. each Dijon mustard, minced fresh tarragon and chopped chives, 2 tsp. lemon juice and 2 minced garlic cloves. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Spicy Thai Burger Sauce: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, 1 Tbsp. each chili garlic paste and lime juice, 1 tsp. lime peel and 1 sliced green onion. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Buffalo Burger Sauce: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup each softened cream cheese and blue cheese, 3 Tbsp. minced celery and 2 Tbsp. hot sauce. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Chipotle BBQ Burger Sauce: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce, 1 Tbsp. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo and 2 tsp. cider vinegar. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.
Classic Remoulade Burger Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2-3 tsp. hot sauce, 2 tsp. sweet pickle relish and 1 tsp. chopped capers. Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.