How to Cook a Burger Without a Grill

Your kitchen offers many options for making burgers indoors.

If you’ve always wondered how to cook a burger when the weather is too rough to head outdoors, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of options. From getting grill marks to re-creating that juicy, smoky flavor, we have you covered. Don’t miss our top 10 burger recipes to get started.

Use the broiler.

The heat’s coming from the opposite direction, but it’ll get the job done. You can boost the smoky flavor with the right spice blend and a touch of liquid smoke in the ground beef. (What is liquid smoke?) You’ll have to use a Sharpie for the grill marks—just kidding. You’ll have to use your imagination for those.

Use a broiler pan.

A sturdy foil pan or a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil is an option. Position the pan about six inches from the flames. Leave the broiler door open just far enough for frequent checks on the burgers. Flip them halfway through. For most burgers, you’ll cook 4 to 5 minutes per side. This is also a great way to make grilled vegetables.

Work the stovetop.

If you’re committed to grill marks, try a grill pan on the stove top. The ridges of the pan will create lines if the pan’s hot enough and will allow the excess fat to drain away from the meat. A cast iron pan is your best bet; the heavier pan will conduct more heat and create better grill lines. First, season it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then lightly coat it with cooking oil before each use. Remember to pat the burger patties dry and brush them with olive oil before putting them on the grill pan.

Get creative.

As an alternative to the grill pan, you might also consider a relatively small investment in a pancake griddle that has ridges on the underside. If you’re in the market for a new stove anyway—and are serious about your indoor grilling—many have built-in grills or griddles on the range top. But a grill pan will do the job just as well if you’re not up for the investment.

Open the oven.

Yep. If you’re looking for a little more speed and a little less smoke, you can grill inside the oven. Put a grill pan (or griddle) on the oven rack and preheat the oven to 500˙F. Place your burgers on the pan and turn halfway through cooking. Check your progress through the oven window; you won’t want to leave the door ajar here as you would with broiling.

Go the appliance route.

A countertop folding contact grill also can be used for a quick grilling. No need for flipping, and you’ll get grill marks on both sides simultaneously.

Spice it up.

It’s worth noting that while you still want the smoky flavor indoors, you don’t actually want the smoke. The way to ensure that? First, use a leaner ground beef to cut down on the fat dripping as much as possible. For flavor, using smoked paprika, a smoky salt or pepper blend, a spice rub with chipotle powder, an infused oil or a touch of liquid smoke will almost convince you that you have a sunburn from standing over the grill for too long. When paired with any one of these yummy potato salads, and maybe even a pitcher of our favorite sangria if you’re really feeling the need for “sunshine,” you can almost convince yourself that you’re at the perfect picnic.

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Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.