Looking for a succulent and satisfying burger recipe for your dinner tonight or next barbecue? Look no further with this post on how to make juicy hamburgers! I'll go through easy tips on to create the most crave-worthy burgers.
For the longest time, I struggled with making hamburgers at home. We'd throw some on the cast iron pan or grill after a long day at work, expecting the kind of juicy and flavorful burgers we'd get at restaurants. Although the results were edible, they weren't ever exactly what we were looking for. They were usually dry, lacking flavor. Overall something I ate for sustenance, not enjoyment. Therefore, I set out to determine how to make the best juicy hamburgers. After much experimentation, trial and error, I present to you my tips and tricks for the type of burgers I now clamor to make (& EAT)!
Take a look, test them out, and please let me know in the comments below how they worked for you!
How to Make Juicy Hamburgers
- Buy a decent cut of meat -- this goes without saying, but the better the ingredients you work with the better your result will be. Also, if you can get your hands on grass-fed beef, I recommend that. Otherwise, something with minimal antibiotics and a fresh bright red/pink color should do the trick.
- Buy a cut of meat with some fat in it -- in general, fat equals flavor. If burgers are something you enjoy on occasion, a slightly higher percentage of fat shouldn't be an issue (#balance), either. In my experience, burgers made with meat right around the 85/15 mark were the best. They weren't too rich but also had enough flavor and had juicy patties. If you can't find or don't have the 85/15 meat on hand, 90/10 or 80/20 should suffice. I definitely don't recommend any leaner than 90/10, however.
- Don't over manipulate or press your patties -- lightly create your patties without over compacting or pressing the beef. I usually just pull the meat from the container in roughly the shape I want the burgers to be and lightly refine it into the shape from there. No mashing everything in a bowl before making the burger. I definitely don't recommend mixing in any seasonings before making the patties, either.
- Keep the burgers cold up until cooking them - shape the burgers and then place them back in the fridge if you aren't going to immediately cook them.
- Start the burgers over super low (or no) heat - I have the juiciest burgers when I start cooking them on a cold cast iron skillet
on the stove. I don't know the exact science of it, but it seems that not as many juices leak out when the burger increases with the temperature with the pan. On the contrary, I've seen a lot of juices leak out when I "shock" the burger by placing it on an already hot pan. Because I can start a cast iron skillet from no heat, I prefer to cook my burgers this way. If you want to cook on a grill, however, just start the burgers over low heat and then turn the heat up.
- Don't ever -- and I mean ever -- squish or press the burgers while cooking -- I know, I'm getting annoying and bossy here but I promise I'm saying it because I care. This is probably the single most important tip on here. Squeezing or pressing the burgers is pretty much squeezing or pressing those coveted juices out. When flipping, just lightly slide underneath the patty, flip, and get on with whatever else you're cooking until it's time to flip again.
- Only very lightly season your burgers before cooking, if you want to season at all -- salt, garlic powder, and black pepper are the dream seasoning combination on burgers but the salt can pull the juicy out of the burgers and the garlic can burn. If you can, don't season the burgers at all before cooking and then just season the burgers after the final flip of cooking. If this is too weird to you, just sprinkle the uncooked patties with just a baby pinch of salt before cooking and sprinkle the rest of the seasonings on after the final flip.
A Q&A on the Best Homemade Burger Recipe:
What are the best burger spices? Less is more (in terms of the number of spices) when it comes to burgers. I like using just salt, pepper, and garlic powder. They bring out all the flavors of the meat without over-powering!
How do you season burgers? At the very end of cooking, if you can hold off that long! I don't know about you, but I got into a habit of seasoning before cooking so it was weird for me to do this but it really pays off. Putting the salt on too early draws out the moisture. Instead, I season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic at the end of cooking. Refer to the recipe on exact amounts of seasoning I like to use.
How do you keep burgers moist? By following the directions above! If you're going to prioritize what you do, however, the quality of the meat, making sure you don't over-manipulate the meat when making the patties or press down on them while cooking, and seasoning the burgers just as you wrap up cooking are the most important secrets to juicy burgers.
Do you put egg in hamburgers? Not usually! Putting egg in burgers would help bind the meat, but would create a consistently more like meatloaf than a burger. It would also affect the flavor a bit, too. Focus on the tips above to get burgers that stick together well without the need of a binder, like egg!
How to make hamburger patties stick together? The best way to do this is by not over mashing or manipulating the meat and working with it cold! Also, wait until after you've shaped the patties to do any seasoning.
Great sides to go with your burgers:
- Orzo Tomato Salad
- Kale and Broccoli Salad with Lemon Parmesan Dressing
- Moroccan Chickpea Salad with Carrots
- Italian Farro with Fennel & Citrus
- Super Easy Arugula & Apricot Salad
Juicy burgers you can enjoy at home or a barbecue any night of the week. Use brioche hamburger buns for the full restaurant-style burger flavor.
- 1 ½ lbs. 85% lean 15% fat ground beef, grass-fed, preferably
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried garlic
- 4 brioche hamburger buns
- 4 ¼ inch thick red onion ring slices
- 1 avocado, pitted and cut into ¼ inch slices
- 1 medium to large slicing tomato, cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
- ¼ cup mayonnaise, optional
- ¼ cup ketchup, optional
- Any other favorite toppings: sriracha, sprouts, grilled onions or mushrooms, etc.
- Shape hamburger meat into 4 patties very lightly with your hands, making sure to not overwork the meat, making them about 4- 4.5 inches in diameter. If not cooking immediately, place burgers on a plate and return to the fridge.
If cooking on a cast iron skillet (preferred):
- Add the burgers to a cold cast iron skillet greased with a light colored oil and turn up heat to medium-high. Once the burgers start sizzling, cook the patties for 3 minutes, and then flip. Repeat 2 more times, making sure to never press down on the patties. Season the patties with salt, pepper, and garlic after the last flip and cook for one more minute. Remove the pan from the heat and put together your burgers.
If cooking on a grill:
- Very lightly grease the grill grates and preheat your grill to the lowest temperature possible. Add the patties to the grill and turn up heat to medium-high. Cook the patties for 3 minutes, and then flip. Repeat 2 more times, making sure to never press down on the patties. Season the patties with salt, pepper, and garlic after the last flip and cook for one more minute. Remove the burgers from the grill put together your burgers.
Build your burger:
- During the final cooking time of burgers, toast buns in a toaster oven or on the grill, for 2-3 minutes, or until starting to just brown around the edges. Spread bun with mayonnaise and ketchup (if using), lay patties on top, and then later on the rest of the toppings. Serve immediately with extra ketchup, mayonnaise, or sriracha to pass.
Amount Per Serving Calories 924Total Fat 54gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 33gCholesterol 176mgSodium 1536mgCarbohydrates 76gFiber 7gSugar 16gProtein 37g