Learn how to make homemade hamburger patties from scratch. It’s so easy, and it takes just a few minutes to enjoy restaurant-quality burgers at home. I'll share my tips and tricks with you so you can make hamburgers like a pro for BBQs and dinners. The secret to juicy burger patties is choosing the best ground beef and knowing when and how to season it. No more dry patties that are falling apart!
Best ground beef
The best tasting hamburger meat for cooking on the grill or stovetop is ground chuck with a fat percentage of 20%. That means 80% lean meat and 20% fat. The higher fat content ensures that the burger meat patties are super juicy and full of flavor. If you choose leaner meat, such as ground sirloin or ground round, the patties tend to be dryer. Although a medium grind holds more moisture in, finely ground beef, as it is widely available in stores and butcher shops, is just fine.
Do you love cooking with ground beef? Then my ground beef recipes post is for you (31 dinner recipes!).
I love thin diner-style burger patties that range from 2oz / 57g (In-N-Out) to 3.3oz / 94g (Five Guys). After years of perfecting my patties, I found that 3.5oz / 99g is the perfect weight per patty for home cooking and grilling. I usually buy my meat from the butcher and buy enough meat to divide it into 3.5oz portions. For example, if I needed 6 patties, I would buy 21oz / 595g of meat.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale or prefer to buy a prepackaged pound (454g) of ground beef in the store, just divide by 5 to have 3.2oz / 91g meat patties or divide by 4 to have 4oz / 114g patties.
That beef patties shrink while cooking is a normal process as juices and fat render. However, you want your cooked patties to be about the same diameter as your burger buns. You can achieve that by simply shaping them about 1 inch (2.5cm) wider than the burger buns. Depending on the size of your burger buns, they should be about ⅓ inch (0.8mm) thin.
How to keep hamburgers from falling apart
- Don’t overwork the beef – It’s best not to knead the ground beef at all, just divide it into equal parts and shape it into thin patties.
- Keep the meat cold – Prepare the patties and store them covered in the refrigerator until you use them. They will keep fresh for 1 day.
- Use wax paper – Shape the patties directly on 6-inch (15cm) wax paper. Not only is it great to have the paper between the patties so you can easily stack them without sticking, but it’s also great to transfer the burgers to the pan with the paper.
- Cook over high heat – The high heat seals the surface of the meat faster without losing too much of its juices. It creates a flavorful crust that holds the juicy patty together.
- Don’t press down on the hamburgers with a spatula – Otherwise, they lose all their flavorful juices, making them dry and likely to stick.
- Cook with a stopwatch and watch for signs – For the beginning, I recommend cooking with a stopwatch to ensure that you don’t overcook the meat. With more experience, you can tell when it’s time to flip a patty. The cooking time for 3.5oz (99g) patties cooked in a grill pan over high heat is about 90 seconds on the first side. As soon as the edges start to turn grey and juices release on top of the patty, flip it. Cook on the second side for another 30 seconds to cook them perfectly to medium-well. Note: Cooking times may vary depending on how much the patties weigh, how you cook them and what equipment you use. I suggest cooking a test patty and going from there. Make a note of the time so that you can replicate the results.
- Flip only once – If you turn them more than once, they will dry out and be easy to overcook.
How and when to season
Salt and pepper the shaped beef patties on one side just before placing them (seasoned side down) in the pan or on the grill, and then season them on the second side just before you flip them. Do not work breadcrumbs, eggs, Worcester sauce, or spices into the beef, because then it is basically sausage or meatloaf, but no hamburger. Treat hamburgers like steaks (they are basically steaks). To make burgers, you don’t need anything except ground beef, salt, and pepper.
How to freeze them
After shaping, wrap them (with having the wax paper in-between, top, and the bottom of the patties) in plastic wrap twice and place in freezer bags or containers. They freeze well for up to 3 months. Let them thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight. Then cook as directed.
Best toppings for classic burgers
If you like your burgers simple and classic, you will need the following toppings:
- Raw Onion Rings (from large onions) or caramelized onions
- Slices of Tomato (from large tomatoes)
I usually put my burgers together in this order: bun, ketchup, lettuce, hamburger, tomato, onion, cucumber, mustard, bun. If you are in the mood for a fancier burger with gourmet toppings such as guacamole, try my pretzel burger!
Divide the meat into equal portions and roughly shape into hockey pucks.
Place one meat portion on a plate layered with a piece of wax paper and press it into a thin patty.
Repeat with the other portions.
Season on one side with salt and pepper.
Cook for about 60-90 seconds, until you see that the edges start to turn grey and juices release on top. Season with salt and pepper and turn with a spatula.
Cook for another 20-40 seconds until browned.
Serve on toasted burger buns and top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
By the way, hamburgers, air fryer burgers, and cheeseburgers go perfectly with chocolate milkshakes or vanilla milkshakes! And if you look for another staple to include in your lazy afternoons with friends and family, Maine Lobster Rolls or Connecticut Lobster Rolls are the way to go.
Best Homemade Hamburgers (Beef Patties)
- 6-inch (15cm) wax paper
- Grill pan
- 14 oz* ground chuck (80% lean - 20% fat)
- salt and pepper to taste
- vegetable oil for pan
- Divide the meat into 3.5oz* portions and roughly shape into hockey pucks.
- Place one meat portion on a plate layered with a piece of 6-inch (15cm) wax paper and press it into a thin patty that is about 1 inch (2.5cm) wider than the burger bun you use. It will be about ⅓ inch (0.8cm) thin. Repeat with the other portions. Don’t overwork the meat. The edges don’t need to be smooth.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat and lightly brush with oil.
- Season the top of the patties with salt and pepper. Pick up one patty with a piece of paper underneath and flip it over and into the hot pan (seasoned side down) and remove the paper. Repeat with the other patties.
- Cook for about 60-90 seconds, until you see that the edges start to turn grey and juices release on top of the meat patties. Season with salt and pepper and turn with a spatula. Cook for another 20-40 seconds until browned.
- Serve on toasted burger buns and top with your favorite toppings. To make classic hamburgers use the ingredients listed in the ingredients list.
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