The Best Homemade Burger Recipe

Updated: ·
Posted: 05/26/2021·
By

This post may contain affiliate links, please read my disclosure policy.

Looking for the best Beef burger recipe? You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re a burger pro or this is your first time making them, this post will help you ace dinner and impress your guests and your family.

These tips break down the science of burger making and will give you the tools you need to make homemade Beef burgers with confidence and answer every question you have about putting together the perfect patty.

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

The Best Homemade Burger Recipe

An age old question: how do you make the perfect hamburger? While this isn’t an opinion piece, you’ll find that much like “the perfect cup of coffee”, there are thousands that claim to have “the perfect cheeseburger recipe”.

A hamburger is made of ground meat – usually Beef – formed into a patty. Traditionally topped with a variety of yummy toppings and served sandwiched between two slices of bun. However, if you’ve ever tried my cheeseburger skillet (one of my favorite Ground Beef recipes), you know a burger can take on many different forms!

There are hundreds of combinations of burgers: some without buns, some with heaps of toppings, some simple, and some complex. We could spend hours debating the addition of spices, or gasp – eggs or bread crumbs – but I like to spend my time eating, and since you’ve made your way to this post, you probably like eating too.

So let’s just get into the…meat of it shall we? I think that this easy and delicious hamburger recipe is just as close to perfect as you can get.

No bread crumbs, no egg, no onion. Just delicious Ground Beef. This recipe is simply the best burger!

Make it decadent, or keep things simple, it’s up to you. This recipe is easily adaptable, and if you’re hoping to make delicious homemade burgers like a restaurant, you’re going to love these tried & true tips! I think you’ll be pleased to find out that the secret to a really great burger is simplicity.

Ingredients for Homemade Burgers

  • Beef: The best burger starts with the best Beef for the job. Ground Beef of course, but more specifically Chuck Ground Beef and 80/20 (80% lean and 20% fat). More on that later.
  • Salt: Kosher salt is best. Avoid mixing the salt into the ground meat, instead add this just before cooking.
  • Pepper: For flavor, salt’s best buddy.
  • Oil (if cooking in a skillet): If you have Beef fat available, that’s truly the best. Vegetable oil is a great alternative. The oil will help create a nice crust on the meat. Opt for something that has a high smoke point. Skip butter as it has a much lower smoke point and burns easily.
  • Burger Buns: A high quality bun makes the world of difference! I love a potato bun or a pretzel bun, but a classic sesame bun is a delicious option as well!
  • Toppings: The toppings are really going to take your burger to the next level and will allow you to customize your burger. Usual toppings include cheese, onions (caramelized or raw), ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. Now, if you want a decadent burger, try adding a fried egg, sliced avocado, bacon, caramelized mushrooms, candied jalapeños, or pickled onions.

Forming the Patty

This is a very important step that shouldn’t be skipped. The proper formation of a patty.

Because the diameter of the meat will shrink as it cooks, you’ll want to press your burgers into large discs about 6″ round. The patty will become thicker, so it is okay to press the meat into a pretty thin disc in order to achieve the proper diameter. No one likes to have to eat a bite of bun before getting to the good stuff!

Additionally, the center of the burger has a tendency to puff up when cooked. To prevent this, prepare your discs like mini pizzas. Use your fist to gently press a well into the center of each patty leaving a small lip, like a pizza crust. This will help keep your burgers nice and even!

How to cook a burger?

Stovetop Method

  1. Divide the meat into four equal pieces. Use your hands to form each piece into roughly 6″ discs.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  3. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil into the pan, turning to coat evenly.
  4. Salt each patty generously and sprinkle pepper if desired. Place the patty on the hot surface and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes more. If desired, add a slice of cheese on top of each patty about 1 minute before it is done, allowing the cheese to melt.
  5. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the burger, it is done when the thermometer registers 160°F.
  6. Remove the burgers and set aside on a platter. Reduce the heat and place each bun onto the hot surface and lightly toast, about 2 minutes.
  7. Once toasted remove from the skillet and compile the burgers with your desired toppings and sauces.

Broil Method

  1. Divide the meat into four equal pieces. Use your hands to form each piece into roughly 6″ discs.
  2. Salt each patty generously and sprinkle pepper if desired. Place the patties in a broiler pan with the rack positioned about 3 inches from the flame. Cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes more. If desired, add a slice of cheese on top of each patty about 1 minute before it is done, allowing the cheese to melt.
  3. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the burger, it is done when the thermometer registers 160°F.
  4. Remove the burgers and set aside on a platter. Place each bun onto the broiler pan and broil until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  5. Once toasted removed and compile the burgers with your desired toppings and sauces.

BBQ Method

  1. Heat the BBQ to 400 F. Be sure the grill is clean to prevent flare ups.
  2. Divide the meat into four equal pieces. Use your hands to form each piece into roughly 6″ discs.
  3. Salt each patty generously and sprinkle pepper if desired. Place the patty directly on the hot grill and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes more. If desired, add a slice of cheese on top of each patty about 1 minute before it is done, allowing the cheese to melt.
  4. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the burger, it is done when the thermometer registers 160°F.
  5. Remove the burgers and set aside on a platter. Reduce the heat and place each bun onto the grill and lightly toast, about 2 minutes.
  6. Once toasted, compile the burgers with your desired toppings and sauces.

Tips for Juicy Hamburgers

  • High Heat: When you place your patty on the grill or skillet you want to hear it sear right away. The delicious sizzle is the beginning of perfection. 400 F is ideal.
  • Cookware: The patty should have full contact on the cooking surface, a griddle is a good option, but a cast iron skillet is even better! The sides of the skillet retain heat and provide even cooking. You can’t go wrong on the grill either!
  • 80/20 Ground Beef: 20% fat will allow for a very juicy and delicious burger. This might sound like a lot of fat, but the fat will help bind the burger keeping you from needing bread crumbs or egg.
  • Salt: Just like when making prime rib, salt will help form a wonderful crust on the Beef. The key to this is to add the salt right before you begin cooking the burger. Salt dissolves quickly and when mixed in with the Ground Beef will draw out moisture causing the burger to lose moisture. On the flip side, the salt will also help create a juicy burger when sprinkled on right before cooking. Don’t be afraid to salt generously!

Chef Secrets for Making the Absolute Best Burger

Simplicity is the key to a perfect burger. There’s no need to add a binding agent such as bread crumbs or egg. Which would result in more of a meatloaf or meatball. Instead, use 80/20 Chuck Ground Beef (or better yet, grind your own!) and salt.

Cook your burgers at a high heat in a cast iron skillet.

3 minutes on each side of the patty at a high even heat will suffice, it’s always best to use a thermometer to check for doneness.

Topping Suggestions

  • The usual suspects: ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, tomato, onion, and lettuce.
  • Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms with Swiss Cheese
  • Candied Jalapeños and Chipotle Mayo with Pepperjack Cheese
  • Bleu-cheese and Bacon
  • Fried Egg and Bacon Jam
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Homemade Burger Sauce (recipe below)
  • Onion Rings or Fried Onions

Burger FAQ

What type of ground beef for burgers?

Select 80/20 Ground Beef, meaning 80% lean and 20% fat. Chuck is a great option as it is naturally marbled with a great lean:fat ratio. The fat adds tons of flavor, moisture, and helps bind the patty. If you’re really serious, you can grind your own and create your own 80/20 mixture. This will give you the ultimate control of Beef!

What cheese is best for cheeseburgers?

This is like asking a parent who their favorite child is! Really any high quality cheese will make for a wonderful cheeseburger. My favorite is good ol’ fashioned cheddar, but pepperjack, swiss, gorgonzola, or gouda are all wonderful options too! This depends on the type of burger you’re creating.

When to add seasoning?

Salt will change the structure of the proteins and texture of the meat if added too soon. Sprinkle the salt right before you place the meat on the grill or skillet.

Best pan for cooking a burger on the stove?

Cast iron skillet. Period. Why? A cast iron skillet retains heat much better (cooking more evenly) than other pans, and the amount of fat in the burger doesn’t cause the need for a non-stick frying pan.

How to know when it is done?

The most accurate way to see if the burger is ready is to insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the center, it is done when the thermometer registers 165°F. And please, don’t cut your burger open. This will cause the delicious juices to run out.

How to make ahead:

You can make burgers ahead of time, but they are best enjoyed freshly cooked! If you need to make ahead, cook the patty as usual (less cheese and toppings) and store in the fridge a sealable container. When ready to eat, re-heat on a cast iron skillet or in the oven, then compile the burger as you normally would with toppings.

How to store:

Layer extra patties between wax paper and place in a sealed container or freezer safe ziplock bag. Store in the fridge for 3-5 days or freezer up to 3 months.

How to re-heat:

To re-heat, place the patty on a hot cast iron skillet or in a 250 F oven. Heat the patty until it is heated throughout to 165 F, about 10 minutes. Then compile the burger as you normally would, adding a slice of cheese if desired.

Best burger buns?

If the Beef is the star of the show, the bun is the supporting actor! A good bun can take a burger to the next level. Try a brioche bun, potato bun, pretzel bun, or sesame bun.


If you love this recipe, you’ve gotta check out these grilled beef kabobs with chimichurri!

The Best Homemade Burger

The Best Homemade Burger

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

This is the best homemade burger recipe and will surely impress your friends and family! Easy to customize and make uniquely yours!

Ingredients

  • BURGER PATTIES:
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef, preferably chuck
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper
  • BURGER SAUCE:
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon relish (or 1 finely diced small dill pickle)
  • Salt to taste
  • BURGERS:
  • 4 burger buns
  • Lettuce
  • 4 slices cheese of choice, optional
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • red onion, slivered
  • other toppings could include: sliced avocado, bacon, fried egg, jalapeño, or pickles

Instructions

    Prepare the burger sauce if using by mixing the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, and relish in a small bowl. Set aside.

    Divide the meat into four equal pieces. Use your hands to form them into roughly 6" discs.

    Heat a large cast iron skillet, broiler, or grill on high heat.

    Salt each patty generously and sprinkle pepper if desired. Place the patty on the hot surface and cook for 4 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes more. If desired, add a slice of cheese on top of each patty about 1 minute before it is finished, allowing it to melt.

    Insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the burger, it is done when the thermometer registers 160°F.

    Remove the burgers and set aside on a platter. Reduce the heat and place each bun onto the hot surface and lightly toast, about 2 minutes.

    Once toasted, compile the burgers with your desired toppings and sauces.

Notes

Burgers can be customized greatly to fit your own personal tastes! You can make a variety of toppings such as caramelized onions, bacon jam, mushrooms, etc.. This recipe provides you with the perfect "base" patty to get creative!

Try different bun types, cheese varieties, sauces, and vegetables to make this burger perfect for YOU!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe