How to Make Homemade Hamburgers! My Way.

Burger, burger, burger!  Regular ground beef can sometimes make a lacklustre burger. You can take your homemade hamburgers to the next juicy, char broiled level by just tweaking a few things.

(That’s a DIY Charcuterie board ↑ you can learn how to make. )

There’s a lot of debate over what’s better for you: Homemade hamburgers or frozen.  No there isn’t.  There’s no debate at all.  I just thought it’d be good, as a professional blogger, to open this post with some sort of controversy.  Ya know?  To grab your attention and make it seem like I’d done some investigative work and research.   I didn’t.

WAIT! I did kind of!  I’ve spent a lot of nights eating hamburgers over the course of my life.  I’ve made them every which way possible and I can tell you the best way to make them involves two things.  A few additional ingredients to the actual ground beef (sacrilegious to most I know) and being as gentle as possible with mixing and forming the meat.

Yes, yes, I know. You’re disagreeing.  . You’re  throwing your arms in the air and cursing the day you started reading this post written by this hamburger idiot.

Everyone calm down. Seriously.

So, to make some super-delicious hamburgers you need a little more than just a mess of ground beef.  For starters you can grind your own beef with a blade or cross rib roast.  I show you how to do it, if you’re interested, right here. Although I’m completely insane and even I only rarely grind my own beef.

With a few ingredients you probably already have around the kitchen you can make a great, big, juicy hamburger tonight!   You have imported Asian truffle foam rooted by a one-eyed panda bear, right?  (canned is fine)

Just kidding. 

If you have pasture raised, dry aged beef with beautiful yellow fat in it you don’t need to add anything other than a bit of seasoning to it.

For everyone else buying regular ground beef at the grocery store you can help elevate the flavour of the beef by adding a few things to it.

Read on for the recipe!

Homemade Hamburger Recipe

1.  Add one egg (yolk only) to 1 lb of the highest fat content ground beef you can find. (fat = flavour)

2. Add finely diced onion.

Finely diced onions in metal measuring cup over bowl with ground beef.

 

TIP:  Do all your mixing gently.  You want to work the meat as little as possible.

3.  A blast of ketchup.

Heinz ketchup dripping into bowl with ground beef, egg and diced onions.

 

4. In goes a glob of Dijon mustard.

Dijon mustard in metal tablespoon hovering over green bowl with ground beef and other hamburger ingredients.

 

5. Squirt in a splash of Worcestershire sauce and gently mix.

Splash of Worcestershire sauce dripping into green bowl with all other hamburger ingredients.

 

 

6. Add in 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (just enough to help with binding) and a generous dose of salt and pepper.

Shaking man shaped salt shaker into green bowl with unmixed hamburger ingredients.

 

7. Gently form into patties. DON’T squash them.  Gently form them.  Squashing is for bugs, not hamburgers.

Hand formed hamburger patties in between layers of waxed paper on white tile countertop.

Update:  For everyone in apoplectic fits over adding 1/4 of a cup of dry bread crumbs and the egg yolks this does not make it meatloaf.  It does not.   It really is still a hamburger.  The tiny amounts of these two things  act as a binder which are important. They keep hamburgers from falling apart on the grill.

How to Make the Patties?

The number 1 rule for making hamburger patties is to be GENTLE with them. You don’t want to mush, smash or press them hard.  They need to be pressed enough to stay together but you want to keep the integrity of the meat.

Form the meat into a bit of a ball and then press it between the palms of your hands until it’s a disk shape. Put that disk on the countertop and continue to gently press and prod it until it’s the right shape and size.

Just  before dropping them into the pan or grill press your thumb into the centre of the burger and press it about halfway down. This helps it cook evenly.

How Big Should the Burger be?

A good rule of thumb is to make your patty 3/4″ – 1″ thick, and wider than the bun.  Anything thinner will run the risk of being dried out and anything bigger and they’re easy to undercook.

You Put Egg in Them?

You bet I do. Egg acts as a binder helping to stick the hamburger together so it doesn’t fall apart on the grill.

If you can’t use egg to keep your burgers together another trick you can use is to refrigerate the patties, allowing them to set up, before cooking.

Making Sure it’s Juicy

I’ve already given you one tip for ensuring you have a burger that drips down your chin and makes your eyes roll into the back of your head.  By making it 1″ thick.  More tips for a juicy burger include:

  • Pressing an indent into the centre of it before you cook. This will pop up as the burger cooks, and get you a more evenly cooked hamburger.
  • Use regular or lean ground beef – never extra lean.
  • Unless the person eating it is very young, very old or pregnant you can cook your burger until it has an internal temperature of 145.  

How to Cook

Cast Iron

I almost exclusively cook meat in a cast iron pan. That includes hamburgers. Yes, even before using a grill, I will use my cast iron pan.  

Cast iron heats up evenly and beautifully, is non stick, but can still get a good crusty sear on meat. The heat you set your pan to will depend on your stove, but I tend to heat it up quickly on high and then turn it down to medium/low once the burger hits the pan.

Oven

If you only have an oven (a toaster oven in a dorm for instance) you can cook these in there as well. Slip a cookie sheet into the oven and set it to 450 F (230 C).  Once it’s heated up slide your patties onto the hot cookie sheet and bake for approximately 5 minutes per side. When you flip the burger, flip it onto a part of the baking sheet that hasn’t had burger on it yet – this will get you a better sear on the second side.

 

the art of doing stuff burger

How to Make Homemade Hamburgers!

The best way to make flavourful hamburgers with grocery store ground beef.
4.19 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 hamburgers
Calories: 340kcal
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup finely very finely diced red onion. (you want it so small that once it cooks it disappears)
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp dijon
  • 2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs just enough to aid in binding
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Mix together all ingredients gently. You don't want to mush and mash it.
  • Form into 4 equally sized patties. (You can definitely stretch it and get 5 out of this recipe)
  • Grill outdoors or cook in cast iron pan until done to your liking. About 4 minutes each side.
  • Top with your favourite toppings!

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 84IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg

Questions & Answers

  • Isn’t this really a meatloaf recipe? Um, no.  It isn’t.  But I can see the confusion.  Just make them. Trust me on this.
  • What are the best hamburger buns?  I used to be on a sesame seed bun kick, but now I only use brioche buns.  I’m obsessed with them!
  • What if I want a homemade fermented, New York style, Jewish deli pickle to go with my burger?  No problem.  Just click here for my classic fermented dill pickle recipe, based on fermenting God, Sandor Katz’s pickles.
  • Should you put lettuce on hamburgers?  According to the late Anthony Bourdain?  No. He has a point. If you don’t eat the burger immediately the lettuce gets soft, warm and wilty.
  • Can these be frozen?  Of course!  Just mix the ingredients, shape them into burgers and freeze them individually on wax paper.  Once they’re frozen you can stack them and store them.

Tune in next week for the next big debate:  What’s better for you?  Frozen or homemade ice cubes.

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How to Make Homemade Hamburgers! My Way.

149 Comments

  1. kate says:

    yup – those are meat loaf burgers, to be sure. In the case being unable to purchase really good beef – then, by all means do what you must to get tasty meals. Hamburger (any beef meal, actually) should start with good beef – good beef has it own delicious flavor that does not in any way need the addition of other ingredients

    • JT says:

      You people are CrAazZYY. Just because you shape a ball of meat into the shape of a hamburger doesn’t mean it’s a hamburger. Maybe for you it is but if that was the one and only way to make it there wouldn’t be millions of hamburger “recipes” around.

  2. M.Darlin says:

    So we can’t eat beef around here. I use ground pork for our burgers… we call them Real Ham Burgers. But are they? And I often add rice and celery as well as the other ingrediants you use. And for those that like them I might even throw in chopped mushrooms and cheddar. I think of it as getting all the food groups into one dish. But have I gone to far? (oh, and p.s. I don’t form patties. I squish it all onto a cookie sheet, about 3/4″thick, then I cut it into squares, then I bake it instead of frying. If appropriate I will grill it when reheating, with a little BBQ sauce on top.) Holy cow! I just realized I don’t make hamburgers at all. (don’t tell my kids. they think these are hamburgers.)

  3. Mary Werner says:

    Next question – do I put a question mark after that last sentence or not? Seems more of a statement than a question.

  4. Mary Werner says:

    I have only just started following you and you may have already addressed this (or undressed it) but what comes out the one hole on the little mans head, it is salt or pepper? And since you take his pants off to shake him, what comes out the other? I assume there is another or why take off his pants?

  5. Bobbi says:

    Oh, Karen…….the Lipton Onion Soup Mix is quite salty……..my mom uses all the onion flakes in the package and only about 1/2 of the remaining mix when she puts it in a recipe…..just an FYI…not that you would be using it or anything…..

  6. Bobbi says:

    A real hamburger is from steak and shake or 5 guys….only M E A T seared with the slightest bit of crunch around the edges of the patty….yum….but I am sure modified meat loaf on a bun is quite tasty, too…….just another taste sensation.

  7. Barbie says:

    I ALWAYS add eggs and a touch of “something” like crackers or crumbs to help “bind” on the BBQ; otherwise you lose too much through the grill. I also use eggs and breadcrumbs in my meatballs…and that does not make “them” “meatloaf”…. what gods made the rule that only “meatloaf” could contain eggs and breadcrumbs? I saw a special on the food network about the singer “Meatloaf” and he was making his favorite meal (hamburgers) from scratch…. and he used eggs and breadcrumbs. So there!

    • Allison says:

      Sorry, Barbie, but you’re actually making meatloaf balls. The name has just been shortened throughout history to just meatballs. Which is a good thing, as it could be confusing and not very appetizing since the singer took the name Meatloaf.

  8. Chrissy says:

    Instead of onion, we use chopped, cooked green pepper. No one in our family will touch green peppers otherwise, and the kids are disappointed if they get burgers without them.

  9. Chris says:

    I’m gonna side with Karen on this one. The ingredients may be the same but meatloaf has way more breadcrumbs to give it that meatloaf texture. I don’t think you’d even notice 1/4 cup. I’ve made plain meat hamburgers and they do just fall apart on the grill. Bloody things crumbling all over. By the time you’re done cooking them all you have are a grill covered in hamburger croutons.

  10. Pat says:

    You are sooooo right. Homemade burgers are best and my recipe is pretty darn close to yours. My mom always adds oatmeal instead of the crumbs and a light pour of milk. She claims the milk makes the burgers nice and soft so I do the same. We never measure the ingreds. just do it by look/feel.

  11. kelly says:

    Nothing beats homemade burgers. I use rolled oats and milk instead of bread crumbs and an egg. Also, ketchup and w sauce and seasonings. And don’t forget the fried onions on top. Great taste and aroma for the kitchen.

  12. Jessie says:

    Thank YOU! I saw Gordon Ramsay do a hamburger like this on one of his shows and couldn’t remember how he did it. My fiancé does those plain mess of meat burgers and they taste too bland for me.

  13. Allison Watson says:

    I really hate to tell you this, but, actually, those aren’t hamburgers. They’re individual meatloaf sandwiches….in Tennessee, anyway. Delicious, nonetheless (especially the next day, straight out of the fridge cold on rye with mayo and a tomato). Hamburgers are handpatted patties slapped out of the styrofoam tray, which can be fancified by smushing in worcestershire and a packet of dry onion soup mix and/or blue cheese crumbles. But once you go cracking in an egg and adding bread crumbs, it’s meatloaf. See, I’m obnoxious that way too :) Love, Allison, your fan and friend in Knoxville, TN

  14. Amy Schmucker says:

    Yeah, if you add bread crumbs and eggs that is meat loaf. Don’t want anything in my burger other than the blood dripping out of it. Don’t mess with my cow. But your meat loaf burger looks tasty.

    • Karen says:

      Amy – You people are really hung up on the 1/4 cup of bread crumbs! Anyhoo … 1/4 of a cup to a pound or a pound and a quarter of ground beef isn’t noticeable. It’s just enough of a binder to help keep the meat from falling apart on the BBQ. If I added say … a cup of bread crumbs … now you’re gonna notice it. ~ karen!

      • Heather says:

        If you don’t add the egg, you don’t need the bread crumbs. –Tip from the professional chef.

      • Shannon V. says:

        Karen, I have made burgers both ways…with and without egg and bread crumbs. They definitely go a LONG way to keeping the burger together. Never had much success until I started adding the egg and bread crumbs.

      • Karen says:

        Thank you for your show of hamburger support Shannon V., LOL! ~ karen

      • Shannon V. says:

        BTW….I will bake them in the oven when the weather here in Niagara isn’t conducive to BBQing in 3 feet of snow and we are craving burgers….not that we have had that this winter though.

  15. Celine says:

    Wow, craving hamburgers now with some of your sweet potato fries! Husband has the Big Green Egg, best invention ever, I never cook anymore! :)

  16. Now you post about it! Hamburger last night – not burgers but mixed in the pan with half a bottle of Tony Romero’s BBQ sauce, a couple dashes of HP, chopped onion and lots a garlic powder. Mixed in some Romano beans and frozen peas. Husband was the one who suggested the bbq sauce. I thought it was a squeeze bottle so we got lots of it. It was actually quite good. Oh yeah a totally huge amount of cumin too.
    Next time we’ll try your hamburger recipe – Dijon is good on anything – well maybe not ice cream but dunno, haven’t tried it.

  17. magali says:

    Hamburgurs were always made the “wrong way” at my house. Then I met my boyfriend and could not believe how delicious his burgers were! He makes them like you. He doesn’t put the exact same ingredients in of course, but I am convince the most important ingredients are the eggs and bread crumbs.

    The difference between you and I is that I like the fact that most people don’t make them the “right way”, because then they are amazed at how could our burgers are when they come over! Makes me proud!

  18. Denise says:

    That’s similar to how I make mine, I don’t use dijon but I may try that next time instead of bbq sauce… I’m always trying to sneak more green vegetables into my family’s meals so I put a bit of chopped up parsley or spinach in too

  19. Susan says:

    Sorry Karen….I like plain ground chuck burgers! I like all those ingredients in a meatloaf but for my burger I prefer just meat! Load on the toppings but just give me my beef! And no garlic or seasoning either. That’s why fresh is SOOO much better than those hockey pucks full of fillers and seasonings added to disguise the poor quality ground beef. I like the meat and on that note Happy Valentines Day! Yummmm….!
    :-)

  20. mimiindublin says:

    Looks good to me, though I haven’t used Italian breadcrumbs before, I just use ordinary from my freezer.
    Instead of/as well as ketchup, I add a spoonful of my homemade chutney (any kind) but that’s really just to use up the chutney! Don’t ask why I make it when we don’t eat chutney!
    I’m very interested in Carol’s way of cooking fries.

  21. Mary says:

    I know where Salty is now!!!!!!!!! Great looking burgers Karen. (I’ll share the prize money)

  22. Julie shinnick says:

    I LOVE that show!

    Glad you use the W sauce! my only beef….oh cripes…..is due to my sesame allergy I use crushed corn flakes instead of breadcrumbs and sometimes add grated carrot…..oh and sultanas….

  23. Maureen says:

    There is no such thing as “frozen” hamburger patties in my world!

  24. Carol mcclure says:

    Oh, and one more thing, since we’re talking hamburgers….cook fresh cut or frozen fries on your preheated pizza stone…they cook faster, so watch them…they come out a lot crispier.

  25. Carol mcclure says:

    Sounds good….like for tomorrow’s dinner. Yum. Thanks.

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