How Long to Grill Burger?

Grilling season has arrived, and this year we’ve resolved to perfect America’s summertime grilling favorite—the hamburger. Our goal is to create a simple burger to prepare on a weeknight, flavorful enough to compete with the person who adds every condiment known to humanity to their burger and balanced enough to satisfy the minimalist burger eater.

Grilled burgers are ideal for a quick weeknight dinner with the family and an addition to any backyard barbecue. To pull it off, you might be tempted to buy a frozen package of burgers from the store. It turns out that learning how to make hamburgers from scratch is just as simple, and making your patties is a good way to ensure that your burgers are juicy.

How Long should you Grill Burgers?

In general, stick to the following total grilling times:

  • Cook for 4 minutes total (125°F) for rare burgers.
  • Cook for 5 minutes total (135°F) for medium-rare burgers.
  • Cook for 6 to 7 minutes total (145°F) for medium burgers.
  • Cook for 8 to 9 minutes total (160 °F) for well-done burgers.

 Please keep in mind that the USDA recommends cooking ground meats to an internal temperature of at least 160°F, which indicates that they are well done with no pink in the center. Cooking burgers to different degrees of doneness is at the cook’s discretion.


All of this being said, the time it takes for a hamburger to reach a specific temperature is ultimately determined by how hot your grill is and how thick your patty is. My 1-inch thick, 4-inch diameter patties were medium done in 5 minutes total (2 1/2 minutes on each side) and well done in 6 minutes total in my tests (3 minutes on each side).


To get a more accurate reading, insert the meat thermometer through the side of the burger rather than the top.

How can you Make the Best Beef Burger?

The Best Ground Beef to Purchase 

A great grilled burger requires delicious beef. Sure, you can season ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder, but the beef is the show’s star. So avoid the bargain bin and opt for the highest quality beef you can afford. If you prefer meatier, pastoral flavors, go for grass-fed beef; go for grain-finished if you prefer a sweeter, richer flavor.

When it comes to fat content, you should also avoid lean options. The best-grilled burgers we’ve had are juicy and rich, thanks to the fat. Ground beef with 20 to 25% fat content is ideal, so look for an 80/20 blend. The burger may fall apart with more fat, and if you use less fat, the burger will be dry. If your butcher grinds beef to order, request a coarsely ground chuck roast or a brisket and sirloin mixture.

A burger can be seasoned several ways, but it’s useless without a solid foundation. Skip the extra-lean ground beef patty blends in favor of ground beef with a higher fat content for a juicy, flavorful burger.

Ground beef with an 80/20 ratio is ideal for grilled burgers—80 percent lean beef and 20% fat. The 80/20 ground beef in supermarkets is usually ground chuck, which is ideal for burgers. (A leaner cut, such as 90/10, is usually ground sirloin, which tends to dry out when cooked over high heat on the grill.)

Although 80/20 ground chuck is readily available in most supermarkets, don’t hesitate to ask your butcher to grind your blend or grind a higher fat-to-beef ratio.

Keep the Meat Chilled

The heat from your hands, combined with room-temperature ground beef, has the potential to melt and smear the fat. This keeps the fat from binding with the lean meat, causing too much of it to render during cooking, resulting in a dry, dense burger.

The solution is to keep the meat cold and form the patties as soon as possible.

Refrigerate the ground beef until you’re ready to season it and form the patties. Then, mix the ground beef until it comes together, no more than a second. Form it into patties and place it in the fridge until ready to grill.

Avoid Over-Mixing the Ground Beef

When mixing the ground beef and forming patties, less is more. If you’ve ever eaten a burger that crumbled apart as you ate it, it was most likely due to overworking the beef. The result is similar to that of a broken emulsion. You’re attempting to bind the fat and protein together, but overmixing will “break” the binding, causing your burger to dry out, crumble, and lose flavor.

Here’s what you should do: Sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the ground beef and gently fold them with your hands.

When is the meat completely mixed? An old friend who is a charcuterie expert and chef taught me a little trick years ago. Take a piece of ground beef the size of a quarter and flatten it to the palm of your hand after mixing it with any spices or other add-in ingredients. Place your palm down. If the meat holds together, you’re good to go.

Burger Size Matters

Some people like the idea of a massive hamburger patty spilling over the bun’s edges, and others believe it should be a perfect fit. But no one wants a burger that is smaller than the bun.

To properly size your patties to fit your buns, make your burgers about 1-inch thick at the edges and one inch larger than the bun.

This takes into account the inevitable shrinkage that occurs during cooking.

Should you Dimple your Hamburgers?

We can find burger recipes all over the Internet and in cookbooks that instruct you to make an indentation in the center of the patties, usually the size of a thumbprint or a tablespoon.

The purpose of “dimpling” is to keep the burger from puffing up in the middle. Is it, however, effective? Like everyone else, I wanted to avoid puffing while also minimizing shrinkage in my burgers, so I experimented.

A thumbprint or tablespoon indentation prevented center puffing, but the burgers shrank nonetheless. Making a wide, shallow depression in the patty, on the other hand, worked perfectly. Consider a salad plate instead of a donut.

Make your patties so that the outer 1/2-inch is slightly taller than the middle.

Another tip: Instead of smashing the patties together in your hands, place about 5oz of meat on a tray or platter lined with parchment paper. Gently flatten the burger’s top and make a wide shallow depression (“dimple”) with one hand while pressing the other hand against the sides to form a circle. This creates a depression in the ground beef without overheating or overworking it.

Where can you Grill the Burger?

Gas Grill vs. Charcoal Grill

We believe that wood or charcoal grills are always the best choices for grilling burgers due to the additional flavor and charring.

It is more adaptable. You get a hotter, drier heat that results in a better sear. If you use charcoal, you can add different types of wood to enhance the smokiness and overall flavor of the burger.

However, millions of Americans prefer gas grills because they are easier to use and create less mess. Don’t worry; you can still make a delicious burger on a gas grill!

We recommend purchasing a chimney starter if you plan to grill with charcoal or wood. It’s a tall cylinder or box with holes in it. The paper is crumpled at the bottom, and the coals are repositioned on top. Place the chimney starter on the bottom of your grill’s grate and light the paper. In 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll have hot coals.

Open the lid of a gas grill, turn on the gas, and light the grill. Before adding your patties, heat your grill to 450 to 500 degrees.

Don’t Press – Flip your Burgers!

Please don’t press the patties down once they’re on the grill. The pressing process extracts the fat and flavor from the burgers, resulting in dry, bland patties.

However, feel free to flip your burgers frequently. We believe that it was best to leave the burger alone and only flip it once while cooking, but he has since changed his tune and cites research that shows that frequent flipping cooks a burger more evenly.

When should you Toast the Buns?

I’m a toasted brioche bun person. They’re buttery and sturdy enough to hold all my fixings and burger, but they also squish down and bite through easily.

Butter the top and bottom of the buns and place them on the back of the grill, away from direct heat, until they are golden. Start toasting the buns when you have a minute left on the patties.

Remember to Rest your Burgers

Resting is not limited to humans. Allow the burgers to rest for a minute after removing them from the grill. This gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the burger, providing a more flavorful experience.

Burger Flavoring Ideas

Once you’ve mastered the basic burger in the recipe below, experiment with different flavors.

You can combine different cuts of meat, mushrooms, anchovies, herbs, and cheese cubes. Lemon zest is a favorite of mine to use in burgers because it helps cut the fatty flavor of the beef. Finally, the decision is yours, and you can’t go wrong if the patty is meaty and juicy.

How to Grill the Best Burgers?


10 mins


5 mins


15 mins


Six burgers

Note: Please keep in mind that this recipe yields six 1/3-pound burgers. Before cooking, the patties should be 4-inches across and 1-inch thick around the edges.

You may enjoy hamburgers with a garlic kick. If you prefer a more subtle garlic flavor, feel free to reduce the amount or eliminate it.


  • 2 pounds (32 ounces) 80/20 ground beef, cold
  • Four cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons of minced onion
  • One tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Six hamburger buns
  • Butter for buns


Prepare the burger mixture:

In a mixing bowl, combine the cold ground beef. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients evenly on top. Fold the meat several times to incorporate everything. This entire procedure should take no more than 30 to 45 seconds. Don’t overwork the meat.

Form the burger patties:

Instead of forming the patties in your hand, shape them on a tray, making shaping the patties easier without overworking or warming the meat. I like to use a parchment-lined cookie sheet, but any tray or platter will do.

On the tray, divide the meat into six equal parts (about 5 1/4 ounces each). Form each portion into a 4-inch-wide patty with 1-inch sides and a shallow depression in the center (see photos below). The outer 1/2 inch of the patty should be slightly taller than the inner 1/2 inch, preventing the patty from shrinking excessively and puffing up in the center during grilling.

Wrap the patties in plastic wrap and place them in the fridge while you preheat your grill and butter your buns.

Heat the grill:

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to 450 to 500°F, or until we can only hold your hand 1 second above the grill grates.

Place the buns near the grill and butter the insides.

Cook the burgers:

Grill the patties directly on the grill. Cook until done to your liking:

  • Cook for 4 minutes total (125°F) for rare burgers.
  • Cook for 5 minutes total (135°F) for medium-rare burgers.
  • Cook for 6 to 7 minutes total (145°F) for medium burgers.
  • Cook for 8 to 9 minutes total (160°F) for well-done burgers.

Flip the burgers at least once while they’re cooking, or as often as you like. At no point should you press down on the patties?

Add the cheese and toast the buns: About 1 minute before the burgers are done, add the cheese and buttered buns to the grill over indirect heat.

Rest the burgers: Remove the burgers and buns from the grill and place them on a clean platter to rest. Allow 1 minute for the burgers to rest before serving.

Serve: Serve with tomato jam, mayonnaise, bacon jam, garlic aioli, blue cheese sauce, sautéed mushrooms, Thousand Island dressing, or the traditional and always delicious lettuce, tomato, pickles, and red onion.

Is it Necessary to Let Burgers Rest After Grilling?

Allow the patties to rest for at least five minutes before serving for the juiciest burger. During this time, the meat undergoes carryover cooking, which causes the internal temperature to rise by up to five degrees. If you’re concerned about the burgers cooling, you can tent them with aluminum foil to keep the heat in.

Storage Suggestions

Once cooked, the burgers will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. You can reheat them in a covered skillet with a little water to bring the burgers back to life, but they’ll be well-done if they’re not already.

Because raw ground beef only lasts one to two days in the fridge, we recommend freezing any uncooked patties (assuming they were stored in the refrigerator and not left out by the side of the grill). Frozen, we can store uncooked burger patties in an airtight container for up to four months if separated by parchment paper.


As you might expect, getting this right takes some practice, and it’s not nearly as accurate as a thermometer or even simply cutting open a burger and looking. We’ve discovered that you need to eat a lot of burgers before getting the hang of it. But if you’re in a hurry, give it a shot!