How long to cook burgers on stove?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: July 9, 2024

Cooking burgers on the stove can be a delightful experience, offering control over the cooking process and allowing you to achieve the perfect burger to suit your taste. Let's delve into the specifics of cooking burgers on the stove, from preparation to the final touches.

Preparation: Setting the Stage

Before you even turn on the stove, preparation is key. Here are the steps to ensure your burgers cook perfectly:

Choosing the Right Meat

Selecting the right meat is crucial. Ground beef with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio is ideal for a juicy burger. The fat content helps to keep the burgers moist and flavorful during cooking.

Forming the Patties

Form the beef into patties roughly ¾ inch thick. Avoid overworking the meat, as this can make the burgers tough. Make a small indentation in the center of each patty with your thumb to prevent them from puffing up during cooking.


Season the patties generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Feel free to add other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika for additional flavor.

Cooking the Burgers

Preheating the Pan

Place a heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Allow it to preheat for about 5 minutes. A well-preheated pan ensures a good sear, which locks in the juices and flavors.

Adding Oil

Add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or vegetable oil, to the pan. Swirl to coat the bottom evenly. This helps prevent the burgers from sticking and promotes a nice crust.

Cooking Times by Doneness

The cooking time for burgers on the stove depends on the desired level of doneness. Here is a general guideline for cooking a standard ¾ inch patty:

- Rare (Cool Red Center): Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

- Medium Rare (Warm Red Center): Cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.

- Medium (Warm Pink Center): Cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

- Medium Well (Slightly Pink Center): Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side.

- Well Done (No Pink): Cook for about 6-7 minutes per side.

Flipping the Burgers

Flip the burgers only once during cooking. Frequent flipping can prevent the burgers from developing a good sear. Use a sturdy spatula to turn the patties.

Checking for Doneness

Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness if you are unsure. Insert the thermometer into the side of the burger:

- Rare: 120-125°F (49-52°C)

- Medium Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C)

- Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C)

- Medium Well: 150-155°F (65-68°C)

- Well Done: 160°F (71°C) and above

Tips for Perfect Stove-Top Burgers

Resting the Burgers

Once the burgers are cooked to your desired doneness, let them rest on a plate for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier burger.

Adding Cheese

If you want to add cheese to your burgers, place a slice on each patty during the last minute of cooking. Cover the pan with a lid to help the cheese melt evenly.

Toasting the Buns

For an extra touch, toast your burger buns in the same skillet. This can be done by placing the buns cut-side down in the pan for about 1-2 minutes until golden brown.

Toppings and Condiments

Customize your burgers with a variety of toppings and condiments. Some popular options include lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. Experiment with different combinations to find your perfect burger.

Niche Subtopics

Cooking Frozen Burgers

If you are cooking frozen burger patties, increase the cooking time by about 2 minutes per side. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) to ensure they are fully cooked.

Using Different Meats

While beef is the most common choice for burgers, you can experiment with other meats like turkey, chicken, or lamb. Each type of meat will have different cooking times and temperatures, so adjust accordingly.

Stuffed Burgers

For a gourmet twist, try making stuffed burgers. Create two thin patties, place your favorite fillings (like cheese, mushrooms, or jalapeños) between them, and seal the edges. Cook as you would a regular burger, but allow for a slightly longer cooking time to ensure the filling is heated through.

Beyond Meat: Vegetarian and Vegan Options

Vegetarian and vegan burger options are increasingly popular. Plant-based patties like those from Beyond Meat or homemade bean burgers can be cooked on the stove similarly to beef burgers. Follow package instructions for store-bought options, and ensure homemade patties are cooked through and firm.

Rarely Known Small Details

Pan Type Matters

The type of pan you use can significantly impact the cooking process. Cast iron skillets retain heat well and provide an even sear, while non-stick pans may require less oil but won't give the same crust.

Butter Basting

For an extra layer of flavor, try butter basting your burgers. During the last minute of cooking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and spoon the melted butter over the patties. This technique adds richness and enhances the burger's taste.


Infuse your burgers with additional flavors by cooking with aromatics. Toss a few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or smashed garlic cloves into the pan while the burgers are cooking. The aromatics will impart subtle notes to the meat.

Temperature Fluctuation

Maintain a consistent medium-high heat. Fluctuating temperatures can lead to uneven cooking. If the pan starts to smoke, reduce the heat slightly, as this indicates it is too hot.

Resting the Meat Before Cooking

Allow the patties to come to room temperature before cooking. This helps them cook more evenly and prevents the outside from becoming overcooked while the inside remains underdone.

With these details in mind, the journey to perfect stove-cooked burgers becomes an exciting exploration of flavor and technique.

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