15 Different Ways To Cook A Hamburger

Burgers are widely available throughout North America. You can find them on menus at nearly every drive-through, restaurant, and tavern throughout the country. Not to mention, on any given night throughout the summer, you'll smell burgers cooking on grills in neighborhoods from Dallas to Green Bay.

Even though we love a burger with beautiful grill marks, this certainly isn't the only way to cook up a hamburger. Some methods are a little more experimental than others, and some require a bit more patience, but breaking from the norm when cooking your next burger is one delicious adventure. Not to mention, exploring beyond your typical recipe or practice may even help you find a new standby favorite. So gather your butter, cheese, condiments, and spatula because if there's one thing we've learned about hamburgers, it's that their versatility may very well be one of the reasons Americans crave them so much.

Grill up those burgers

Between brats, hot dogs, and burgers, it's no secret that some food just loves the grill. Plus, if you love thicker burger patties, a grill is an excellent way to cook up those burgers. Grills are also great centerpieces for social gatherings because they can cook a great deal of food at once.

When cooking burgers at your grill, we recommend making patties about an inch thick. This way, the burgers are thick enough that the patties can retain the juices and won't dry out while cooking. You'll want to ensure that those patties are also bigger than your bun to account for the shrinkage that will inevitably happen during that grill time.

To determine when your burgers finish cooking, we recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature so that you can pull them when they reach the absolute best temperature. Well-done burgers should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit, medium-well is ten degrees less, medium is ten lower than that, and a rare will be down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pan-fry your burger

If the prospect of grilling your burger makes you concerned that your grill may dry out your burgers regardless of their thickness, give pan-frying your burgers a try. Since burgers should have a nice amount of fat throughout, this can all melt and inadvertently create a firey flare-up. As you might expect, this causes black spots that taste grimy.

Instead, use your cast iron to create a burger that efficiently retains its juices without needing to be an inch thick. While many people enjoy thick burgers, they can be challenging to eat, so pan-frying allows you to create a burger that isn't quite as thick. Plus, you can use your cast iron pan on your stove top or grill; this way, you still enjoy that grill experience while preparing a perfectly juicy burger that's crispy on the outside. If you just use a grill for cooking burgers, you'll get excellent grill marks but miss out on that tasty sear.

Smash them

For quick flavors that are ultra flavorful, consider preparing your next burgers as smash burgers. One of the best parts of the smash burger is that it does not require many ingredients. Begin by gathering what you'll need for an easy smash burger: beef, salt, and pepper. If you want to make your burger into a cheeseburger, go ahead and grab some American cheese as well. If you prefer a different cheese, that's perfectly fine.

Begin by forming your burger patties, placing them in the fridge for at least five minutes, and preparing your cast iron skillet with butter at a medium-high temperature. After five minutes in the fridge, put your first patty down and press down with your spatula until it gets smashed. When that bottom gets a nice brown color and a little crispy on the outside, flip it over and add your cheese if you so desire. On that side, it only needs to cook for two minutes at the most. From here, remove it from the grill and dress your burger how you'd like.

You'll find that smash burgers are tender and quite juicy. Since they require so little cooking and prep time, it's also a great way to get a delectable, crave-worthy meal on the table during your busy week.

Make a quesadilla burger

For a delightful spin on the classic burger, make yourself a quesadilla burger. Begin by preparing some burger meat of your choice by mixing it with salt. Cook these on your grill for roughly three minutes per side. Then, turn to your skillet, place a tortilla on the surface, add some shredded cheese on top, and let it warm. After that cheese and tortilla are a little warm, add your burger patty.

Now, you get to decide how to dress your quesadilla burger. We recommend sauce, lettuce, and tomato. For the perfect sauce mixture in this recipe, combine mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, and lime juice and adjust those flavors to your liking. Put down your other tortillas, add some shredded cheese on top of those, and allow the cheese to melt before putting them on top of your dressed burger. Finally, slice those up and serve with extra pico, guacamole, and a dollop of sour cream.

Bring in some soda

For a spin on the classic American burger, consider using a special ingredient that will enhance your burger's flavor — Coca-Cola. Usually, you'll find this ingredient in a cup to enjoy alongside your burger. However, this beloved soda tastes scrumptious when added to your burger.

As you mix up your burger meat with any seasonings you're working with, consider adding cola to your burger meat to add some sweetness. Additionally, as your burger finishes its cooking process, you can combine the already flavorful French dressing with this beloved soda and brush it right on your burger toward the end of cooking. This will not be a thick enough sauce or something close to a barbecue sauce, but it will add some moisture and sweetness as a kind of baste. When choosing your cola, be sure to get the full-fledged stuff rather than the diet options to ensure both flavor and caramelization.

Get nutty with some peanut butter

Adding cola to your burger can enhance the flavor of your hamburger, but it's far from being the only unique ingredient you can add. Think a little outside the box and consider peanut butter. This nutty addition tastes excellent in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but, oddly enough, burgers like it too.

Adding it straight into the meat will not only help you shape your meat with more ease, the saltiness of the peanut butter only serves to enhance your burger's flavor after it finishes cooking. Alternatively, add peanut butter as you would a condiment to have more of a prominent peanut butter flavor on your burger. We recommend giving both a try to determine what you prefer. We should note, however, that choosing to do both on the same burger may simply be too much peanut butter; it could start to hide the flavor of your burger rather than enhance it.

Throw it back to the classic patty melt

To cook up a hamburger that is different from a typical burger and offers a whole other flavor profile, whip up a classic patty melt. A true patty melt should have rye bread, Swiss cheese, and sauteed onions. On the side, we recommend a healthy serving of French fries.

Begin by caramelizing your onions in butter for a few minutes. Then, cook up that burger for four minutes on each side. You'll remove those and use the same pan to toast your bread and assemble your sandwich. Place a piece of Swiss cheese on one of your slices of bread. Then add your burger patty to the bread with Swiss. On top of the burger, pile your onions with another slice of cheese, and place the other piece of bread on top. Give that a moment to melt and toast, then flip it over to encourage further toasting and increased melting.

Ice cubes make for a juicy burger

Cooking burgers is a never-ending battle to grill, fry, or even bake a juicer burger. This goal revolves around the burger's general moistness, so while this tip may seem counterintuitive, at a deeper level, it tracks with your goals quite succinctly.

For that ultra-juicy burger, look no further than your ice maker. While you prepare your burger patties, take care to enclose an ice cube in the burger itself. It may be a little difficult to manage this initially, but we encourage you to keep trying since the payoff potential is excellent. However, if you plan on making rare burgers, remember that you'll need to get that burger toasty enough on the inside to actually melt this ice cube, so ultra-rare burgers may be difficult to accomplish with this cooking method. That said, an ice cube won't be the only thing that works this way. You can also use butter to achieve a similar effect.

Sous vide burgers for a new level of juiciness

When you sous vide food, you are essentially cooking it in water like a kind of food hot tub. This cooking method tends to take a little bit of time, but we think it is worth it. Be warned, however, that your burger may come out looking very unappetizing. Thankfully, we have a solution to this problem.

Sous vide allows you to cook some of the juiciest meat you'll ever enjoy. The process begins by forming your burger patties and placing them carefully in an air-tight plastic bag. Then, you'll submerge the bag in hot water and let it cook slowly.

When your burger finishes cooking, remove it from its bag, check its temperature, and then place it on either a hot grill or pan to give it some glorious color. This finishing touch will take your burger from looking like something you wouldn't want to serve to your dog to the perfect burger.

Baking isn't just for cakes

There are so many ways to make decadent burgers, but if you're making burgers for a crowd, many of the most popular methods will take too much time. In cases like these, when you want a great burger, but need to feed plenty of hungry mouths, consider baking your burgers in your oven.

Begin by forming those patties and preparing your pan. We recommend lining a baking sheet with parchment paper to help avoid getting a mess all over your pan. Then, place those patties on the pan, and add them to your oven. Cook the burger until it reaches your desired temperature (medium, well-done, etc.). If you're hoping to make cheeseburgers alongside those burgers, add cheese on top of some of the burgers and have it melt in the oven. You could also place it under your broiler to ensure a quicker melting time.

Air-fried burgers are the way to go for well-done burgers

Most ways to cook hamburgers have a certain level of flexibility to account for different doneness goals. However, cooking a hamburger in the air fryer will not allow this. Though these appliances are intended to cook items you would normally drop in oil, even items like burgers can be cooked in one. Though they have some limitations, air fryers are excellent appliances for cooking fried food and making it extra outstanding.

Air fryers are also known for cooking things quite quickly. In fact, burgers get cooked so quickly in the air fryer that they fly right past this cooking goal and present you with a medium-well to a well-done burger. You'll never get a medium-rare burger from your air fryer because the burger simply comes out well done after spending only a small amount of time in the air fryer. So, if you're looking for a great and efficient way to make that well-done burger, look no further than your air fryer.

Stuff your burger

If you bite into any quality burger, you'll experience a bite with a lot of different flavors mingling together to create something familiar and tasty all at the same time. While a classic burger certainly has its place, stuffing your burgers will take those bites to a whole new level. We can appreciate that not everyone wants a gushy, big burger, so if that's not your preference, consider skipping this cooking method.

Stuffed burgers are like your classic burger but with a significant upgrade, and the limit to what you put in your burger only ends with your imagination. Personally, we love elevating this experience by stuffing a grilled burger with brie and fig. This cheeseburger is undoubtedly one you won't soon forget, though you may wonder how it could possibly be related to the standard ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and onion kind. To prepare these burgers, put the brie and fig preserves on top of one burger patty before placing another patty right on top. Seal the edges of the now bigger burger together and cook that hamburger however you'd like. It's thick enough to withstand a grill and would also do marvelously on a cast iron skillet.

Prevent burger shrinkage with a little indent

When cooking your hamburgers, you will probably experience one common and annoying problem: A burger that just doesn't seem to be the right shape. Due to this aesthetic imperfection, you may even try to avoid making burgers for others out of the sheer embarrassment that those burgers just don't look quite right. Well, never fear; instead, try Chef Bobby Flay's trick for perfectly shaped burgers.

This simple trick is super easy, and you won't even need special equipment. Simply put a small thump print in the center of each of your patties on either side. Then, when you cook those, they'll end up with that round shape everyone hopes for when making burgers. Not only will they look great, but they'll be easy to dress and put on your buns. Flat and round burgers help decrease the risk of your condiments falling off your burger.

Shred cheese for a crispy burger

Leave it to the best chefs to have excellent ways to take your burgers to the next level. Even better? They don't gatekeep! Chef Alvin Cailan reveals a whole new way to add flavor and texture to your hamburger with crispy cheese.

Instead of using a slice of cheese, use shredded cheese. Even better, shred your own cheese. Though using pre-shredded cheese may seem like an easy substitution to cut down on the amount of time you need to prepare burgers, it will definitely impact the quality of your burger. Instead, buy your cheese in a block and take the extra few minutes to make your own cheese shreds. It will melt better and have a better texture. Then, add it to your skillet to create a layer of crispy cheese for your burger. Pay close attention to the cheese as it cooks because overcooking your cheese can happen awfully quickly. Then, when it's done, you'll have perfectly crispy cheese to add to your burger.

Cook it up in butter

If there's one thing we can say about Wisconsin, they know dairy. So it may be no surprise that the original Butter Burger hails from this dairyland. And when it comes to the food and drink you have to try from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we absolutely insist you give Solly's Grille a try.

If you fry a hamburger in butter, you end up with a tasty, moist hamburger of your dreams. This melted butter helps keep your burger juicy even if it gets slightly overcooked. This way, it adds a safety vest to your burger. In addition to using butter in your pan for cooking a burger, you can also put a bit of butter in the burger as well as on top of it. But there's no need to stop there; toast your bun in that butter to amp up that already flavorful buttery experience.