Water May Be The Unexpected Ingredient For Juicy Burgers

When you think of what makes up a perfectly juicy burger, your mind probably goes to high-quality beef, onion, seasonings, and toppings like gooey cheese and crunchy vegetables. But there's one unexpected ingredient that will take your homemade burgers to the next level before they hit a bun: water. Yes, that's right, using a bit of water in the pan will prevent your burgers from drying out. It's a hack that many restaurants use with their burgers, so why not try this time-tested technique at home?

You don't need too much water for this trick — an ounce or two will suffice. Why does water help so much with perfectly cooking a burger in a pan? It helps your patties stay moist and it can reduce your cooking time, getting your dinner on the table faster. Let's get into how to use water for your burgers. And before we get started, this only works when you're pan-frying burgers on the stovetop. If you're able to do so, grilling burgers (without water) is still ideal for the best flavor because you get more browning and a crispier crust. 

How to cook burgers with a bit of water

Start by making your patties (though we won't judge you if your go-to is pre-made patties from the grocery store). When they're ready, start cooking your burgers in a frying pan on the stovetop, and halfway through the process, flip your burgers, add an ounce to two ounces of water to the pan, and cover them until they're cooked to your preferred temperature. You can use a meat thermometer to keep check the temperature if you're worried about over or undercooking the beef.

With this method, you're essentially steaming your burger, which is where the benefits start. For starters, steaming the burger will help it retain moisture, so your burger will stay juicy, which is important because pan-fried burgers can tend to dry out. The steam from the water will also help cook the sides of your burger and melt the cheese. Here's a final tip for making juicy burgers on the stovetop: Use your thumb to make an indentation in the middle of the patty on one side, which helps the burger retain its shape.