There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a big, juicy, All-American burger. The Classic Burger is made with simple ingredients and can be cooked on the grill or stovetop. It’s the perfect canvas for piling on your favorite toppings!
There are tons of recipes out there for hamburgers so why another one? Well, I believe you don’t need all those “extras” added but instead use high-quality meat and some simple seasonings.
Most restaurant burgers are made with just 3 simple ingredients: fatty beef, salt, and pepper. That’s it folks, no breadcrumbs, eggs, milk, or crackers. Having said that I like staying true to myself and adding something a little extra but it is totally optional!
Here’s Why This Is The Best Hamburger Recipe
- Super simple to prepare
- Make-ahead and freezer-friendly making it perfect for parties!
- Can be made on the grill or stovetop
- Juicy beefy flavor that’s hard to resist
Ingredients For Homemade Hamburgers
GROUND BEEF: Preferably ground chuck that is an 80/20 blend. This gives the meat quite a bit of fat which gives the burger loads of flavor as well as moisture. Plus, ground chuck has a nice beefy flavor. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t make hamburgers with other ground beef blends. The most important thing to look for is the fat!
OPTIONAL SEASONINGS: If you would like to flavor your burger I suggest the following: onion powder, garlic powder, and Worcestershire (just a dash!). Salt and pepper aren’t optional and we will get into that in a moment.
How To Make The Perfect Burger
STEP 1: Combine the meat with seasonings. If you choose not to use seasonings then skip to step 2!
STEP 2: Form the patties: I like to use an old lid for this. I make my patties slightly larger than the bun so when they cook and shrink a little (it’s inevitable, it’s going to happen folks) they fit perfectly. If you don’t have an old lid you can use a burger press or your hands. Just make sure they are a little larger than the bun.
STEP 3: Salt and pepper: As mentioned earlier this is a non-negotiable. Every good hamburger is dusted with this magic stuff. The secret is doing it just before cooking otherwise the salt can make the burger much firmer. That’s because the salt changes the chemistry of the proteins (learned that from watching America’s Test Kitchen, lol!)
STEP 4: Cook them up! Choose to use the grill or stovetop as both make incredible burgers. Place on the grill for 3 minutes or until the burger releases easily from the grate (very important). Flip and cook for another 3 minutes or again until the burger releases easily. If you are adding cheese do so right after you flip.
For the stovetop, I love using a cast iron skillet because they were made for cooking at high temps. Cook the same as you would on a grill when the burger naturally releases from the pan it’s ready to flip.
What About A Good Burger Sauce?
You can use the standard mustard and ketchup but what about a good burger sauce? I like to use a combo of mayo, ketchup, a dash of mustard, finely chopped dill pickle (not sweet relish!), and garlic powder.
Just mix everything up in a bowl and serve. You could also use other burger sauces or even bbq sauce.
Make sure the meat is cold. Cold meat sticks together better. Cooking on a grill preheated to 375-400 degrees F is optimal or a skillet preheated over medium-high heat. Lastly, don’t try to flip too soon. When the hamburger naturally releases from the grate or skillet it’s ready to flip.
Cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle are the classic choices. However, don’t let that stop you from adding avocado, fried egg, mushrooms, bacon, green chiles, ranch….the list goes on!
Pro Tips For The Best Classic Burger
- Handle the beef as little as possible so it doesn’t get tough.
- Make an indent in the middle of thick patties to prevent them from shrinking up into balls.
- Don’t flip them constantly. When the burger releases easily from the grate or skillet it is ready to flip.
- Allow your burgers to rest a little before eating. This allows the juices to redistribute back into the meat.
Make-Ahead and Freezing Instructions
MAKE-AHEAD: Prep the patties but don’t season them with salt or pepper. Store in the refrigerator with wax paper between each patty for up to 2 days. Cover them tightly so they don’t dry out!
FREEZER-FRIENDLY: Prep the patties but don’t season them with salt or pepper. Store in the freezer with wax paper between each patty in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- French fries (classic option!)
- Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- Macaroni Salad
- Tomato Cucumber and Avocado Salad
- Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Marinated Tomatoes
- 1-1½ pounds (453-680g) 80/20 ground beef
- Optional: 2 teaspoon onion powders; 1½ teaspoons garlic powder; ½-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce; sliced cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
- ½ cup (115g) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons finely minced dill pickle
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 4 large leaves of lettuce
- 1 large tomato, cut into slices
- ½ small red onion, sliced into rounds
- dill pickle chips
- If using seasonings mix in with ground beef. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into patties that are slightly larger than your buns.
- GRILL: Preheat grill to 375-400℉. Just before grilling sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place on hot grill. Cook for 3 minutes until meat releases from the grates and flip. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the burger releases then remove. If using cheese place on burger after you flip. Rest for a few minutes before serving.
- STOVETOP: Preheat cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Season burgers with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Don't overcrowd. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until the meat releases easily from the skillet. Remove and allow to rest a few minutes before serving.
- Serve with desired toppings.
- NUTRITION: Nutrition is calculated for burgers, toppings, and buns only and using 1 1/2 pounds ground beef. Burger sauce, seasonings, and cheese are not included.
- Be sure to read the post for loads of info on how to make the best burger.
- For really thick burgers you may need to test your burger with a meat thermometer. Medium-rare=145℉ and Medium=160℉.