Hamburger patties on a grill

How To Know When A Hamburger Is Cooked (Essential Tips)

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We are always on the lookout for the best hamburger. Following the proper cooking time is an essential part of making every bite delicious and juicy. Have you ever found yourself looking at a patty and wondered, is it grilled enough? Well, not everyone is a master chef in the kitchen. That brings us to the question, how to know when a hamburger is cooked

A hamburger will take anywhere from just a few minutes to 10 or even 15 minutes for it to properly cook. An instant-read meat thermometer will help you decide the safety of the meat. Factors such as the thickness of the burger, the temperature of the grill or pan, and how rare or well done you want your meat will all determine the time it will take to cook.

But, is there more to know about how long you should cook it? Indeed, there is! There are many different schools of thought that go into making the perfect hamburger. Luckily, you have come to the right place today because we will discuss in detail to know when a burger is cooked. So, without further ado, let’s get right on with it. 

How Long Does It Take To Cook A Hamburger?

Cooking homemade hamburgers could range from a couple of minutes to 10 or 15 minutes. But the time can vary depending on how well you want it done, the thickness of the patty, and a few other factors. 

Let’s take a look at some of these factors below. 

1. Doneness

It depends on how rare, medium rare, medium, medium-well, or well done you want the beef, as well as how hot the grill or the pan is. The rarer and the quicker you would want to enjoy the burger, the thinner you would have to slice up the patties.

However, if you want a well-done beef hamburger, you would need to have patience. Try doubling up the patties or opting for a thicker patty instead. 

2. Thickness

The thickness of the patty is also a vital factor because the thicker the burger is, the longer it will take to cook. And the longer it takes to finish cooking, the darker the outside brown color would get. 

Plus, it will dry up most of the delicious juices inside the meat. If you’re one for eating a burger that’s dry in texture, you should cook it as long as possible before reaching full-on dark burnt outside color.

So, you have to keep an eye on the heat as well as the internal temperature. If you grill it for a very long time, it’s more likely to come out as a dry and chewy piece of bland meat.

3. Preheating the Grill Or Skillet

Not preheating your grill or skillet beforehand will extend the grilling time. Cooking at lower temperatures means it will take longer to develop that crispy golden-brown crust outside and more prone to dry out the yummy juices.

We recommend cooking at the highest temperature you can safely handle. Not only will this cut down the cooking time, but it will also give you a juicier, more flavorful hamburger. All you need to do is make sure to flip it in time and remove it from the grill when it’s finished. 

If you want to judge it by eye, try cooking the beef burger until it has a golden-brown crust and is slightly charred on either side. 

How To Know When A Hamburger Is Cooked?

Six hamburgers on a grill with a meat thermometer

The best way to check in a hamburger is by checking its core temperature with a meat thermometer. If it is 160 degrees Fahrenheit then your patty is done. 

You may be used to the old-fashioned way of setting the timer while grilling or cooking. Or worse: cutting into one of the patties to check whether or not it’s time to pull all the burgers off the cooking surface. You would be releasing all the savory juices you worked so hard to preserve throughout the grilling process. 

Besides, checking the color of your patty does not necessarily give away the whole story, especially when you’re using a mixture of meats or non-traditional burger meat.

A convenient digital meat thermometer would ensure the perfectly grilled hamburger that’s brown on the outside while juicy on the inside! It would also make things hundred times easier, safer, and simpler for you.

Not only are digital meat thermometers affordable and very simple to use, but they’re also useful for a wide range of meals, from a prime Wagyu beef steak to a thanksgiving roast turkey!

How To Check Hamburger Doneness with a Meat Thermometer? 

Simply insert the probe into the middle of the patty to check whether it’s cooked or not. We recommend plunging the thermometer into the side of the burger. That way it’s far less likely for you to pierce all the way through the grounded meat and get yourself an incorrect reading. For an accurate internal temperature reading, leave it in for at least a solid 10 seconds.

For hamburgers made from ground beef, lamb, pork, veal, the USDA recommends cooking them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be safe to eat regardless of color. 

Anything above that will overcook the meat and make the texture as dry as a desert. Consequently, anything below that will undercook the meat, which is not advised for consumption as it may contain harmful bacteria like E. coli.

Surprisingly, there are many who would go for the undercooked taste of rare or medium burgers over their well-done counterparts. However, the phrase “Fortune favors the brave” does not necessarily apply here because there’s always a chance of you getting food poisoning.

Though you can throw in some other entrée on the grill at the same time as your burgers, keep in mind that the recommended internal temperatures vary greatly for other types of meat. Ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to 165°F. The same goes for beef mixed with eggs or other ingredients.

Here’s a table for you to get a better knowledge of the doneness of your hamburger:

Doneness of meat

Time per side (minutes)
Internal Temperature (°F)
Rare (cool, red center)3120 – 125
Medium-rare (warm, red center)5 or 6130-135
Medium (warm, pink center7 or 8140-145
Medium-well (hot, slightly pink center)9150-155
Well done (brown all the way through)10+160-165

When Should You Flip A Hamburger?

Experts recommend letting the patty cook for a minimum of 3 to 4 minutes before making the first flip. That way it will give more time for the burger to sear.

If you don’t keep it long enough before flipping it, the patty will most likely crumble and fall apart. Also, searing the burger enough on one side before flipping ensures a crispier outer texture while retaining a moist center.  

After waiting for the appropriate time, you may either turn the burger once and be done or do as many flips as you desire while making sure both sides are evenly brown and cooked nicely. Some may say flipping it too much can be bad. But I’m not a believer in such myths. 

The key is to follow the correct instructions and pay attention in any case. You can always leave it on the grill or wherever you’re cooking for an extra couple of minutes. However, keep in mind that there’s little you can do if you end up overcooking it.  

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