The Best No Fuss Hamburger Recipe

Learn our best tips for making a better hamburger including the best meat to use, how to cook them, and when to know they are done. Jump to the Simple Hamburger Recipe now or read on to see our tips.

The Best No Fuss Hamburger Recipe

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Check out these over-the-top burgers: Queso Blanco Hamburger or our “Denver” Hamburger.

We love a good burger. So, we spent a few days and did a little research to figure out our favorite way to make the best hamburgers. There are no “rules” to making burgers. There are many approaches out there for how to make the best burger — most of what we mention below can be used across them all.

The Best No Fuss Hamburger Recipe — Less Is More

It may sound crazy, but:

Quality meat, salt, and pepper is all we add to our simple burger recipe.

The Best No Fuss Burger Recipe

We’ve tried adding extras — olive oil, cream, mustard and grated onion to name a few. While we liked some, none were as good as simply seasoned hamburger burger patties cooked in a little butter. Just in case you’re wondering what the extras did, here’s a quick summary:

Olive oil didn’t really add much and the texture went a little funny, they became a little grainy. Cream made the meat tender. We both really liked it, but not enough to specifically buy a whole carton of cream for a tablespoon (that’s all you needed to add). We loved the flavor of the mustard — we used Dijon and the onion was too strong for us.

Only Three Ingredients

So, even though we did like quite a few of the additions, in the end we came full circle and simple won.

Think about a great steak — it’s most likely only been seasoned with salt and pepper — quality meat, salt and pepper. For us, hamburgers are the same.

The Best Meat

For ease, we stick to ground chuck. You can get creative and use a combination of ground chuck and sirloin, though. (Some even grind up a little bacon and add it — that can’t be bad, right?). In a perfect world, we’d grind our own meat. This way, you always know it’s quality and freshness is high. If you have the time and equipment (KitchenAid has a grinder attachment) then go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

We usually go for the next best thing — we buy the highest quality ground meat we can. 

Around us, that means a trip to the meat counter at Whole Foods, but if you have a butcher close by or another store you trust, go there. Choose meat with 15 to 20 percent fat. Any lower and you’ll loose some flavor and you risk the burgers becoming dry.

Forming the Perfect Hamburger Patties

We’re a little OCD when it comes to shaping our burgers — we weigh them to make sure they’re the same size. We do that more for making sure the burgers cook evenly, not so much for looks. We like 5 to 6 ounce burgers — they’re big, but not overwhelming.

Here’s a trick — ever had a burger puff up in the middle while it was cooking? Before cooking, add a dimple to the middle of each burger. This stops it from puffing up in the middle and keeps things uniform.

One more thing, there’s no need to mix the salt and pepper into the meat. Just season the top and bottom (like a steak). The more you fuss hamburger meat, the tougher it will become once cooked.

By the way, we season our burgers liberally.

Seasoning the hamburger patties

The Best Way to Cook Hamburgers

Our favorite way to cook burgers is in a cast iron skillet. We heat it over medium heat, add some butter and cook the burgers 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Done.

Cooking in the Cast Iron Skillet

If you’re partial to grilling, go for it. If you feel like it, we’ve taken our cast iron skillet to the grill with us — we just love the sear you get on the skillet compared to grates.

No matter how you cook it, make sure you allow the patties to rest for a few minutes.

Let the patties rest

Just look at that — moist, juicy and not too packed. A perfect burger.

Perfectly Cooked Hamburgers

How to Tell When It’s Done. Our No-Guess Method for Burger Doneness

In the photo above, you’re looking at somewhere between medium-well and well. We really like to shoot for medium. A great way to do this is to use a meat thermometer. The table below should help you out in determining doneness:

Doneness Color Temperature
Rare Red in the center 120 degrees F (50C) and below
Medium-Rare Very Pink in the center 130 degrees F (55C)
Medium Pink in the center 140 degrees F (60C)
Medium-Well Grayish Pink in the center 150 degrees F (65C)
Well Done Gray, No Pink in the center 160 degrees F (70C) and above

Note: The USDA suggests cooking ground beef to 160 degrees F, this is well-done. That’s just too done for us, which gives even more reason to buy the highest quality meat you can.

Pickled Onions in 1 HourYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Whenever we make hamburgers at home, we love adding a big mound of Pickled Red Onions on top. Click over to our Pickled Onions Recipe and see how we make them in 1 hour!

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

5.0 from 4 reviews
The Best No Fuss Hamburger Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
We like our hamburgers simple - Quality meat, salt and pepper. Use the highest quality meat you can find when making hamburgers -- it makes all the difference.
Created By:
Yield: 3 (1/3 pound) hamburgers
You Will Need
  • 1 pound (450 g) ground beef chuck or round
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Butter, as needed
Directions
  1. Form beef into three 5 to 6 ounce hamburger patties. Use your thumb to imprint a dimple into the middle of each burger. (This prevents the middle of the burgers from puffing up while cooking). Season both sides of the hamburgers with salt and pepper.Hamburger-Recipe-Step-1
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Cook hamburger patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side, depending on how well done you like it.
  3. Rest burgers covered loosely with aluminum foil for 5 minutes then serve on a buttered bun with lettuce, tomatoes and onion (or how you like it).
Notes and Tips
Burger Doneness:

Rare = 120 degrees F (50C)

Medium-Rare = 130 degrees F (55C)

Medium = 140 degrees F (60C)

Medium-Well = 150 degrees F (65C)

Well Done = 160 degrees F (70C)

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14 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Tinamarie August 22, 2016, 12:51 pm

    Really simple! Love it. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Victor Johnson May 15, 2015, 1:18 am

    The dimples in the middle of the patties which you pressed in with your thumb are cute, but more importantly, the end result looks amazing. After looking at another recipe, I’m now torn because both of them look great but I think I’m going to have to give this a try first because I’m pretty sure I’ve already got all of the ingredients on hand. Thanks for the recipe Adam! You rule!

    Reply
  • Rob February 18, 2015, 5:36 pm

    Would this work for Turkey meat?

    Reply
    • Adam March 2, 2015, 2:11 pm

      Hi Rob, it should. Although, we suggest using ground dark turkey meat (or the less lean option found at the store). Extra lean turkey meat can become really dry and tasteless when made into burgers without other ingredients added.

      Reply
  • Counselorchick July 16, 2014, 2:54 am

    Yummy! I’ve always done the dent in the middle thing. I used salt, fresh pepper and dried rosemary. It’s really the butter that makes it. I also start on a medium high setting to sear both sides, then turn heat down to medium till done. Yummy! Oh wait, I already said that.

    Reply
  • Deborah Ragno May 22, 2014, 2:26 pm

    I learned a trick at Weight Watchers to make low-fat ground beef moister. Add chopped up mushrooms! You cannot tell they are in there. I use 92% or better ground beef now and add chopped up mushrooms to the ground beef before making patties. I have a swallowing problem and have to have my meat moist. These work out perfectly for me (and the people I serve them to have no idea that there are mushrooms — “Ew, mushrooms? I hate mushrooms.” — in the burgers until I tell them afterward).

    Reply
    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 2:16 pm

      Great tip, Deborah!

      Reply
  • Dave April 30, 2014, 1:55 pm

    This is exactly the way I have been making my burgers for a few years now. The only thing different is i don’t have a cast iron skillet so i use a non stick pan. As for the burger I like to also season with a bit of cayanne for a bit of a kick.

    Reply
  • wendyha March 27, 2014, 6:31 pm

    I love simple. I use a pepper mix instead of plain black pepper. Love it!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 3, 2014, 11:06 am

      Nice!

      Reply
  • StufZ November 1, 2013, 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the recipe. Using only good quality meat seems like one of the keys to making a delicious burger. Nice post.

    Reply
  • Patty Kasiewicz July 27, 2013, 4:28 pm

    We love pepper and garlic salt on our burgers. On the grill or in the skilliet,we find that taste the bestest.

    Reply
  • Johnny July 2, 2013, 2:57 pm

    I think rosemary is a great addition to the meat. I also usually add diced onions too, they give some different texture to the patty and there’s more room left for other toppings on the bun. If you want a nice fresh burger, try avocado on the lettuce or instead of it.
    The tip to dent the patty is great.
    For the dieters: leaner than 15% fat still makes a tasty, juicy enough burger in my eyes.

    Reply

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