The Best No Fuss Hamburger

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

The Best No Fuss Hamburger

How to Make The Best No Fuss Hamburger — Less Is More

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

It may sound crazy, but quality meat, salt, and pepper is all we add to our simple 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 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.

Ground meat, salt and pepper

So, even though we did like 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. For us, hamburgers are the same.

The Best Meat For Burgers

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 the quality and it’s fresh. 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.

How to Form Perfect Hamburger Patties

We like 5 to 6 ounce burgers — they’re big, but not overwhelming. A kitchen scale can be useful for dividing the meat.

Here’s a trick — have you 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 when cooked. By the way, we season our burgers liberally.

Seasoning the hamburger patties

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

The Best Way to Cook Hamburgers

Our favorite way to cook burgers is in a cast iron skillet or on a flat top grill. 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.

Leting the patties rest

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

How to Tell When a Burger is Done

In the photo below, 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. I’ve shared the temperature of burgers when they are rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, and well-done below.

Perfectly Cooked Hamburgers
  • 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.

What to Serve With Burgers

More Burger Recipes

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

The Best No Fuss Hamburger

  • PREP
  • COOK

We keep homemade hamburgers simple and use quality meat, salt and pepper. When forming the hamburger patties, be careful not to over work the mixture since this can make the burgers tough when cooked.

Makes 3 (1/3 pound) hamburgers

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 pound (450 grams) ground beef chuck or round

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Butter, as needed


    Take the beef out of the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before forming the patties. 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

    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.

    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).

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Burger Doneness: Rare = 120 degrees F; Medium-Rare = 130 degrees F; Medium = 140 degrees F; Medium-Well = 150 degrees F; Well Done = 160 degrees F
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Calories 276 / Protein 24 g / Carbohydrate 0 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 0 g / Total Fat 20 g / Saturated Fat 8 g / Cholesterol 95 mg
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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29 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Logan July 23, 2018, 11:44 am

    This was a great recipe! Super delishous! The instructions were clear and it was a great thing to cook quickly.

  • Veronica May 27, 2018, 2:10 pm

    OMG! Thankyou guy’s so much for the simplest, yet best recipe, and burger EVER! They came out Just perfect. I would’ve never thought, it could be so easy. I love to cook, and try new thing’s. This however, will be the way I make my burgers from now on. I did what you guy’s did, then added a bit of Greek seasoning, and just a dash of seasoned salt, and cheese as well. My boyfriend, and I like salt, lol. Honestly, though they weren’t too salty. It just gave it even more of a wow, what is that factor. He’s extremely picky, and he’s gone for seconds, I’m sure third’s will happen also. Lol… I unintentionally made them like sliders. So, they were so cute, and the dimple in the middle was a great tip. They turned out plump, juicy,filled with flavor,and uniform. Thankyou so much, again. Happy cooking:D

  • Marlene Trimble March 15, 2018, 1:17 pm

    Quick and easy, most delicious hamburgers. Really appreciated all the tips on making juicy hamburgers. Thank you!

  • Mrs. O. November 16, 2017, 5:34 am

    This recipe is amazing! I can’t believe how easy it was to make such a delicious burger. My son will be cooking this at his Boy Scout Camp. I’m sure he will get lots of compliments. I also wanted to thank you guys for making the website so easy to read and follow. The instructions are laid out perfectly and concisely. Hope to hear more about you guys. Keep up the great work!

  • Patrick October 4, 2017, 11:27 am

    Perfect!!! Didn’t have any time to go get eggs and my son was craving hamburgers right after school! This recipe was delicious, fast and simple!!! Thank you for the great tip!!

  • Tinamarie August 22, 2016, 12:51 pm

    Really simple! Love it. Thanks.

  • 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!

  • Rob February 18, 2015, 5:36 pm

    Would this work for Turkey meat?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

    • Joanne June 20, 2014, 2:16 pm

      Great tip, Deborah!

  • 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.

  • wendyha March 27, 2014, 6:31 pm

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

    • Joanne April 3, 2014, 11:06 am


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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