Cooking hamburger patties is easy, but do they taste good? Can you still get juicy results from frozen patties? The answer to both is ‘Yes!” if you know the right things to do.
That’s why I’m going to quickly answer the most commonly asked questions about cooking frozen burger patties:
- How Long to Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
- Can You Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties Without Thawing?
- How Long Do Hamburger Patties Last in the Freezer?
- What Temp Do You Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
- Best Internal Temp for Burgers (Medium-Rare, Medium & Well-Done)
- How Do You Tell If a Burger Is Done Without a Meat Thermometer?
- Can You Season Frozen Burgers?
- Can You Cook Burgers From Frozen in a Frying Pan?
- How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties on the Grill
- How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties in the Oven
- How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties on the Stovetop
- How to Cook Air Fryer Burgers
- What About Frozen Veggie Burgers & Turkey Burgers?
You can click on any of the above to jump right to the question you need answered. Or, do yourself and your dinner guests a favor, and skim through all of the FAQ. That way, you’ll get perfect burgers every time.
1. How Long to Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
In general, it takes about 15 minutes to cook frozen hamburger patties, flipping every 3-5 minutes. The patty size and cooking method affects the actual cook time. However, regardless of size or method, burgers are well done when they reach an internal temperature of 160ºF.
To estimate a more accurate cook time, you’ll need to consider which cooking method you’re using. I outline how to cook frozen hamburger patties on the grill, in the oven, on the stovetop, and in an air fryer below. But first, let’s answer the most common questions.
2. Can You Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties Without Thawing?
According to the USDA, yes, it’s perfectly safe to cook a frozen hamburger patty. Just anticipate that it will take a little longer to cook than a thawed patty.
You can save time by thawing frozen burgers before you cook them. However, some brands of frozen burgers specify that you should cook them frozen. So, be sure to read the packaging’s directions first.
Frozen beef patties keep the meat safe to cook for a long period of time, but they still need to be cooked thoroughly. That’s why when cooking a frozen patty you need to make sure it reaches a safe internal temperature.
The best way to get food poisoning is eating ground beef after waiting 2 days or more after buying. Freezing it won’t save it after that point (nor will cooking it well-done).
So, if it’s looking like you’re approaching spoiled meat territory, throw it in the freezer in an airtight container. It’ll be safe there until you’re ready to chow down.
3. How Long Do Hamburger Patties Last in the Freezer?
After placing the hamburgers into the freezer, be sure to cook them within 4 months. This is true for any ground beef.
Note that this is a recommended storage time for best quality. Technically, according to the USDA, frozen food can be stored almost indefinitely.
4. What Temperature Do You Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
If grilling, set your grill to 350ºF or medium to medium-high heat. The best temperature to cook frozen hamburger patties in the oven is 425ºF. If cooking on the stovetop, medium to medium-high heat. If cooking in an air fryer, 375ºF.
Best cooking temp for frozen burgers:
- Grill: 350ºF
- Oven: 425ºF
- Stovetop: Medium
- Air Fryer: 375ºF
5. Best Internal Temp for Burgers (Medium-Rare, Medium & Well-Done)
Standard ground beef burgers should be cooked to a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or 71 degrees Celsius. That is considered well-done and safe to eat. However, you can cook premium beef to a lesser internal temp if you like your burgers pink in the middle, as follows…
- Rare: 120ºF to 125ºF (not recommended)
- Medium Rare: 130ºF to 135ºF
- Medium: 140ºF to 145ºF
- Medium Well: 150ºF to 155ºF
- Well Done: 160ºF to 165ºF
For best results, you don’t want to go too far above 160 degrees F, so it’s worth investing in a meat thermometer. Who wants to eat a dry, well done burger? That can easily happen if you pull it from the heat even a minute too late.
Cook time can vary depending on the method used and the thickness of the burger patties. So, checking for the ideal temperature is a great way guarantee you cook for the right amount of time.
Ideally use a digital instant-read thermometer so you won’t have to wait a long time for results. Just stick the thermometer in the center of the patty and let it rest in the approximate middle, even if the patty is thin.
6. How Do You Tell If a Burger Is Done Without a Meat Thermometer?
There are 2 easy ways to tell if a burger is done without a meat thermometer. They are the touch test and juicy test, and only require your finger. The touch test tells you its doneness based on how springy it is. The juicy test tells you by how much moisture is coming out. Here’s how…
The Meat Touch Test
With the touch method, you can not only tell when a burger is done, but how done it is. You simply poke it with your finger to gauge how “springy” the meat is. Then you compare it to the base of your thumb when pressing different fingers together. Let me explain (or watch the video above)…
Hold one hand open. With the other hand, press a finger against the fleshy part of your hand at the base of your thumb. This is how a raw burger feels. This works for any meat (steaks too!).
Now, progressively press your thumb against your different fingers, starting with your index finger. You’ll notice that the fleshy base of your thumb gets firmer as you go. Each finger represents “doneness” as follows:
When you touch the base of your thumb with…
- Open palm = raw
- Thumb to index finger = rare
- Thumb to middle finger = medium rare
- Thumb to ring finger = medium
- Thumb to pinky = well-done
The Juicy Test
Watch your burger as it cooks after flipping one time 3-5 minutes in. You’ll notice after a short time, juice will appear and gather on its surface. Simply remove the cooked burger from heat once you notice that there isn’t new moisture revealing itself atop the patty.
The juice emitting from inside the patty is a good sign, so long as the juice doesn’t completely run dry. If that happens, that means there’s no moisture left inside the meat, and ruh roh, it’s dry and flavorless. Oops.
7. Can You Season Frozen Burgers?
Yes, you can season frozen burgers as they cook. Once juices start to emerge, sprinkle your seasoning.
A pinch of salt and pepper will do! But you can be creative or use a pre-made seasoning. I’m partial to Pepper Plant Spice Rub Seasoning myself.
8. Can You Cook Burgers From Frozen in a Frying Pan?
Yes you can! You have a number of cooking options available to you to nail that freezer burger recipe. Unsurprisingly, the best option is a hot grill, but a frying pan works, too. You can also bake the patties on a baking sheet or in an air fryer!
So now I’ll get into how to cook frozen hamburger patties. Let’s start with the grill, then move onto the oven, stovetop, and air fryer.
9. How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties on the Grill
IMPORTANT NOTE: The following instructions are for well-done burgers. For various doneness, follow these instructions but refer to the best internal temperature section above and adjust accordingly.
1 – If you have a charcoal grill without a thermometer, set it to medium-high heat. On a gas grill, preheat the temperature of the grill to 350 degrees F.
2 – Grease the grill grate to prevent sticking, then place each patty in a single layer on the grill, not too close together.
3- After about 6-7 minutes, flip them with your metal spatula to reveal those tasty grill marks, and let sit for another 6-7 minutes to total around 15 minutes.
Note: Some moisture may fall into the flames, causing a “flare up.” Don’t stand too close if this happens or risk losing an eyebrow. To prevent flare ups, flip the burgers every few minutes until it reaches the desired temperature.
4 – If you’re using an instant-read thermometer, add the cheese when the temperature shows 155 degrees, then remove when it says 160 degrees. Both sides should have a nice crust.
5 – Enjoy the juiciest grilled burgers!
10. How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties in the Oven
I have a very detailed article on How to Cook Frozen Hamburgers in the Oven. So, I recommend jumping to that article if you’re using an oven. But here’s the gist of it…
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Line your baking tray with aluminum foil and place a metal wire rack atop the rimmed tray. Spray the wire rack with a non-stick spray. (The foil below the rack catches the grease that falls below, making for easy clean-up later.)
- Place the patties evenly on the wire rack, not too close together.
- With your oven properly preheated (should take 8-10 minutes), place the tray with the burgers in the oven and let cook for about 15 minutes.
- Flip the burgers, then place back in the oven for an additional 8 minutes.
- Now add the slice of cheese, and after a couple minutes remove them from the oven and onto some hamburger buns for some fine eatin’. (You can double check the internal temp is at 160 degrees F with a meat thermometer)
Important Note: Again, these above instructions are for well-done burgers. For various doneness, follow these instructions but refer to the best internal temperature section above and adjust accordingly.
11. How to Cook Frozen Burger Patties on the Stovetop
- Add oil (ideally canola) to a cast-iron or frying pan, enough to lightly coat the bottom. Set the heat to medium-high.
- Place the frozen patties on the pan, and flip after 3 minutes.
- Flip again every 3-5 minutes until the temperature reaches 160 degrees for well-done (or preferred temp).
- Add cheese when you estimate you have about a minute left until it hits that 160 degree threshold.
12. How to Cook Air Fryer Burgers
- Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F.
- Space out the frozen patties in the air fryer basket. The air fryer cooks best when there’s prime heat circulation.
- Flip burgers every five minutes and start checking the burgers’ internal temperature around the 15 minute mark.
- For well done, remove them when they hit 160 degrees. Or, remove them at the correct temp for your preferred doneness.
13. What About Frozen Veggie Burgers and Turkey Burgers?
Frozen veggie burgers and turkey burgers cook differently than beef burgers. They will have different cook times and ideal internal temps. Since instructions vary greatly from brand to brand, it’s best to follow the instructions on the packaging.
Getting back to the beef, using a grill, air fryer, oven or stove are all great ideas. Just hit that 160 degrees and enjoy with a side of fries or potato chips for this most satisfying of easy American meals. Don’t allow the word “frozen” make you think any less of these patties.