How to Cook Burgers on the Stove

Even when the weather is gorgeous and we all want to be on our patios, firing up a grill isn’t always an option. That’s when we cook burgers on the stove. It’s faster, makes less of a mess and, if you do it correctly, taste as good as a grilled burger (or better)!

How to Cook Burgers on the Stove

Stovetop Burgers: Satisfy Burger Cravings Any Time, Right In Your Kitchen

While a lot of folks swear to their being no rival to a grilled burger, cooking burgers on the stove has a long list of benefits. You have more control over the heat, it’s not smoky, and the grease is more contained for cleanup.

Because cooking burgers on the stove is so easy, you can experiment with different pans, like cast iron skillets versus nonstick, and see which you like best. It’s also easier to customize cook times to everyone’s preferences on how they like their burgers done. You can also play around with different burger recipes and seasoning substitutions.

If you want to eliminate any room for error, I am sharing our favorite with you here. I’ve made burgers several different ways on the cooktop, and this recipe has been a hit with the whole family.

hamburgers formed into patties in a cast iron skillet

Ingredients needed to make stovetop burgers

For this tutorial and recipe to cook burgers on the stove, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Ground Beef: For the juiciest burgers, choose an 80 lean/20 fat ratio if it’s available. Ground chuck with this ratio is best.
  • Salt & Pepper: While you add the black pepper to the other primary ingredients, hold the salt on the side. You’ll salt the patties after you’ve formed them and right before cooking, which keeps the salt from drawing out much moisture.
  • Garlic Powder: Powder (versus minced) adds a mild, sweet garlic flavor throughout because it mixes evenly with the meat.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: This sauce adds a flavor almost as complex as how you spell it! Sweet, salty, and tangy notes combine for an especially savory burger.
  • Minced Onion: This is a simple flavor enhancer that balances well with the salt, pepper, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce while not detracting from the beef flavor. It also adds a tiny bit of crunch to the texture.
  • Butter: While some people have luck with different cooking oils, you can’t beat the rich flavor of butter for cooking burgers.
  • Lettuce, Tomato, Onion: The fresher the better. With tomatoes, beefsteak and heirlooms work well, since they’re usually large and create perfect slices for the burger stack. Your choice of onion makes a big impact. Sweet counters the savory meat well, and white gives a bright flavor and crunch. While red onions bring the strongest flavor, soak them in water a bit to tone down the aftertaste.
  • Cheddar Cheese: A mild, young cheddar or sharp cheddar will melt best.
  • Hamburger Buns: Your pick! There are so many options available these days, from big brioche buns to potato rolls. We like the basic flour buns as long as they are fresh and pillowy. No one wants a crumbly, dry burger bun.
  • Condiments: Ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise are the old standbys. And don’t forget the pickle lovers by offering a small bowl of hamburger dill chips on the side.
hamburger meat ingredients

Be sure to check out the full ingredient measurements and complete recipe below.

Kitchen equipment needed:

What to serve with stove-cooked hamburgers

Nothing goes better with a burger or cheeseburger than homemade French fries
Here’s a post that includes instructions for how to make sweet potato fries. You can follow the same recipe for russet, Idaho or Yukon gold potatoes, too. Just plan to bake them a little longer (5 to 10 minutes) than sweet potatoes.

For a more colorful and flavorful plate, you could pair the burgers with my black bean salad with corn and tortilla scoops. Short on time? Potato chips for the win.

While any dessert seems to go well with a burger, I’ll offer up this Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe as a top pick. It’s another simple recipe that has “weekend cookout” written all over it, even if you’re cooking “in” on a weeknight.

And if you are having a weekend cookout, these other 4th of July recipes are a great place to start!

burgers on the stove


Here are a few of the most common questions and answers about cooking burgers on the stove. If you have a question you don’t see covered here, please drop it in the comments!

How long do you cook a burger on the stove?

It depends on how you like your burgers! I’ve listed a few below with the best cooking time for each.

  • To cook a burger medium-rare, cook the first side for four minutes, flip it and cook it on the other side for just three minutes. It will have a deep pink center.
  • For a medium burger, cook the patty for four minutes on each side. It will be slightly pink in the center.
  • For a medium-well stovetop burger, you’ll cook the burger for four minutes on the first side and then five minutes after you’ve flipped it. The patty will have a firmer texture and only be a little pink in the center than the medium burger.
cheeseburgers on a plate

How do I cook a burger on the stove for perfect results?

For the best results, make a thumbprint in the middle of each burger patty, which helps them cook more evenly and not shrink up as much. Another tip is to resist the urge to press the burgers down with a spatula while cooking. You’ll lose the juices and flavor that way!

Can you freeze stovetop burgers?

Yes, you can freeze stovetop burgers and store them for about four months. For best results, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and store them in a freezer bag or other airtight container. Be sure to label your bag or container with the date.

When reheating, is it better to cook burgers in the oven or on the stove?

You can cook burgers in the oven or on the stove, depending on your preference. The main thing to remember is after you remove the cooked burgers from storage and reheat them, the patties should reach an internal temperature of 165℉ in the center.

You can reheat them in the oven on a baking sheet at 350℉ for 5 to 10 minutes or on the stove over medium-high heat for about the same amount of time. If you use the stovetop, add a couple of tablespoons of water to keep the patty from drying out.

Cheeseburger in a bun with fries on a white plate

More Grandma-Approved Recipes

If you liked this recipe for the best way to cook burgers on the stove, I bet you’ll love these, too! I included links for the three I referenced above, plus a few others you may like to try.

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homemade burger with French fries and toppings like lettuce, cheese and tomato.

How to Cook Burgers on the Stove

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Even when the weather is gorgeous and we all want to be on our patios, firing up a grill isn’t always an option. That’s when we cook burgers on the stove. It’s faster, makes less of a mess and tastes as good as a grilled burger (or better) if you do it correctly!

  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 pound ground beef (80/20 lean/fat ratio preferred)
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon butter


  • hamburger buns
  • lettuce
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomato, sliced
  • onion sliced


  1. Combine all ingredients (except for the salt and butter) in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine. 
  2. Form 4 patties with your hands or a burger press and add a thumbprint in the middle of each patty. 
  3. Place burgers in the refrigerator while prepping toppings and heating the pan. Salt patties just before cooking.
  4. Add butter to the pan and turn to high heat. 
  5. Let the butter sizzle, then add the patties to the pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side, flipping halfway through. Resist the urge to press the burgers with a spatula.
  6. If desired, add the cheese slices to the top of the burgers for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Cover the pan to melt the cheese quickly. 
  7. Serve with toppings and homemade French fries or bean salad.


  • I prefer an 80 lean/20 fat ratio for ground beef to get the juiciest burgers. But other options are fine if that’s not available. 
  • For the best results, add the salt to the burgers after they are formed and right before cooking. This keeps the salt from drawing out the moisture in the burgers. 
  • The thumbprint in the middle of the burger patty helps it cook more evenly and not shrink up as much. 
  • Cooking the burgers for 4 minutes on each side will give you a medium burger. For medium-rare burgers, cook on the second side for 3 minutes. And for medium-well burgers, cook for 5 minutes on the second side. 
  • Do not press the burgers down with the spatula while cooking, or you’ll lose the juices.
  • Author: Laura
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

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