Pan Fried Hamburgers

These Pan Fried Hamburgers first appeared on Savory Experiments, where I am a contributor.

Ready to make the BEST hamburgers at home without a grill? These easy Pan Fried Hamburgers in a cast iron skillet are simple to put together and ready in less than 30 minutes. This hamburger patty recipe makes the perfect restaurant-style burger at home. Makes 6 burgers.

A pan fried hamburger on a plate next to beer glasses

My kids are hamburger fanatics, and I, too, am a sucker for a classic burger.

In search of the best hamburger around, we set out to create our own, and this recipe is a total winner.

You can customize it to your tastebuds, adding heat and spice, if necessary. (If you’re my husband, it’s absolutely necessary.)

The beauty in this cast iron skillet hamburger recipe is that you can make taller, restaurant-style burgers, like the ones pictured here OR you can make thinner, smaller burgers like patty melts or sliders, too. The only difference will be in the cook time, as well as how many buns you’ll need.

So if you’re ready to make burgers at home without needing a grill, I’ve got you.

Other burger recipes to try at home: Hamburger Sliders with Bacon Cherry Compote | Classic Salmon Burgers | Spinach and Feta Burgers | Louisiana Cajun Turkey Burgers with Étouffée Relish and Creamy Cajun Sauce | BBQ Chicken Burger Bites with Avocado Slaw

Need more dinnertime inspiration? Check out my Dinner Recipe Index for more recipes.

Burger ingredients in bowls on a table

What you need to make this recipe

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  In addition to those tools, you’ll need a handful of ingredients to make restaurant-quality hamburgers at home!

  • Ground beefthis is the most important part of our burger. Quality meat is KEY. I like to use ground chuck, which contains 20% fat, because it provides a ton of flavor to the burger patties. You could also use regular ground beef, which has a higher fat percentage. Do not purchase leaner ground beef, as they will be less juicy and fall apart in the cooking process.
  • Worcestershire sauce—this adds a bit ofumami to our burger patties
  • Salt—kosher salt is my go-to here, and I tend to use 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of beef if the salt has a larger grain. If you’re using fine grain kosher salt, I’d use about ¾ teaspoon per pound.
  • Onion powder and garlic powder—these are going to give us some extra flavor without adding actual onions or garlic to the burger meat. You can omit these if you’re not a fan, but I really like the extra depth they give the meat.
  • Black pepper—it adds a bit of spice and flavor without overwhelming the beef. A little goes a long way!

Sometimes, we’ll add Creole Seasoning in place of the seasonings listed above. If you like a little heat, you can add in some red pepper flakes, too. I’d add about ½ teaspoon to the spice mixture.

Best burger toppings

You can add whatever toppings you like for your skillet burgers, and I love that this recipe is versatile enough to allow you to add whatever you like!

Here are some ideas:  

  • Tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and raw onions to make it a classic burger
  • Condiments, like ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard or even BBQ sauce
  • Sliced cheese to transform it into a skillet cheeseburger
  • Caramelized, pickled or fried onions to make it fancy
Collage showing how to mix hamburger patties

How to make Skillet Hamburgers

Prepare. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and set aside. Get out a really large kitchen bowl, too. Place your cast iron skillet (or an equally heavy-bottomed skillet) on the stovetop.

Mix the seasonings. In a small bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Toss until combined.

Season the beef. Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Pour on the Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle on the seasoning mixture, too.

Pro tip: I use 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of beef if I’m using a medium-grain kosher salt. If your salt is finer grain, I’d add ¾ teaspoon per pound of beef.

Mix the meat. Using your hands to break the beef into smaller pieces and gently toss with the spices and seasonings. Do not knead because this will create tougher burgers.

Make the hamburger patties. Divide your meat into six even portions, and form the patties with your hands or a burger press. (You can use a scale or eyeball it if you don’t have a burger press.) Place the patties onto the prepared baking sheet.

Create a well. Use your finger or a spoon to create a well on the top of each burger. This will prevent the burger from shrinking up and bloating in the middle as it cooks.

Collage showing how to shape and create wells in burger patties

Cook the burgers. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat, and once it’s hot, add the burgers. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, then flip the patties in the pan. (We only want to flip them once!)

If you’re making smaller, flatter burgers, cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

Pro tip: Do not press down on the burger with the spatula! This will cause the juices to leak out of the burgers.

Take the burgers’ temperature. Depending on how you like your burger will determine the cooking time. Use an instant read meat thermometer and keep in mind that your burger will continue to cook while it rests, so remove it from the pan about 5-10°F before the desired temperature.

Here are the internal temperatures:

  • RARE hamburgers have a cool, red center and will reach the temperature of 125°F.
  • MEDIUM RARE hamburgers will have a warm red center and will reach the temperature of 135°F.
  • A MEDIUM hamburger has a warm pink center and will reach the temperature of 145°F.
  • A MEDIUM WELL burger has a slightly pink center (think very slightly) and will reach the temperature of 150°F.
  • WELL DONE burgers are cooked completely through, meaning there is very little pink left in the middle. It will reach the temperature of 160°F

We cooked our burgers to Medium/Medium Well.

Let the burgers rest. When the burgers are within 5-10 degrees of your desired temperature, remove from the skillet, and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Collage showing how to pan fry burgers

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to cook burgers on a skillet?

It depends on how hot your skillet is and how .5 your burgers are. For this recipe, my burgers are 1/3 lb. burgers, and about 1” thick. It took them 3-4 minutes per side over medium-high heat.

Do you put oil in the skillet when cooking burgers?

You can, but it’s definitely not necessary since the beef has enough fat to hold the meat together, as well as release enough to where the burgers don’t stick.

Is it better to pan fry or grill burgers?

That’s up to you! Personally, I love being able to cook burgers inside my house when it’s too cold for me to be grilling.

How do you pan fry burgers without burning them?

Regulating the heat of the skillet. If it’s too hot, the exteriors of your burger will burn while the interior will be raw.  

Quick tips and tricks to the best burgers

  • When cooking the burgers, don’t press on them with the spatula. That will cause the juices to leak from the burgers and create a drier end product.
  • How to store: Leftover burgers can be kept in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
  • How to freeze burgers: Mix the burger patties but omit the salt. Form the patties and place on the wax paper-lined baking sheet. Pop the sheet pan into the freezer, and freeze for 3-5 hours, or until the burgers are frozen solid. Cut mini pieces of wax paper to place between them, and stack before transferring to a freezer bag. Keep frozen for up to three months.
  • How to cook frozen burger patties: Defrost completely in the refrigerator, then season the exterior with salt. Cook in the skillet, as directed.
A pan fried hamburger on a plate next to beer glasses
Yield: 6 burgers

Pan Fried Hamburgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ready to make the BEST hamburgers at home without a grill? These easy Pan Fried Hamburgers in a cast iron skillet are simple to put together and ready in less than 30 minutes. This hamburger patty recipe makes the perfect restaurant-style burger at home.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns, toasted

Burger Toppings

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Raw red onions
  • Condiments, like ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and BBQ sauce
  • Fried onions or caramelized onions
  • Sliced cheese

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, and set aside.
  2. Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Pour the Worcestershire sauce onto the meat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour the seasonings on top of the beef.
  5. Using clean hands, break the beef into smaller pieces and gently toss together. Do not knead, as this will create tougher burgers.
  6. Divide your meat into six portions, and form the patties with your hands or a burger press. (Mine were 1/3 lb. each and about 1 ½” thick.) Place the patties onto the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Using a finger or a spoon, create a well in the top of each burger. This will prevent the burger from shrinking up and bloating in the middle.
  8. Place the burgers in the fridge while you warm your skillet.
  9. Place a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop, and heat until screaming hot.
  10. Cook the burger patties for 3-4 minutes per side, flipping only once and not pressing down with the spatula. (If you press down, your burgers will lose moisture.)
  11. Use a meat thermometer to take the burgers’ temperature. When the burgers is within 5-10 degrees of your desired temperature, remove from the skillet. Place it on a plate, cover with foil and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Notes

You can use this recipe to make smaller sliders or even thinner patties. Your cook time will be less, and you’ll need more buns.

How to store: Leftover burgers can be kept in an airtight food storage container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

How to freeze: Place the raw burger patties on the wax paper-lined baking sheet, and pop in the freezer. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag, and keep frozen for 3 months. You can grill a mostly frozen burger, though I do not recommend using the skillet method unless you defrost the burger completely in the refrigerator before cooking.

How will I know when my hamburgers are done? Use an instant read meat thermometer to confirm your burger’s state of doneness.

Here are the temperatures you’re looking for when cooking:

• RARE hamburgers have a cool, red center and will reach the temperature of 125°F.
• MEDIUM RARE hamburgers will have a warm red center and will reach the temperature of 135°F.
• A MEDIUM hamburger has a warm pink center and will reach the temperature of 145°F.
• A MEDIUM WELL burger has a slightly pink center (think very slightly) and will reach the temperature of 150°F.
• WELL DONE burgers are cooked completely through, meaning there is very little pink left in the middle. It will reach the temperature of 160°F

Keep in mind that your burger will continue to cook while it rests, so remove it from the pan about 5-10°F before the desired temperature.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 867mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 11g

Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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