Have you ever found yourself needing to know how to grill frozen burgers? Yeah, you could just slap them on a hot gas grill, but they aren’t going to be very good. It’s time you learnt how to properly cook frozen burgers.
Burgers are a staple of summer cookouts, and we’ve all found ourselves scrambling to pick up ground beef. What happens when all that’s left are those frozen burger patties in the freezer section at the grocery store? Can you grill frozen burgers and still have them taste good?
Here’s our guide on how to take those frozen discs and throw them on the grill so you can still be proud (or at least not ashamed) to put them on friends’ and family’s plates. If you’ve got extra time, read our recipe on how to make smash burgers from scratch by grinding your own burger.
How to Prepare Frozen Burgers For Grilling
In order to turn frozen patties into grilled goodness, there is some work that you need to do. How much work you’re going to do is dependent on how much time you have. You need to figure out if you’re thawing the burgers first, how to separate the burgers, add seasoning, and prepare the grill.
Do I Need To Thaw Frozen Burger Patties Before Grilling?
The short answer is NO, you can grill frozen beef patties directly from the freezer. However, if you are able to take the time to thaw the burger patties first, it will help the seasoning adhere better as well as help the burgers cook more evenly.
If you don’t have time because of other responsibilities (or you forgot,) don’t fret. You can still cook up frozen burgers on your grill and have them turn out well.
How Do I Separate Frozen Patties?
This right here might be the most frustrating part of grilling frozen burgers. We all have experienced this struggle, and there is an easy way to separate these patty logs.
Typically the burgers are separated by a piece of paper, but if you try and pull the paper to get the patties apart, it usually tears. One of the easiest ways to separate your frozen burgers is by carefully using a butter knife to slip between the patties and gently pry them apart. Just be careful, the knife can slip and even though it’s dull, it’s still going to hurt when it’s shoved into your fingers or palm.
How To Grill Frozen Burgers
Now that you’ve got your burgers separated and determined whether you can thaw them first or not, now it’s time to get to actually grilling frozen burgers. While you may cook homemade burger patties on a higher heat to get a beautiful sear while cooking the interior to your preferred doneness, frozen patties take a little extra care.
What Temperature Should My Grill Be At?
Grilling frozen burger patties requires a little more care. The last thing you want to do is burn the outside of the burger while the inside is raw and even still frozen. There are two ways you can help ensure this doesn’t happen. Preheat your grill to 325°-375°F and set it up for two-zone, or indirect, cooking.
If you’re preheating your grill to medium-high heat, you should start your frozen burger patties on the cooler side to help them thaw and cook a little more evenly before transferring them over to the direct heat. You also can simply just have your grill at the lower 325°F temperature to ensure you won’t burn the exterior.
Setting up your grill in two zones also allows you to move any burgers from a possible flare-up. Frozen burgers can cause flare-ups just like any other burger, so be aware. Make sure your grill grates are cleaned before you start cooking and watch for those drippings over the burners or coals.
How Long Will It Take To Grill Frozen Burgers?
With all the concern about burning the exterior while the interior stays raw when grilling frozen burgers, the question on everyone’s lips is how long to grill frozen burgers?
The nice thing is that cooking frozen burgers on the grill isn’t a time-sucking activity. Once your grill is preheated to your desired temperature, it will only take you about 10-15 minutes or so. You don’t want to grill frozen burgers the same way you would grill fresh burger patties, so it does take longer.
Can I Cook My Frozen Patties To Medium-Rare?
The recommendation for grilling frozen meat patties is to cook them to 165°F. Especially when cooking from frozen, the meat will stay in the danger zone of 40°-140°F for a longer period of time. While that may upset a lot of people who prefer their burgers somewhere between medium-rare and medium, food safety has to be a priority.
So while we recommend cooking for about 15 minutes, the most important determining factor of how long to grill frozen hamburger patties is the internal temperature. Which means you need to monitor your burgers accurately.
You Need An Instant-Read Thermometer
Whether you’re grilling frozen burgers or anything else, you want to make sure you’re grilling the meat properly. You need a good instant-read meat thermometer in your arsenal. Two of our favorites are the Thermapen ONE and the ChefsTemp Finaltouch X10 thermometer. Whether you use one of these or any others, make sure you have it handy. You’ll be grilling frozen burgers until they hit 160°-162°F and thermal carryover will take care of the rest.
Season Your Frozen Burgers
This might be one of the most difficult parts of how to cook frozen burgers. Cooking frozen meat makes seasoning it properly tough. So how do you season frozen burger patties?
There are three schools of thought:
- Rubbing the frozen patties then seasoning with salt and black pepper in the thought that the oil will help the seasonings stick.
- Seasoning the frozen patties.
- Waiting until the burgers have been on the grill and thawed before seasoning.
I’ve tried all three styles of seasoning with frozen burger patties, and at the end of the day, I’m not completely sure it matters that much. The patties that were lightly oiled had a bit of an oily taste, and my wife especially wasn’t a fan of that. The other two styles of seasoning were almost indistinguishable.
If you want to try oiling your burgers to help the seasonings stick, it’s relatively simple but time-consuming. After you’ve separated your burgers, lightly cover each side of each patty with your preferred oil (I used vegetable oil because it’s inexpensive) then season with salt (I prefer a bigger salt like kosher salt or Himalayan) and black pepper. If you’re really looking to add more flavor, you can experiment with garlic powder or onion powder.
At the end of the day, you’re going to cover these frozen burgers, especially the cheap ones, with all sorts of condiments and toppings. You can try out all three options and figure out what tastes best to you and your family. Or just do what we did and toss some cheese, onions, lettuce, ketchup, and a homemade garlic sauce on the burger.
You can always add tomatoes, pickles, slices of bacon, or mustard to really add even more flavor. Heck, if you’re a fan of barbecue-flavored food, top your burgers with cheddar cheese and your favorite barbecue sauce. Since you have your grill already fired up, take the extra few moments to toast your hamburger buns. Spruce these burgers up for the best experience!
If you end up with leftover burgers, make sure you are using an airtight container for storage. Food safety still continues after cooking is all done!
Can I Grill Frozen Turkey Burgers Or Frozen Veggie Burgers?
Yes! You’ll follow pretty similar steps as you do for frozen beef patties. You want to make sure you season your turkey burgers like you do your beef burgers. Make sure you are monitoring the temperature of all your burgers regardless of whether they’re meat or veggie and target an internal temperature of 165°F. You especially do not want to overcook your turkey burgers.
Grilling Frozen Burgers
Sometimes you need to grill frozen burgers straight from the freezer. Here’s how to make the best of it!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Resting Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Main Course
- Grill (I used a charcoal grill, but you can use gas)
- Grill spatula
- Instant-read thermometer
- Butter knife
- Frozen burger patties
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil (optional)
- American cheese (or your preferred cheese)
- Toppings (we used onions and lettuce)
- Condiments (we used ketchup and a homemade garlic aioli-like sauce, but you can use whatever you want, even bbq sauce)
Grilling Frozen Burger Instructions
- Preheat grill to 325°-375°F. If you are preheating to the higher temperature, set your grill up for two-zone cooking in case of flare-ups and to help prevent overcooking the exterior.
- Separate the frozen burger patties using a butter knife if necessary.
- If you are seasoning the frozen patties before they go on, this is when you season. If you are using vegetable oil, lightly coat both sides of the burgers. Season all the patties with salt and black pepper.
- Transfer the burger patties to the grill. If you are set up for two-zone cooking, start the burgers away from the direct heat.
- After five minutes, flip the patties. If you have waited to season your burgers, season before flipping. Make sure you season after you flip. If you have been using two zones, transfer the burgers over the higher heat now.
- After five more minutes (or when a lot of grease is sitting on top of the patty), flip again.
- Check the internal temperature with your instant-read thermometer. Aim for the direct center of the burger to get the most accurate internal temperature. Top with cheese to ensure it melts properly.
- Remove burgers from the grill when they reach 160°-162°F to ensure they don’t overcook.
- Let them rest a couple minutes covered by aluminum foil on a plate or in a pan then serve. If you have leftovers, read our guide on how long you can keep ground beef in the fridge.