There’s no food that screams America like the hamburger. Truly, there is nothing finer than a hot, juicy burger on a fresh bun during grilling season. While some like to grill their burgers outside on the deck, others prefer to save time by cooking them in the microwave. But can you really cook a burger in the microwave?
Can You Cook a Hamburger in the Microwave
You can cook a hamburger in the microwave, but you need to make sure that it is cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you risk letting harmful bacteria grow in your food.
Another thing to note is that it takes a certain finesse to cook a hamburger in the microwave because it’s rather hard to simply “nuke” a burger and expect it to turn out well. Without proper technique, your burger could come out mushy or dry and bland. To avoid this problem, be sure to read this article until the very end.
Here’s a short guide on how to make a hamburger in the microwave:
First, form the ground beef into a patty. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the patty on a paper towel on a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a sheet of wax paper. Cook on high for 45 seconds. Turn the patty over after 45 seconds and continue microwaving until the burger is at a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
What You Should Know Before Cooking a Hamburger in the Microwave
Before we delve deeper into the step-by-step process of cooking a hamburger in the microwave, I’ll share with you two secret ingredients that will make your burger truly juicy. They are olive oil and Worcestershire sauce.
By mixing olive oil and Worcestershire sauce into the beef and let them marinate a few minutes before cooking, you’ll get a moist burger that practically melts in your mouth. In addition, you will add a subtle flavor that adds something special to the meat.
Even if you use lean ground beef (90/10) to make your burgers, with this mixture, no one eating your burger will ever guess they are eating lean meat.
Of course, there is more to cooking a hamburger in the microwave than simply adding these two ingredients. So, let’s get to it!
How to Cook a Hamburger in The Microwave
If you browse the web for “how to cook a hamburger,” you’ll likely come across several different methods. I’ve tried many methods, and the one I’ve described here is by far the one I like best.
Things You’ll Need
- Microwave-safe plate
- A patty press (optional)
- Paper towels
- Wax paper
- A trivet or colander
- Food thermometer
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
1. Form the Ground Beef Into a Patty
The first step when cooking a hamburger in the microwave is to form the ground beef into a patty. Each patty should be about 4 to 5 inches in diameter and 3/4 to 1 inch thick. It’s not a fixed size, but that’s what you should aim for.
Some people like to form their patties into a donut shape so that they can insert a filling like melted cheese or fried egg into the middle. If you too want to form your patties into a donut shape, simply take a knife and scoop out a hole in the middle of each patty. Each hole should be about 3/4 inch in diameter.
Although traditionally, you use hands to form your hamburger patties, it can be rather tiring and time-consuming if you’re planning to cook a large number of patties.
If you plan on making more than three or four burgers, I highly recommend using a patty press to make the patty-shaping job easier. This device will help you make evenly shaped, uniformly thick burgers in a fraction of the time it would take to do it by hand.
2. Shake Worcestershire Sauce and Olive Oil Over the Patty
Remember the secret ingredients I mentioned earlier? The olive oil and Worcestershire sauce will not only add flavor to your burger, but they’ll also ensure that your burger is juicy.
Once you’ve formed your patty, mix some Worcestershire sauce and olive oil and shake it over your meat. You’ll want to do this before you start cooking the patties so that the mixture has time to marinate into the beef.
3. Place the Patty on a Paper Towel On a Microwave-Safe Dish
Once you have formed your burger patty, place it on a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb a lot of greases that seep out of the meat while it’s cooking.
4. Sprinkle Salt, Pepper, and a Little Garlic Powder
For seasonings, I like to keep it simple. I only use salt, pepper, and a little bit of garlic powder to season my hamburger patties. The salt is the most critical part. As a general rule, I use one teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. You can reduce it to one-half teaspoon of salt for each pound of meat if you feel it is too salty.
Feel free to experiment with other species if you’d like!
5. Cover the Dish with Wax Paper and Place It in the Microwave
The next step is to cover the dish with wax paper and place it in the microwave. If you’re cooking more than one patty, make sure to arrange them in a circular pattern. It will help them cook faster and more evenly.
6. Microwave on High for 90 Seconds
Set your microwave on high and cook the hamburger for 45 seconds. After 45 seconds, turn the burger over and cook it for another 45 seconds.
7. Let the Meat Sit
After the second 45 seconds is over, allow the burger to sit covered in the microwave for a minute or two to let them finish cooking. This is what I like to call the “steaming effect.” The meat will finish cooking in its own juices, and this is when it becomes extra juicy.
8. Check the Temperature
Insert a food thermometer into the center of the burger to check the temperature. The ideal ground beef temperature is 160°F. If your burger is not at this temperature, cook it a little longer and test again every 15 seconds until you hit the mark.
9. Remove the Patty and Add Your Favorite Toppings
The last step is to remove the patty from the microwave and add your favorite toppings. I like to serve mine over lettuce with tomatoes, onions, whole grain, and ketchup. But, I also love to add avocado, cheese, and low-carb ketchup too.
Tips for Cooking a Burger in the Microwave
As you can see, cooking a burger in a microwave is a pretty straightforward process. Here are some more tips to keep in mind for making the juiciest burger ever.
1. Don’t Use Meat That’s Too Lean
There’s a time and place for lean meat, but your hamburger patty is not one of them. One of the hallmarks of a great hamburger is when you bite into it, the juices dribble down your chin, and you just don’t get that effect with very lean meat.
If the meat is too lean, it won’t have enough fat to cook properly, and thus making the burger end up dry and crumble. Ideally, the ground beef for burgers should be around 80 percent lean and 20 percent fat.
2. Don’t Be Afraid of High Heat
To make your burger extra juicy, you need to have a high heat period.
3. Don’t Handle the Meat Too Much
When forming the patties, it’s best to keep the handling of the meat to a minimum, and you’ll be rewarded with a tender and juicy burger. Take fist-sized chunks of the ground beef and press them against your surface to flatten them and form rough patties. Resist the temptation to form them into perfectly round circles.
4. Not Making a Dimple in the Burger
Making dimples in the patties is the little thing that sets apart a good-sized burger from shrinking burgers. Just don’t forget to press a shallow dimple into the center of each patty with your fingers.
5. Season Your Burger at the Right Time
Salting the patty may seem like a small step, but it’s actually one of the most important steps. Take care to season your meat before cooking because if you fail to do so, not only does the flavor of the burgers suffer but also the texture.
6. Don’t Flatten Your Burger with a Spatula
Whatever you do, don’t flatten your burgers with a spatula during the cooking process because it will blot up all of the juice and leave you with a dry burger.
7. Let the Burgers Rest
Letting the burgers rest for a minute or two in the microwave will allow the juices to settle into the meat, which is what everyone wants.
Microwaves are a great way to cook your favorite foods, but cooking anything in the microwave is not as easy as simply “nuking” it for some set amount of time. While microwaving hamburgers may seem like an easy task, it actually takes a fair amount of finesse to cook them correctly.
If you want to avoid mushy or dry burgers with no flavor whatsoever, be sure to follow this guide on how to make one without ruining it. The steps outlined here will ensure that your burger comes out juicy and flavorful every time!
If you’re looking for more information on microwaving burgers, be sure to check out our other posts on thawing frozen hamburger buns and defrosting impossible burgers.