Can You Cook Frozen Burgers On The Grill?

When the sun comes out and the craving hits, there's nothing better than firing up the grill for an impromptu barbecue session. A freshly cooked juicy homemade all-American cheeseburger, served hot and smoky off the grill, is a truly beautiful thing. Frozen burgers make prep even easier since they're already pre-portioned and are a convenient staple to have on standby. But what about those times when you've forgotten (or don't have the time) to defrost them? Can they be cooked straight from frozen?

Generally speaking, it's best to thaw meat before grilling, so that it cooks uniformly on the high heat of gas or coals. But burgers are an exception as they can actually be cooked straight from the freezer (per the USDA). It's mainly thanks to the fact that the patties are usually thin and equally proportioned.

Cooking frozen burgers on the grill is a little different than dealing with fresh meat, however. As you might expect, they will take longer and can be slightly trickier to season and to cook evenly throughout, too. But by following a few simple steps, you can still achieve a tasty result, without having to resort to time-consuming thawing.

Grilling burgers from frozen will take 50% longer

To cook frozen patties perfectly every time, it's important to have the grill at the right temperature. You'll want to pre-heat it to a medium-high heat of around 350 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can get a nice char, but so they will still have time to cook through. If the heat is too high, you could find that the outsides of the patties burn while the insides remain underdone, or even remain partially frozen. Separate the frozen burgers using a spatula or butter knife, and spread them out on the grill. Don't put too many on at once, as this can lower the temperature and mean they will take a longer time, as well as making them harder to cook evenly.

It's worth using a two-zone method, starting the burgers on a less hot area, so they can begin to thaw, before moving them to a higher heat to get that delicious char. Burgers grilled from frozen will take 50% longer to cook than fresh ones, so allow a little extra time and patience. This could mean around five to seven minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

Frozen beef burger patties, like all ground meat products, should be cooked until they reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to keep things safe, so don't be tempted to aim for burgers cooked rare (per the USDA). However, chicken or turkey burgers should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

More tips for grilling frozen burgers

As with any barbecue session, it's important to clean the grease off your grill for the best results when cooking frozen burgers — and you can do this effectively with baking soda if you don't want to use harsh chemicals. This will help stop the beef from sticking to the grill, making the thin frozen patties much easier to flip. It's also a good way to achieve those dazzling crosshatch grill marks on your meat.

If you're worried that store-bought frozen patties won't have the same great flavor as fresh homemade ones, then you can still give them a boost with some seasoning. It's a bit more difficult to season frozen rather than fresh meat, but there are a couple of ways to approach it. You can either add salt and pepper (the only two ingredients Bobby Flay uses to season his burgers) to the frozen patties directly, perhaps rubbing them in a little neutral oil first to help them stick. Or else you could season them on the grill as they cook — before and after you flip.

To elevate frozen burgers further, add cheese slices to each patty during their final minute or two on the grill, and close the lid to help it fully melt. Lightly toasting the buns always makes for a more delicious and professional result. Then, just load them with your favorite toppings and condiments, and enjoy.