The Best Way To Cook A Plant-Based Burger, According To Tabitha Brown

With the Plant Based Foods Association reporting in May 2024 that 62% of American households bought plant-based products, meat-free burgers are bound to turn up the heat on this summer's barbecue season. But while tomahawk steaks and hot dogs might find a cozy home on the grill, plant-based burgers require a bit more planning in order to cook properly.

For a few hot tips, Emmy-Award-winning host and actress, New York Times Bestselling author, and creator of salt-free seasonings with McCormick, Tabitha Brown talked to Food Republic. When she's cooking up a vegan burger at home, she skips the barbecue grill altogether and heads straight for the kitchen for the best experience possible.

"Listen, these days because it's not real meat, sauteing on the stovetop is best for me," Brown explained to us. How does she do it? Armed with a few scratch-made black bean burgers that are ready to rock the heat, all you need is the right pan for the job. Because vegan burgers may have a looser consistency than their meat-based counterparts, using the stove can help hold things together while still giving ample flavor.

How to sautee plant-based burgers on the stovetop

A pan works best for black bean burgers because of the raised edges, which are designed to prevent splatter as you cook. Still, for those of us missing the signature char of a burger from the grill, Tabitha Brown suggests, "You can also use a grill pan, like a cast iron skillet with the grill marks in it, and it gives you that illusion you were cooking on the grill outside. It's kind of fun to do that. But also it gives you a nice little flavor as well."

Adding a bit of oil to your pan prevents sticking and helps keep veggie patties intact since they may be a little more crumbly than the average beef burger (that has binding agents like animal fat). Sautee fresh-made burgers over medium heat for about five minutes on each side, or until the patty is cooked through and starts to caramelize. Even though they are made of plants, veggie patties should reach the same recommended internal temperature as meat-based varieties – 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a digital food thermometer (per the USDA).

Brown also recommends adding gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or vegan mayo to your recipe to keep vegan burgers from falling apart. Plus, she layers in grade-A flavor and unbeatable texture to her black bean burgers with boiled pecans. With a few expert tips like these in your back pocket, plant-based patties become an easy choice for burger lovers of all kinds.