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What Would You Like to Sous Vide?
Easy Sous Vide Hamburger Recipe and How To Guide
Using sous vide allows you to cook hamburgers long enough to pasteurize them at almost any temperature you prefer, resulting in moist, tender burgers that are just as safe as traditionally cooked ones. Some people go as low as possible while still pasteurizing it, while I personally prefer around 135°F to 140°F (57°C to 60°C).
Ahhhh, hamburgers...one of my favorite things to eat! I could eat these almost every day of the week!
I'm a huge fan of burgers and it's one of my favorite sous vide techniques because it allows me to get the perfect doneness every single time.
Hamburgers are one of the few beef preparations that I usually eat cooked past medium-rare because it's the only way to ensure the safety of the food. I do love a good medium-rare burger though and there are more high-quality burger places that take enough care with their beef for it to be safe.
But using sous vide also allows you to cook the hamburgers long enough to pasteurize them at any temperature you prefer, resulting in tender, juicy burgers that are just as safe as traditionally cooked ones.
Why Sous Vide Burgers?
They're one of my favorite things to eat, and a lot of people say, "Well, why sous vide? Why would you sous vide to burger when you can just throw it on a hot grill, cook it for a few minutes and you're good to go?"
There are a few different reasons that I really like using sous vide but I think it makes it easy to make perfect burgers, every time.
Sous Vide Burgers can be Pasteurized and Safe to Eat
This means you can have a medium-rare burger with hamburger patties that are perfectly safe to eat. You don't have to worry whether or not the ground beef was contaminated or whether there was something wrong with it. You don't have to grind your own beef if you don't want to. Your meat grinder attachment can sit on the shelf for a simple weeknight meal!
So that's one of the reasons that I love. It is for that peace of mind because I prefer like a medium-rare to medium burger, and those can be unsafe with traditional methods. But with sous vide, you can pasteurize it at those cooking temperatures, and you know that you're good to go.
Sous Vide Burgers are Great for Party Preparation
And I like that, especially at parties, which was a game changer the first time I did it.
I can cook all the burgers ahead of time, I can chill them in an ice bath. Then when the time for the party comes, I can just throw them on a grill, and cook them really quick.
I already know they're safe to eat, and they're fully cooked all the way through. It removes all the stress from my side and I can cook up some great burgers every single time.
It's such a good idea for an already busy party and I think it's the best way to make your next party a success! Give it a try next time!
You Can Evenly Cook Thick Burgers From Edge to Edge
The final reason I really like sous vide for burgers is for thick burgers.
Sure, if you have a burger that's 1/4" to 1/2 inch thick, throw it in a cast iron pan and give it a quick sear. They're always cooked well-done anyway, even though they're still really juicy and flavorful. But you don't get a lot of benefit from sous vide.
But when you're talking about one of those larger bugers, those like an inch thick or inch and a half thick burgers, those are hard to cook.
Throwing a thick patty on the grill and getting it to cook evenly all the way through is a really, really hard, especially if you like tender burgers. With sous vide you can cook those larger burgers to the perfect doneness edge to edge, no bullseye effect, and you know that it's heated all the way through perfectly.
That means that you can just throw it on a hot pan, a hot skillet, and just give it a little post sous vide sear on the outside and your burger is going to be perfect every single time.
That's why I turn to sous vide for all my burgers and a lot of my ground meats in general.
Because even though we're talking about hamburgers, which is beef, you can use the same thing for a lot of different types. My partner at the ISVA does a lot of bison burgers and sous vide lamb burgers, and you can use the types of things that we're talking about now to cook any sort of ground meat patty like sous vide ground pork.
Quality Matters, Even for Sous Vide Cooking
One thing before we dive into the actual process of sous viding burgers, remember that quality matters.
A local butcher or grocery store might have some good meat, but if you have limited selection and you want something special, you can check out some of my favorite companies online, like Porter Road, Allen Brothers, and Snake River Farms.
I get a ton of steak to sous vide but they also have some of the best quality ground beef that is amazing. Some of it's dry aged, and it has a lot more flavor than the often very, very lean grocery store ground meat.
And I often don't mind spending more because with the sous vide method I know it'll turn out amazing every time.
Best Time and Temperature for Burgers
So what is the best time and temperature for sous vide burgers? There's really no correct answer becuase there are so many different temperatures that have good results.
It really depends on what type of hamburger do you like.
Do you like a medium-rare, red in the middle? Do you like it a little more in between medium-rare and medium where it's pink, and really starting to hold together a lot better. Or do you prefer a little more well done?
Depending on what you like, you can pick the perfect temperature for your ideal burger.
Which Sous Vide Burger Temperature to Use
With sous vide's precision cooking you can set it to the exact temperature you want and it'll turn out perfectly cooked every time.
I like my burgers at about 135°F (57°C) to 138°F (59°C). There's still reddish pink on the inside, but they still have a lot of juiciness, which is one of the things I love about burgers.
Many people go as low as possible while still pasteurizing with sous vide, using 131°F (55°C) as their base temperature and hitting the minimum time to make the meat safe.
If you are using high quality meat that you've ground yourself and feel safe eating non-pasteurized foods, many people swear by a rare burger at 125°F to 130°F (51.7°C to 54.4°C). It just needs to be heated through. Make sure to use safe beef and cook it for less than 2 or 3 hours so it stays out of the danger zone.
And if you prefer a more well-done burger, you can go up to 140°F (60°C) or a higher temperature like 150°F (66°C). Here you can get that well-done texture and flavor without overcooking it too much. It would be juicier than it would be if you're using a traditional method.
How Long to Sous Vide Hamburgers For
Usually the cook time for sous vide burgers will be 2 to 3 hours to heat through or pasteurize, depending on the thickness.
For the exact time, you first choose whether you want to just heat it through or pasteurize it. Then you can use the sous vide heating and pasteurization charts I have on my website. Douglas Baldwin has kind of the definitive ones as well, so you can check those out. And I have a sous vide timing ruler that simplifies the process.
It's usually going to be between 2 and 3 hours, depending on how thick your food is and the temperature you're cooking it at.
Detailed How to Sous Vide Burgers Process
So what is the sous vide process for a burger? It's pretty easy and similar to the standard cooking process.
Step 1: How to Prep Sous Vide Burgers
The first thing is to prep your meat just like you would if you're making normal burgers. Make them into beef patties, either pre-made or shaped in any of the different ways you traditionally would.
I usually get 2 to 4 burgers per pound of ground beef, but with sous vide you can go larger. You can also easily use the same process with smaller patties for sous vide burger sliders.
You can even go crazy and make a Juicy Lucy and you're putting some cheese in the middle of it, or a blue cheeseburger with cheese in the middle. There's lots of ways to make stuffed burgers or shape patties to your liking.
However, you prepare your patty, get it all together like you normally would.
The next step is to season patties however you like. You can add any salt or spices, garlic powder, onion powder, whatever you're looking to put in it. I tend to season lean ground beef more than the richer, fattier types. Even a splash or worcestershire sauce or soy sauce can add some great richness.
If you have frozen patties, you can use those as well. There is no need to thaw the burger, you can just throw it directly into the sous vide machine. Just increase the cook times by about 40%, or a lot of the sous vide pasteurization charts do have times from frozen on there. So, you can get a better feel, but it's about 40 percent more than thawed patties would be.
One thing a lot of people also do is use food safe molds. They are metal rings that you can use to portion out burgers. And they'll use those in the bag to make sure that it prevents the crushing of it.
Especially if you have a thicker patty, you don't want to smash it down when you're trying to seal it. So use a little bit of a lighter seal. Almost all food safe, heat safe, airtight sealed bags will work with them, and Ziploc bags are a go-to for me even though I have a vacuum sealer.
And then make sure when you are sealing it that your burgers are in a single layer. One so they don't stick together or get pushed into each other, And two, the cook times that you're going to be looking up in the pasteurization charts are for a single layer.
If you start stacking your food, then it increases the cook times exponentially. This is something we don't want, especially with burgers.
Step 3: How to Prepare the Sous Vide Water Bath
Next step is to set the sous vide bath temperature to whichever you picked.
Like I said, I prefer 135°F (57°C) to 138°F (59°C), depending on the thickness of the burger and what I'm trying to do. But set your sous vide immersion circulator to whatever you want.
You don't really have to preheat the sous vide machine, even though a lot of people do it. During the extra 10 to 15 minutes of heat time, your food's also heating, so it's not really going to affect the end results that much at all.
Put the bag in the sous vide waterbath and for best results, make sure it's all under the water. If anything is sticking up, it could be unsafe.
A lot of people ask "What's a good sous vide machine?". I use a PolyScience HydroPro Plus. It's a little overkill for a lot of home cooks, but I love it. I think it's the best machine out there. However, Anova, Vesta, and Joule all make good sous vide machines that I both have recommended and used a lot.
Step 4: How Long to Cook Sous Vide Burgers
Now just let the meat cook until it is pasteurized or heated through, depending on whatever you're trying to accomplish.
At that point, you can either move onto the finishing step.
Or you can use them as sous vide food prep. Just remove the bags from the water bath, chill them in an ice bath and store in the fridge until your party happens or dinner. And then you just reheat them really quickly.
Step 6: How to Sear Sous Vide Burgers
With finishing burgers there's not a lot to it. They are burgers, so you just want to sear them quickly. You can use a hot grill, a cast iron pan with a little bit of oil in it. Pretty much anything that you would normally cook a burger on, you can use to finish your burgers.
A key to getting a nice crust is making sure the burger patties are really dry once you take them out of the plastic bag. I like to use either paper towels or dish clothes to remove all the moisture. This will greatly speed up the searing process.
Now, remember, the inside is currently the perfect temperature, you don't want to raise it. So, you can let them sit on the counter at room temperature for a little bit longer to cool off. You can chill them in a cold water bath, to give you an even longer sear time if you want more of a crust.
Or you can just make sure that you do it very, very quickly over high heat and high temperatures.
You will also want to use a high smoke point oil, like avocado oil, grapeseed oil, extra Light olive oil not EVOO, or ghee are all common ones.
I usually let mine sit on the counter for a 10 to 15 minutes to cool off a little bit, and then I'll sear them quickly on a really hot grill or in a cast iron skillet. That's kind of my go to because I'm much more worried about just getting a little crust on it and making sure the inside temperature is still perfect.
If you want a really, really hard crust, then you're going to want to chill it a little bit longer before you start searing.
Step 7: How to Serve Sous Vide Burgers
Now it's time to serve your perfect burger. You can serve it with whatever toppings you normally put on your burgers. I love cheddar cheese or American cheese and a nice, thick slab of bacon.
A pro tip for all you sous viders: you can use sous vide bacon on your burger and it's going to be very, very crispy, and it removes a lot of the chew from it. It's this succulent, really, really rich thick cut of bacon you can use on your burger.
Toss on whatever your favorite toppings and sides are. Lettuce, tomato, onion, fresh cracked black pepper, ketchup, mayonnaise, if you're into that kind of thing. Mustard, whatever toppings you love on your burger, throw them on there and you're ready to go.
I like potato rolls or sesame seed buns, but you can use whatever burger buns you love.
That's all there is to making a delicious, perfectly cooked sous vide burger.
And now you have all the information you need to make sure you turn out perfectly cooked hamburgers sous vide every single time you can wow your friends and family and be the hit of your next barbecue.
I'm going to link up below my favorite simple sous vide burger master recipe. You can use that to ensure that you make perfectly cooked burgers every single time that you can then take in whatever burger direction you love.
It works well for beef burgers, as well as pork, bison, elk burgers. It really is a great base recipe for you to go and pretty much any direction you're looking.
Let me know below in the comments if you have any questions, I'm always happy to answer anything that might come up. You can also post your results in our Exploring Sous Vide Facebook group. There are over 40,000 passionate sous vide cooks there.
Easy Sous Vide Hamburger Master Recipe
In my opinion, this is the best easy sous vide hamburger recipe. Using sous vide allows you to cook hamburgers long enough to pasteurize them at almost any temperature you prefer, resulting in juicy, tender burgers that are just as safe as traditionally cooked ones. Some people go as low as possible while still pasteurizing it, while I personally prefer around 135°F to 140°F (57°C to 60°C).
Prep Time: 27 Minutes
Cooktime: Pasteurize by Thickness
Total Time: 1 to 4 Hours
Calories: 339 Calories
Tags: sous vide hamburger, sous vide beef hamburger, beef hamburger, sous vide burger, sous vide, easy, simple
For the Hamburger
4 hamburger patties
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoons spice rub or herbs (optional)
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns
Condiments and sides like ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onions
Preheat the Water Bath: Set your sous vide machine to 135°F (57.0°C) for medium rare or 141°F (60.5°C) for medium.
Season the Beef Patties: Lightly salt the hamburger and sprinkle with any spices.
Seal in Sous Vide Bag: Place the hamburger in a sous vide bag and then seal lightly, being sure not to crush the patties.
Cook the Hamburger: Add the bag to the preheated sous vide water bath. Let it cook until it is heated through or pasteurized by thickness.
Thoroughly Dry the Meat: Remove the sous vide bag from the water bath. Take out the hamburger and dry it off well. You can use paper towels or dish cloths, both work well.
Searing for Flavor: Sear the burgers quickly to add a flavorful crust. Either a heavy pan over high heat, a grill turned to high, or a sous vide blow torch all work well.
Time to Plate: Add the burgers to the buns, top with the cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato slices, and onion then serve.
New to Sous Vide?
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What is the Best Sous Vide Hamburger Temperatures and Times?
Using sous vide allows you to cook hamburgers long enough to pasteurize them, resulting in tender burgers that are completely safe. Some people go as low as possible, while I prefer around 135°F(57°C) for 3-4 hours.
This sous vide lamb burger is an amazing combination of flavorful lamb with a garlic aioli. It's all rounded out with some feta cheese and tomato slices. It's the perfect way to make the best lamb burger you've even cooked!
Grilled hamburgers are something I look forward to every year. The combination of the beef, cheese, bun, and sauce is always amazing. The only downside is that I prefer medium-rare burgers which means I have to grind my own meat, something that can be time consuming. Luckily, when you use a sous vide recipe, you can cook your hamburgers long enough to pasteurize them so you can enjoy medium-rare burgers with minimal effort.
Sous Vide Hamburger Comments
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