How to Make Your Own Burgers


Who doesn’t love a burger? They’re enjoyed all over the world and are gaining in popularity in many smaller countries. But have you ever thought about making them yourself? Here’s how to make your own burgers at home.

Burgers are surprisingly easy to make; they can be made from beef, pork, lamb, or turkey mince and you can add whatever extras take your fancy – cheese, salad, pickles, crispy bacon, or relish to name but a few. Making burgers vegetarian is also very easy.

The hamburger is said to be America’s favourite food. They can be found everywhere, from a humble roadside diner to Michelin-starred restaurants. McDonald’s sells 75 hamburgers per second! That’s a lot of burgers.

Where Were Hamburgers Invented?

But where did hamburgers come from? They are said to have originated in Hamburg, Germany. But legend has it that Mongol horsemen first ate something similar to a burger in the 12th century – steak tartare, or finely chopped raw beef seasoned with garlic and pepper. This new trend worked its way to Germany via the trade routes, first going to Russia and then diverting to Germany.

Steak tartare

By the 19th century, beef from the German Hamburg cow was minced then mixed with garlic, onions, and seasoning and formed into patties. The bun or bread roll came much later. At the time they were known as Hamburg steaks and you had to be wealthy to afford one, as the quality of the beef made them very expensive.

German immigrants arriving in cities such as New York and Chicago earned a living by opening their own restaurants. The menus featured an Americanized version of the German Hamburg steak and they were the most expensive dish on the menu. Of course, everyone wanted to try them. Factory workers could buy Hamburg steaks from mobile food carts and because it was tricky to eat while standing up, one vendor put the patty between 2 slices of bread.

Although hamburgers don’t contain ham, the name comes from Hamburg, where they were first invented. But these days the name is most often shortened to ‘burger.

Nobody knows for certain exactly who gets the credit for the invention of the modern burger, but there are 3 possibilities:

1. Louis Lassen, from New Haven, Connecticut
2. ‘Hamburger Charlie’ Nagreen, from Seymour, Wisconsin
3. Charlie and Frank Menches, from Hamburg, New York

But whoever invented the burger, they are here to stay.

Here are some simple recipes for homemade burgers. You can swap the beef mince for lamb, pork, or turkey mince if you like but make sure the mince has at least 12% fat content, otherwise the burgers will be dry rather than juicy.

Basic Burger Recipe


Think of this recipe as a blueprint for hamburgers. You can add various flavourings to the basic mixture once you feel more confident but for now this recipe makes very good burgers, juicy and full of flavour. Serves 4.

500g minced beef, minimum 12% fat
1 small onion, peeled and very finely chopped
1 medium egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
4 burger buns

Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands, squeezing the beef to break up the clumps. Divide the mixture into 4 balls (you can weigh each piece if you want to be precise) and wet your hands. This will stop the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Place each ball into the palm of one hand and press down firmly with the other hand to form patties about 3 cm thick. The other way that you can do this is to push each piece into a plain 5 cm pastry cutter and press the meat down evenly. Remove the pastry cutter and you will have a perfect disc of beef. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to cook the burgers, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the burgers for about 5 – 7 minutes on each side over a medium heat. You can give the burgers a bit longer so they’re cooked all the way through but if they have a slight pinkness in the centre they will be juicier.

Cut the buns in half horizontally and put them under a hot grill, cut side up, until lightly toasted. Pop a burger into each one. At this point, you can add things like sliced cheese, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomato, raw onion, battered onion rings, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup. Use your imagination and make the burgers your own.

Cheesy Stuffed Burgers

This is a next-level cheeseburger. When you bite into the burger you will find a pool of melting, oozing cheese in the centre. Just be careful because the cheese will be like molten lava. Serves 4.

500g minced beef, minimum 12% fat
1 small onion, peeled and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
50g fresh breadcrumbs
1 medium egg yolk, beaten
Half a teaspoon of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
A small bunch of fresh chives, chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
60g Cheddar cheese, grated
60g grated mozzarella
4 brioche buns

Heat the oil in a small pan and fry the onion over a medium heat until softened. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes then tip into a bowl with the mince, egg yolk, chives, seasoning, paprika, and breadcrumbs. Mix well with your hands and divide into 4 portions.

Use wet hands to roll the mixture into balls (see method above for basic burgers) then flatten into patties about 10 cm round. Mix the cheeses together and roll them into 4 balls. Place a ball of cheese into the centre of each patty, then bring up the edges to completely cover the cheese, pressing the edges firmly to seal. Cover and chill for 30 minutes. You can also make these in advance and chill them overnight.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and cook the burgers over a medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes on each side. Cut the buns in half horizontally and toast lightly under the grill.

To serve, place a burger into each bun and top with crispy bacon, more cheese or fresh onions and tomatoes. Not forgetting ketchup or mayonnaise.

Polish Burgers

Polish burgers

These burgers are a little bit different; they aren’t served in a bun, rather they have breadcrumbs on the outside and are fried until golden brown and crisp. In Poland they’re known as kotlety. Makes 8 patties.

1 crusty white roll
120 ml milk
A bunch of spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
500g beef mince, minimum 12% fat
1 egg, beaten
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
A good pinch of dried mixed herbs
75g panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Soak the bread roll in the milk so that it softens completely. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the spring onions for 5 – 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool.

Add the minced beef, egg, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess liquid from the bread and add it to the beef mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Divide the mixture into 8 pieces and flatten to a thickness of about 3 cm. Scatter the breadcrumbs onto a plate and use them to coat the patties, making sure they’re completely covered. Reheat the oil in the same pan as the onions were cooked in and fry the patties for about 6 – 7 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through.

Serve with potatoes and a salad.

Peppered Lamb Burgers

Lamb burger

These burgers are made with lamb mince instead of beef and taste like a peppered steak. The crushed peppercorns add crunch as well as heat. Makes 4.

500g minced lamb
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of grain mustard
2 tablespoons coarsely crushed black peppercorns

Place all of the ingredients except the peppercorns in a bowl and scrunch with your hands to bring it all together. Divide into 4 and flatten into patties with your hands, or use a metal pastry cutter. Sprinkle with the crushed peppercorns on both sides, pressing down gently to help them stick to the meat. Chill for 30 minutes.

Cook over hot coals for 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Serve in toasted brioche buns with burger relish and rocket.

Double Decker Burgers

Big mac

Here’s a more ambitious recipe; it’s a take on the famous burger from an equally famous burger chain. But these are just as good as the original, if not better. Serves 2.

1 small onion, very finely chopped
350g beef mince, minimum 12% fat
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Burger sauce:
100 ml mayonnaise
1 tablespoon American-style mustard
A pinch of garlic salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 small pickled gherkin, finely diced
To serve:

4 seeded burger buns
Shredded crisp lettuce such as romaine or little gem
4 thin slices of mild Cheddar cheese
2 pickled gherkins, thinly sliced
Half a small onion, peeled and very finely diced

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion for about 10 minutes, until softened. Allow to cool. Tip into a bowl with the beef mince and season well. Scrunch the mixture with your hands to break up the clumps and divide it into 4 balls. Press into a patty using the palms of your hands. They need to be quite thin, about 1 cm. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, simply put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Set aside until needed for the flavours to develop. The sauce can be made a day or two in advance and kept in the fridge.

Halve 2 of the burger buns and cut a thick slice from the centre of the other 2 buns. Toast lightly under a grill, just the cut sides on the halved buns but both sides on the middle slices.

Reheat the oil in the pan that was used for cooking the onions and fry the burger patties for 4 – 5 minutes on each side, turning once.

To assemble, place the bottom half of the buns on 2 plates then spread over some of the sauce. Top with lettuce, chopped onion and a burger patty. Arrange the cheese slice on top and some sliced gherkin, then sit the middle part of the bread on top. Repeat the toppings as for the bottom layer and finish with the top halves of the seeded buns. Serve with skinny fries.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

Veggie burger

The creaminess of butterbeans makes a delicious, moist burger for your vegetarian guests. You can leave out the chilli if you prefer your veggie burgers less spicy. Makes 4.

1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 red chilli, chopped (optional)
1 x 400g can of butterbeans, drained and rinsed
50g fresh breadcrumbs plus extra for coating
1 medium egg, beaten
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves
75g mozzarella, cut into 4 slices

Heat the oil in a small pan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli (if using) until softened. Mash the beans in a large bowl then add the onion mixture, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon juice, basil and seasoning. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands and divide it into 4 portions.

Flatten out the mixture and put a slice of mozzarella in the centre of each one. Bring the edges up to enclose the cheese completely and pat it into burger shapes. Chill for 30 minutes.

Brush the burgers with a little oil, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, until the burgers are browned and the cheese inside has melted. Place 4 halved buns under the grill, cut side up, until crisp and browned then slip a burger into each one, along with some lettuce and sliced red onions. Serve with mayonnaise or barbecue sauce and some fresh salad.

Super-Healthy Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers

These are popular with people of all ages. Turkey mince is leaner than other kinds of mince so the addition of carrot and apricot helps boost the moisture content – and the vitamins. Makes 8 burgers so use 4 and freeze the rest.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
A good pinch of garlic granules
450g turkey mince
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
A good pinch of dried mixed herbs
Salt and pepper

Heat half the oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion for 5 – 7 minutes until softened. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Add the remaining ingredients (except the olive oil)  to the onions and mix well with your hands. Divide into 8 pieces and shape into patties about 2.5 cm thick. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan you used to cook the onions and fry the burgers for 5 minutes, turning once. Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/400F and transfer the burgers to a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper. Cook in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.

Serve the burgers in toasted buns garnished with red onion rings, cheese slices, pickled gherkins and mayonnaise.

Halloumi Burgers

Halloumi is a versatile cheese that doesn’t melt, even when cooked on a barbecue. When fried, it gets a crust around the outside which adds to the flavour. Makes 4 burgers.

450g halloumi
1 tablespoon of olive oil
182g tub of soured cream and chive dip
4 seeded burger buns, cut in half
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced
Lettuce leaves and sliced tomato to serve

Slice the halloumi and coat it in the olive oil. Heat a heavy based pan until very hot and fry the halloumi for 2- 3 minutes. Lift the edge and check underneath – the cheese should be turning brown. Flip over with a spatula and cook the other side. If cooking the halloumi on a barbecue, place it over the hottest part of the grill and cook for 1 -2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds, until charred.

Toast the buns and spread the bottom half with the soured cream and chive dip. Sit a halloumi slice on top, then add lettuce, tomatoes and onion and place the other half of the bun on top. These are even better served with sweet potato fries.

Mexican Pork Burgers with Guacamole

These spicy burgers make a nice change from beef burgers. The guacamole complements the spices perfectly. Serves 4.

500g pork mince, 20% fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
A small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper

1 large ripe avocado
Juice of half a lime
A good pinch of dried chilli flakes
To Serve:
4 seeded buns
4 tablespoons soured cream

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onion for 5 – 7 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Make the guacamole by cutting the avocado in half, removing the large stone and using a spoon, scrape out all the avocado flesh from inside the skin. Put it into a bowl and squeeze over the lime juice. Season with salt and the dried chilli flakes and set aside.

Put the minced pork, egg, spices, coriander and the onion and garlic mixture into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and scrunch the mixture with your hands then divide it into 4 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and flatten it out with the palms of your hands or press the mixture into a plain 5 cm pastry cutter. The burgers should be about 2.5 cm thick. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Reheat the pan you used to cook the onions and fry the patties for 5 – 7 minutes on each side until cooked through. This is important as pork should always be thoroughly cooked.

To assemble the burgers, cut the buns in half and toast them under a hot grill. Spread some guacamole over the bottom half of the buns, top with a burger and a dollop of soured cream then sit the lid on top and serve.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

Would you like more recipes using mince? Go to best recipes using ground beef

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4 thoughts on “How to Make Your Own Burgers”

  1. I love a good burger and you have provided some great choices. I can’t wait to try the Cheese Stuffed Burger and the Mexican Pork Burgers.

    The background on how burgers came into being is interesting. Here is something you will appreciate. I am in Mexico and I have found in some areas you actually get a piece of ham with your burger. I used to think it was strange but…. It is called a hamburger. Now I just make sure there is no ham when I order one!

    I definitely will be booking this page for inspiration when making my next burger.

    • Hi Mary Ann, that’s interesting about the ham, I suppose crispy bacon is a common addition to burgers so ham is in the same camp! The burgers are all very good but you must try the peppered lamb burger, the flavour is off the charts.

      I love a good burger too, but it’s hard to find a really good one in my town. So I make my own and it’s very satisfying. Feel free to adjust ingredients to suit your own tastes with these recipes, blue cheese also makes a delicious filling for the stuffed burger. I hope you enjoy trying out these recipes ! 

  2. Thanks for sharing your collection of hamburger recipes from a wide range of places! Unfortunately, onions do not agree with some family members, so I would need to modify each recipe to accommodate this dietary restriction. How would you advise to do this? Is it okay to just leave out the onions, or should that ingredient be replaced with something else in its place? Thank you!

    • Hi Aly, you can use onion powder if that won’t have an adverse effect on your family member. Or you can leave them out altogether. If you want to replace the onion with something else, try chopped roasted peppers, mushrooms or some garlic. Or add extra spices and seasonings. The burgers will still taste good without any onions in them. I hope you enjoy trying the recipes 


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