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How to Keep Burgers from Shrinking When Frying & Grilling

How to Keep Burgers from Shrinking When Frying & Grilling

Last Updated on 2nd August 2023 by

Common Burger Mistakes

There are some common mistakes people make with burgers that they will keep on making until they learn a better way. I know some people cook burgers that crumble when they grill them up, and they think it is because of the quality of the meat rather than their cooking method.

Yes, the meat’s quality can affect the final product, especially affecting the texture and stability of the burger patty, but that’s not the only factor. You also have to know the right methods for cooking burgers.

Shrinking Burgers: A Common Issue

One common mistake I see people make is to let their burgers shrink as it cooks. If you have seen this happen to you a few times, you might not be thinking about how to keep burgers from shrinking on the grill.

You may just assume that sometimes burgers shrink when they are cooked and there isn’t much you can do about it. I want to let you know that you can change the way your burgers cook and determine whether they shrink or not when you cook them. This doesn’t have to be a problem for you when you use the grill. You don’t have to put up with shrunken, pathetic-looking burgers.

How to Keep Burgers from Shrinking in Frypan

When you cook your burger on the stove in a frying pan, you need to know this one simple trick to keep them from shrinking. Just press down in the centre of the burger while it is soft and before it cooks.

The Dimple Trick

Make a small depression in your burger to reduce shrinkage, just as big as your finger and just deep enough for there to be a depression. Then, cook it as you normally would.

A good burger that’s a good size for your sandwich will be cooked with a dimple on top. That’s all it takes to make your burger retain its size and stay big and juicy when it cooks.

Shrinkage on the Grill

When cooking your burgers on the grill, you want to follow the same tip I just gave you about dimpling. That works just as well on the grill as it does on the stove for how to keep frozen burgers from shrinking while cooking.

There is another tip about grill cooked burgers that I want to tell you that is important to prevent shrinkage. That would be to keep the grill uncovered as the burgers cook. Closing up the grill cover will affect your burger size, and if you cover your burgers on the grill as they cook, they will likely lose some of their spread and shrivel up, looking a little sad.

Other Burger Cooking Tips

Burger Meat Composition

First of all, make sure your meat is not too lean. If they have at least 20% fat, that helps the burger to stay juicy, tender and flavourful. A lack of fat can kill a burger’s flavour, but how to keep 80% lean 20% fat burgers from shrinking? Just use the same methods I told you earlier- cooking them uncovered and with a dimple in the middle.

Handle Your Meat with Care

Next up, I would advise you to be careful about how much you handle the meat. Try not to flip it too much or adjust it a lot. This can make your burger tough and hard like a hockey puck instead of soft and flavourful like it should be.

Seasoning and Marinating

I also want to mention seasoning your burger at the proper time. Don’t season well in advance of while it is on the grill. Instead, season before you put it on the grill or in the frying pan. This way, the seasoning will stick to the burger. The herbs and spices are less likely to adhere to the burger if you apply them while the meat is cooking.

The Importance of Not Flattening

Finally, I want to advise you not to flatten your burger with your spatula or tongs. You may feel the need to flatten the burger as you cook it, but that is not advisable.

These are my top tips for grilling burgers, and I hope they help you the next time you are grilling. If you want juicy, tender, and properly sized burgers, just follow the tips I have provided. Enjoy!

burger with blue cheese
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Hamburger Blue Cheese Recipe

This recipe is one of the easiest things to make. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare the patties. So let’s learn about the best hamburger recipe that goes with blue cheese crumble.
Servings: 4
Author: Pauline


For the preparation of patties-

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Dijon mustard, one tablespoon
  • ½ cup Crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp of water
  • Salt and black pepper, powder, or freshly ground
  • Fresh chives
  • Worcestershire sauce

For making the burger

  • Onions cut into rings
  • Slices of tomato
  • Arugula


  • Take a bowl and add the ground meat, minced garlic, one egg, some chopped onions. Put some salt, pepper, and blue cheese crumbles and mix well. It helps to prevent the ingredients from falling apart while making patties.
    Note: Do it gently. 
  • After mixing, make four sections and form a shape of a patty. It would help if you made sure that the patties are flat; otherwise, they will become fluffy when grilled. Just make a ball with the meat and then push it on a flat surface with the help of your palm.
  • Before putting the patties on the grill, scrub the leftovers or the residue from the grill. You can use different tools or towels as well. Now oil the grill so that the meat doesn’t stick to the grill.
    Now, the main thing you need to keep in mind is that different meat preferences require different temperatures and time to have a perfect grilled patty. Here are some suggestions:
    – Medium Rare – 130 to 135 degrees F, which one needs to cook for four minutes per side.
    – Medium well – In this requirement, one needs to cook for 5 minutes per side at a temperature of 150 to 155 degrees F.
    – Medium – At 140-145 degrees F for about 6 minutes per side.
    – Well done – you need to keep the temperature at 160 or more and about 7 minutes per side.
    Note: Do not press the patties with the help of a spatula, as it will release all the juiciness out of the patties, and eventually, it will become dry while you will eat.
  • Toast the bun in that grill itself. You can take sesame seed buns or a normal bun, and there is no rule!
  • Now add the favorite topping like the onions or the arugula and tomatoes.
    Now one thing remains, to eat it! Enjoy your juicy and delicious blue cheese hamburger.


Why do burgers shrink when cooking?

Burgers shrink during cooking because the heat causes the proteins in the meat to contract and expel moisture. As the proteins tighten, the meat patty reduces in size. Fat also renders out during cooking, which contributes to shrinkage.

What are some practical techniques to keep burgers from shrinking while frying?

One of the best techniques is to make a dimple or depression in the center of the patty before cooking. As the meat contracts, the depression will disappear but the overall size of the burger will remain more consistent. Also, avoid overworking the meat when forming your patties, as this can make the proteins more likely to contract and the burger to shrink.

How can I prevent burgers from shrinking on the grill?

Similar to frying, making a dimple in the center of the burger can help it maintain its shape. Also, resist the temptation to press down on the burger with your spatula while it cooks, as this squeezes out the juices and can cause shrinkage.

Does the type of meat used in the burger affect how much it shrinks during cooking?

Yes, the type of meat can affect how much a burger shrinks. Leaner meats typically shrink less than fattier meats because there’s less fat to render out during cooking. However, remember that some fat is desirable in a burger for flavor and juiciness.

Are there any specific ingredients or types of burgers that are less prone to shrinkage?

As mentioned, burgers made from leaner ground meat tend to shrink less. Also, some people add fillers like bread crumbs or oats to their burgers, which can reduce shrinkage (but also change the texture and flavor of the burger). Vegetarian and vegan burgers, which are made from plant-based ingredients, typically don’t shrink the way meat burgers do.

More Burger Tips

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Pauline Loughlin
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I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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